Jen Riedel is photographer based in Raleigh, NC. She started her photography business under her own name in 2013 and has since had the pleasure of working with companies such as Lyft, North Carolina State University, HQ Raleigh, and Element Yoga.
Jen is also a member of the Papilia team and contributes to the growth and success of the Papilia mission. She believes that travel can immensely shape your world view and has the hope that as many people as possible can have the experience of traveling abroad. She shares some of her favorite travel moments here and hopes that you will connect with her if you are interested in collaborating on photography or writing for the Papilia blog.
Jen in 60 Seconds:
Current Location: Raleigh, NC
Favorite Place to Travel: Colorado
Travel Motto: Keep your heart and mind open to whatever comes your way.
Favorite Activity: Being out in nature
1) What do you love most about traveling?
I love that possibilities seem endless, I love that I fall into a place of peace and this truly allows the experience to be had fully, authentically. Fear tends to fly away allowing pure curiosity to take root. For example in Istanbul, I went with the flow allowing whatever may happen to happen and it was one of the best trips of my life.
2) What does your ultimate trip look like?
My ultimate trip would include a mixed bag of things! Ideally, I would stay at a local's home, be surrounded by new friends and old friends, randomly end up singing around a fire (which has happened before!), I would soak up the sounds and smells of the forests, the cities, take an introductory class in the native language, ride a bike in this new place, and enjoy the cuisine of the place.
3) What is your perfect day in your city?
To spend a day perfectly in Raleigh, through my eyes, I wake up and grab a coffee at Cup a Joe then ride my bike to Lake Raleigh where I would paddleboard with friends, when hunger strikes I would eat lunch at El Toro, shop at Edge of Urge, and then be relax in the park at the North Carolina Museum of Art. I might even wander to Vita Vite later in the evening for a glass of wine and then to C. Grace for jazz music.
4) What culture has surprised you the most and why?
Mexican culture. I grew up living in the American South where racism is high and stereotypes are quickly thrown around. When I received a scholarship to study in Mexico during my undergraduate years, I went without hesitation, I would have jumped at any opportunity to study abroad. The two months that I spent in the country were the most enriching and life shaping months of my life, to date. All of the stereotypes I grew up hearing melted away. What emerged was a true love for the place, the people, the artistry, and the hospitality. From my local friends and their families, in particular, I learned true hospitality, and it remains with me now. Whenever I encounter someone new where I live, I welcome them with open arms, as I was welcomed in Mexico. The culture continues to humble and inspire me.
5) What's the biggest lesson you have learned from all of your travels?
Travel light! After backpacking through Europe twice, it is safe to say I understand that the simplest pleasure is being able to travel comfortably.
6) What immediately connects you to a new place?
The water. If I can swim in the rivers, lakes, a swimming pool, the ocean I feel connected to the place. I've always felt at home in the water and when traveling through Switzerland this year it became clear that swimming was the way for me to find that immediate connection.
7) What are your 5 must have travel-related items that you don't leave home without?
1. Osprey Porter 46 Pack 2. REI Micro fiber towel in blue. 3. Earplugs. 4. Leather Journal. 5. Sony a6000 Camera
8) What is your next travel-related purchase?
9) What is your favorite season to travel and why?
My favorite season to travel is winter because the flights are incredibly cheap which allows me to travel incredibly flexibly.
To stay connected to Jen visit www.jenriedel.com or follow her on Instagram. To start writing for the Papilia blog please contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.