Here at Trading Places, we’re all about experiencing how people live around the world. Through travel, learning, and discovering traditions, cultures, and the beauty of our diverse planet — we try to walk in another person’s shoes for a bit, to step into their lives however briefly — so that we can connect with others, and let that inspire our own lives and bring more joy into our worlds.

When I travel, a large part of the time I stay in other people’s homes — usually through home exchange, but also by house sitting, Airbnb, independent rentals, etc. One of the things I love about traveling this way is that I’m not discovering a new place so much through the eyes of a visitor from some generic chain hotel — I’m actually trading places with them, getting a little taste of what their daily life and home town is all about. It allows me to really experience a place more like a local, and I love both the interesting people I meet this way, and the “insiders’ look” into a place that I get.

Anna Renee Roberts

Anna Renee Roberts

In September, I traded places with Anna Renee Roberts, a singer/songwriter living in Nashville, Tennessee. Anna had come to stay in my condo in Austin, and I went to stay in her loft in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville for 6 very fun days. You can check out some of my Nashville photos here!

I asked Anna 7 Questions to get to know her better, and let the Trading Places Village get to know her, too! So let me introduce you into Anna’s world now: Anna Renee Roberts is a 29-year-old singer/songwriter currently living in Nashville. She was born in Gillette, Wyoming, but grew up mostly overseas, in Singapore, Jakarta, and Beijing.

Trading Places: What is a “typical day” like for you?

Anna: I typically wake up around 5:30am, mediate, do angel cards, drink coffee/tea with the boyfriend, and then go to yoga. After yoga I warm my voice up and start coming up with song ideas. My songwriting session for the day usually starts at 11am, and occasionally I’ll have a second write around 3:30pm. Here’s a song I’ve just released!  – Under Stars of Eden – After the write, I might work on designs for a clothing brand, read, hike, meditate, or make dinner with my boyfriend and watch Brooklyn nine-nine.

Trading Places: What are a few of your favorite places to eat in your home city?

Anna at Jack Browns

Anna at Jack Browns

Anna: I love the farmers market that’s just down the street. So many great places inside there! Jack Browns, Butchertown Hall, and Mas Tacos are some favs, but I usually eat at the Turnip Truck hot bar.

[Shelley’s note: We spent some time at that farmer’s market, and got to hear local musician Taylor Goyette and chat with him quite a bit! Great market.]

Trading Places: Where are some of your favorite places to play, and things to do in your city?

Anna: Love hiking at Radnor Lake, and Percy Warner, and going to shows all around town. So many great music venues!

Hiking at Radnor Lake

Trading Places: What is your favorite thing about your home, and why?

Anna: There’s an energy here that’s welcoming and grounding at the same time.

[Shelley’s note: I can attest to that – I loved the energy in Anna’s loft!]

Trading Places: What do you do to recharge or practice self care?

Anna: Yoga and meditation. There’s also an incredible community center acupuncture place with a sliding scale of 15-35 dollars per visit, which is super affordable, the way health care should be 🙂

At Machu Picchu in Peru

At Machu Picchu in Peru

Trading Places: What is one of your favorite places you’ve ever traveled to, and why?

Anna: I loved traveling to Mexico City because of the Frida Kahlo museum. I also loved traveling to Peru and getting to meditate at the top of the mountain at Machu Picchu.

Trading Places: Tell us one fact about you that might be surprising, fun, or quirky.

Anna: I practice energy healing, clear light and edina, and sometimes I’ll start my writing sessions with an energy session to get me and whoever I’m writing with centered and connected.

It turns out that Anna and I have quite a bit in common! Although I don’t have a musical bone in my body, we are both writers; just in different mediums. We also both practice yoga and meditation regularly. When it comes to travel, we are on the same page as far as loving Mexico City — particularly for Casa Azul, the Frida Kahlo museum. I adored it, and could spend days there. And one of my next trips, in March 2019, is to Peru, so I will need to hit Anna up for some recs.

Shelley's visit to Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's house in Mexico City, in 2015.

Shelley’s visit to Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City, in 2015.

Stay tuned for my next Trading Places stop: Asheville, NC!