I wanted to start out the FREEDOMPRENEURS segment of Brown Gal Trekker with the ultimate topic in life – LOVE! It can’t get any more passionate than talking about travel and love. If you haven’t read up on what this segment is about, you can check out the introduction HERE.
Brown Gal Trekker Meets Mayra
Of all the people I met on the road, one passionate individual continues to garner my respect and admiration – Mayra. We met at the Old Town Kotor Hostel in the old town of Kotor in Montenegro. Kotor is full of adventurous souls including those traveling solo. Mayra happened to be one of them. I was well into my 10th month of traveling and trekking when Mayra and I crossed paths. My stop in Kotor was brief as a layover before I hit the mountains of Durmitor. Nonetheless, Kotor is a great place to visit with its historical roots and the gorgeous views of the lake and the mountains surrounding the town. With this as a backdrop, who wouldn’t fall inlove?
As it turned out, both Mayra and I were already inlove even before Kotor. Mayra and I were both in pursuit of our passions. While I was busy with my love for the mountains, in Mayra’s case, she was in Kotor to meet couples and talk about love. I was intrigued by Mayra’s purpose on her travels so I asked her more questions from which I learned that she had been photographing couples on her travels for months at that point while documenting their love story. For Mayra, the ultimate goal is to publish the photos and their stories to share with the world the universal truth – that love can overcome any boundaries, both physical and otherwise.
In her quest for completing this project, Mayra wasted no time as she ventured into various cities in Europe to meet, photograph and interview couples. While many of us travelers are busy taking our time enjoying the museums, Mayra’s focus is on her project and will only venture to do sightseeing, if time permits. Her fast-paced approach to traveling resonated with me because when I met her, I was speeding through cities and towns, just to get myself to the next mountain trail on my list. In some ways, Mayra and I shared a unique similarity – intense focus on our object of passion – for Mayra it was LOVE. For me, it was my beloved MOUNTAINS.
Since our initial meeting in 2015, Mayra and I have kept in touch as friends on Facebook. Mayra is a photographer. She is currently in New York City but is originally from Arizona. Mayra’s photo series is called Crossing Lines, Finding Love. I’m very ecstatic to feature her and share with you her unique endeavor.
MAYRA FERRA of CROSSING LINES, FINDING LOVE
What inspired you to start the project, Crossing Lines, Finding Love?
This photo series was inspired by my last relationship. We met in New York City while we were both living here in 2012. The chemistry between us was almost instant. The more we got to know one another, the more we liked each other, and the more we realized we could never marry because of our cultural background. He is from Jordan and I’m not. That was unacceptable to his family. Coming from a very open-minded family, I had a hard time understanding this but came to terms with it. Instead of falling apart, I decided not to give up on love. I decided to combine three of my favorite things: photography, travel and love. Crossing Lines, Finding Love was born.
As we can see, out of an experience of love comes more love. When did you launch your project?
In December of 2012, this lovely project came to mind. I didn’t actually begin my series until June of 2014, probably out of fear, though I decided to blame it on money 🙂 All that matters to me is that I finally had the courage to do it, eventually!
Yes, fear is a culprit in most cases where we try to pursue our passions. I can totally agree with Mayra on that. I then asked her how far along she is in the process of completing her project.
The plan is to travel to 196 countries. I have completed 25% of that!
That’s already an accomplishment in and of itself. When I asked Mayra as to the ultimate goal of her project, she noted:
To show that everyone should be allowed to marry the one they love regardless of cultural differences, and everything in between.
Mayra’s goal is noble indeed. The purpose itself can easily be a point of contention, even in modern times. So, I asked about the challenges she faced along the way in making this goal a reality which she continues to work on overcoming just like all of us.
I was lucky to experience kindness in every country I’ve visited so far. I think the biggest challenges are almost within – the fear that I won’t accomplish my goal. The fear that I won’t have enough money to do it. I feel we are always getting in our own way.
What is your favorite part of this process?
Oh my gosh! Listening to love story after love story is amazing! I love the happy feelings it gives me. It just proves that I am right and everyone does have a right to feel those emotions and those awesome butterflies in the belly!
Diving into some of Mayra’s favorite moments on her travels, she then shares with us four of them through the following photographs:
The beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower in the early morning sunlight
The food in almost every country
What lessons have you learned from working on this project about relationships?
This probably doesn’t answer the question but I feel that with all the advise I was given last year from each couple, my next relationship will be a success…haha!
I think Mayra might have left us out on the secret of successful relationships! It’s a good thing we captured some of the wonderful wisdom on love through Mayra’s guest post – click HERE.
On a different note, I asked her what she discovered about herself as part of the process?
As a solo female traveler, I have learned to trust myself, be more aware, have more confidence in myself, as well. It was extremely empowering. I’m not going to say I didn’t miss a familiar face every now and then. It was hard at times but that would last only a few minutes before the strong, empowering feeling would sink in even deeper.
How do you manage to afford traveling?
I saved as much as I could while living in New York City. I couchsurfed, stayed in hostels, never refused a meal that was offered (except for shark), I took the cheapest form of transportation , whether a train, car, bus, or plane.
For a comprehensive list of ways to save money for travels, read THIS ARTICLE.
What advise do you have to those who are thinking of pursing their passion?
I say don’t let yourself stand in the way. Go for it! Remember, if it wasn’t what you thought, no harm. You tried and now you can go back to whatever you were doing or try something different.
To wrap it up, I asked Mayra just a few more QUICK travel-related questions:
What type of travel do you like the most? Solo traveling for sure!
How many countries have you been to? I have been to 50 countries.
What other countries are on your list? I want to visit all the countries in the world!
Name one thing you miss the most when on the road? My family and close friends.
Do you plan ahead or are you spontaneous? Both. I’m very spontaneous but also like to check off lists at times.
Which country do you think is the most romantic for couples? Oh boy, that’s a tough one! I can tell you the city where I wished I had my partner by my side – VERONA, ITALY. I loved it very much…I mean Romeo and Juliet were from there, as well 🙂
Mountains or city life? I love both very much. It depends on what my heart desires at the time.
Name one word that describes the word LOVE. Support.
Name 3 qualities that you think are the most important in accomplishing one’s dreams? Courage. Love. Acceptance.
But there’s more! Mayra was gracious enough to share with us some of the couple stories she documented on her travels. To read about them, see Photos & Stories of Love.
There you have it. Now, you know why I’m such a fan of hers. Mayra has taken that jump off the cliff that I dreaded for a while myself and now she is soaring and living a life full of love. Ah, the life of a freedompreneur!
Follow Mayra via her website: MAYRA FERRA & her instagram: @crossinglinesfindinglove
For tips on how to prepare for your first solo adventure, see 8 Ways to Mentally Prepare for a Solo Adventure.
For more, read I Told My Fears to Take a Hike & This is What Happened
If you wish to be featured or know of someone who should be, let Brown Gal know & email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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