Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

A savvy, entrepreneurial, fun-loving woman herself, founder and president of SavvyMiss.com, Emily Florence, 28, wanted to create a community for women to connect with one another and become informed, empowered and entertained.

Florence received a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College in Boston. A lack of self-fulfillment in her former corporate careers inspired Florence to follow her passion and create The Miss.

Savvy Miss is a website community dedicated to connecting, empowering and informing intellectually curious, fun-loving women.

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Diva Visionary Questions:

1. What was the best decision you made in your life?

Dropping out of law school after four days. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I finished college and law school was something I applied for and got in to, so I went. And even though I felt really cool saying “I’m going to law school,” by my second day I knew that it wasn’t something I wanted—and if I stayed the only reason I’d be doing so was to prove to everyone that I could do it.

That was the moment in my life when I first realized that at the end of the day, it didn’t matter what people thought or said about me, what mattered was how I felt—in making the decision to leave, I chose to live my life for me.

2. What is your most memorable travel moment?

At 20 years-old I took some time off of college and went to Europe for four months by myself. The first month or so I lived in a flat in Florence with seven other people I was the only American—the remainder of my trip I traveled everywhere I could.

Everything about that experience: traveling alone half-way across the world, meeting new people, seeing another way of living, learning how to depend on myself, going out to dinner by myself, not complaining because I didn’t have anyone to complain to—the whole experience changed me.

3. What was the worst travel experience you had?

In retrospect, there has been no such thing, but in the moment I would say one of the many trips to Costa Rica with my family. We were stranded in the middle of a rainforest and had to spend the night in our van (which we had duct-taped the bumper to after getting stuck trying to cross a river)—there were venomous snakes outside that locals warned would kill us in two minutes if we were bitten. We had no food, no water and I didn’t sleep the whole night because I was too afraid to go outside and pee in the dark.

4. What have you learned about yourself through traveling?

Almost everything I know. Especially how I can be alone and not be lonely.

5. If you could choose your ultimate travel companion, living or dead, real or imaginary, who would it be?

Hands-down my friend Ashley—after a trip with her I tell much better stories. It doesn’t matter where we go, we never fail to meet the weirdest people and have the strangest experiences. Plus her mom is a flight attendant and once she flew our favorite hometown Mexican food from Southern California to London where we were staying. I know eating a burrito that has traveled halfway across the world sounds gross, but have you tried the Mexican food in London? Exactly.

6. What moment in your life did you feel the most alive?

Every day since I left the security of the corporate world to create a company that had no guaranteed success, but that I believed in whole-heartedly.

7. If money and time were no object, where on earth would you go?

I’d go back to Florence. I’d buy a Vespa and a Villa and adopt 10 cats and dogs. Sometimes I get so nostalgic for that city that when a diesel truck passes by and everyone else is covering their faces to avoid the toxic smell I’m taking in a big whiff.

8. Who is your hero?

My family. My parents and brother are not only my best friends but probably the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life. Inherently altruistic, unyieldingly supportive—and they have the most beautiful perspectives on what life’s all about. They’re also my favorite people to spend cocktail hour with.

9. Name a place in the world that you know a lot about and would make a great resource for our Divas. Tell us about it.

The North End—Boston’s little Italy. I’m a California native but found a second home in the North End. Tourists follow the Freedom Trail into the heart of the North End to visit Paul Revere’s home and the North Church, but between the historical landmarks are the best pizza parlors, ristorantes, cafes, bars and some of the most endearing people living in America. It’s a must to at least visit, if not live.

10. And finally a word from our Featured Diva, you in your own words- give us a stirring, Diva-worthy battle cry for women everywhere to hear!

Thoreau said it best with “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined.” And to accompany that, a Chinese Proverb, “Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.”

Learn those quotes and own them. Believe in yourself and follow your passion no matter who tells you otherwise.

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