Commit Yourself.

Travel is the pill we should all overdose on.

With the “sheer intrigue of untrodden roads, different cultures, and life-changing encounters,” Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a full-time blogger, travel photojournalist and Chinese Medicine doctor documents her expertise and travel passions through her blog, My Beautiful Adventures. Andi calls Charlotte home but is an avid traveler, stepping foot in over fifty countries on six continents.

photographs courtesy of andi perullo de ledesma
written by nicole camack / interview by courtney perkins

With so many world travels at such a young age, what is it about Charlotte that makes you call it home and enjoy it so much? I grew up in Charlotte and most of my family still lives here. I thought the Queen City would be the perfect place to set up my practice and eventually begin a family in. I love that it is a big city, yet still feels small – and of course it helps that it has an international airport nearby.

Tell us about your current practice of Chinese Medicine. What types of ailments do you treat, and what do you enjoy most? My Wellness Center is located in Dilworth. I treat all ailments, however, my specialties include pain management, autoimmune disorders, and women’s issues. Thus far, I have helped around 50 women get pregnant with acupuncture! Although traveling is a great passion in my life, nothing compares to the enjoyment I
experience from healing people.

What made you decide to practice Chinese Medicine? Where did you learn this, and has your traveling helped you to develop your skills? When I was 14 years old, I battled some serious health problems.  After unsuccessfully trying everything that Western Medicine had to offer, my Mom convinced me to try Chinese Medicine.  I was quite reluctant, since very little was known about it in the States at the time; however, I gave it a try and after the first treatment I knew that this powerful medicine was not only going to help me, but that it was also my life’s calling.  I wanted to give back to the world what it had given me.  In college, I studied Asian Studies and learned to speak Chinese.  After I graduated, I went straight into Graduate School in New York City to become a Chinese Medicine Doctor.  It is a four-year, year-round program.  I also briefly studied in China and South Africa as well.  Traveling has absolutely made me a better Acupuncturist.  Through my travels I have learned about different cultures and how to relate to all kinds of people.  I bring that knowledge and those skills into my treatment room every day.

Do you have dreams or ambitions to live in another part of the world in the future? Yes, my husband and I are obsessed with Buzios, Brazil. We would love to live there in the future. Our dream is to open up a boutique hotel on the beach, where I can offer acupuncture to my guests and locals. My husband already speaks Portuguese, but I need to take classes. I don’t know when this will happen, but I’m confident it will. I work hard to make all of my dreams come true!

How do you negotiate all your travel with your own business and creating a home for your family? I gave up on achieving balance years ago, as I simply do not think it is possible to attain.  Before I was married I was already struggling with how to allocate my time and energy between my two businesses, myself, traveling, and my family.  When I added my husband into the mix I truly thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown!  When I finally let go of the idea that I would one day figure out how to balance it all is when I found the most peace in my life.  I do the best that I can by delegating, sometimes saying no to things I want to say yes to, multitasking, making to-do lists, planning in advance, surrounding myself with people who contribute positively to my life, prioritizing, and refusing to feel guilty at the end of the day if I simply cannot accomplish everything that I set out to do.  Also, my husband comes first and I take good care of my health, because if I am not 100% body, mind, and soul, everything else in my life suffers.

If you have visitors coming to your hometown for the day, where do you take them? It really depends on what time of the year it is, but a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina would absolutely require a dinner at my Dad’s restaurant, the Cajun Queen.  It is the best food in the Queen City, plus there is live jazz!  I would also take visitors for a stroll in our lovely Uptown with a stop at the Mint Museum and drinks at the Ritz Carlton.

If you could travel to one city for breakfast, one for lunch, another for dinner, and another for dessert, where would you go and what would you eat? This is probably my favorite question asked thus far since I love to eat!  For breakfast, I would travel to Brazil.  Brazilians know the importance of a good breakfast, which usually includes: omelets, fresh fruit and juice, cheeses, cakes, breads, strong coffee, and more.  For lunch, I would travel to Italy for endless bowls of homemade pasta and as much wine as I could drink.  For dinner, I would travel to Spain for a late night filled with tapas and cava.  Finally, for dessert, I would travel to Argentina for a huge scoop of dulce de leche ice cream.

Which country is your favorite to shop in? What an impossible question to answer!  I will narrow it down to five places: I love the incredible sales you can find in the United States of America, the exotic jewelry you can find in India, the sensational leather you can find in Argentina, the sexy swimwear you can find in Brazil, and the glamorous designer clothes you can find in Italy.

What’s the craziest transportation you’ve ever ridden? I have ridden almost all modes of transportation — from a hot air balloon in Australia to a tuk-tuk in India — but the ride that I think was the “craziest” was when I hopped on the back of a motorcycle in a favela in Brazil.

What destination(s) would you suggest for first time solo travelers? I think if English is your primary language, visiting a country where the overwhelming majority of locals speak English is a great way to dip your toes into solo travel for the first time.  Australia and Hawaii were among the places I traveled to by myself for the first time.  Since afterwards I felt comfortable on my own, I started exploring countries like Hong Kong, Mexico, and Brazil, which took me out of my comfort zone, but with my past trips I felt that I had the confidence and experience needed to successfully complete my journeys.

How do you get ready for a trip? I am a planner.  Before I have even left for my trip — be it a weekend getaway or a month long journey — I have extensively researched the destination online via travel websites and blogs.  I also try to get in contact with locals via my social media channels for insider information.  I then create my own detailed day-by-day itinerary, which I used to have bound like a guidebook when I was younger and now I just bring it with me on my laptop.  Having said that, I am completely open to change, so if an incredible opportunity presents itself, I am happy to throw all of my previous plans out the window and go with the flow!

Blogs are such a wonderful way of sharing information, learning and making friendships within a supportive online community. Since starting a blog, how has your life changed? Besides the fact that it has become a second full-time job for me and that it has provided me with the opportunity to see the world, all of my closest friends are bloggers now. Bloggers truly are some of the nicest, creative, and interesting people you will ever meet.

Why do you believe it is so important for people to experience travel? It fundamentally transforms us into better people.  It educates us, slows us down, connects us, awakens curiosity within us, heals us, and teaches us patience, tolerance, and most importantly to love our neighbors.
This interview was conducted early 2014.

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