Photo Source: Dalila and Instagram
Why do we travel? We travel to escape, to learn, to reflect and to understand. We travel for self-care, for love, for new experiences and connections. It is for all these reasons Dalila travels. Keep reading to learn how travel saved her, taught her and reunited her with her Fiancé.
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?
My name is Dalila Lopes, and I was born in Guine-Bissau. From the age of 2 I moved to Lisbon, Portugal and that’s where I was raised until I was 15, when my family and I moved to London. I am currently based in Los Angeles and I work in Fashion, although my background is in Politics and Global Affairs. I am also a writer covering international conflict and security, human rights, climate change and other social issues. I am very passionate about criminal justice reform and I’ve been working as an Editor for the Prison Journalism Project, which is an independent, non-partisan initiative that trains incarcerated writers to be journalists, giving a voice to the marginalized incarcerated community. Traveling has become somewhat therapeutic for me and one of the most important mechanisms in coping with my mental health. I took my first solo trip in 2013 after battling major depression and having my first suicide attempt. That trip changed my outlook on life forever.
Is your interest in politics integral to your love of travel?
It wasn’t initially, at first it was just an escape, a coping mechanism. At least that’s how it started. But with each destination I felt like I was not only learning more about myself but also learning about different parts of the world, different cultures, different ways of life. I believe traveling is about understanding the world is bigger than you, and so is studying international relations and so that’s where I see the commonality. With politics I learned about the world through words, but traveling made me learn about the world through people, food, music etc.
Share with us your most memorable travel experience? What made this experience so unforgettable?
Traveling to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. What made this memorable was because it wasn’t planned at all. Me and my then fiancé were separated due to Covid-19 we couldn’t see each other for over 8 months, and this was the longest we had been without seeing each other. I was stuck in Portugal at the time and he was in the US. We spent months looking at places we could both meet but because of the coronavirus our options were extremely limited. We joined this Facebook group called “couples separated by travel bans” which had about 20,000 members. We saw a couple of successful stories of couples who were able to enter Punta Cana and so we booked our flights and went. This was a different type of trip because I usually spend weeks researching the places I want to visit, and this time I really had zero expectations. I didn’t look for the best beaches, the best restaurants, the best things to do, activities, etc. and it turned out to be an amazing trip! Punta Cana has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. I will never forget the feeling of having swathes of beaches just for ourselves. The island was empty, only the locals were left.
What is the one destination you believe everyone should travel to at least once? What makes this destination a must?
I think everyone should visit Jamaica the people there are the most hospitable and kind. The food is out of this world and the island is just so breath-taking I didn’t want to leave! The white beaches, the mountains, the rivers, the waterfalls, the music, the history, is just such a fascinating place.
If you had a ticket to go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I love nature, that’s one of the reasons why I love traveling so much. I would go to Brazil and visit the Amazonian rainforest.
Where else can folks find you?
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