Photo Source: Lisa-Gaye Shakespeare and Instagram
Walking with lions, visiting the Elmina & Cape Coast castles, and moving back home to Jamaica are just some of the bold and life changing experiences that this week’s Travel Crush shared with us. Hearing Lisa’s touching stories of her experiences made us feel like we are on her travel journey alongside her. That is what travel influencers do; inspire us, so we can create our own adventures and memories!
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?
I am Lisa-Gaye Shakespeare, a travel and lifestyle influencer, born and raised in Jamaica. I lived in the United States for 16 years and moved back to Jamaica in 2020.
My inspiration to travel comes from stepping outside of my comfort zone. I grew up in a very rural community in the southeastern countryside of Jamaica, and as a child, I was always curious about the rest of the world. I had an interest in broadening my mindset and learning about different people and their cultures. My inspiration for travel stems from that.
As I studied and worked in the U.S., my love and passion for travel developed until I became a full-time travel influencer. Now I share my experiences traveling throughout the world, especially to Africa and the Caribbean. I want to inspire others to travel and experience more than the little bubble they may be used to.
How did you get into travel influencing?
Crazy enough, COVID caused me to take the plunge into being a travel influencer. I had quit my corporate job in 2019 to travel the world, but not as an influencer. I took a full-time remote opportunity as a Logistics Manager and host for a travel company who organized group trips. However, that was short lived because of COVID and by April 2020, I could no longer travel internationally.
During the strict lockdowns, I launched an online business doing social media management, copywriting, and teaching dance fitness classes. That got me through most of 2020 but I missed traveling. Once the lockdowns were lifted, I began exploring more of Jamaica and showcasing it on my social media. From there, I pivoted my business to focus solely on travel and began working with hotels, tour companies, and brands within the travel space to create content and promote traveling to my audience.
What is your advice for those looking to get into travel influencing?
Start documenting your travels and sharing your experiences on your social media accounts or website because to be a travel influencer, you need to create content. That's how you will develop an audience (followers) who look to you as a source of authority within the travel space. Once you establish yourself as an expert, you can start working with brands and monetizing your passion.
What was your most memorable travel experience and what made it so special?
Visiting and learning about the Elmina & Cape Coast slave castles in Ghana will forever be etched in my memory. Standing on the grounds of such dark history, enslavement, torture, and death was quite an emotional, angering & heartbreaking experience. To walk through a slave dungeon, seeing the tiny pitch-black cells they were crammed in with no toilets, barely being able to lift heavy cannon balls that they were forced to hold as punishment in the hot sun, stirred up emotions deep within me that I couldn't hold back. My heart was heavy. These are the eye-opening experiences that cannot and are not taught in history books. However, as dark as the entire experience was going through the castle, it was memorable because I felt a deeper connection to and understanding of my ancestors. I was able to walk through the "Door of No Return" with the freedom to RETURN and that was powerful and special to me.
What was the most interesting or unique travel excursion you've ever experienced?
Walking with lions in Senegal with no chains, ropes or restraints holding them back. Was I scared? Heck yea because there were two of them and they were huge! At any minute, they could have turned around and made me their lunch, but I walked with them like a boss queen! I will say though that there's a funny behind the scenes video of me slowly, but quickly (if that makes any sense) walking away from one of the lions because it jumped down out of a tree towards me as my back was turned. That was a bit scary!
Where can folks find you other than Instagram?
Website: www.shakespeareagency.com Facebook: ShakespeareAgency Pinterest: ShakespeareAgency TikTok: @shakespearetravels
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