Today’s Notable Young Professional is travel junkie Maryam Siddiqi, who’s built a career from her passion by launching her own magazine, being a five-star Airbnb host, and investing in a Mediterranean holiday getaway. We caught up with her to find out what inspired her journey and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m a freelance editor and writer, working mostly on travel and lifestyle editorial. I also work with corporate clients in the same fields.
What was the inspiration for your career route?
I wish I could say it was planned. I started in PR, then moved into journalism as managing editor at the National Post’s business magazine. I thought, “I’ll try it for a year,” and ended up being there for 10 years working on a variety of sections. I fell into travel journalism — the travel editor needed a writer in a pinch and I was available. It opened up a world to me that has extended beyond writing. I’m now an Airbnb host, for example, and am investing in a holiday/rental home in Croatia.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Launching La Carte, the digital quarterly travel magazine and website that I — and a team of stellar journos — launched earlier this year is definitely a major achievement. The magazine is targeted to seasoned travellers looking for deeper, authentic experiences. To see something through from initial vision to hitting publish on the first issue, it’s certainly a labour of love but something that I’m incredibly proud of and that I can sense is just gaining momentum. I’m looking forward to seeing the magazine grow.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I wish I could plan this far in advance — if someone had told me three years ago I’d be buying a stone house in Croatia or launching a travel magazine, I’d have thought they were nuts. There are times when I still can’t believe it.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t be afraid to take a chance, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge a mistake. I’ve known a job was wrong on day three and resigned before the week was out. Only you know what’s right for you, so take advice with a large grain of salt.
What does the word notable mean to you?
Something of significance and substance. Something worthy of remembering. And, something that makes you pause and think twice.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
It’s not new or sexy, but I love Terroni. It’s a Toronto institution, is consistent, and has a great vibe. Whenever I have out-of-towners visiting, I make sure we have a meal here.
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
Aside from emails (Gmail and Hotmail – yes, I still use it!), it’s a tie between Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is my newsfeed; it’s where I get the headlines for news, and I follow a bunch of travel-related feeds to see what destinations people are talking about. Instagram is my procrastination tool. I love photography so it’s a perfect for quick break from work.
Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
I love @thescienceofus from New York magazine, which focuses on social psychology news, or as they say, “the latest science of human behaviour.” It’s everything from sleep patterns to self-motivation to relationships. Whenever you wonder, “Why do I keep doing X?” chances are Science of Us has the answer.
What’s your favourite cocktail?
Given the choice, I will always order a Pimm’s Cup. If that’s not available, a glass of Prosecco.
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Being stuck at a computer when it’s warm and sunny out. Freelance means work — and deadlines — can come at anytime … and boy, would I rather feel the sun on my skin than the glare of a screen on my eyes.
What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
Even though I often write about food, I’m the farthest thing from a foodie, so what I eat (pizza? cheeseburger?) is less important than who I’m eating it with — my parents, siblings and ridiculously adorably nephew. (Cutest boy on Earth in my 100% objective opinion.)
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Increasingly, it’s a lazy Saturday morning at my own condo. I’m on the road a lot, so when I get to sleep in my own bed and lounge around during the day doing a whole lot of nothing, it’s a good good day.