Welcome! I’m Gina
I am a pharmacist, West Virginia native, and world traveler.
I consider my travel style to be equal parts aesthetic travel and solo travel – but before we get into that, I’ll give you a glimpse inside my life before Gina on a Plane even became a thought…
About Me – B.T. (before travel)
I grew up in a small town that was not close to an airport. While a lot of my childhood was spent exploring my home state, I often wondered what it would be like to go places that were completely different from the rural setting I was used to. I spent many hours daydreaming about traveling to places I only knew in photos and on tv.
When I was in high school, I took my first international trip across the world to Italy. That was it. One plane ride, and my head was permanently in the clouds. From then on, I knew I would someday make traveling a priority for the rest of my life.
However, “the rest of my life” didn’t really come as soon as I had hoped. After high school, getting a college education was my next priority. I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy.
In pharmacy school, they stressed the importance of documenting everything, which is a principle I apply to my entire life (and nowadays, especially when I travel). Having notes about where I’ve been and what I’ve done is largely part of why I feel so confident planning trips and traveling solo.
After pharmacy school, I moved 8 hours away to South Carolina by myself and started my first adult job. Aside from a brief moment of “is this REALLY happening?!“, I felt absolutely fearless. The freedom was addicting – more specifically, the freedom to start a new life and become whoever I wanted. I had just turned 24 years old, and I felt like the world was mine for the taking. Looking back, moving away on my own was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I traveled a little bit while living in South Carolina, but the job that I had did not allow me much vacation time and even less flexibility. Eventually, I moved back to West Virginia to regroup and figure out where to go from there. I thought I was only moving back for a short time, but due to extenuating circumstances, it ended up being years longer than I expected.
Although I have a lot of love for my home state, spending this portion of my life in WV was not what I wanted to happen. I wanted to be in a city, close to an airport, exploring places that I’d never seen. I thrive in a hectic, busy, hustle & bustle environment. By now, I was in my late 20’s, and – despite having a stable, high-paying job – felt like an absolute failure because my life wasn’t anything like I wanted or imagined it would be. Everyone says your 20’s are the best years of your life, but I spent a lot of mine feeling suffocated and unhappy.
Nevertheless, if there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I have a very hard time accepting a situation that I absolutely do not want (it’s the Taurus in me; we’re inherently stubborn…/shrug). I decided I would do whatever it took to pull myself out of my current situation and give myself the life I knew I wanted.
And so it began. I found a new job with a much better vacation policy. I moved closer to an airport. I really started trusting myself and my intuition. Eventually, everything just started falling into place, and I was finally able to start traveling like I always wanted.
So now, you know the story of how I put myself in the position to get the life that I wanted…but how did I take everything I just told you about and become a travel blogger? Keep reading…
My Travel Niche: Solo Travel + Aesthetic Travel
My travel niche is a hybrid between solo travel and aesthetic travel…but what does that mean? Let me explain:
Small Town Girl Turned Solo World Traveler
“How can you really hear your soul if everyone around you is talking?…”
Solo travel – more specifically, taking my first solo trip to Barcelona – was the catalyst to me becoming a travel blogger. But wait, how did I go from small-town West Virginia to hopping on a plane and flying across the world?
I already told you that I went to Italy in high school, which had been my #1 bucket list destination ever since I could remember. Now that I had checked Italy off my list, my new #1 bucket list destination was Greece. After a lot of research, I found a group travel website called EF Ultimate Break and saw where they had a trip titled “The Greek Islands.” This trip started in Athens and took you through Santorini, Paros, and Mykonos. We got a tour guide, and everything was planned out for us. I was sold.
About a month before leaving, I got an email saying that EF would extend your trip for you if you wanted. You could arrive before your group trip to Greece started, or stay longer after it ended. You could stay in Greece or you could go somewhere else.
After talking to a lot of people and doing a LOT of research, I decided I wanted to go to Barcelona after my Greece trip ended.
However, I should tell you that when EF says they will “extend your trip” for you, what they actually mean is “we will book your new flight home.” In other words, I was in charge of the rest. I had to figure out how I was getting from Athens to Barcelona (not hard), where I was staying in Barcelona (slightly harder), what I was doing in Barcelona (even harder), and…most importantly, how I would keep myself safe as a solo female traveler who spoke next to no Spanish (VERY hard).
Challenge accepted. I knew that for me to be successful, I had to be as educated as possible about what I was getting myself into. I networked with people who had traveled overseas and people who had traveled solo. I downloaded Duolingo and taught myself as much Spanish as I could. I registered with the United States Embassy in Spain. I researched the best areas to stay in and the best things to do.
While doing my research, I found a random couple’s travel blog that gave a very detailed itinerary about how to spend 3 days in Barcelona. After a quick glance through their website, they seemed like they knew what they were doing. I printed their itinerary out, took notes, added other things I found, and used that to plan my trip.
To make a long story short, my trip to Barcelona ended up being the best experience of my entire life. I owe that feeling largely to this random couple, their blog, and the confidence it gave me. When I came back, I knew I wanted to give that feeling to somebody else…and thus, Gina on a Plane was born.
I have a lot of people tell me they want to solo travel, but the thought of it makes them so nervous. I always tell them that your mindset is everything! Even though I initially had no idea what I was doing, the fact that I just went ahead and did it anyway…accepting that a million things could go wrong and I would just handle them when they did…made all the difference.
What Does It Mean to Be an “Aesthetic Traveler?”
Aesthetic travel can be defined as experiencing the visual and artistic aspects of a destination…but for me, it goes deeper than that.
As humans, any time we see something visually appealing, it creates a strong emotional response. I know that emotions turn into “moments,” moments become memories, and memories become stories.
I strive to not only be a blogger, but also a storyteller. I tell my story through words but also through the photos, fashion, cafes, city skylines, bars, and scenery that I show you.
Incorporating My Own Aesthetic into Aesthetic Travel
Incorporating my own personal style into traveling has given me a whole new world of creativity that I use to inspire my readers. I firmly believe someone’s personal style/aesthetic is essentially a visual representation of who they are. I believe you can create your own narrative largely by how you physically present yourself.
When I pack for my trips, I challenge myself to embrace the “style culture” of the city or country I am in while still being myself. I take a lot of photos with me as the subject because I want my readers to imagine themselves in my shoes and feel the way I feel when I am in that moment.
A Few Other Things Worth Mentioning…
- I write, photograph, edit and design all of my own content on this website
- All the things I write about are things I have either done, support, or have experience with
- Exception: Things I’ve personally seen but never actually tried but WOULD try.
- I never reference a company I haven’t used, link to a site I wouldn’t personally use, or give you any recommendations/advice that I wouldn’t personally take myself.
- All opinions I write about are 100% my own. I will always give you my honest opinion about everything I post.
In the Spirit of Random Facts, I Love:
Dancing, brunch, laughing until I can’t breathe, Mountaineer/Washington football, candid photographs, fashion, city skylines, accidentally staying out til 4am, a good sports bar, spicy margs, 2000s hip hop/R&B, too much coffee, a clear sky at night, a good “how we met” story, sunsets that remind me of my childhood, strangers that turn into friends, champagne, glitter, the little things, and wearing too much black in the wintertime.