A weaver of words about wanderlust, Kristin Braswell has penned articles about some of the most beautiful places in the world, regularly contributing to publications like Ebony, CNN and Forbes Life. On the heels of a recent trip to India (jealous), Kristin gave us the 411 on her entrepreneurial journey that's centered around travel. With great travels, comes great food and like me, you'll be quite envious of her international eating experiences.
Define what womanhood means to you.
KB: Womanhood is an intangible force that heals and protects. It is the remedy for everything that plagues this world. It is a life force that sustains me and every woman I know. My own womanhood has allowed me to be vulnerable with myself and others in ways that has created a deeply fulfilling life. I'm thankful for that sacred space.
You're a frequent traveler. Is there a "ritual" you practice before you venture out or get situated in a new destination?
KB: Yes! Every time I pack for a new trip, I play one of my favorite Soca mixes to give me energy and get me excited for my next adventure. Living out of a suitcase at times can be stressful and disorienting, but as soon as I hear that beat drop, all the stress melts away. It is also not lost on me that that I am incredibly blessed to be able to see the world so often. It is a gift that I try to share with my loved ones as much as possible. It's also an incredible opportunity to connect with strangers.
What about your craft has given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?
KB: My favorite part of traveling, besides discovering a new place, is the people I've met on the ground. I've made lasting friendships with people in many different countries, and it warms my heart to think of how fulfilling human connection can be. I once sat on a beach in the Maldives with a group from Sri Lanka and we all danced to Drake's "Hotline Bling". That moment, as silly as it was, reminded me how many things in the universe conspired for us all to meet, even though we were from completely different parts of the world with completely different backgrounds. We still found a moment to connect. That idea of dancing through the world is one I always carry with me.
"I've apologized to people in the past for being myself and giving my best, and I think women in particular have a tendency to do this more than is necessary or warranted. Other people might make you feel as though you are not sufficient, but you are perfectly made."
What are your favorite go-to, travel-friendly products you use when always on the go?
KB: If I have a long flight-- which is often-- I make sure to bring Tata Harper's Aromatic Bedtime Treatment. I am a horrible sleeper, especially on planes, and this product definitely helps me relax, and smells amazing. I love Nuxe's Dry Oil when I want the girls to pop and I'm at the beach and want that golden glow. For my curls, particularly in humid climates, Kinky Curly's Knot Today is perfect. To keep my skin clear and glowing, I cannot go without Cane + Austin's Retexture Pads. Finally, I will never pack without including lipstick. My favorite line these days is Bite super hydrating and just the pop of color I crave.
What do you do for self-care?
KB: Self-care is something that I am constantly trying to get better at. I have a tendency to put my work to-do list before my own needs, but I'm learning. I do workout at least four days a week and find that my mood is instantly better when I break a sweat. I recently returned from India, where I practiced meditation and breathing. It was deeply fulfilling and I've promised myself to take at least five minutes a day to continue the ritual of going inward. Finally, Soca is my ultimate form of self-care. It just rejuvenates me. I just came back from Trinidad for Carnival and it reminded me of what a life force the music is for so many people.
Your latest venture, CrushGlobal Travel, is about giving novice and expert travelers alike access the world. Aside from your own personal travels, what inspires the birth of this brand?
KB: When I was 15, I caught the travel bug after spending a summer at Oxford University. I was incredibly inspired by the people I met from different parts of the world, and I still am today. CrushGlobal was born out of my desire to use travel as a medium to connect people, but I didn't want to connect people in a the typical way. I want people to discover travel experiences in small alleyways, on nondescript sidewalk cafes, in a grandmother's kitchen and deserted beach. I want people to know that the world is boundless and full of adventure. That's why I created my business.
What is a message you'd like to share with women?
KB: Create a safe space for yourself that allows you to make mistakes, to grow and to be loving first and foremost to yourself. Do not apologize for being human. It's okay to say "no," to relax, to put on a get 'em girl outfit on a Friday night and dance in the mirror for yourself, then fight for social justice or launch a business the next day. I've apologized to people in the past for being myself and giving my best, and I think women in particular have a tendency to do this more than is necessary or warranted. Other people might make you feel as though you are not sufficient, but you are perfectly made. Your own truths may not be everyone else's, but that's the beauty of being an individual. The more you let your values and love for self shine through, the more others will be inspired and accept you for exactly who you are. We are all growing and doing the best we can, daily. Be kind.
Name some of the best eating experiences you've had (a few domestic and a few international?)
KB: How long do you have? (lol). In Paris- the rice pudding at L'Epi Dupin is otherworldly. In New Delhi, India, the daal at Bukhara is raise-your-hand-to-the-sky good. In Barbados, the "Gap burger" from a random food truck is the thing drunk nights are made of (ask anyone and they can lead you to it). A po' boy from Parkway Tavern in New Orleans gets me right every time I go. In Trinidad, bake and shark from Richard's is a must. One of the most exquisite and beautifully presented meals I have ever had was at Tim Raue in Berlin. Finally, anyone who knows me knows that if I'm in my hometown of Los Angeles, three stops are a must: Tito's Tacos for nostalgia's sake, Al and Bea's for the chile relleno burrito, and El Cholo's for the chicken nachos. Now I'm really hungry....