Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Mallory.
Hi Maria, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Sometimes, life pulls you in directions you may not understand at first. That was me when I came to Cincinnati, Ohio for college in 2010. Something about the campus at the University of Cincinnati just felt right for me, and I was so excited to get accepted. I left my hometown near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and never looked back (though it’s only a 5-hour drive).
Fast forward to 2022, I now own a home here with my husband that I met in college, and am surrounded by a community of friends I’ve loved getting to know over my years of living here. I wasn’t always steadfast on living in Cincy, but I’m really glad we made our way back after graduating and traveling, living abroad, and discovering the reasons why we loved the city in the first place while remembering it from the other side of the globe.
Buuuut, although I’m a married millennial with a dog and a house, I still travel as often as possible to off-the-beaten-path destinations, and recently, it’s been solo! Solo travel and a fully remote job in the travel industry have allowed me SO much freedom and I’m so thankful for all the steps I took along the way to get to where I am now.
I’ve been to over 35 countries in my life and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, so I’m grateful for a job that allows me the flexibility to work from anywhere and keep travel at the top of mind. I’m the Marketing Manager for a global travel community called The Nomadic Network and it’s a dream. I have met so many amazing travel lovers at conferences and meetups, and am able to travel with them this fall in Morocco! I really feel like I manifested the perfect career for my goals and am incredibly excited to see what the future holds for me.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I think in the past, I tried to make myself small to blend in and assimilate. It wasn’t always easy to have a big personality and even bigger curly hair that stood out (and not in a good way) from all of my peers growing up. I tried so hard to be “cool” that it took so many years to bring me back to who I was and to finally feel comfortable taking up space. I truly wish I could go back and let little Maria know some of what I know now, but I recognize I may not be who I am today without those struggles.
After the pandemic, I had a radical mindset shift because so many of us had time to reflect on our lives thus far and face the uncertainty of our futures. I really went inward to figure out what I wanted out of my only life on this earth! I’m so glad it gave me clarity, and I’m the most content I’ve ever been in my 30 years around the sun. Contentment…but also drive to keep pushing to make travel a priority and go deeper with the friendships, traditions, and hobbies I have and see where it leads me.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My newest venture is re-living all of my favorite parts of Cincinnati and sharing it with the world on social media. I grab my motorbike, head for my favorite bars, restaurants, or events in the city, and showcase them on my Instagram and TikTok. Just last month I attended a conference for travel creators in Memphis, and I realized there were a TON of people I talked to that had no idea what Cincinnati had to offer. Things clicked for me: I’ve lived here for many years, so I should dedicate a lot more time to creating content to shine a light on Cincinnati for locals and tourists alike!
The Midwest can be very self-deprecating, but I truly feel like it’s a hell of a lot better to just love the place you’ve situated yourself and make the most of every day. I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived in different cities around the world from Taiwan, to Thailand to Reno, and Nevada and even though I loved those places, I really enjoy this life we’ve created here.
We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking?
To be a self-titled wild woman, I surely need to take risks to stay on brand. I love it though! I think one of the biggest risks I took recently was choosing to travel on a work trip alone to Vietnam in March of 2020. I kissed my husband goodbye, completely unsure if I’d even be able to get back in the country to see him again. Those were some scary times.
I made the most of the trip though and realized I wanted to continue to travel solo even when he couldn’t come with me. I fell back in love with Vietnam on that trip, and I took a big risk by checking off a bucket-list item: riding a motorcycle through the mountains of Vietnam.
I took an overnight trip from Hanoi into the mountains, staying in a homestay and only traveling with my local guide, all the while a bit nervous at my manual motorcycle (stick shift) abilities! But you know what? I did it, and it KICKED ASS. The day we got back from the trip, I realized it was International Women’s Day. There was no prouder moment I could have with myself than to know I was across the world from familiarity, but still thriving because I was choosing ME and living for my dreams.
- Website: www.heandshetravel.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariathewild/
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@mariathewild