Passport to People Jessa Gabe

Passport to People Jessa and Gabe

Introducing the “Passport to People Series” where I’ll take you around the globe, via inspiring, creative souls I’ve met while on my travels!

Meet one of my favorite human beings in the world, Jessa Mesa and her partner-in-crime, Gabe Martinez. These two are the complete package: beauty, brains, and brawn. I swear, you will never encounter a more picture perfect duo! I met Jessa during my freshman year of college and we instantly became the best of friends over shared love of dancing and our Filipina roots. Despite being 7989 miles away from one another, Jessa and I have continued our long-distance friendship past college and now we bond over a new passion: traveling! She was also the person who inspired me to start creating travel videos although her talent of editing visually-appealing videos sets the bar of amateur travel videography at new heights. Gabe and Jessa are both natives of the tropical Micronesian island of Guam, (also a part of the commonwealth of the United States) and both have parents working in the airline industry. They have  found the ideal travel companions in one another having visited Peru, Singapore, Indonesia, Greece, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Palau, and Denmark together in the span of their three year romance. With their envy-inducing travel videos and their awe-inspiring collection of photos, you cannot help but get those fluttery feelings in your stomach typical of that time you’ve first fallen in love.

3 years!

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

NOT having any obligations. We work really hard to make and save our money, so when we travel it’s great not having to worry about school, work, or going to the gym (or our diets). We have the freedom to do and EAT whatever we want!

What was the first trip you took together?

EDC VEGAS 2013!!! It was so much fun, we wish we could go back. Our first trip abroad was to Peru in 2014. That was when the travel bug viciously bit us.

Do you have a bucket list as a couple?

YES. There are quite a bit, but to name a few we want to visit all seven continents, watch the Northern lights, fly airplanes, and volunteer abroad.

What’s a song that puts you in the traveling mood?

We got a list going! “Manifesto II” by Nahko and Medicine for the people (Jessa’s favorite). “Forever” by Haim (it always reminds us of our Eurotrip last year). “You and I” by Crystal Fighters (Peru video). “Pumping Blood” by NONONO (Bali video) … basically all the songs we’ve used in our travel videos haha!

Watch their epic videos of Iceland and New Zealand!

So let’s jump into the couple talk! What do you find is the most challenging aspect of traveling as couple?

Hmm… probably meeting other people and building relationships with them, just because we’re always so content with each other’s company. It’s almost like every trip we go on is a honeymoon 🙂

Have you two fallen into certain roles when managing your trips?

We do most of the planning together, but Gabe is the navigator for sure! He’s also best at doing research and finding us the best deals (ie: plane tickets, hostels, tours, etc.). I do all the fun stuff like packing, creating our itinerary, shopping for gifts, and taking pictures and videos.

gabe and jessa

High off life after our very first gastronomy experience! Thank you NOMA! – Copenhagen 2015

Do you have any traditions on the trips you take?

We always go on a hike, and we make a recap video after every trip! We love taking pictures too, but videos really help us relive our experiences. It’s takes home videos to a whole new level!

What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done while traveling?

We might have a different idea of romance haha. Once time we got really drunk on a private beach in Bali. We played in the sand, went skinny-dipping, and drank coconut water all day. Afterwards we got a couples’ massage and pigged out on amazing Indonesian food (still very drunk btw). Jessa eventually got sick, and I spent the rest of the night taking care of her. Pretty romantic if you ask me.

Passport to People Jessa and Gabe

(Note: this instagram is not real). To follow them on instagram, add @jmesamine

You, unfortunately, have been condemned to die, but fortunately, you get to have any meal in the world before you go. What is your menu?

Gabe: Everything we ate and drank at NOMA.
Oh my gosh, yes!!! We dined in with Jeanelle (Gabe’s sister) last September, and it was the tastiest experience of our lives! We want to go back when Rene Redzepi opens up Urban Farm at the end of the year.

If you were exiled to one country for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Both: Our Natura Vine experience in Peru! It included rock-climbing, zip lining, rappelling, and sleeping in a sky lodge 400m above the ground, along with homemade Peruvian meals and snacks and transportation to our next destination. It was by far the coolest thing we’ve ever done. If you go, request for Marco and Guiermo as your guides. They’ll take great care of you.

If you were exiled to one country for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Gabe: The happiest place on earth?

gabe and jessa

Swimming in the Rock Islands of Palau! 2015

Tell us about your worst vacation experience.

Gabe: Probably when I got really upset for deciding not to hike up to Huayna Picchu in Peru. The weather in the morning was really foggy so I didn’t think the hike would be worth it. A few hours later the weather cleared up and became PERFECT. I immediately regretted not going up, and let that decision affect me the rest of the day. But it’s okay! That just means we have to go back one day.
Jessa: Natura Vine has been my favorite vacation experience, but it’s also my worst because I had a fever and diarrhea the whole time haha! I still had a blast, but I was so upset I had to use the bathroom every 5 minutes. I spent my zip-lining experience praying I wouldn’t poop myself.

Have you ever gotten memorable advice from a stranger?

Both: Irene, a lovely Greek woman and the owner of our favorite restaurant in Santorini, Salt and Pepper, told us, “Don’t have kids until you’ve visited at least 50 countries! You must live life to the fullest so you’ll have stories to tell your kids.” ….We have about 30 more countries to go! 😛

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten.

Gabe: Either chicken feet or pig testicles
Fruit bat soup in Palau. It was deliciously cooked in a coconut milk stew, but seeing the whole bat, head, wings, and all in my bowl was kind of weird. Gabe’s sister and I dissected its body and distributed its organs among the family. She ate its tongue. Gabe at its brain, and I ate its heart hehe

Here are some pictures taken on Gabe and Jessa’s travels…

What’s an activity you want to experience on the road?

Both: We’re going to spend two weeks in New Zealand road tripping in a campervan this December!! It’ll be our first time spending that much time on the road without a real bed or bathroom, so it’ll be quite the experience. We’re hoping to develop our camping skills, maybe even pick up a hitchhiker or two.

Best purchase abroad?

Jessa: The really cool cloud porn* Travel Journal I bought for Gabe in South Korea!! He loves it, Izzy!! I didn’t think he’d actually use it, but he’s written so much about our most recent trips. It makes me so happy. (Check out Jessa’s dreamy snapshots of cotton-candy clouds aka #cloudporn on instagram!)

Any strange travel rituals?

Gabe: I try to collect tobacco pipes from every country or city I visit
I send myself a postcard reminding myself of everything I did and felt that day 🙂 I hope I’ll have enough someday to bind them and make a book.

Thanks so much for your time Gabe and Jessa. We are all wishing you two the best of luck in life and in love!

Be sure to check out their blog and social media!

Passport to People Jessa and Gabe

Jessa and I reunited for the first time in two years in South Korea this past May! Lucky me that I got to be part of her ‘Seoul’ video! Watch the video now!

Youtube \\ Jessa Messa
Instagram \\ @jmesamine





Filipina-American Millette Stambaugh is a thirty-something former expat who has traded her nomadic ways for Philadelphia living. Corporate worker by day, content creator by night, Millette specializes in visual storytelling and joyful journeys and wants to help others find their "next somewheres." Follow her escapades on Instagram, Youtube, and Tiktok @thenextsomewhere.


  • March 8, 2016

    Wow, those photos at the bottom of the post are giving me some serious travel envy! I want to do that capsule looking thing hanging off a cliff with windows, and eat at NOMA!!! What an inspiring couple, I also loved the video! I will stay updated on their youtube channel! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessa

      March 9, 2016

      @Megan, thank you so much!!!!!!! I appreciate the subscription 😀 Keep an eye out for Hawaii video next month and an Iceland video this summer!

      If you ever travel to Peru, you have to check out Natura Vive! It was about $400/person when we went two years ago, I’m not sure if their prices have changed since then. It included transportation, meals, rock climbing, zip lining, and a night in the sky lodge. It was worth every penny and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Here is their website:

      And a couple tips for making a reservation at Noma~ They begin accepting reservations three months in advance (check out their website for specific dates/times and set reminders!). When the time comes, you and your friend(s) should go online using different computers because you’ll be given a queue number for a waiting list. Whoever has the closest queue number has a better chance of completing the reservation! When your queue is finally called, you’ll be shown a calendar of available dates based on the number of people in your party.. Honestly, just choose whatever is available and plan your trip around that date lol! However, if it shows there aren’t any available dates, try changing the number of people in your party. We waited online for about two hours until our queue was called only to see that Noma was fully booked for tables of two.. But smartypants Gabe changed our party size from 2 to 3 and a couple dates opened up! That’s why we dragged his sister along with us haha 🙂


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