MEET EDANA

Hi! I’m Edana, aka Wanderstylust. I’m a Miami native-turned-New Yorker who works in international politics by weekday and travels the world by weekend vacation leave.

When I’m not working or traveling, you can find me reading, writing, browsing the boutiques in downtown NYC, or sipping matcha lattes in a cafe.

I’m also an affordable luxury aficionado. I created this blog as a space for female travelers who are interested in – you guessed it – affordable luxury travel and lifestyle. What does that mean? For me, affordable luxury is mixing luxury with authentic experiences. It’s balancing quality and price.

I will (and have!) sat through a 9-hour taxi ride between cities in order to visit some cool ancient fortresses instead of paying extra for a far more comfortable plane or train ride. But I also ended that trip with a massage and a hot shower in a nice hotel.

I’ll eat a $4 meal in a hole-in-the-wall joint and splurge on $20 cocktails at a nice rooftop bar, sometimes on the same night.

I’ll mix investment pieces like a designer bag with Gap jeans.

You get the idea.

If that sounds like you or is something you’re interested in, this blog is the place for you! I’ll be sharing a mix of travel, lifestyle, and Instagram/blogging tips, including:

*Please note this is not a solo female travel blog. I do sometimes travel solo but prefer to travel with a friend or a small group. If solo female travel is something you’re interested in, there are plenty of fantastic blogs that focus on that very topic, such as The Blonde Abroad and Adventurous Kate.

If there’s something else you’d like to see on this site, let me know! This blog is as much for you as it is for me. I want it to be as helpful as possible so please feel free to send me your suggestions and feedback.

MY STORY

It all started when I was six. I was on my first international flight to Hong Kong, bored and tired after 16 hours in the air, when I looked out the window and saw them: the lights of Victoria Harbor, glittering against the sky like diamonds. I was in awe. I had never seen anything like it.

I don’t remember much else from my trip to Hong Kong. I was, after all, six. But I remembered the way it made me feel – the anticipation, the excitement, the thrill of exploring a new place and meeting new people and seeing new things.

That was the year I fell in love with travel. It’s a love that’s lasted to this day, and it’s a love that’s shaped my life.

When I was 12, I convinced my mom to get me subscriptions to Travel and Leisure and Conde Naste Traveler. I awaited their arrival each month with bated breath. When they did arrive, I tore off their cellophane wrapping and spent days poring over the photos and stories. I was going to be a travel writer, I decided. I love travel, I love writing; it’s the perfect career for me! Sadly, my mom didn’t agree. Writers don’t make money, she said. Choose a more practical career.

Now, this is not a knock against my mom. She had good intentions and I’m so, so grateful to have someone as supportive as her in my life. But back then, I was young and she was worried about my future. She thought I didn’t know what I was doing and, well, she might’ve been right.

So I compromised and gave up my dreams of becoming a travel writer. Instead, I chose to major in international politics. It allowed me to combine my love of other cultures with something more “practical,” i.e. policy making. My mom wasn’t 100% happy (she wanted me to be an engineer) but she figured I could at least be an ambassador one day. That was her dream. It was mine too, for a while. I even went to graduate school and got a master’s in international politics. However, when I was in grad school, I found myself straying towards communications and writing again instead of policy.

At the same time, I took every opportunity I had to travel. This meant taking advantage of spring and summer breaks when I was in school, and using all my sick/vacation days for travel when I was at work (fortunately, I don’t get sick often!). In 2014, I promised myself I would visit at least one new country a year. I’ve kept that promise, which has taken me from the jungles of Costa Rica to the fjords of Norway.

In 2017, I started sharing my travels on Instagram. That quickly fell by the wayside as I graduated and moved to New York City for my current job. However, I refocused on my IG a year later and I’m still going strong! 

But as much as I love the visual aspect of Instagram, I wanted a space where I could create a deeper connection. That’s where this blog comes in. It allows me to finally do what I’ve always wanted to do – share my travel and life adventures, the ups and the downs, the recommendations and the lessons learned, using my favorite medium (which, if you can’t tell by how long this story is, is words).

This leg of my journey has been 15 years in the making, and I can’t wait to go on it with you.

Thank you so much for joining me on my adventures. Now let’s get this show on the road!

P.S. If you read this far YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR. As an extra thank you, I’m sharing my ultimate travel planning checklist with you. Enjoy and happy travels!

TRAVEL FAQ’S

How many places have you visited?

So far, 15 countries and more cities than I can count!

What’s your favorite destination for…

  • Nature: Norway
  • Adventure: Costa Rica
  • Beaches: Thailand
  • Food: New Orleans
  • History: Israel
  • Shopping: New York City
  • Nightlife: Shanghai or Miami

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Such a hard question! I want to go everywhere, but at the top of my list right now are

  • Italy, for the food.
  • Kenya. Lions are my favorite animal and I’d love to see them, even from afar, on a safari.
  • New Zealand. It just looks stunning.

Did you study abroad?

Yes! I spent a semester in Beijing when I was a sophomore and a semester in Shanghai when I was a senior. They were both amazing experiences and I highly recommend study abroad if it’s an option for you.

GENERAL FAQ’S

How do you pronounce your name?

e-DON-nuh. Or as I like to tell people, it’s pronounced like Madonna with an “E.”

Why is this blog called Wanderstylust?

Since it’s a travel and lifestyle blog, I combined the words “wanderlust” and “style” to create Wanderstylust.

Also, all the names I wanted with “wanderlust” were already taken.

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

I went to the University of Florida for undergrad, where I studied Chinese and political science with a concentration in international relations. I also have a master’s in international politics from Georgetown.

Are you a full-time blogger?

Nope. I have a day job and work on my blog at night and on weekends.

Where do you find the time/money to travel?

I stack a lot of my trips on top of long weekends. I dabble in travel hacking (my go-to resource for this is The Points Guy) and have a lot of points/miles that can be redeemed for flights, hotels, etc. I’m also always on the lookout for travel deals using resources such as Cheap Fly Club and I don’t spend a lot of money on things other than food, travel, and the occasional shopping trip.

What photography gear do you use?

I use a Canon EOS2000D for my photos and my iPhone XS Max for Instagram Stories.

How do you edit your photos?

I edit them using my own presets in Adobe Lightroom.

Who takes your photos?

I collaborate on photo shoots with other bloggers and Instagrammers. Sometimes I will partner with local photographers when I’m traveling. If that’s not an option, I’ll use a tripod.

How do I grow my Instagram following?

Remember the three C’s: content, community, collaboration. Great content, genuine interactions, and collaboration with other people in your niche is key to growing an authentic Instagram following! For more specific tips and tricks, check out these blog posts.

Don’t see your question?

Let me know what’s on your mind! If it’s a common question I will include it here in the FAQ’s; if not I will answer you directly.