In the Carpe Juvenis Youth and Professional career features, one Quick Question that is asked of the people being Spotlighted is to name a ‘Dream Destination’ or ‘Dream Vacation.’ Seeing the world is invaluable, and what better way to broaden your horizon than to travel and interact with locals in different countries. In 2016, checking off more cities and countries on the ‘Bucket List’ is a goal. When it comes to deciding which countries to visit, I’ll be using this list of ‘Dream Destinations’ from the Carpe Juvenis Spotlights as a guide.


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Japan is a magical country that has so much to offer. Whether you want to be blinded by the bright city lights of Tokyo, transported back in time in Kyoto, ski on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, or dine in Osaka – one of the food capitals of the world – Japan is the place to be. Ian Manheimer, Founder of RFK Young Leaders, listed Japan as a place he would love to get back to.


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Greece feels like a world of its own – it is dotted with white houses and stores overlooking a glittering azure sea, peppered with historical landmarks, and rich in history and culture. With so much to see and learn about in Greece, this destination is a must-visit. Stefanie Ellis, the Public Relations Director at Girl Scouts of Western Washington, mentions Greece being her dream destination.

The United States of America

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Though it doesn’t sound as adventurous to visit places within the United States of America, states such as Hawaii and Alaska are pretty exciting in their own right. It can be pricey to get to these locations, but the enormous volcanoes and gigantic glaciers are truly sights to see. Jessica Grounds, the co-chair of Board of Directors of Running Start, listed Maui as her dream destination.


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It’s hard to visit France without wanting to move there. Whether you’re in Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Montpellier – just to list a few – you’ll likely fall in love with France’s culture, art, language, food, and ambiance. Romance and history is all around. Food blogger and E! News Segment Producer Linda Kim dreams of Paris for her next getaway.


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Located in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is made up of thousands of volcanic islands. Indonesia is incredibly diverse, with hundreds of ethnic groups speaking many different languages. Often when people think of Indonesia, images of sparkling turquoise water with white sandy beaches are conjured up. In Bali – which Katie Evans, the Art Director at Ivanka Trump, and Matthew Richardson, co-founder of Gramr Gratitude Co., both want to visit – this is true. With iconic rice paddies, beaches, and meditation retreats, Indonesia sounds like the perfect place for a little rest and relaxation.


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It takes, on average, 24 hours to get from New York to Sydney, Australia. That flight time sounds intimidating, but the end destination – we imagine – must be so worth the stress and jet lag that comes with flying and time differences. Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, just to name a few. I would 100% spend an entire day on a plane to visit this beautiful country. Australia is the dream destination for Alexandra Yeske, Senior Graphic Designer at Madewell.


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South America is high on the list of ‘Dream Destinations’ for many reasons. From Machu Picchu in Peru to the River of Five Colours in Colombia to Easter Island in Chile, there’s no shortage of beautiful sights to be seen on this continent. Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise noted Patagonia in Argentina as a place he would love to travel to. Adding it to the list!


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When it comes to Italy, there are so many beautiful places to visit it’s tricky to decide where to start. Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Portofino, Pisa, Tuscany, Naples, Vatican City, Pompeii, Sorrento…the list goes on. The culture, the art, the food! How can you say ‘no’ to a country like this? Nicole Ziza Bauer, Online Managing Editor at Darling Magazine, said that her dream vacation would include exploring Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy.

What is your Dream Destination in 2016?

Images: Ian SchneiderAlejandro Gonzalez, Sarah Eskandarpour, Dave Poore, Rob Potvin, Sven Scheuermeier, Alex Wong, Bruno Camargo, Matt John


Most people eventually graduate from a tourist into a traveler, and when they do, they realize that all they want to do is get under the skin of a city. At least, that’s what I want to do.

Getting under is no easy feat. When I first started traveling, I wanted to see everything. Every few days, I longed to see what the sky looked like from a different landscape, another city. Would it still look the same? Would it still feel the same? I loved the fast pace and the feeling of freedom, the idea that I never had to remain stuck in one place, that the very next day, I could be across fields and fences, through woods and over mountains, several lakes away, oceans even.

That’s all fine and dandy, but you get through to the city’s secrets as much as an elephant might be able to squeeze through a hobbit’s door. Upon reflection, I’ve come to see cities by their multi-layered personalities and identities. As I break through the layers and get to know each city like a person, I find that each new place has the epic possibility of becoming another home.

1. The Stranger

A city is a stranger when you’ve only seen it from above or through the airport windows. You’re so close, nearly touching, almost bumping into each other, but the only sorry you’ll mutter in its direction is an apology for not being able to see it, rather than for stepping on its toes (in fact, it’s utterly brilliant if you can manage to step on a city’s toes). It’s a city you haven’t been to yet, or have constantly missed, perhaps only ever experiencing through a book or a fellow traveler’s tales.

I wish I could say I’ve been to Tokyo, but I can’t, not with any sincerity. I’ve flown into Tokyo six or seven times – and then flown out on the same day, never leaving the airport. Maybe you get a flavor of Japan from browsing the airport’s duty-free shops. Even then, I’ve only seen Tokyo as much as I’ve seen a silhouette out of the corner of my eye: a stranger I’ve let pass by.

2. The Coffee Server

This is a city you only interact with long enough to fulfill some orders, a list of things you wanted to see and do. You stay only long enough to see what the city wants you to see – its tall skyscrapers, its famous monuments, maybe a glimpse of its transportation system, a cafe or two, the main square. You see what’s staring at you straight. You stay long enough to not really form a concrete opinion, and know only enough to say, “Well, it was fantastic!” or “It was nice.”

I spent only an afternoon in Warsaw during the spare time I had between traveling from Krakow to Vilnius. Warsaw – and other cities I’ve spent too short a time in –  is like a person that serves you coffee. Although indubitably rich in history, I only remember walking along the river, seeing the oldest apothecary, sending postcards from the post office in the main square, and wandering the cobblestone streets. You know they had a life’s worth of history before the moment you briefly crossed paths, but all you know of them is their name tag (your server today was Mary), their handwriting on your cup, and perhaps their smile (if they smiled).

3. The Acquaintance

You might consider a city an acquaintance when you’ve been there enough times to recognize its cityscape in magazines and posters, even when not identified. You might remember your way around parts of the downtown core, maybe one or two suburban neighbourhoods. You can take their metro system with complete ease. You know a couple of cool places off the radar of most tourists; maybe you’ve made some local friends.

Seattle is a neighbour to Vancouver (the one in British Columbia), a city I’ve been lucky to live in for the last four years. Just three hours south on the highway, I’ve made it the destination of an obligatory annual trip, just because.

Seattle – or any city you’ve been to repeatedly or spent a little more time getting to know – is like the guy in your college that you keep seeing in different classes because he’s completing the same major. I’ve been to Seattle enough times to remember my way around parts of the downtown core, to know about the cool (or gross) Bubblegum wall in Post Alley, the epic Pinball Museum in Chinatown, and the Fremont Troll permanently living under Aurora Bridge. Similarly, I’ve spent enough time around this guy-also-majoring-in-English (his name is Bob, for simplicity) to know that he only writes with blue ballpoint pens, speaks up frequently in class, occasionally replaces his glasses with contacts, and walks with a four-count rhythm.

But you’ve only said a few words to him, if any at all, and you’re not even sure he knows your name. I don’t know if Seattle knows me. Do you know I’ve walked your streets, Seattle?

(Doesn’t that sound like an Owl City song?)

4. That Friend from Third Grade

At this point, the city has started to drill a layer into you, leaving little dents and impressions. You might have been staying in the city for a couple of weeks, walking the same streets at least a hundred times, and finding several new streets every day. You have a favorite cafe that you always find yourself headed to when you can’t sleep. The city has started to become much more familiar to you now.

A city like this for me was Prague, Czech Republic. I lived in a dorm on Tržište on the west side of the Vltava river for seven weeks, reading Kafka and Kundera, studying Czech and other good things at Charles University. My friends and I crossed Charles Bridge (or Karlův Most) on a near-daily basis to get to class. I regularly got a chicken panini from this one cafe behind the school. Because I studied in Prague, I learned about the history that had happened right on its streets, about Prague Spring and the self-immolation of Jan Palach right in the middle of Wenceslas Square.

With that extra behind-the-scenes knowledge, a city feels more intimate somehow. You can look at a building and feel sorrow at the previous fires that tore it down, imagine the different hands that laid on it to put up new skeletons and new faces. You can sit inside the Elephant House and let your eyes roam over the dedicated Harry Potter quotes scribbled all over the walls, even those of the toilet stall, feeling the same inspiration J. K. Rowling got from just being in the glowing city of Edinburgh.

Cities like these, that you met like a friend in the third grade (her name was Maris, if you’re curious), start to let you in. Maris told me the major events in her past (like how her parents divorced when she was five), and the random moments too (like the time she hollered at the universe when she got to the top of a Douglas Fir, or the time she practically cackled as she drew a moustache on her sister’s face). So did Prague – she seemed unbothered when talking about the long drawn-out separation, and finally divorce, of Czechoslovakia; she said it had been rather peaceful and mutual. Prague giggled when we saw the magnificent albino peacock in the palace gardens, like a little kid gleeful at revealing its star prize, and positively skipped when we indulged in one of her black light theatre shows (Faust: Between God and the Devil, thankfully with a student discount ‘cause we’re such cheapos).

You may have eventually moved to California and lost contact with Maris, or left Prague to see what else Europe had to offer, but the memory lives on, two, five, eight years later, and if you ever went back, you’d recollect and reconnect in a heartbeat. Until then, if there is a then, what you’ll remember most about the city and that friend from the third grade are their smiles and how they made you feel.

5. The Best Friend

If this city is your best friend, you’ve been past the ‘restricted access’ sign, gone where few have ever been, would ever dare to go. You’ve gone completely underground, where no natural light exists, and found yourself crawling through the sewage system. You can hear the subway roaring past somewhere above you.

At this point, you’ve seen the deeper problems entrenched within the city. You’ve seen the buggers that start the acne on the city’s face, the viruses that make the city sweat and shiver. You’ve spent enough time not only living in the city but studying the city, reading in the parks, people-watching in cafes, movie theatres, shops, and ice rinks. You’ve been able to put a magnifying glass to the culture, scrutinize it, and not only understand it but also praise or criticize it. You’re deeply enfolded by the city, you walk the streets with greater purpose and focus. Because you have the luxury of more time here, you’re trying to unlock the doors in the endless labyrinth, seeking routes towards the Minotaur, and you’ve been retracing your steps so often there are parts of the labyrinth you know by heart.

Vancouver is my base, one of the few places in the world I can run back to, to rest my head. Whenever I return from trips, I’m instantly comforted just knowing I’m now in a place where I can find my way without getting lost. When I get tired of running away, this is the place I run to.

It’s like the best friend, the person you know inside out, the one you go to when you have news to tell or need a shoulder to cry on. Vancouver and I have made memories; like two girls staying up all night, laughing, gossiping, listening to music, we’ve grown to recognize each other’s poker face (Vancouver grinds its teeth when people tell her she’s boring), live with each other’s flaws (she’s seen me at my worst and I’ve never seen her capable of going below zero degrees Celsius – or is that actually a compliment?), celebrate each other’s high notes (I heard Vancouver clap the loudest when I walked on stage to get my university degree). Vancouver and I have private jokes. We whisper secrets in each other’s ears. What are those secrets, you may ask. Well, they’re our secrets for a reason; you shall have to make your own.

Vancouver and I have routines: the Richmond Night Market in the summer (no matter the stupid new entrance fees and the increasing prices every year), reading books on Kitsilano beach when it’s sunny, and Japadog or Sushi California when I need a pick-me-up. Like with best friends, I feel inspired by Vancouver’s unique skyline, the twinkling lights of Science World and BC Place at night, the elegant dame that is Canada Place. I feel proud of Vancouver’s accepting nature (Vancouver is so LGBTQ-friendly, it even has its own gay nightclub scene dominating Davie Street).

Like a best friend, I know that no matter where I am in the world, I can always come back to Vancouver and trust that it will be there for me, maybe slightly changed, but more or less the same. Vancouver is a city I choose, over and over again, to come back to.

6. The Family Member

At this ultimate level, you’re completely aware of the city’s limits, how it ticks and what makes it pulse. You’re acutely aware of its residents and how they make the city the city it is. Maybe you’ve joined several groups within the community, volunteering at the retro cinema, the animal shelter, the crisis call centre. Maybe you’re part of the work culture or the student culture or both.

You’ve snatched bits of reality from a multitude of people living within the city, making it breathe and heave and sigh. You’ve got your hand on its heart and when the city sneezes, it shakes you like a hungry hurricane. You’ve tapped even further into the city’s secrets, and you walk the city’s streets not like a labyrinth but like the blood vessels under your own skin, all directed towards your heart.

Cities you’ve gotten to know at this level are like family: annoying, infuriating at times, but in the end, home. The city has seen you through your teenage phase where you hated the world and felt like the world hated you, where you tested your parents’ patience, trying your hardest to push them away (this only made them pull harder to get you back).

Singapore is this city for me. When I was living there, I didn’t really appreciate it. I’d been spoiled by my years in the States and all I wanted was to return to North America. What an impatient, arrogant child I was (still am at times), but Singapore was patient with me. It taught me, shaped me, disciplined me. Even though I’d never go back to live there, I’d rarely turn down a chance to visit it again. Hah, what do you know, it’s exactly like family.

I couldn’t live according to the fast pace of Singapore. As a small country, the greatest investment is in its people and that’s why there’s such an emphasis on a stellar education. From a young age, students are told studies are the most important focus; there’s an almost military-like system to the education. I’m not sure I’d ever study in Singapore again if I could get a do-over of my life, but I’m still proud to hail from this tiny island nation.

Singapore will always live within me. Even though I am not Singaporean (I’m Malaysian), when people ask me where I’m from, I instinctively say, “Singapore,” hesitate, and then correct myself, “Uh, actually, I’m not really sure.”

But I think that says it all. I was born in Singapore and lived there for ten years of my life (that’s half my life!); that kind of time leaves a mark on you. When people stare at me and follow up, “Singapore… That’s in China, right?” I can’t help but get defensive.

No, it’s a highly-developed country blazing the path in Southeast Asia. It may be small, but it’s made up of some of the most patriotic citizens and is on the technological and financial forefronts of the world.” When Lee Kuan Yew died earlier this year, the whole country was crying, millions lining the streets to pay their respectful farewells. The whole country was in mourning for months.

I am proud to be from Singapore. And simultaneously, I have a love-hate relationship with Singapore. It was my disciplinary yet loving parent. It was my annoying little brother that constantly asked too much attention of me when all I wanted was independence. Singapore is my birthplace, a city and country I have an irrevocable bond with, which, for better or worse, through rain or shine, whether I hate it or love it, has chosen me. It’s my family.

The more I travel and think about how to put cities and new places into words, the more I personify them, thinking of them less and less as the settings for great stories and more as full-blown characters that have their own epic stories. They have identities and, like people, they get sleepy and hazy in the hot midday sun, and romantic in the midnight air. They have moments of shyness and there are times when they’re bold. And eventually, when you’ve gotten under the skin of a city, you realize that the city has gotten under your skin too.

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新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè: This means ‘Happy New Year’ in Mandarin). Today marks the first day of Lunar New Year, where many celebrations will occur to welcome the beginning of the new year. Whether you celebrate Lunar New Year or not, here are some interesting tidbits that will give you a better idea of what the holiday is all about.

1. Lunar New Year is celebrated in several Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan.

2. According to Chinese astrology, each year is associated with an animal sign. The Chinese zodiac is a calendar system in which each of the years in the 12-year cycle is named after an animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

3. Lunar New Year lasts 15 days. Beginning on January 31, 2014 and ending on February 14, 2014, Lunar New Year lasts about two weeks.

4. Lunar New Year traditions are observed and celebrated. A few traditions include exchanging money or treats in red envelopes, attending or participating in a parade, setting off firecrackers (the loud noises ward off bad spirits and bad luck), wearing red clothing, cooking Chinese dumplings, and decorating your home.

5. The color red is meant to scare away evil spirits. Red is also the color and symbol of good luck in Chinese culture. Many people will wear red or hang red decorations and paintings.

6. The number “8” symbolizes good luck and wealth because the Chinese word for “8” rhymes with fortune or wealth.

7. Sweet treats are a must. Some favorites include traditional candies made from lotus seeds, longan, peanuts, red melon seed, coconut, and candied melon.

8. Lunar New Year is symbolic of releasing the past and welcoming change and new beginnings. Use this time to clean your home and make a fresh start. Set new goals for yourself and pay attention to what you want to focus on for the coming year.

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Professional SpotlightSpotlightTravel

Ayako Igari was inspired to start her own clothing line, vlv style, after traveling to 36 countries. From Buenos Aires to the Patagonias to Barcelona, Ayako had such amazing experiences and wanted to spread the message of “viva la vida! or, “live the life!” to girls around the world. Instead of getting the phrase tattooed on her wrist, she shortened the motto to vlv style and prints it on t-shirts and tank tops for girls and women to proudly wear and to remind themselves that they should “viva la vida!” Check out her awesome shirts and “viva la vida!”

Name: Ayako Igari
Age: 29
Education: B.A. from University of Washington
Follow: Twitter | Facebook

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Ayako Igari: Never say ‘no.’ For example, if there’s a leadership opportunity (like running for class office) where you can step up and work with a team but you’re inclined to say no because you’ve never done it, change it up and say ‘yes.’ I guarantee that you’ll learn a lot about yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone. If your school or language class is organizing a trip abroad, go! You might think, “I can go to Florence next time.” But in reality, the next time could be years, sometimes decades from that moment. If all it takes is a ‘yes’ from you, say ‘yes’ and go. I think saying ‘yes’ is important because without experience and knowing what you don’t like, you don’t know. Say ‘yes’ to everything.

CJ: You were born in Tokyo. How was your experience moving to the United States?

AI: I went to English school in Tokyo and moved in the second grade. We moved to Hawaii first, and it was pretty easy for us to speak Japanese in our community. I think that provided a gradual transition from Japan to coming over to the mainland.

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CJ: What did you major in at the University of Washington and how did you determine what to study?

AI: I majored in political science. I decided to major in political science because it was actually a pretty easy major to pick. It’s quite an awesome major in that it allows you to study a few different majors. You can study communications, political science, of course, and international relations. I really like the diversity of classes. I wasn’t really worried about undergrad in terms of how it would determine my career. I felt confident in my abilities and also my work experience that I felt like I could always go to grad school, but that I could also work and get into marketing.

CJ: What is the inspiration behind vlv style?

AI: The inspiration comes from my travels. I spent quite a long time in Spain and South America, and I just loved the Latin culture. I loved the hotness of people whether it’s just temperament to passion and music. My travel motto was “viva la vida!” or, “live the life!” When I came back to Seattle to settle down, a t-shirt company was something I always wanted to do, so I thought, why not? Let’s do it. I had always thought tattooing it on my wrist, but then I thought maybe I’ll do t-shirts instead and shortened it to vlv style. When I started the t-shirt company, I was thinking about girls and a way to inspire them. The phrase sends a positive message and is really powerful for me.

CJ: A portion of the proceeds from the vlv style pink ribbon edition tees benefit the American Cancer Society to raise awareness about breast cancer. How did you choose that organization and issue?

AI: One of my best friend’s mothers had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I drove her little sister to school and back twice a week, and I just really saw how affected the males are in the family by the cancer. The women were super strong and her little sister was strong, and it was just really inspiring for me to see a reversal in the roles in terms of the youngest in the family staying strong and being there for the parents. Cancer was something I didn’t really know about or how it affected families because I didn’t know anyone with cancer until then, so it kind of an awakening and I thought more people should know about preventative measures. I had some friends walking the Komen Walk for the Cure, so I was doing it for Komen and I also thought the American Cancer Society was a bit broader. My boyfriend’s also on the board of a foundation called Kyle Charvat Foundation because his frat brother in college died of cancer. They hold golf tournaments and the money they raise goes towards brain cancer research and helping students and young adults who do not have adequate financial resources to afford high medical bills. It was one of those things where I wanted to help out, and it just aligned with vlv style. I thought it would be a great way to merge the t-shirt line with important issues. If I don’t have the time to volunteer, donating money is one way I try to help.

CJ: What were you doing before vlv style?

AI: Traveling!

CJ: What was the process for starting vlv style? What did you have to do to get the business up and running?

AI: It’s kind of a blur. There’s a lot of pinging friends who have t-shirt lines and asking them advice, everything from how many shirts should I print on a first run to what website did you use to just every little thing. I tried my best to ping people who could help me find resources in putting together a business plan. I felt like the t-shirt company I work with really helped me a lot, so I’m really grateful for them. They were really nice. They printed my shirts but they also gave me advice on different markets and first-run printing. I feel like I’m a pretty optimistic person and that translated over to my first business development plan. I think it’s great to set goals high, but you also need to set realistic expectations. I pinged photographer friends and people who could help me with websites. I picked a couple of sites that I liked locally, and figured one of those people work for a local design agency and that I could contact them. It was a lot of research.

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CJ: How big is your team? How did you go about finding a company to print and produce your tees and tanks?

AI: I found a print company called Choke Print Shop through a referral and they were just nice guys and we clicked and started working. It’s just myself on the team, which is a bit tough because without investors or teammates, who bring different skill sets to your team, you have to hire other people to do individual jobs, such as graphic designing or photography, which all costs money. It’s really hard unless you’re printing them yourself to make money from them.

CJ: What skills did you have that were useful in starting your own business, and what do you wish you had known before taking the leap?

AI: Drive is an important skill to have. I was determined to get the business up and running, and to see where I could take it. Little things like pinging people I didn’t know and not being shy was important. I think confidence in what I was doing also helped. I think people could sense that this girl is serious, saying what she wants, and telling her story behind her idea. Perseverance was another big part. For example, people are busy, so while they might want to help you, they might forget about you if you only reach out to them once. Make sure you send a friendly follow-up email. I actually learned that from my advertising sales experience back in college. Following up, taking notes on everything, assessing whether you are meeting your goals. One thing I wish I knew before starting my t-shirt line is to know that it is not as easy as it seems.

CJ: What should a teenager or young adult who wants to start and run their own business do to set themselves up for success?

AI: Reach out to those you look up to or those who are doing what you want to be doing, whether it is through social media or email. Even just dropping into someone’s office and saying, “Hi, I’m a student and I find your work fascinating, do you have a couple of minutes to talk? Are you hiring interns for the summer?” is huge. I definitely think that’s impressive to a lot of people. Make an impression and put yourself out there. Setting yourself apart really makes a difference. When talking to people, always come prepared with specific questions.

CJ: What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned from starting your own business?

AI: My lesson from all this is that people are always willing to help. I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful people were. I learned to network more effectively as it’s important to get out there and promote your product. But also, hear people out. It’s like having a focus group.

For people specifically looking to start a t-shirt line, I would tell them that it’s much more cost-efficient to print your own shirts.

If you’re young, consult your parents. I think your parents are people who will tell you the truth. They’ll say, “Do you have these skills? Are you sure you can sell this many shirts or bags?” They will ask questions you may not have thought of. Value your parents and ask them for advice, and they may even have people they can introduce you to for help. Consulting others is definitely something I would recommend.

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CJ: How do you balance running vlv style with your day job?

AI: Right now I’m spending 50-70 hours on my full-time, all day every day job. vlv style started a few years ago, and now that everything is ready and I have the shirts printed, it’s really me getting out there and connecting with groups to promote the line. While I don’t spend that much time on vlv syle anymore, I find that it can still make a difference through donations and raising awareness.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

AI: Wake up, check Twitter, tweet, check my mail, set-up meetings for the rest of the week, think of different marketing plans for Seattle, work on promotions, meet people around the community, and attend events in the evening. I’m on my phone tweeting all day while I’m doing these things.

CJ: What activities were you involved in throughout high school and college? Were there any experiences that were most memorable or life changing?

AI: Being involved with a lot of different clubs in school definitely got me through school. I became friends with a lot of different types of people. I was on the cheer squad and that was a lot of fun. I played lacrosse and soccer. Sports is a great thing to be involved in because it teaches you communication skills, teamwork, and humility. Cheer and leadership provided me opportunities to be in front of crowds, so that helps me now as I have to get in front of groups for presentations.

I cut back on activities in college. Studying was number one. I also worked through college trying to save to travel.

CJ: Traveling is a huge part of your life. Where have you loved traveling the most? How do you go about planning a trip?

AI: I love Barcelona. Most of my travels were done by ear. I made travel buddies at hostels, as I met a lot of fun people. That means my plans were easily changed, not derailed, since I definitely kept an open mind and stayed flexible with my plans. Hostels are a great place for travelers on their own and for the community. You are surrounded by like-minded people who enjoy traveling. In Barcelona I hung out with people that I love and I still keep in touch with them.

During the summer after sophomore year in college, I volunteered abroad for two weeks in Australia at a wildlife park. It was my first time traveling alone. The next two weeks was spent on a Greyhound traveling up the coast. I spent a week in Fiji, and then I ended up traveling through New Zealand by myself. That kicked off my solo travels!

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CJ: What motivates you in your everyday life – at the office and/or during your personal down time?

AI: Happiness motivates me. I love learning from people who are smarter and better at what I do. This allows me to grow as a marketer. I also really appreciate a nice work/life balance. It’s important to change things up as soon as you realize you’re not happy anymore.

CJ: Who is your role model?

AI: My mom. She is such an independent woman. She brought us over from Japan, worked for a few years, and then she went to beauty school and has her own salon now.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

AI: Study abroad in Japan.

Ayako Igari 5 qs