Interview by Iva Yankova
Anne Stark Ditmeyer is a communications designer + editor with a focus the intersection of design and travel, who believes that travel is not about where you go, but how you see the world. Anne founded Prêt à Voyager (translation: “ready to travel”) 2007 to explore the creative ways people travel. Most recently, Anne was named a Top Paris Instagram Account to follow by Condé Nast Traveler and one of the most inspirational women travel bloggers to follow by Jetset Times.
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Hi Anne, your blog is ranked as one of the most successful blog of 2017, congrats! How did you get started?
I started Prêt à Voyager in 2007 as way to explore my interests in the interaction between travel and design. At the times blogs were relatively new and I saw it as an opportunity to be part of the online community I saw forming; believe it or not I’ve met some of my best friends thanks to my blog, Twitter & Instagram (@pretavoyager). These days I see my blog more as a business card than anything else.
Would you call yourself a digital nomad?
While I spend a lot of time on the internet I can’t say I consider myself a digital nomad. Especially these days I look for any excuse to unplug, write in a (paper) notebook, and see things in real life.
Do you think the the internet is opening place for every talent ?
I think everyone can find their own niche online. I think the real challenge is not falling into the trap of doing things in a formulaic way just because it’s the current trend. Also, don’t underestimate social media as a research tool to discover interesting people and places.
What is a typical work day like for you?
There is no typical day for me, and that’s what I like. I try to wake up by 8:30. In the mornings I often do reading for my creativity coaching training these days. A couple days a week I give tours – (navigateparis.com). Often I’ll go into “the office” for one of my clients. I joined the gym this year and that has been amazing for my productivity (and mental health) and I look forward to that a few times a week. I often find I’m most productive late at night as I have fewer distractions.
Describe yourself with three words?
Resourceful, connective, curious.
Three advice for anyone who wants to run their own business?
Talk to people who are doing what you want to be doing and try to have as many experiences as possible. In other words, do your homework and learn as much as you can. There is a learning curve, but if it’s something you really want to be doing, it doesn’t feel like work.
One misconception about what you do?
I’m an American but live in Paris. I’m a “slasher” who does a bunch of different things: writing, graphic design, communication, consulting, etc. The French tend to do one thing, so the fact that I do a lot of things is a bit confusing to them. I always tell people it will make more sense when they see my online presence. (That’s where I connect the dots.)
What are you working on right now?
Every year I have a word or theme. This year it’s “pivot”. I’m looking to do more [creativity] coaching and helping people reach their potential.
Your top destination and three recommendations for our #Wonderers who visit?I absolutely fell in love with Japan. I’d recommend visiting Naoshima, a small island you get to by a ferry and is known for contemporary art. There’s a fun 50s themed American diner next to the bath house. The Chichu Museum is one of my all time favorites. There are only a few installations, but it’s amazingly memorable. The “art house project” is also impressive. I didn’t make it to Teshima, but it’s another nearby island.
Some recommendations for Paris?
I’ve been living in Paris for over 7 years. I share my favorite spots on Instagram (@pretavoyager). I use the hashtag #NavigateParis and tag all the different neighborhoods.
Did you have any initial fear of traveling alone and what/who helped you get over it?
I’m fortunate that I grew up in a family where I was traveling before I could walk. For me I can’t imagine a life without travel. These days I’m most inspired traveling to take a workshop or attend a conference, and of course fit in a bit of time to see the city. It makes planning less overwhelming because you know most of your time is set, but you also will leave doubly inspired!
Best resources when planning a trip? I tend to use Skyscanner for flights.
For hotels I’ll ask friends. I also love using Instagram to get ideas of places to go. More and more city tourism sites are becoming better designed which is very exciting to me.
Tips for first-time lady travellers?
Just do it!
Let's wrap it with what does "to travel" mean to you?
The mantra of my blog is “travel is not where you go, but how you see the world.” You don’t have to travel far to have new experiences.
Photos by Ashley Ludaescher.
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