You may remember Baltimore-based fitness professional Katie Sampayo from STYLE’s 2017 feature on natural beauty. But while she still stands by her food-as-fuel “Eat to Thrive” ideology, Sampayo is trading B-more for Brazil…and Belize, Bolivia and the rest of Central and South America.
“When I finished traveling through Thailand and Bali last year, I had it in my head that I was going to do this,” she says of her decision to pack up her life and buy a one-way ticket down south. “The only reason I came back [before] was because I had an obligation to finish my book and get it out.”
This time around, she’s focusing on video. Her bags are packed with camera equipment, microphones and memory cards, geared toward creating a TV show that about food and culture in South America. The show is in part an extension of her current online show, “Live to Thrive,” but Sampayo has bigger plans for her continental romp.
“It’s going to be all about South American culture and cuisine [and] my journey exploring the world and meeting with chefs, talking to them about the history and culture of food,” she says. “I’m going to find the really unique flavors and ingredients that we haven’t heard of in the U.S. and expose them to the world. Every time I travel, it’s all about the food for me.”
While Sampayo hopes the show will be picked up by a major carrier like Netflix and Amazon, she plans to maintain her platforms on Facebook and YouTube unless something changes.
Traveling alone has been a revelation for Sampayo, and after her trip to Asia, she knew she wanted to get back out there as soon as she could. And while the universe seemed to support her plan, it forced her to move more quickly than she’d originally planned: The Canton rowhome where she had lived for four years was unexpectedly put up for sale, leaving her virtually homeless.
“I knew I didn’t want to get into a lease, so I’ve been living like a nomad since last April,” she says. She stayed at friends’ houses for two months at a time, slowly but surely decreasing her possessions until she was down to the basics.
Now, she’s taking her two bags, packed with everything from physical copies of her book to protein powder, and flying to Costa Rica. She plans to stay there for a month or so, doing yoga, working on her surf skills and trying out a social media fast; her only month for a “vacation,” she says.
The rest of the time, she seeks to balance work and play—working on developing a food product, getting back into gymnastics, holding healthy eating demos and workshops, maybe entering a salsa competition. The main thing that matters? Not over-planning or getting stuck.
“I’m not just going to one country,” she says. “No matter how much I like a country, I still want to get around to the other ones. It’s not going to be as intense as backpacking, though. There’s not this hard deadline to stick to. If I’m vibing with the people, if I meet a potential business partner, I can stay as long as I want.”
Follow along with Katie at youtube.com/katiesampayo.