Sophia Li, Journalist + Film Director

Sophia Li is one of those friends who everyone goes to for advice – a nucleus, if you will. We witnessed this firsthand when Miranda Kerr texted her via Snapchat to ask what to wear to an event (see, “angels” need help too). From fashion (girl did work at Vogue) to travel (she’s on the road as a speaker and journalist) to food and wellness- Sophia’s got the low down on lots of lovely things.

Sophia grew up between four U.S. states and two countries as a child, and moved to NYC post college. There she was able to create the dream job for herself- as the former Entertainment Media Editor at, she worked on creating and launching VOGUE‘s social and digital voice. She credits timing was on her side, we credit her passion for storytelling.

After going freelance over a year ago, she now works with clients including CNN, Vogue, Refinery29, Theory, and Maybelline as a Film Director and Journalist. And travels even more than ever before. In her free time, she is also the Creative Director of HER USA: a female community empowering women and celebrating the authentic, vulnerable self through Jeffersonian-style dinners and more.

Read on for travel tips such as how to make the most of work trips (as potential mini vacations!) and where to bathe in the Kenyan bush – this Insider’s tips are not to be missed.

Follow her @sophfei on instagram.

What are 3 of your favorite hotels?

Cottar’s 1920 Safari Camp in Kenya: Well besides being located in one of the most magical places in the world (hello birthplace to all humanity), the Maasai Mara, this place is dedicated to preserving and conserving wildlife. It’s also one of the most sustainable certified places in the world.

Marina Bay Sands in Singapore: The sheer engineering behind this place is just mind-blowing. Spent the holidays here with my family as we watched the sunrise overlooking the skyscrapers whilst swimming in the largest and tallest infinity pool in the world. Pretty memorable, I must say.

The Dutchess in upstate NY: I go to this place at least once every year with chosen family. Every detail here is accommodated for – it’s a former equestrian training center and barn renovated into a boutique hotel meets idyllic B & B. Also two words: biodynamic farming.

What is the most unique hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

“Bush baths” with champagne outside of your tent at Cottar’s while wild apes roam about

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

Ideally, each hotel room would have a key card as a master key for electricity so you’re minimizing how much energy you spend when you’re not in the room.

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

Somewhere to surf… north shore of Oahu, Tamarindo, Puerto Escondido.

You travel a lot for work…was this something you were seeking in a career? If so, how did you go about designing your career life to include so much travel, and how do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

I moved every 3-4 years while growing up and started going to China with my sister by ourselves when we were 11 and 14 respectively, so travel is very much in our veins. I usually tack 2 days on to a work trip to personally explore the place so I feel more integrated and present/less jet-lagged in the location.

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

A journal, a book (currently reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way), a silk Lunya sleep-maskDottera On Guard essential oil to boost immunity, Kora Organics facial sculptorTata Harper face mist, beats headphones.

Have you or would you travel alone? If Y/N, why?

Yes, I travel alone all the time for work. I have also incorporated more solo personal travel in recent years to get myself out of my comfort zone/be open to talking to others who I might not have if I were with friends. Most recently, I went on a solo surf camp retreat and also spent a few days in Porto, Portugal on my own after a road trip with friends.

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

Intermittent fasting…. food makes you feel drowsy so try and get on the local schedule while flying.

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

This season, I’ve been recently wearing Summersalt’s travelwear sets with compression socks, these Flattered snakeskin boots that you slip on and off, and this oversized camel coat that doubles as a blanket.

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

Usually no unless I’m on a work deadline. It’s the best time to disconnect and everyone understands why you’re offline!

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Late check-out

Favorite travel app?

Tap to find local water fountains/at the airport so you don’t buy a plastic bottle every time while traveling!

Sophia Li, Journalist + Film Director
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Sophia Li, Journalist + Film Director
Sophia Li is one of those friends who everyone goes to for advice...we witnessed this firsthand when Miranda Kerr texted her via Snapchat to ask what to wear to an event.
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