Ladies We Love is an interview series with women from around the world that provide us inspiration through their travels and their personal stories. This week we got to know popular Instagrammer Marina Comes.
If you follow female travel Instagrammers its likely you will know the name Marina Comes, a gorgeous blonde hailing from Spain who draws you in with her colourful images setting a scene that you want to dive into and stand beside her! Having followed Marina’s journey from the beginning when she first started up her travel Instagram, it has been exciting to watch her grow and shift to a career in travel. We know Marina well, through her Instagram images, stories, captions and chats we have had with over the last year and we knew that our readers would want to get to know her too! In this interview we ask her 13 questions about life, travel, career, photographer and of course which Ryan she prefers… If you follow our Ladies We Love series you will already know that we like to end with this question!
1) I am sure many of our readers already know you from Instagram, but those who don’t yet follow you – can you tell us a bit about yourself, who you are and where you are from?
That’s an easy one! My name is Marina and Comes is my surname, it’s not an ‘insta name’ like many people think. I come from Catalonia (Spain) and Barcelona is my home sweet home although I was born in a smaller town called Tarragona, which is also on the Mediterranean seaside. So yes, I need the sun and the sea next to me, if possible.
2) You were previously a lawyer in Barcelona, and recently changed career to move into the travel industry. Can you share with us what led to this career change?
Yes, I’ve been working as a lawyer for many years before being a full-time traveler. As you may know, I started sharing my travel adventures on Instagram on September 2015 and in April 2016 my professional life gave me the opportunity to focus on my travel life. I decided to give it a try because I had been working hard for so many years that I felt I deserved some adventure in my life. At that time I only had 20K followers but somehow I felt I was able to make my dreams come true, I believed in my project and I decided to work hard to make my dreams happen. And here I am, still working hard but a lot happier than when I was a corporate lawyer who couldn’t stand her boss.
3) You have grown a dedicated following on Instagram over the last couple of years, can you share with our readers what you think has helped your audience to engage with you personally and become loyal supporters of your work?
Yes, many people ask me the same. I guess it’s a combination of different things. Some people have good communication skills, this is something that needs to come naturally. I’ve always enjoyed people and it’s been easy for me to communicate and make friends everywhere I go. I always say that IG is just a reflection of real life. What you are in real life should also be what you are on IG. I don’t believe in playing a role or showing yourself in a different way to better connect with your audience. If you are an easy-going and positive, you will end up transmitting good vibes to your people, that’s for sure.
I also like to thank my community for all the engagement and love I get from them, so I try to interact as much as I can with them (even if now it’s more difficult than before). And I know people appreciate it when you take the time to respond and keep the relationship alive, just as in real life. I honestly think that everything you do in this business needs to be as much real and natural as possible. The only way to be different is being you, the real you is special and unique. This is what makes you connect with people, being you and nobody else. That’s what I think.
4) You are rarely in your home country now, and often seen in destinations all over the world – what has been your favourite country that you have visited this year and why?
If I had to choose only 1 trip from this 2017, I’d go for Sri Lanka. Maybe because it’s been the longest trip I’ve done this year (3 weeks) and I really like spending enough time in each destination (which is not always easy because we usually don’t have the time). Sri Lanka was a great surprise in every possible sense, from their rich culture to their always-changing landscapes, their food, their kindness, etc. We had the feeling we were visiting so many different countries at the same time because the regions are so diverse and even the climate can change dramatically in just a few hours. I managed to connect spiritually with the country and their people, and that makes a difference for me. I like that inexplicable connection when I travel. And Sri Lanka connected with me in that sense.
5) Can you share an unusual or favourite travel experience that you have had?
I guess we all have so many stories…it’s difficult to pick just one! I’d say that when it comes to adrenaline, my encounter with great white sharks while I was inside a cage (in South Africa) was a hit. Also when I did Paragliding in Rio de Janeiro and I had to jump from one of those amazing hills overlooking the city, or that night in a South African Nature Reserve when we went after 2 lions that had been roaring from the distance for quite a while and our ranger decided it was time to go and find them (and we did!).
But when it comes to touching experiences, my first sunset in the Sahara was something else. Me and my sister had a huge ocean of dunes in front of us and we were going to cross it the day after. That feeling of adventure and freedom in front of us, surrounded by such an impactful landscape, it was something we will never forget. Sometimes it’s how a place made you feel, who you where with, you don’t know why but you have that travel memory in your head. And it was a simple moment, nothing special apparently, but those moments are what make a trip special and unique.
Sometimes I wish I could get lost in more moments like this, without having the pressure to share everything I see and to get the perfect picture everywhere I go. But I guess we can’t have everything. It’s the price you have to pay when this is your job. Maybe that is why those moments have become my top travel memories now.
6) If you could only go back to one destination again where would that be?
That’s a difficult one but I always say the same: I can’t name a particular country but I know for sure it would be in Africa. My best travel memories come from Africa (North and South). I’ve always felt a very special connection with that continent and I’m counting the days to come back.
7) Whats next on your bucketlist and what do you have planned for 2018?
Oh, I’m so bad at planning! I really find it so hard to plan trips in advance. And honestly, all the press and blogger trips are so last-minute that they make it more difficult to plan trips on a long-term. Maybe it’s me…my organizational skills have never been brilliant, I admit it. But there are a few places that are almost guaranteed such as Argentina, Croatia and maybe Bahamas!
8) What essential camera equipment do you always take on your travels and do you have any preferred editing apps or programmes that you love to use?
Well, nowadays my equipment is much simpler than before: my iPhone7 Plus and my tripod (with remote control) always travel with me. If there is any chance of underwater shots, I also bring the GoPro. And since last summer there is a new member in our family: a drone! But I don’t carry it always with me, just when I think that drone shots will have some added value to the content I want to create.
As far as editing tools, I’m not a big fan of altering the pictures in a way that you end up transforming the destination and creating a certain level of disappointment in the people that go there expecting to find what they saw in your pictures. Of course I want my destinations to look in the best possible way so what I do is some basic editing with very standard apps such as VSCO, Snapseed, etc. and I never use presets neither filters, never. I edit each and every single picture in my own way, no matter how long it takes. It’s my style after all, and nobody knows better than me how my photos should look like.
9) Do you have any photography tips that you can share with our readers to help them with creatively composing their own travel photography?
I always say the same about photography tips. I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t know anything about techniques and rules. But I truly think that the most important part of taking a good photo is what you have in your head before taking it. You need to know what you want to show, so I always try to imagine the picture in my head before doing the click. As I see it, finding the right framing is key, 70% of the picture is already there. The rest is a combination of light, color, the pose, the editing, etc.
10) As someone who has left the corporate world to follow a path to creating a life they love, do you have any words of wisdom or inspiration for other women who are looking to do the same.
OK this one is difficult because even if I’ve always been a dreamer, let’s face it, it’s not easy to make your dreams happen. Having said that: is it worth trying? Oh yes! But I would suggest to be a bit realistic about our dreams and put ourselves in the worst case scenario. If even in that scenario we think it’s worth trying, then we must go for it with all our strength and passion.
When I left my corporate life I decided I could spend 1 year working on this ‘new travel life’ because if it didn’t work out, I could always come back to a 9-to-6 job. It wasn’t such a big risk because I had a plan B. I’ve studied and worked for many years before I decided to choose another way of working and enjoying life. People sometimes think that travel bloggers and influencers don’t know what ‘working hard’ is, that we don’t deserve the life we have, etc. Well, each person has it’s own story behind, but I can tell you there’s a lot of work and pressure in this business. Basically because everything depends on you: you are the traveler, the content creator, the model, the photographer, the client, the service provider, the communicator, the girlfriend/wife/mother/friend/daughter, etc. You are all these roles at the same time and you need to be good at all of them to keep your business growing and your personal life afloat. So you’d better be ready to live your dreams, because it’s not going to be easy. But at the same time, the excitement of living a different life, of building your future by making your own decisions, taking risks, embracing all the possibilities that you find along the way, earning the respect of those who thought you were a fool for following your dreams….that is pure happiness! Believe me, that makes you the happiest girl in the world.
So yes, I encourage you to follow your dreams because at some point of your life you will regret the chances you didn’t take. But please be realistic about it and don’t expect it to be easy. Dreams don’t come true unless you work hard 24h a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
12) What is next for you? Do you have plans beyond your Instagram to launch a blog?
November and December are going to be pretty hectic for me. Next week I’m going to Morocco, then Switzerland and then Iceland (with no stop in between). After Iceland I will spend a few days at home and then I’m off to Japan (not confirmed yet) and Colombia! And before Xmas I may go to Italy too. I’m so excited about all these destinations! And regarding the travel blog, yes, I want to launch it but it’s more difficult than I thought. The website is ready but I need to find the time to focus on writing, which is not easy when you travel so much. But I guess 2018 is the right time. I honestly can’t wait to launch it because I really want to explain more about my trips and experiences. I do have a lot to share with my community and I feel that Instagram is not enough sometimes. So, you already know what my resolution for 2018 is: to launch my blog!
13) We always like to end on a fun question, and since we have started keeping score and we have to ask you the same question we ask all of our other interviewees…. If you had to choose, would you pick Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling?
OMG this is not fun at all, this is serious stuff, girls! We should have started the interview with this question haha! I guess there is no doubt about my answer right? RYAN GOSLING always and under any circumstances. He is too much. Way too much. That’s all I can say for now.