My name is Alexa Rae Johnson. You can call me Alexa Rae, X-Ray, Zaagi, Lex, Lexa, Lexie, AJ, ARae, or any other combination you come up with…

I look something like this.


I grew up in a small community in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in a town called La Verne, California – less than an hour outside of Los Angeles.

When I was two years old I would point to the television and proclaim that I was born to be on the big screen.

Five years later that dream came true. I booked my first work in the entertainment industry, a commercial for corn dogs (thank goodness that was before the YouTube era). Sadly, at the age of thirteen, my parents suggested that I take a break from the film & TV industry to focus on school and plans for college.

Around the time that I was being escorted from audition to audition (thanks Mom!), I was also obsessively reading travel books, particularly about Hawai’i. My mom briefly lived on the island of Oahu as a teenager and her stories about working nights in the Dole pineapple factory and spending her days snorkeling on remote, private beaches romanced my young imagination.

Cultures in general always intrigued me – maybe because I was clueless as to which culture I am genetically linked to (by the way, I was adopted). During high school I submitted my DNA to the National Genographic Project and discovered that my mitochondrial DNA showed I belonged to Haplogroup X. Come to find out, I am part Native American (Ojibwe/Chippewa tribe). In fact, that is where the name “Zaagi” comes from. In the Ojibwe language the word “zaagi” is a verb meaning “to love; or to treasure” something.

Alexa Rae of the travel blog, Zaagi Travel, posing with a glass of Kvass in Riga, Latvia during the summer of 2013 via ZaagiTravel.com

A few months later, on December 17, 2008, I was accepted as the first student of the Class of 2013 at San Diego State University, my dad’s alma mater. Go Aztecs! I graduated from SDSU in May 2013 with a degree in Communication and a minor in International Studies.

During college, the Spring 2011 semester to be exact, I studied abroad on Semester at Sea – a program sponsored by the University of Virginia that allows students to travel to multiple countries while living on a cruise ship. During some of the best four months of my life I visited twelve countries across South America, Africa, and Asia.

Today, I have visited 39 countries.

My favorites…

  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • France
  • Austria
  • Great Britain — Ireland/England (haven’t been to Scotland yet…)
  • South Africa
  • Ghana
  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam

Where I want to go next…

  • Greece
  • Croatia
  • Sardinia
  • Portugal
  • Turkey
  • All the Pacific islands
  • Antartica
  • Peru
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Thailand
  • Myanmar
  • Back to everywhere I’ve already been (aside from China&Singapore for personal reasons)
  • Anddddd ALL the other countries in the world… seriously.
Visiting the village of Egyam, Ghana

So what is my life about right NOW?

I left my job as a freelance writer over at The Daily MailOnline, the world’s most popular online newspaper, to move across the world to be closer to the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

Now, I live in a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand with my incredible boyfriend James.

I spend my free time exploring the most beautiful country in the entire world, catching up with friends near by and across the planet, taking pictures, and dancing around while baking/cooking — usually healthy food — kitchen.

If you’re still curious… here are some other things about me.

Things I Love:

  • My family and my dogs
  • My James
  • Anything to do with the ocean
  • All forms of dance
  • Photography
  • Healthy eating — except for my few guilty pleasures
  • Ice cream (especially Gelato), french fries (especially poutine), chocolate, and potato chips
  • American Sign Language
  • Fitness and nutrition
  • Instagram
  • Comfy beds
  • The LA Lakers, LA Dodgers, Minnesota Vikings, & the SDSU Aztecs! And now the All Blacks!
  • Reading magazines and other blogs
  • Cooking and baking
  • Heavy eating utensils and pretty coffee mugs
  • Turquoise and pink
  • Aviators and riding boots
  • Shopping at random boutiques
  • Belgian wheat beers and flat white coffees
  • Goldendoodles and Quarter Horses
  • “Seperated At Birth” and “Downton Abbey”
  • “Pride & Prejudice” (the Kiera Knightley version)
  • Angelina Jolie
  • “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake & “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
  • Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Big Fork, Montana
  • Christmas and summertime – which is now the same thing for me in NZ…

Things I Definitely Don’t Love:

  • Bees – I’m allergic
  • Being cold
  • Split ends
  • When someone bails on plans
  • Close-minded and judgmental people
  • Leashes on children

My life motto:

“When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance…”

This lyric is from “I Hope You Dance” by LeeAnn Womack, a song that reminds my family of my GrandDad, because it describes the way in which he viewed the world and chose to live his life before he passed in 2004. It holds a special place in my heart and plays a big role in my own life now.

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