Real People: Steph Zanoria

Many of us say we want to travel for a living. Meet someone who actually does!



Steph works in a cruise ship and has been to some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous places on earth. When I was interviewing her for this feature, I impulsively told her how jealous I was of her photos, and her reply contained the insight that, looking back, is probably the one I most treasure throughout this Real People series. She said: behind those photos is a lot of hard work. She was of course referring to the challenging aspects of working on a cruise ship. Many of us say we want to travel for a living but how many of us are willing to take on a service-oriented job where we might have to deal with difficult demands and difficult people on a daily basis? How many of us are willing to go for months without seeing the people we love most in the world? So, yeah, those beautiful photos belie the sacrifices behind the smiles.

But Steph’s answer is also meaningful for all of us, no matter what our work happens to be. Behind our gorgeous travel photos is a lot of hard work: we work hard to make money to travel. We do it out of love: because we love the road, because we love the people with whom we are traveling, because we love learning about the lives of others, because we love the feeling of being alive. Here’s to the journeys that make life worthwhile! Wishing you all more of the things you love.

Steph Zanoria
Guest Relations
Traveling is what I do for a living. Save before you spend.
Greece & Turkey
Spain & Egypt
Paris, Milan, Ibiza, New York, South Africa, Sorrento & Capri
Koror, Montenegro. A small little town with crystal clear water and fabulous mountains that surround the area. Peaceful and quiet, best for relaxation. Just think before you spend. Remember: euros are more expensive than dollars.
Helsinki Airport Hotel
Reina Restaurant, Istanbul, Turkey

  • Safety is my priority. Think wisely. Know the area that you are visiting.
  • If you’re in a certain place or country, just make the most out of it. Grab every opportunity you have to visit the highlights of each country.
  • Travel with your loved ones to make it more fun.

Real People: Steph Zanoria” was created by SZ and LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. 

10 thoughts on “Real People: Steph Zanoria”

  • She makes such a great point, though – people are always quick to say how jealous they are or how lucky you are, but they don’t see the hard work, the saving, the planning, the saying no to nights put with friends, the extra hours at work… And I love her advice to save before you spend! Clever cookie 🙂

  • Very interesting! It never occurred to me that a travel lover might take a service job as part of a cruise ship crew in order to travel and I bet some of the demands she’s talking about are awful, just entitled customers, snobs, people getting sea sick-yikes! That’s some dedication. Then again you’re right that statement kind of applies to us too. I sacrifice a huge chunk of my social life and everyday things in order to travel later. So much so that it caused a riff in a friendship. I believe the breakdown of the friendship was really other matters but the ex-friend cited my caring about traveling was stronger than hanging out with my friends, “going out” and things like that. Pfft! =)

    • Oh wow, I hadn’t thought of travel prep getting in the way of friendships. You’re right though, it was probably something else and the traveling was just the easiest to latch on to. I’ve always been such a homebody so luckily my friends don’t mind if I don’t go out with them, plus my son makes a good excuse hehe. I think the real friends would understand!

      • Looking back at my comment it must’ve sounded a little odd & extreme but this friend lived over an hour away from me and expected me to drive to her. It was a lot of mileage on the car and gas money too. I would often say I wasn’t going to do much outside of work because I was saving money for a trip, which I did. There’s more too it but she was a rotten apple I was trying to breakaway from for years. Whether it’s travel or school or a new job or new hobby there could always be people who might pop up and disagree with the direction I’m going, for me these seem like people who either feel left out or that plus my changing lifestyle is inconvenient for them and so they’re unsupportive. Luckily she’s the only one I’ve encountered like that. I know it sounds weird but it was made into a huge deal and I just walked away.

        Totally agree–I feel when I was younger and meeting people and making new friendships and discovering who I was it made sense to be “going out” every night and heavy on the weekends. Now I find so much pleasure reading at home, walking with my dogs. Friends make time to meet and we stay in contact in other ways too but we can’t just hang out every single day. It’s not realistic, we’re not highschoolers.

        You with your son is really a good example of that. And it’s not just like “I can’t because of my son” as if you’re stuck at home because I’m sure you WANT to be with him, you choose to be with him. Maybe this is a silly comparison but I like to be home with my pets much of the time, I didn’t get them so they could be alone all day until I feed them and walk them and then leave then again. I love being with them! That’s the life I want.

        Longest comment ever!

      • Long but totally worth reading! And it’s not a silly comparison, I’m sure you love your pets, and love is love, and of course we want to spend our time being with those we love or doing the things we love. I think that’s one of the really nice things about getting older — you give yourself more freedom to do what you want and not necessarily what you think you or others think you should do. Your pets are lucky!

      • =) Haha, you’re too nice! Thank you for reading that entire comment. I agree–we give ourselves more of what we need and sometimes for me that’s just alone time, time in nature, relaxation and there’s nothing wrong with that! I use to think “someday” about what I’d do with my life but then I realized that life is NOW so I need to try and do what I want with my time instead of sacrificing it so often to please other people who may not be around when I’m older, if that makes sense…live life now basically=)

  • Very inspiring story… Behind those beautiful travel photos is the hardship she had gone through to get there… She deserve those vacations… and i like her answer of saving before spending… 🙂 a good advise to all those who want to travel…

Share your thoughts!