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About Natasha


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About Natasha


ABOUT NATASHA

Natasha is a Travel & Lifestyle Photographer whose images evoke a carefree spirit in lush and dreamy locales. With her background as a Art Director, Natasha brings her graphic eye to her intimate, ethereal compositions. Her passion for directing and cinematography showcase her use of light and color to create an immersive experience.

She strives to create effortless and relaxed images of people and places that inspire wanderlust. An avid traveller herself, she has found inspiration in many corners of the world, from the cliffs of Kaikoura to the ports of Brittany and villages of Luang Prabang. Embarking on her first solo journey at 23 on a backpacking trip to New Zealand, she has since embraced the art of traveling alone in addition to cherishing the joys of travel with friends and family.

Inspired by her love of travel, interior design, conscious living, yoga, and after many questions from friends for travel recommendations, she launched Destination Envy as another outlet for her photography and to share destinations that inspire us to slow down and relish the joys and treasures life has to offer. Here is a bit of her story,

*All images on Destination Envy are  © Natasha Lee Photography unless otherwise credited.

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Growing Up


Penang, Malaysia

Growing Up


Penang, Malaysia

GROWING UP

I spent most of my childhood on the island of Penang, Malaysia, dubbed an Unesco World Heritage site in 2008 (along with Malacca, another Malaysian state). A port city colonized by Britain and steeped in Malay culture, it is a melting pot of cultures, styles, and traditions, many which are unique to Penang itself. Family trips to Genting Highlands, Malacca, and nearby cities of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore kickstarted my lifelong love of travel and exploration. Surrounded by hawker food, humid weather, and the Andaman Sea in my formative years, I find comfort in warm weather locales and am right at home in the beach city of Santa Monica. Every other year or so, I continue to visit my grandma and extended family, often taking the opportunity to explore other countries in the region.

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Southbound


From the Bay to LA, 2001

Southbound


From the Bay to LA, 2001

LOS ANGELES, I'M YOURS

With one carry-on of belongings, I arrived at LAX in January of 2001 to attend Otis College of Art & Design and never looked back. Immediately, I felt a connection to the creative community and dived headfirst into and every moment of figure drawing, color theory, still life drawing. I relished pouring my hours into the perfect line, the hours of critique, the challenge of finding just the right shade of gouache. The sense of discovery and learning continued through photo and lighting classes, and I was encouraged to combine the two disciplines she loved - digital media and photography/film. With her fellow classmates, we all formed great friendships and creative bonds that are still alive today, navigating creative projects and challenges in Los Angeles and around the globe.

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First Solo Journey


New Zealand, 2005

First Solo Journey


New Zealand, 2005

NEW ZEALAND, 2005

Shortly after graduating from Otis College of Art & Design, the time had come to shake things up. I took a massive leap literally and figuratively - buying a solo round trip ticket to New Zealand for two months after walking into a travel agency on Wilshire Blvd. That was the easy part. Getting on the plane alone and arriving in a new country knowing no one, with nothing but a borrowed backpack... this was considered insanity for an introvert. But the newness of this beautiful island and the excitement of infinite possibilities and new experiences overcame my fear and social anxiety. 

Two weeks into the journey, I found my rhythm and truly felt the allure of traveling alone. Staying in a converted jail in Napier during Art Deco Weekend in Napier, I bonded with the eclectic group of travelers there and ended up extending my stay to a week instead of simply passing through. In lock-less rooms and camp-like bathrooms, we had a ball together; cooking dinners, going into town, drinking boxed wine, making sangria in the shared kitchen. That week, I felt at home in an international community. We all were heading in different directions at different times, but those few days changed how we remember the quaint town of Napier.

Moving on towards the South Island, I met another group on the same wavelength and we coordinated our timing together from Marlborough south towards Queenstown, adventure capital of the world. I was convinced to bungee, not once, but 3 times, while we were there and thought, "When in Rome...". It was a thrilling and transformative journey, a lesson in trusting what the universe has in store for you when you are willing to step outside of the comforts of home. Travel is now integrated into my life and is how I break out of patterns, get inspired, and soak in everything the world has to offer.

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Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness


An everyday journey since 2009

Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness


An everyday journey since 2009

Yoga practice can make us more sensitive to subtler sensations in the body. Paying attention to the body is one of the surest ways to steady the wandering mind.
— R. Ravindra


While I dabbled in various yoga classes in between a regular gym routine for about a year, it wasn’t until I moved back to Los Angeles after yearlong stint in New York that I found a studio and instructors that I felt connected to. Every time I’m on the mat, when I am sweating and releasing toxins physically and mentally, I am so grateful for this grounding practice that is there no matter where I go and what happens in my life. It has been a remarkable miracle for me to witness how yoga has transformed my personal journey and impacted all of the small decisions I’ve made. Not all, but most have stemmed from a place of self-love vs one of fear or negativity, and all these small building blocks have converged into some larger results.

When I find myself overwhelmed, frustrated, or feeling like a failure, I head to the mat and through the 90 minute practice, I always emerge in a better place, even if it’s a subtle shift of perspective. Through the sweat, the connection of breath and movement, I’m able to shed certain thoughts, almost like hitting a “reset” button. I have been seeking out yoga studios and meditation centers wherever and whenever I travel. I love coming across this community that exists in every part of the world, knowing that despite language barriers or cultural differences, we are all connected by the universal language of asana. I am excited to share some of these gems with you for your journeys.