PHOTO COURTESY OF RAY TARRANT

PHOTO COURTESY OF RAY TARRANT

Sophia Hyder is the Founder and CEO of Papilia. She was inspired to start Papilia from a trip she was about to take to Argentina. Realizing how much time it takes to research for a trip, she was looking for a 'one stop travel app' that could help travelers pack appropriately, understand the culture, and provide shopping advice before departing for her trip. Most importantly, she aspired to use Papilia as an avenue to help people be fearless when they travel, and to encourage a greater understanding among cultures. Sophia believes if people learn about other cultures through travel, we would realize how alike we really are. 

Before starting Papilia, Sophia was an international development professional, working on economic, gender, and business development issues around the world. She also started an ethical fashion label prior to Papilia. Sophia received her Undergraduate Degree from The University of Virginia and Graduate Degree from Duke University.

Sophia in 60 Seconds:

Current Location: Raleigh, NC

Favorite Place to Travel: Bagan, Myanmar

Travel Motto: Live. Love. Travel.

Favorite Activity: Watching sunsets

THE SUNSET IN BAGAN, MYANMAR

THE SUNSET IN BAGAN, MYANMAR

1) What do you love most about traveling?

a) Regardless of culture, people want to be happy in life; traveling always reminds me of this

b) I love the varying landscapes that this world has to offer, and I am once again reminded about how lucky I am.

c) Emotionally, traveling inspires me to be the best person I can be; to be fearless.

MY FIRST WORK TRIP TO CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA IN 2006

MY FIRST WORK TRIP TO CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA IN 2006

2) What does your ultimate trip look like?

My ultimate trip is to travel around the world for six months to a year. I would love to experience every continent in its purest form; by way of landscape and lifestyle, to take each day as it comes, to live in the moment, and to fill my soul with delicious cuisine, yoga, and vibrant sunsets.

3) What is your perfect day in your city? 

A perfect day in Raleigh starts with taking in the fresh air and walking to Joule in Downtown Raleigh for coffee. The beautiful weather always inspires me to be outdoors.  I would plan on buying fresh produce from Standard Foods or from the local farmers market in City Market. From there, I would go to either Jordan Lake or Lake Crabtree to soak in the sun, eat delicious food, and watch the water pass me by until the sun sets. By nightfall, I would either choose to have dinner at Cala Vera, a restaurant that makes delicious empanadas, Oak City Meatball Shoppe or Stanbury. BUT I would end up at Bittersweet for dessert and cocktails.

TAKING THAT MOMENT TO STROLL TO JOULE

TAKING THAT MOMENT TO STROLL TO JOULE

4) What culture has surprised you the most and why?

The culture in Swat Valley, Pakistan surprised me because I had never met such gracious, welcoming, and friendly people like them before. The people that live in the Swat Valley are not made of money, but are very hard workers and have true pride in their heritage. Their hospitality warmed by heart. The first and only time I traveled to Swat Valley was when I was in 1991. Around 2007, the Taliban had taken over this area, and most of the world had no idea how different people in Swat were different from the Taliban. Their tragic circumstance along with positive perseverance has prevailed. "People are slowly coming out of fear."  

5) What's the biggest lesson you have learned from all of your travels?

Take time to learn about the destination and culture before departing. Your trip experience will be maximized, you will feel more confident, and you will travel with an open mind.

6) What immediately connects you to a new place?

The smell of the air. I have been to many places with distinctive scents. Then, I find myself back at home reminiscing about a place or memory that smelled like a place I have been to. It automatically makes me smile.

THE SMELL OF MANGOES MAKES ME SO HAPPY - RAJSHAHI, BANGLADESH

THE SMELL OF MANGOES MAKES ME SO HAPPY - RAJSHAHI, BANGLADESH

7) What are your 5 must have travel-related items that you don't leave home without? 

1.  My travel notebook 2. Sugar by Fresh Lipgloss  3. Lululemon Yoga Pants.  4. Sunglasses 5. Canon Powershot

8) What is your next travel-related purchase?

Tieks Flats

9) What is your favorite season to travel and why?

My favorite season to travel is fall because the weather is crisp and fresh, the scenery is beautiful, and depending where I go there may not be too many visitors.

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To stay connected to Sophia follow her on Twitter or Instagram. To start writing for the Papilia blog please contact Sophia at sophiahyder4@gmail.com.