The Fam Is Goin' and Growin': Meet Our New Official Contributors!

January of last year, Shut Up and Go only housed the voices of international cuties Damon and Jo. In February, yours truly – yes, lil’ ol’ me – came on board and began to contribute posts. Fast forward to Septemeber 2018, we invited 8 fabulous contributors with talent and personality to join the team. Now, one year later, 7 new bad a$$ writers are joining us! Below, I’ve asked each contributor questions about their messy travel moments (a fan fave), their favorite food, and what song on their Spotify is makin’ them shake their booties at the moment.

Welcome to the induction of a class of the creators of the now and the future.

Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash

CHIMDI IHEZIE 

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.

Joyful, Reflective, Curious

What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?

Opening a water bottle mid-flight after it had been pressurized for hours COMPLETELY SOAKING MYSELF.

What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you? 

Stories about learning something new, connecting with different cultures, and traveling as a Black woman.

Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?

Lisbon, Portugal. Still haven’t gotten over the pancakes at Fauna & Flora.

Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?

Hit the Ceiling by Thirdstory

I only know about ThirdStory because a friend from college introduced me to them which is a reminder that random connections with people can ripple for years afterward and fill your life with unexpected moments of pleasure.  The song itself is about yearning for a deeper connection with another person, and I find that I’m  at my happiest when the connections with the people I love are at their strongest. Finally, the song features incredible vocal performances, the kind you can’t fake with autotune. It feels so good to my earbuds to experience pure talent and skill and it’s a reminder that doing what you love and doing it well is the best feeling in the world.


KARMEN TRUONG 

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.
Oh no, I really hate talking about myself, so I reached out to some friends for help. Here are the answers; risk-taking, sinister, supportive.
 
What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?
That time my friends and I fell for the MOST COMMON scam in Bangkok. I mean, why wouldn’t we trust this randomly friendly stranger, telling us the Grand Palace is closed and we should definitely go see the conveniently occurring special floating markets instead? Here’s to losing £30 and a little bit of dignity, but at least we did manage to see the Grand Palace that day and got a photo with the do-not-trust-WILY-strangers sign to cherish the memory forever~~
What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you? 
Cultural rediscovery, language learning and general traipsing around East/South East Asia. Chinese-Vietnamese-British, there’s a load of history and traditions I’ve kinda dismissed or pushed away growing up, so here I am making up for it. Stay tuned for making cultural faux-pas in your OWN culture, explaining to people your family background and learning a language people already assume you know.
 
Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?
Vietnam for sure!! PhởBánh mì, Bánh cuốn, the list of delicious Vietnamese food is endless – unfortunately my stomach is not. I love how fresh the food tastes and since living abroad, I’ve really become more appreciative of good Vietnamese food when I find it. Also, totally not biased at all.
Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?
I know I’m suuuper late on this but I’ve been loving Instagram by Dean. What does this say about me? I’m curating a beautiful rose-tinted online facade, when in reality I’m living a miserable, lonely existence? LOL. Nah, but I do find it fascinating how much social media is shaping the way we live and experience the world, especially how we travel and seek out new destinations.
Ms. Karmen with the killer smile!

ROSE MIKHAIL

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.

Enthusiastic, adventurous, and is there a word for, “chronically running late”? 

What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?

I AM SO SORRY- I ran over a Kiwi bird in the South Island of New Zealand.

They’re not only the cutest lil’ chunks you’ll ever see, but they’re also super endangered. The poor, wingless nugget was just chilling in the middle of the road and if I had gone around it we would’ve flown straight off the mountain!! They’re the national, sacred bird of New Zealand AND New Zealanders call themselves Kiwis… so basically l feel like a felon.

 What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you?

Personal stories, money-saving, and lots of how-to guides so you don’t take all the L’s that I have.  

Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?

Kuala Lumpur! Sorry, Penang I know that competition is real.

Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?

“Red Wine + White Couch” by Danielle Bradbery

The song is all about how being with, or ~loving~ someone is as nerve-wracking as drinking red wine on a white couch. It’s a cool concept that’s also painfully relatable because when it comes to umm, men, I’m V awkward and my organs shut down. Multiple people have compared me to Jessica Day (New Girl anyone?)

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big, BIG shout out to my ancestors!!!!!!!!!!

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SAMAR AHSAN

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.
My personality is ambitious, gregarious, and approachable!
What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?
My most embarrassing travel moment was when I was in a Moroccan hammam, butt-naked, and I walked out of the nude area into the lobby because I couldn’t read the Arabic signs telling me to put on a robe. I scandalized a lot of people that day, but hey, I also blessed them.
What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you? 
My stories will revolve around current events, foreign affairs, and how us travelers can enjoy local cultures while also being aware of the issues that affect them. As a 20-year old, I can also recount some fun, sometimes cringe-worthy stories of my travel fails!
Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?
Based on food, I would like live in either Pakistan or Thailand. I get drunk off drunken noodles. I could swim in biryani. I get emotional just thinking about it.
Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?

My favorite song at the moment is anything by Dua Lipa (congrats on the Grammy!) or Olha A Explosao by MC Kevinho, 2 Chainz, Nacho, and French Montana. I guess this says that I am an absolute animal on the dance floor, but can also kick back at times.
Okay, flex over. Whew.
Samar, ready to ditch this wedding to go catch her next flight.

MIKE ANTONIO 

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.

“Optimistic,” “Curious,” and I’ll also throw in “Weird” (but who is normal anyways?)  

What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?

Back in June 2018, I randomly found myself sprinting through a torrential downpour in Amsterdam on a frigid, windy day.  I was so unprepared for the weather that I darted into the nearest store and splurged on an “I Amsterdam” hoodie.  When I wore that hoodie in cities like Rotterdam and Eindhoven, I started to receive a ridiculous amount of hateful comments.  Although I initially decided to take the criticism with a grain of salt, everything changed when I was enjoying my lunch in the Hague and a bird intentionally crapped all over my brand new jacket.

What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you? 

Let’s say that you can expect embarrassing yet cheesy-romantic international dating sagas, unthinkable ways that I’ve managed to go abroad and “live it up” on a measly student budget, and also some wild adrenaline-laced adventures that I have experienced from Palestine all the way to Baja California!  

Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?

Mexico, without a doubt.  I still dream of tacos de nopales, burritos, and enchiladas south of the border.  Oh – and don’t even get me started on the bomb quesadillas I would devour at 2am after leaving the clubs in Tijuana.  

Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?

My favorite song changes quite often but right now it’s “Criminal” by Ozuna.  Whenever I’m taking a shower or cooking up a fresh meal, you can usually expect to hear reggaeton blasting in the background.  I suppose this reflects my relaxed personality and my constant desire to drop everything and go dance on a beach somewhere in Latin America. 

 


SHAMSA DERRICK 

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.
Reliable, smiley, daydreamer
 
What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?
Throwing up on a 9-hour bus ride in Peru. Good times.
What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you? 
Fun, adventurous, and challenging travel stories along with book and food recommendations. I might get a little ~reflective~ about travel in general and how we as shut up and go-ers interact with the world around us. I’ll be writing about my current study abroad experience as well as places I’ve traveled to in the past. I’ll also include some photo diaries!
 
Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?
Italy!!
 
Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?

I’ve been listening to R.E.M by Ariana Grande. I think that either says I’m secretly a hopeless romantic, or that I love sleep.

 


MAHLET MOGES

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.

Spontaneous, determined, independent—via Aquarius sun and libra moon

What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?

Picture three packed lines of people waiting to check in their bags, a testy Marrakech airport employee, and a now exploded overweight suitcase in the middle of it all with everything on the floor—I had to throw away my shea moisture leave in, I repeat MY SHEA MOISTURE LEAVE-IN. Not to mention I still had two weeks of travel left; I swore that would be the last time I checked in a bag unless I was relocating.

What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you? 

Expect creative tips and tricks for living the cheap life, and some hilarious stories where I showcase what a reckless mess I can be sometimes. But most near and dear to my heart: food, food, food. If you’re not sick of food posts now you might be by the time I’m done with you.

Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?

This might not sound that exciting, but I would have to say home. I could never be tired of exploring the DMV food scene, more specifically DC. Name any type of dish and I can almost promise you will find it in the DMV area. Plus, no Ethiopian restaurant in the world will be a match for my mom’s cooking, I have to go home for that alone.

 

Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Bausa recently (German rapper), but I have a wild collection of music; you name it, it’s in my library. Do you want electropop, classical Italian, French hip hop, Latin trap, Afrobeats, old school R&B, Reggae, maybe some K-pop? Shazam is one of my go-to apps when I travel, I like immersing myself wherever I am then taking it back home—good music is everywhere, I try to color my everyday with it.


ZOE ABDEL-MONEIM

Describe yourself/ your personality in three words.
Extra, creative, motherly
What’s your most embarrassing travel moment?
When I was discussing the terms “fanny pack” vs “bum bag” in a room full of Scots, thinking it was just a regional difference and fully unaware that “fanny” means “vagina” in the UK.
What kind of stories/posts can readers expect to get from you? 
Keepin’ it cute, but keepin’ it real too. Finances/ballin’ on a budget, personal travel marvels and mishaps, travel tips, expat life.
 
Just based on food, what’s one place that you know you could live for the rest of your life?
Unoriginally, Italy. Also Spain
 
Something non-travel related. What’s your favorite song at the moment, and what does it say about you as a person?
Right now a tie between “Versace Hottie” by Princess Nokia, and “Elastic” by Joey Purp…..I think it means I have a hankering to go out and dance soon.


Aren’t they delightful!? Look our for their articles, starting March 1st, baby! Oh, and don’t forget Merch 1st too (more info comin’ soon).

Comment below what kind of articles you’d like to see from these bosses!

Xoxo, 

Nas

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