In April 2015, Alyssa Ramos — a vagabond specializing in solo female adventure travel — published a post sarcastically titled “Yes, I’m Pretty and I’m Traveling Alone.” It quickly went viral and the heat of the spotlight came to rest upon her. But, though it upped the number of followers she enjoyed, it didn’t make Ramos the millennial Rick Steves (that might already be Andy Steves, btw).
As a travel influencer, clearly Ramos values followers, and increasing them is dope. But, if these people show up on social media and are greeted with a metaphorical blank landscape, complete with whistling wind and a lone tumbleweed rolling past, it’s Unfollow City, baby. It was a good thing she had been working the travel game for years at that point and had a body of work that kept people engaged and helped her build in their numbers.
Now, Ramos is a full-time traveler with a reasonable income. She is living the life so many of us wish we could finagle, all while capturing beautiful images of her travels. This way, we have visual aids when we pretend that we, too, are daring adventurers. During some rare downtime, Ramos met with us to talk about the criticism she faces for being conventionally attractive, how she built her own career, and how others can do the same. She also shared the kind of pictures that will make you long to hit the road.
You’re really emphatic on your website that this didn’t come easy to you, and I get the impression that maybe people think that it did.
I’m appreciative that you bring that up, especially because I definitely do constantly remind everyone that this was not handed to me. This is not something I was able to do because of the way that I look. I really, really, really try as much as possible, to remind people that this is all a product of passion and hard work. From the beginning, I knew it was going to be discussed. I’d been obviously stereotyped my entire life and treated certain ways because of the way I look. I was accused of having rich parents, having a rich boyfriend, or using my looks to be able to travel.
From the start, I was like, “All right, if you think that, then fine. I’m never going to show my face.” So, I didn’t. In the beginning stages, I would never show my face. It was always in the back of my head, and I kept it that way so I could be like, “Here’s proof. This is all me working hard.” I constantly remind people of that and then I also write a lot about how I started from absolutely nothing, which is true. I have a single mom, always have, and we’ve always been super poor. When I first started doing this, I was also super poor, trying to figure out how to make money to pay rent. I really did build everything from the bottom. But it was all that hard work that kept me motivated to keep pursuing this career, and now that I have it, it’s a huge motivation for me to keep at it with the hard work.