Michelle Halpern’s photos originally caught our eye when her Instagram handle, @livelikeitsthewknd, first appeared in #traveldeeper. We caught up with Halpern while she celebrated her birthday in Peru, and she told us about her passion for travel, her photography philosophy, and her recently launched blog documenting her constant adventures, LiveLikeItsTheWeekend.com. Read on to learn more about Halpern, scroll through a slideshow of her photos from Singapore, Cuba, India and Japan, and take a look at our Instagram to catch her exclusive inside photo takeover!

When did you first become passionate about travel? Is there a trip you took that inspired you to make travel a lifestyle?

“I’m lucky that my parents took me to different countries when I was younger, so I was introduced to different cultures early on. When I graduated college and was paying my own way, I didn’t travel anywhere for quite a while because I just didn’t have the money. In 2012, I went to Israel and it was the most incredible trip. When I got back to work, I had the post-vacation blues, but it was sort of more than that. I had a feeling that there was more that I wanted to do with my life that I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish if I was chained to a desk for 50 hours a week. So I started plotting my escape after that.”

When did you first get into photography? Has photography impacted the way you travel?

“I’ve always been that friend that’s constantly taking pictures, but I definitely got more serious about photography once I started traveling more. It’s made me slow down. When you’re looking at the world from a photographer’s perspective, you notice a lot of things that most people don’t stop to look at. Instead of walking around only trying to get to the next destination, I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for something interesting to shoot. Photography definitely creates a larger sense of curiosity when you travel.”

What’s your travel philosophy?

“Something that I’ve changed about my approach since I started traveling is that I used to plan pretty religiously—now I just kind of wing it. When you plan something out, you have expectations, and you’re more likely to be disappointed if it doesn’t go exactly as you imagined. When you’re open to whatever unfolds, I’ve found that really interesting things can happen.” 

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Live It Up Around the World Through This Traveler’s Instagram Account
Click through the slideshow for a look at @livelikeitsthewknd’s adventures around the globe.

Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    See the World Through Michelle Halpern’s Eyes
    Click through the slideshow for a look at @livelikeitsthewknd’s adventures around the globe.

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    Havana, Cuba
    “We opted out of the typical airport transfer and instead hired this antique beauty from the 1950s. It was the perfect way to leave Cuba in style.”

    Plan Your Trip: Cuba

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    Jodhpur, India
    “The streets of Jodhpur are so chaotic and fun to photograph. And there are so many different entryways and arches to peek into. I could get lost for weeks here.”

    Plan Your Trip: Jodhpur

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    Jaisalmer, India
    “I don’t write or talk about it much, but one of my favorite aspects of traveling is interacting with different animals all over the world. The camels in Jaisalmer’s Thar Desert definitely had some of the funniest personalities I’ve ever encountered!”

    Plan Your Trip: India

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
    “With so many tourists overtaking Bali these days, Nusa Lembongan is the perfect escape from the crowds and is truly the epitome of island life. Plus it offers some pretty epic views of Mt. Agung across the water.”

    Plan Your Trip: Bali

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    Singapore, Hill Street Police Station
    “This is probably one of the most photographed sites in Singapore, but what you don’t realize until you arrive is that capturing a shot without the oncoming traffic is near impossible! I was more than happy to settle for this biker in red.”

    Plan Your Trip: Singapore

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    Tokyo, Japan
    “The perfect reflection found in Chiyoda, Tokyo.”

    Plan Your Trip: Japan

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd
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    Machu Picchu, Peru
    “One of the best surprises at Machu Picchu—getting a fresh new stamp for my passport!”

    Plan Your Trip: Peru

    Photo by @livelikeitsthewknd

What’s your fondest travel experience?

"As far as my favorite place I’ve been, it’s a tie between Cuba and Peru. I love everything about the culture in Cuba. You walk down the street and there’s live music everywhere. It’s such a vibrant, friendly place. In Peru, it’s just so different from one landscape to the next. I’ve never been to a place that has so many different, amazing backdrops. As far as my criteria for amazing destinations goes, it sort of hits all the key points.” 

Tell us about the idea behind your travel blog, where you document your travels around the world.

“The name, LiveLikeItsTheWeekend.com, is really a reflection of how I felt about not being able to do the things that I was passionate about within the constraints of a 9-to-5 job. I think our culture has a disease of waiting for Friday to roll around. Instead of enjoying every day, we’re always waiting for the weekend to hit so we can do the things we enjoy. “Live Like It’s The Weekend” doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and travel. It’s about finding the things that you love to do so that every day feels like the weekend.”

Do you have any advice for fellow travelers or people who want to travel?

“Most people think that making travel a lifestyle is nearly impossible—that what I’m doing is so out of the ordinary, but in reality, I’m spending much less money doing what I’m doing—traveling around the world—than I would be living like I was before in Los Angeles. I think it’s just about changing your mindset. We’re in a time when it’s easier than ever to work remotely, so to me it’s just about thinking outside of the box and being open to different possibilities.”

 >>Next: How to Travel More, According to an AFAR Ambassador