In middle school, I held the coveted yearbook title of “Most Californian” thanks to my obsession with the sea. At age 19, I set off on a surf trip through Central America dictated by weather forecasts rather than guidebooks. I had a small fortune of around $500 USD in my bank account and crossed my fingers that it would last at least a month. Not the best with directions, I became horribly lost in Nicaragua and hitchhiked with three fruit salesmen for two days. I paid my way by selling manzanas and mangoes out of the back of their truck until they found a neighborhood full of fellow gringos to drop me off at. The next few weeks proved to be similarly exciting and my life back in California quickly revolved around earning enough money to fund the next trip away.
In 2012, I graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California. After graduation, I moved to Australia’s wild and untamed region of Western Australia. Using Perth as a launch pad to explore the rest of Australia and Southeast Asia, I trekked to the summit of Mount Rinjani, freedived with manta rays off of Nusa Penida, kitesurfed with sharks in Shark Bay, motorcycled through East Timor, fended off thieving monkeys in Malaysia, and went scuba diving whenever and wherever I could. Once the adrenaline subsided, I saw how plastic pollution, cultural differences between tourists and locals, and the threat of climate change was having a major impact on the communities I traveled through. After a few jaunts to Indonesia, I was captivated by the island of Lombok and started a (yet to be lucrative) textile trading business with Sasak women called Rinjani Threads. Thanks to years of bouncing between Perth and Indonesia and collecting travel tips after each mishap-filled journey, I authored the guidebook to Moon Bali and Lombok published by Moon Travel Guides.
I currently live with one foot in Fiji and the other in the United States–I have to defend my Most Californian title, lest some shaggy-haired 11-year-old take it from me. I would like to tell you that all of my time in the South Pacific is spent embarking on boating trips to faraway islands, scuba diving with bull and tiger sharks, and freediving with humpback whales. However, you can usually find me sitting at my desk, writing away until the my next adventure.
Current Projects and Positions
Chantae Was Here: My adventure and travel themed blog, Chantae Was Here, attracts thousands of monthly readers who are passionate about explorations our world has to offer. It was named one of the Top 25 Adventure Blogs of 2018 by The Adventure Junkies and one of the top 50 Travel Blogs of 2018 by People Maven.
The Salt Sirens, Founder and Editor: An ocean-themed website for women centered around marine conservation and ocean sports.
Skyscanner Australia, Editor, Contributor, and Social Media Manager: Skyscanner is the world’s top flight search engine. My duties involve crafting social media posts, engaging with our audience, and contributing travel-related articles for the news section.
Perceptive Travel, Associate Editor, Contributor: An award-winning online travel magazine, Perceptive Travel features offbeat stories around the globe by professional travel writers who are also book authors.
Background and Qualifications
Degree and Qualifications:
I am a member of the North American Travel Journalist Association.
I have a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Legal Psychology from the University of Southern California.
SCUBA: Hold PADI Open Water and SSI Adventure Diver certifications.
Freediving: Hold AIDA** freediving certification. Personal best of 30 meters depth, static apnea time of over 4 minutes.
Wakeboard: Co-Founder and President of USC Wakeboard Team, where my team members and I coordinated trips, taught lessons, and competed for titles.
Snowboard: Competed in the giant slalom and boarder-cross competitions for four years while attending USC.
Surf: Competed in surf contests while attending USC.
Various Adventure Experiences: Have trekked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite, trekked to the summit Mt. Rinjani in Indonesia, bungy jumped in New Zealand, bungy jumped at Victoria Falls, skydived in California, kitesurfed over 20 kilometers of Shark Bay in Western Australia, scuba dived with tens of bull sharks in Fiji, and have traveled through over thirty countries as a solo traveler.