Q: How did you get into the travel planning business?
A: Traveling has been a part of my life since I was a child living with my grandparents in Taiwan. Each trip taught me something new about myself and about the world, whether or not I knew it at the time. It wasn’t until I took a solo trip to New Zealand the summer after earning my master’s that I had an epiphany about what travel could truly do for someone. New Zealand had been a huge bucket list destination for me since the Lord of the Rings movies came out, and the experience was beyond life-changing. I knew that I wanted to help others travel to places they’ve always wanted to go and have the same indescribable experience. I just didn’t know how at the time. I worked a corporate job in the environmental consulting industry for three years before I decided to dive in and create Get Out! Custom Travels. Every client I work with has a different reason for traveling, and it is such a privilege to be able to work with them to make their travel dreams happen.
Q: What is your favorite destination you’ve visited and why?
A: New Zealand is hands down my favorite destination and was actually the catalyst to me thinking about starting a travel company. I am a huge Lord of the Rings geek and fell in love with the movies, and traveling solo to NZ was one of the best things I could have done. The destination has everything I want to experience while traveling: culture, incredible scenery, adventure, and food and wine, among so many other things.
Q: If you were planning a trip for someone visiting Tampa, what would be some of the must-do activities or must-see sights on their itineraries?
A: Touring the city by water on the Pirate Water Taxi starting at Armature Works and Ulele is a must for me! The Riverwalk area has really blossomed, and I’m proud to show off that part of the city to anyone who is visiting. I’m not a big beer drinker, but I enjoy taking visitors to Coppertail Brewing for a relaxing evening.
Q: What’s your favorite place in town for a girls’ night out?
A: I’m a homebody for the most part. When I do attend a girls’ night out though, it’s with a community organization called Ladies Heights Happy Hour that takes place at a different location in the Heights (usually Seminole Heights or Tampa Heights) every month. Spending time with this group of women is always empowering and uplifting. I’ll be ordering something with either gin or Jameson and will usually be home by 9.
Q: As a world traveler, I would imagine you’ve tasted some incredible cuisines. Who serves the best, most authentic international cuisine locally?
This is a tie for me between the Colombian food at La Pequeña Colombia and the Vietnamese food at Thinh An Kitchen & Tofu, which has some of the best tasting pho in the area (the secret is in the broth). I am of Taiwanese and Vietnamese descent, and my husband is Colombian, so I love trying new foods and experiencing culture in that way.
Q: Where’s your favorite place in town to do business over a meal, coffee, or a drink, and what are you ordering?
A: The Blind Tiger in Seminole Heights is one of my favorite places, and if I’m there you can expect me to order an iced Café Bombon.
Q: Where do you go in town for special occasions and why?
A: My husband and I like to head to Del Frisco’s Grille to celebrate anniversaries, business wins and life in general. The food is great, and the staff there make every experience a memorable one. I always leave room for the Nutella bread pudding.
Q: What is your favorite local shop or boutique?
I love Valhalla Resale in Seminole Heights. My friend Danielle owns this unique clothing rental shop where you pay a monthly membership fee for unlimited rentals. I’m able to wear different outfits all the time without having to spend a fortune on new clothes, and they’ve become my personal shoppers and stylists!
Q: What’s your favorite happy hour spot in town, and what are you ordering?
A: Whenever I get a chance to do happy hour, I meet up with friends at Yeoman’s Cask and Lion for either a Guinness or Jameson on the rocks (sometimes both).
Q: What is your favorite place to grab a meal in Tampa’s urban core?
The Hall on Franklin (especially Xilo Street Mexican and Bake n’ Babes) is my favorite go-to spot. There is something for everyone, and the drinks are always on point.
Q: What is your favorite Tampa hidden gem?
A hidden gem for me is Sulphur Springs Sandwich Shop. They have some of the most delicious sandwiches, and their potato salad is beyond fantastic.
Get Out! Custom Travels
Based in Seminole Heights