Name & Age:
Tyra Hughley-Smith, Early 30s
Travel Blogger and Photographer, Attorney
Tyra Hughley-Smith is the creator of BarrisTourista.com, a travel and food blog and photo gallery. Tyra has a passion for travel and for writing, which began in her days as a journalist. In addition to creating BarrisTourista to catalogue her foodie and travel journeys, Tyra is a practicing attorney licensed in California and Illinois. Her practice focuses on intellectual property, specifically copyright and some trademark. Tyra primarily works with photographers, but also other creatives like fashion designers, writers, musicians, comedians, and small business owners.
Aside from the love of exploration, what inspired you to create a blog that chronicles your fabulous voyages?
I have always been a writer. Before my current profession as an attorney, I was a classically trained journalist. I majored in Magazine Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, widely touted as the best journalism school in the country, and have worked for newspapers and magazines, such as People Magazine. Recently, I realized that I missed writing, so I decided to combine my love of writing with my passion for travel. BarrisTourista is the result of that foray back into writing.
It’s not uncommon to bump shoulders with a professional and educated African American woman but it’s rare to find her culturally cultivated, stereo-typically speaking.
With that being said, does your blog cater to a specific audience, if so, who and what do you hope they gain from your efforts to rule out those misconceptions?
While my blog doesn’t cater to a specific audience, other than those who love to travel, see the world and experience new things, I think it does speak to Millennials. Our generation seems to be much more focused on traveling and seeing the world, rather than acquiring material things, and I wanted to give an insight into the world as I have seen and experienced it. But also, I think that many believe that African Americans don’t travel beyond the Caribbean and the US. I wanted to explore the world, show people that it is okay to step out of your comfort zone, and also to let the world know that African Americans are indeed traveling and in growing numbers.
Once you’ve reach your destination and get your feet wet so to speak; what contributing factors, good and or bad experiences, aid in your decision to create a blog post?
I try to write about my experiences and reflect on them as I honestly experience them. While I would love to truly immerse myself in a place for an extended period of time, my trips are usually shorter than I would like. So I usually get to a place and see where it takes me, as far as direction for my blog posts. In my most recent post on my trip to Panama, I had no idea of the rich Afro-Latino heritage of the country, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got there and realized the depth of the intersection of African, Latino, and American influences in the country. That post wasn’t one I originally planned, but it happened so perfectly, I had to explore it further. I typically try to experience everywhere I go as a local would, by getting recommendations from locals or hanging out with them to get a place’s true vibe. I think that is the best way to experience a new place (and of course, I will hit ‘touristy’ type spots as well), and the blog post usually presents itself to me, even if I have an idea going in what I want to cover.
If you could travel abroad with someone in the DFW area, who would it be and why?
Leah Frazier, Owner of Diamond Icon Image and Style Consultants. I am good friends with Leah and we have traveled together in the past.
What are a few of your favorite local getaway spots or pampering salons?
Since I live in LA, I love going down to the San Diego area. I recently discovered the seaside community of Solana Beach, and the picturesque, quiet nature of the town and nearby Encinitas relaxes me. But no matter where I go, I am a sucker for and always seek out a good spa.
Favorite DFW eateries?
When I was in Dallas, I did a queso review of a few local restaurants. This was—again—a story that I didn’t plan on doing; it just happened that I had amazing queso everywhere I went, so that’s what my foodie post became. My favorite eateries were Gloria’s Latin Cuisine, The Ranch at Las Colinas, and Torchy’s Tacos. Their queso enhanced my standards for Tex-Mex food.
Current must haves in your beauty bag?
Gosh, I always have to have a lip balm (or three) and a bunch of products relating to hair when traveling. My brush, gel, edge tamer (especially for humid climates), Argan oil, headbands and hair rubber bands are my travel essentials. I am not a huge makeup person, but I always travel with a liquid foundation in case I’m going out in the evening. Oh, and every day I have my Mac Deep Dark Blot Powder and a brush on hand in my purse.
Future projects, collaborations, and or other components incorporated on blog in the works?
I would love to build strategic partnerships with various travel agencies and locations where I am able to explore exotic destinations. Also, as a foodie, I am always looking to partner with local restaurants and the like regarding events like restaurant openings and food and wine festivals, along with other foodie events.
Any last words of inspiration for our DFW beauties?
Whatever you do, just get out there! See the world.
They say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, and that is absolutely true. And travel is much less expensive than you think (I am the queen of getting luxury on a budget), so just be flexible. Be sure to step out of your comfort zone and go into travel with an open mind. I just got back from my first solo, international trip. I was nervous going in, but it was one of the best trips I have ever taken, and can’t wait to hit some other locations solo, while connecting with other travelers or locals.