International Women’s Day: Keish Sagandoy, Trip Curator

When you’re a bit lost for ideas, but know you just need to get out and hit the road, Keish is there for you. A The Luxe Nomad trip curator and the co-founder of Muni Studios, a sustainable fashion brand, Keish can get you where you need to be. Here, she, one of the youngest Nomads, tells us all about dropping out of law school to lead the start-up life.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the Philippines and am currently located in the southern area of Manila, at quite a distance from my other colleagues up north. It takes me hours to get to our monthly team lunches due to the traffic – but yay for free food!

What is your professional background?

Eight months ago I graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and a Minor in International Business.

What is your current role?

I’ve been with The Luxe Nomad for almost five months now as a Trip Curator, where I essentially help my clients plan out their perfect vacation.

Read also: International Women’s Day: Aom Promchuay, Guest Experience Assistant

What do you love or find challenging about your role?

I enjoy planning for my upcoming trips, which is why helping my clients arrange their next vacation is one of the main things I love about this job. Sometimes I secretly imagine that I’m planning for my next holiday too!

Another thing I love is that, from time to time, our team goes on official work trips. Last month I was just in Samui for villa visits. #workorvacation?

You dropped out of law school and left behind a career in what is often considered respectable. Why is that?

Right after college, I took up law at the University of the Philippines. Although I’ve always known that I didn’t want to become a lawyer, my parents were able to convince me to take the UP Law Aptitude Exam. “Just take it and see if you pass,” they said. To my surprise, I was among the very few people who did.

UP Law is the country’s best and toughest law school, and getting accepted made it very difficult for me to pass up on the opportunity. Of course, there was also the added pressure from family and relatives – law or med being the only traditional options to achieve “success.”

I grew and learned a great deal during my stay there, but I still knew deep down that it wasn’t for me. A few months into law school I was finally able to convince my parents that this was not the career I wanted to pursue. I began “following my dreams” and have been an entrepreneurial nomad since then.

Shameless plug: do check out Muni Studios, a sustainable clothing brand that I co-founded.

Image courtesy of Keish – Wearing cords from Muni Studios while enjoying gelato in Italy

Do you feel more fulfilled having joined a start-up?

Definitely! One can learn and gain more hands-on experience in start-ups. You’re also able to feel the impact of your work much more since you’re given the freedom to do things within the company. Because your role within the company is magnified, you also feel a sense of importance, and I reckon this isn’t usually felt in larger corporations.

You must be speaking with clients all the time! How do you balance work and play?

The best part about working for The Luxe Nomad is having the freedom to work from anywhere. Just weeks ago I was working from Hong Kong. It was my usual 9-6 grind; the only difference was that I headed straight to Lan Kwai Fong right after. Some nights you just gotta have that patrón – and what could be better than a job that allows you to do this from anywhere!

What advice would you give to someone looking to work in a role similar to yours?

A strong passion for travel is one thing that we nomads share. But don’t let this mislead you; we work very hard and put in the extra hours daily. We just happen to work at a cool luxury travel start-up. In our team, efficiency, empathy (gotta connect with those clients!), very high attention to detail, and being able to bring multiple skill sets to the table are key.

Read also: International Women’s Day: Sena Husband, owner of Villa Suami

Are there any particular women who inspire you and why?

As an advocate for sustainability, I am inspired by many environmental activists and passionate change-makers. These successful women have actually inspired my business partner and me to build Muni, our sustainable clothing brand—a brand where we can combine our skills with our interests and advocacies.

Someone who continues to inspire me, in particular, is Loren Legarda, a Filipino cultural worker, journalist, politician, and long-time environmental advocate. With her position in the Senate, she has authored various local laws and acts for the reduction of solid waste and also continues to implement efforts to address environmental issues. She even strictly introduced physical changes both in her home and office because she believes that this is where environmental upkeep truly starts.

I believe that simply talking about change isn’t enough; it’s our actions that truly make a difference – and these women embody this with their pioneering environmental work.

What is your favourite travel destination?

Out of the 28 countries I’ve visited to date, I would have to say that Switzerland is at the top of my list of favourites. The place is just breathtakingly beautiful – from its snow-covered Swiss Alps and picturesque mountain villages to its charming cities filled with stunning architecture. I wouldn’t mind packing my bags and moving there someday!

Image Courtesy of Keish – Staple outfit abroad: headband scarf, shades, and Muni Studios

What are three things you can’t travel without?

My Go Pro (during my spare time, I make travel videos – you can read some of my adventures & misadventures here), my Pocket Wi-Fi + Powerbank, and accessories! I particularly love shades and scarves (which I wear as bandanas over my head).

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Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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