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Joelle Mentis

Writer

I am a staff writer and contributor at Galavante. My love for travel began on my first trip to New Zealand, where I was blown away by the never-ending beaches and stunning scenery. From a young age, I’ve known that travel equals education.

Favorite Destination

I find myself more drawn to places where there aren’t a ton of people. My favorite travel memories are of my solo mountain hikes and sunrise swims. There is something about experiencing new natural phenomenon alone that inspires me to make sense of myself in new ways. I find that the elements can be healing.

My favorite destination is the island of Kioni off the coast of Ithaca in Greece. I have a distant familial connection to the island. Some of my ancestors are buried under beautiful ancient headstones near the beach. It’s almost impossible to get to the island (it takes two planes, a ferry, and a rental car), and the population is only in the hundreds.

On a trip there, my cousins and I took a boat to explore the perimeter of the island, and found a 30-to-40-foot cliff jutting out over the ocean. We climbed up the rock and took turns jumping into the clear blue water. It was an incredible bonding experience for my family, and also one of the moments I felt most powerful. I doubt anyone else has jumped from that hidden cliff.

Most Exotic Destination Travelled

The craziest place I have been is the Waitomo caves in New Zealand. These underground caves can be accessed by boat, or on a small jungle-train ride. You get to see the stalactites and stalagmites, but the coolest part are the glowworms that light up on the ceiling and look like little stars in the night sky. The worms undergo a chemical reaction that produces a bioluminescent blue color. It makes them glow like nightlights.

On My Bucket List

Everywhere and anywhere I can go! But most pressingly, Bhutan. Ever since I was assigned to research Paro for Galavante, I’ve been fascinated by the history and nature there. I’m very spiritual and I would love to be surrounded by ancient Buddhist temples. I also love hiking and being in the mountains.

Travel Philosophy

Carry-on only. No matter how long I am staying, I will fit everything I need in an overhead suitcase and a backpack. I love style, so this can be tricky, especially in colder climates, but I find that packing too much is a hassle. Every piece has to work together so I have maximal outfits with minimal pieces. I also always come back with more than I left with, and I find my style changes the minute I set foot somewhere else. I just want the freedom to move easily!

More about Joelle Mentis

I’m a Boston native with a B.S in arts from Sarah Lawrence College, and am currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. As a health and fitness fanatic, I love hiking in the woods with my puppy. Also, I’m a thrill seeker who loves skydiving and trying new food. On vacation, you’ll find me out and about — at the museum or snorkeling by day, and sometimes on the dance floor until sunrise.

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