The ‘girl’ behind @girleatworld is none other than Melissa Hie, an Indonesian currently working and living in Singapore. Melissa started travelling after moving to Singapore as she found that our little red dot was a strategic location to travel to nearby Asian countries. Bitten by the travel bug after her first visit to Thailand in 2010, Melissa continued to fuel her wanderlust with more adventures.
The account @girleatworld started off in May 2014 after Melissa’s friend convinced her to create an Instagram account dedicated to her food pictures. From then on, she has gained a whopping 333k followers that follow her journeys to beautiful places around the world.
We interviewed Melissa about her beautiful pictures – and the stories behind them:
How did the moniker and the Instagram account came about?
I have always enjoyed telling stories and have grown up blogging with the likes of blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, etc. Unfortunately none of the blogs stayed after I started working full-time, but I did keep my travel blog updated and found it very useful for future reference.
Fast forward to Summer 2013 – I went on my first backpacking trip to Europe by myself. I didn’t feel like asking strangers to take pictures of me and I’m not too fond of selfies, but I AM always eating so I took pictures of food at whichever memorable sites I was at. Then I posted these pictures to my personal Facebook where I received positive feedback from friends so I kept on taking one at every city I visited, for my own personal amusement.
One of my friends (who owns @nycars, a popular Instagram for unique vintage cars) convinced me to create a dedicated Instagram for my food pictures. I toyed around with the idea but only got around to it after my Japan trip in May 2014 — about 8 months after I started taking these pictures. I thought about a few name options, and settled with Girl Eats World as it perfect defines what I do. However @girleatsworld were already taken so I settled with the less grammatically correct @girleatworld. And that’s how the Instagram was born!
What is the best thing about traveling? Everything – you get to see the world. You see things that you’ve only heard about on textbooks or history classes. You understand history better when you hear it from locals and people who live in the area. You get to taste food as authentically as possible.
How often do you travel?
I try to do two big travels a year, and small trips every two months or so.
Do you have any unorthodox traveling tips? It’s not very unorthodox, but I recommend staying in hostels or Airbnb while traveling. You save money and it’s much less boring than staying at a hotel!
What is the best food you’ve tasted while travelling?
Definitely Japan and Korea. Those two were my top countries for street food eats.
If you have to pick a country to re-visit again, where would it be and why? Japan. The sights and food there are so pretty that Instagramming just comes effortlessly.
How do you cope between traveling and your full-time job?
I just schedule trips every two months so I have something to look forward too. It helps that I love my full-time job too! I work as a UX Designer at an awesome start up in Singapore, called TradeGecko.
What do you think is the most important travel essential item? A Powerbank, definitely. I recommend getting the 10,000 mAh one.
What apps/camera do you use?
I always only use iPhone. Currently I am using iPhone 6s Plus. For editing, I use VSCOcam and Instagram’s native editing tools.