My name is Rocio I´m 37, I was born and bred in Mexico City, my favorite city in the world, I grew up cooking and eating because my mom is a chef, 10 years ago I created one of the first food blogs in Mexico called “Sin Mantel” I studied Mexican Cuisine for a while and I´ve been exploring the city markets since I was young. What I love the most about my job is sharing the food. Every time I find something amazing I want people to try it, and then I stare at them while they eat to capture every tiny reaction, I just love people´s face when they try good food.
I´m an avid traveler, so far I’ve been in 27 countries and more than 70 cities, I like to take food tours all over and learn from other companies. I live in Condesa with my boyfriend and my pets: Mateo an 11-year-old Goldador, Pantera 2.5 years old black pug (she is nuts), Hamburger and Simona two adorable cats, and Rock, the newest addition a 1.5 months old black kitten.
I love reading, traveling, eating, and napping with my pets.
I never got to travel until I was 30, and that trip changed me forever, experiencing the tourist traps, the umbrella tours, the horrible restaurants for tourists made me feel horrified, and one day, in Istanbul after 15 days traveling, I got drunk with homeless guys outside the Galata Tower and they showed me around, I had fish sandwiches, mussels, beer outside the Blue Mosque, and I fell in love with Istanbul. I came back to México determined to create this company and make travelers feel exactly what the homeless guys made me feel in Istanbul, I quit my job as director at DDB Mexico, and 6 years later here I am.
When I was little I read Van Gogh´s biography and I thought I would really like to find something that made me feel as passionate as he was about painting, I never felt like that in any of my previous jobs, but when I started doing this I felt alive, happy, bright, I felt the kind of excitement you get when you finally find your calling. I just love doing this, meeting people, seeing their faces when they try something delicious, I know the exact moment they fall in love with Mexico City, and that´s what makes me feel alive. In 2019 I went to Amsterdam for the first time and visited Van Gogh´s museum and I told him that I finally found my calling, not only because of the food, because everything else around the company (I will talk about this later) I just hope I preserve both of my ears at the end 🙂
At the beginning was only about the food, doing tours, and having fun, but things changed because I had a very difficult relationship that ended really bad and at the same time I got involved with the community and the girls. That led me to created 80IQ the program, where girls learn English and receive mentoring and inspiration. This makes me feel that my work matters, because English is a tool for them to have better opportunities when they grow up. I also want to show them that the world is bigger and the possibilities are endless. I hate the kind of charity where they make you feel sorry for the people in order to donate, I wanted the girls to feel proud of themselves, I want them to understand that everything they get from Eat Like a Local is because they are awesome warriors and we are just helping them become better, rather than helping poor hopeless people, and making YOU as guest feel sorry for them, we are pushing forward awesome women and girls, and I love that, I think traditional charity takes people´s dignity away, and I wanted to create something that makes them feel proud of themselves.
At the beginning I wanted to do everything, this was my baby, but, working 19 hours a day 6 days a week can be devastating, I was terrified but decided to invite close friends to the project. After all, if you are having fun and making money is good to share right? I remember hating my previous bosses and their work policies, and I realize that now I had the chance to create something better. It always bugs me when people complain about their jobs and then when they get the chance to become the boss they act the same. I wanted to create the job I would like to have, and the first step was to have good salaries because everybody wants to make money to live comfortably and happy, Eat Like a Local has the best wages in the industry. I also made the company a happy workplace, flexible, empowering, always encouraging them and providing tools like workshops, field trips, and continuous education. This job is very rewarding because you get instant recognition, and that changes your life you know? Makes you feel special, happy, appreciated, I wanted more people to feel like that, and I decided to make it only for women because we are the ones who are more often underpaid and not appreciated and also the ones in danger when money is short (read the next question).
Everybody on my team has been in my life for a long time, Lorenza is my sister, Andrea my best friend we met at kindergarten, yes 33 years of friendship, and Astrid has been my friend for 11 years, she is my fighter feminist smart friend. They all love food, and they all are well-traveled, educated and amazing women who deserve a happy job and I love having them on the team. When they tell me this is the best job they´ve ever had my heart explodes with joy.
From 2015 – 2017 I was in a series of abusive relationships, sadly the last one of my boyfriends was the most violent of all and I literally had to run away from our shared apartment to save my life. I saw the sings before, but I decided to ignore them, mainly because Eat Like a Local was starting and I had no savings, not a lot of clients and no place to go. This experience made me realize I stayed there because I had no money and I could´t afford to leave. I decided that if ELAL needed to grow it was going to be only for women and I was going to give them the best wages ever. Financial independence is vital when you need to run away from any bad situation as a women. I truly believe that as a woman in a powerful position is my responsibility to create safer and better workspaces for other women
When I started traveling I didn’t give a shit about anything, I just wanted to see the world, then in Vietnam I took a 350 USD 4 day tour, and I just couldn´t understand how they were making money, I talked to people and I got it, they were not paying them, the workers and guides were relying on tips to survive while the company kept everything. Vietnam is bustling with tourist and the people are still poor. I was crushed I remember crying on Periscope (yes, live streaming crying) with my twitter followers trying to find an answer, a better way to do things. After that I researched and now I’m super involved. I got certified in Sustainable Tourism by the GSTC and learned that responsibility goes further than just paying good money to everybody involved, it covers 17 different areas, such and gender equality, zero hunger, eliminating inequalities, quality education, good workplaces, etc. I try to cover as many as possible in my company and keep improving every year.
The thing is, today is so so easy to travel, if we don´t become a better traveler, we will ruin the world, we are too many people traveling now, we need to be responsible, conscious and good travelers.
If you want to know more about me, the company or responsible tourism contact me [email protected]
This is one of my favorite pics, from a trip to Tibet that changed my life