Beth Santos, mom of 1, Entrepreneur, Boston, MA
I’d love to have our readers get a sense of who you are…
What are 3 words that describe or are important in the way you travel?
Please share one of your favorite travel experiences.
In 2009 I was a year out of college and hadn’t figured out what I was going to do with my life yet. I happened to meet someone who was working for a non-profit in Sao Tome & Principe (STP) and I was inspired to visit.
I decided to dive into the unknown and join him there to work on his project, “One Laptop per Child,” funded by MIT. I moved there sight unseen, stayed for 3 months, integrated into the community and got a motorcycle license. Being a little young and naïve was helpful – I had no expectations and no fear.
Long ago the island was first inhabited by Cape Verdeans (people from Cape Verde, a Portuguese island) and until 1974 STP was part of Portugal. My family is Portuguese and my knowledge of the language greatly added to my ability to connect with locals.
What is your favorite memory from this trip?
We hit the open road on a motorcycle – my best friend and I driving down the coast of the country, wind rushing around us on a beautiful spring day. We discovered rural plantations for the first time, stopped at little restaurants with no tourists, picked up seashells from deserted beaches and enjoyed the most glorious day.
What tip would you give your best friend if she were going to STP next week?
One of their biggest exports is chocolate. Claudio Corallo has been making chocolate and coffee and sharing his passion through tours and tastes at his factory for 40 years. I highly recommend a visit to his factory and the historic plantations houses in the same day. Reading about the history of STP before you arrive is a good idea – it’s complicated and tragic history and will give you a better appreciation of the people before you arrive.
What’s on your bucket list?
Anywhere in East Asia! Especially Nepal, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, India.