Natasha Lequepeys is a Canadian travel photographer and the creator of,And Then I Met Yoko – a travel website that’s filled with visual destination guides. Natasha enjoys sharing her travel experiences through her photography, in hopes that it inspires others to travel and open up to strangers and new cultures.
As a kid, my parents traveled a lot with me. In fact, I moved frequently because of my dad’s work. I think this certainly helped me become comfortable with different cultures, though as a kid I wasn’t overly interested in it. It wasn’t until my 20’s, when I began traveling for myself, that I really started to appreciate it. I love developing my own itineraries based around cultural exploration, food and most importantly, photography.
What do you pack first?
My photography gear. I need to really think through my itinerary to know what I need to bring and most importantly, what to leave behind. Photography gear adds up in weight and can become a burden if I carry too much with me.
Where do you go for the best view?
My favorite views are epic landscapes. These always bring a tear to my eye. The greatest views I’ve ever seen were in the Faroe Islands. These are 18 remote islands North-West of the UK and they’re surreal. It’s very green in the summer and sheep roam freely across the hills. There are lots of hiking opportunities with breathtaking views. For something a little closer to home, it would be Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. I only spent a few days there but I could have gone for much longer. Again there are lots of trails and most landscapes have gorgeous mountain backgrounds. There are also incredible wildlife-spotting opportunities.
What’s your fave foodie destination?
Easy – Italy. It’s so hard to have a bad meal in Italy. The fresh pasta, local veggies, wine, olive oil and the cheeses. I absolutely love it all. The downside is, once you’ve tasted real Italian food everything at home disappoints. I went when I was 21 and am headed back next month with my stretchy pants!
Name a place that most lived up to the hype.
Tokyo – Everyone talks about how cool this city is and I completely agree. It’s got this mix of modernity and tradition and it’s filled with weird things like the robot restaurants, maid cafés and Purikura – photo booths on steroids. I haven’t found anywhere else in the world that compares. To top it off, the Japanese are some of the friendliest people I have ever met, even with language barriers they’re always available to help.
Name a place that least lived up to the hype.
Lost Angeles – It’s a little too spread out for me and the main streets are very commercialised. I do think there are some great pockets and it’s easy to fall in love with neighbouring cities like Santa Monica.
If I had a one-way ticket to anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
Japan – I mentioned why I loved Tokyo but exploring the rest of the country is also breathtaking. The food is delicious; there’s so much fresh seafood. Japanese fashion will make you want to completely update your wardrobe. And I love the minimal aesthetic. The whole country feels spiritual and calm.
Tell us about a great little place you know?
When I was in Chiang Mai I spent the day at the Thai Farm Cooking School. My day consisted of an outing to a local market to gather ingredients and then back to the school which was based in a local Thai farm. The farm grew all the vegetables and root plants needed for our cooking. In the end, we made delicious noodle dishes, curries, and desserts. I had never tasted a better green curry in my life!
Where in the world have you felt happiest?
On my honeymoon when I splurged on accommodation at the Rayavadee Resort in Krabi, Thailand. This place was unreal. The resort itself was surrounded by the famous limestone cliffs of Krabi and you can only access it by boat. We had a beautiful private house which was filled with snacks, champagne, and natural beauty products. The best part was their infinity pool that overlooked the beach. I was very happy during my stay but also incredibly sad when I had to leave.
Any horror/funny stories while travelling?
It’s a horror story of my own making really. When I was in Kyoto I was having dinner at a fairly pricey restaurant and I ordered a small bottle of sake because… when in Japan… The horror part of this story comes when I didn’t do the conversion properly and ended up spending $100 on the bottle instead of what I thought was $10. It’s amazing what one decimal point can do.
What places have you planned for 2019?
I’m headed to Italy and Switzerland next month, so I’m excited to eat rich food and live La Dolce Vita. My other trips have not been booked yet but my husband and I decided on Patagonia and some domestic travel within the USA.
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