Meet Kayla, an incredible soul who has combined her passion of art, travel and putting an end to human trafficking into starting a non-profit, Operation 1:27. This organization is under Florida Abolitionist, and raises funds and awareness for local human trafficking prevention efforts. She’s spent the last two summers in Greece, learning more about the cause, and applying the knowledge to Operation 1:27.


1. Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Kayla Orr, I’m 24 years old, currently living in Orlando, Florida. This question’s always hard for me. I enjoy art and writing, love sports – especially spikeball at the moment. You can hear my laugh across the room, it’s sort of obnoxious, and I apologize in advance. I attend the most wonderful church, One Hope. I work full time at 4Rivers and am a proud UCF Alumni. I love business in the nerdiest type of way. Seriously, Shark Tank is my favorite show and I’ll read business and marketing blogs for fun.

Traveling became a passion very quickly. It helps me refocus, and allows me to try some great coffee shops along the way.


2. Tell us about Operation 1:27

Based off of James 1:27, Operation 1:27 is an annual Silent Art Auction featuring all mediums of local art; from musicians, spoken word, tangible arts/crafts to baked goods. We organize all donations into a fun night of gathering together to learn about human trafficking, and bid on some amazing items. All funds are donated to Florida Abolitionist – Orlando’s local human trafficking taskforce, whose vision is ending human trafficking in all forms in Orlando, and all of the United States.


3. What inspired you to start Operation 1:27?

My sophomore year of college I attended a conference, Passion. There was an artist on stage who painted to a song, and the message it conveyed was very moving. Being an artist and a new Christian, I had no clue where my gifts fit within the church, and that day I realized my gift of art could be used.

After attending Passion and learning that human trafficking is so prevalent locally, in my own city (and not just abroad), I decided to make this cause the focus of our efforts.

Art is a powerful voice against injustice, and artists were the original story tellers. Most of what we know about history was because an artist captured it on some medium, in their own unique way. Even today, we are still extremely moved by ancient art. I felt inspired to start the first Operation 1:27 event in Jacksonville, to raise money for local orphans and widows who are victimized by human trafficking.

4. What has been the most fulfilling part of this journey?

Seeing other people join the cause, and receiving so much joy from their generosity. Everyone is gifted in such unique, essential ways. For example: I’m a visionary, details drain me. I’ll forget something as simple as pens for the event. From logistics, event planning, communicating, teaching, catering – all hands on deck are needed for this type of event. It’s so amazing and joyful to stand back the day of the event and just watch God’s people – Christian or not – confidently walk in their gifts to make a difference in our community.


5. Did you ever feel like you wanted to give up? And how did you work through it?

Honestly, every year there is some thought of ‘why am I doing this again?’ or ‘this won’t happen again after last years event.’ Yet, I always end up doing it anyways. It’s tough planning an event of this magnitude in the midst of everyday life. At some points attending school full time, and working full time. I’ve often been overwhelmed with how large and complex human trafficking really is. Although, every year the Lord sustains me through my awesome friends and community, who really are the heroes in this story. I cannot do this without their selflessness, passion and support. Oh and coffee…tons of coffee.


6. How does traveling to Greece tie into Operation 1:27?

In 2015, I went to Greece on a limb. My friend Lydia lives there so I decided to finally visit her last summer. I then connected with A21, an anti-human trafficking organization in Thessaloniki, Greece, to meet with them and learn.

In Greece prostitution is legal, as it always has been – even back to the temple days. I was blown away by how complex this issue is overseas. I was extremely curious if American business played a role in human trafficking abroad, since prostitution in itself is a business model of supply and demand. I learned very quickly it does, and what that looks like as a whole. I also learned about the need for companies to employee the rescued women, to help them learn job skills and earn an income.

During the summer of 2016, I went back again and connected with another organization. This time, I was able to visit brothels and see first hand what they look like and learn a different angle of rescuing and locating the victims. I can’t share the stories I heard or where we went, but I will say that to hear women as young as 14 and old as 21 are being held in a room for 12 hour shifts, really broke my heart and fueled my passion even more. It has led me to want to further understand business in the United States, and use art to raise funds to fight against human trafficking locally and overseas.


(Black Beach, Santorini)


(The Parthenon, Athens)


(Black Beach, Santorini)

7. Tell us the highlight of your Greece trips.

Being refueled. Rest is so important, something Americans rarely value. We take pride in being the most prompt, professional and efficient. But to be in such a beautiful country with such joyful people really allows you to breathe and rest and laugh. Oh, and the food and coffee is a bonus.



(Athens, Greece)

8. What cities and islands in Greece did you go to, and which is your favorite?

I’ve been to Athens, Milos, Hydra, Santorini and Thessaloniki. My favorite is Milos, it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. The beaches are pristine, the food is fresh, and the people and lifestyle is so simple and joyful.


(Plaka, Milos)

9. What advice do you have for people looking to start their own non profit ?

In my honest opinion, while being as sensitive to peoples’ passions as I can, my advice is to research and fully think through it. The process is frustrating alone and expensive. Look around first to see if you can join a local group and get on board with what they are already implementing. There are too many small organizations – if like minded people could join together think of the impact and funding available. There is power in numbers.

10. How can readers support Operation 1:27 ?

Our event is once a year, so of course we’ll need help then. We also need help all throughout the year in different ways! Give your time, talent and/or treasure. You give where your heart is.  If you’re in Orlando, sign up to volunteer and learn more at Florida Abolitionist’s website. If you’re not in Orlando, then join your city’s taskforce. If there isn’t one, help get one started. That is how you can help the most.

Check out Operation 1:27 on Facebook

Email Kayla at

Follow her on IG @kaymarieee0909



I fought through my fear of heights and braved the scariest walk in the world on the 4,600 foot high cliffside skywalk, in Tianmen Mountain in Hunan’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, but the incredibly breathtaking views are rewarding.


(A beautiful pagoda addition to the walkway – en route to Glass Plank Road)




(The walkway is known as the Coiling Dragon Cliff skywalk, 328 feet long and 5 feet wide)


(smiling but scared)

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 10.25.01 PM

(Picture courtesy of


(Had to put these shoe covers on while walking the bridge to ‘not scuff up the glass’)


(Chinese woman holding on for dear life – I’m with you girl!)





(a beautifully illustrated map of Tianmen Mountain Park)


If you’re looking for adventure and an extreme selfie -Tianmen Mountain is the place!

Dive beneath the surface in the Conch Republic in 48 hours…



Where to stay:

Finding affordable accommodation in Key West can be a struggle. Most AirBnBs (in a decent price range) are on boats, which personally my sea sickness didn’t love that idea. For the best location and price value mix, it’s best to stay at an inn or bed and breakfast off Duval Street. I stayed at The Cabana Inn – a block away from Duval Street. This Inn is the perfect location, and walking distance from everything on the island. The architecture is very Key West style, with a pool, complimentary breakfast and happy hour. Other accommodation suggestion: The Mermaid and the Alligator.



Flying: Key West International airport is about 15 minutes from the city center.

Ferry: Key West Express – there is a ferry from Ft. Myers and Marco Island to Key West.

Driving: From Miami, it’s a straight shot on Route 1 through the Keys, all the way down to the southernmost island, Key West. It’s a one way road, and if you don’t hit any traffic is about 3.5 hours. If your hotel doesn’t offer parking, there are a few parking garages on the northern side of Key West you can park in over night, which are about $15 per night.

Everything on the island is walking distance, so you won’t need your car. There are no Ubers, but there are plenty of car taxis and bike taxis when you want one.


Day 1:

Glazed Donuts 

Debatably the best doughnut in Florida. This doughnut shop bakes new flavors daily, and also have great island flavors like key lime and pina colada(YUM!). It’s best to go earlier in the day because they do sell out.


Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

In a town not known for its beaches, Fort Zachary Taylor Park is a beauty which sits on the western side of the island. It has the cleanest beach and clearest waters in Key West. Umbrella and chair rentals are available ($25 all day for 2 chairs and 1 umbrella). 



Sunset pier

 Get there early to secure a front row seat to watch the sunset and sip on a pina colada. Try the conch fritters for some local eats.


Garbos’ Grill

Featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives on the food network, this food stand serves eclectic, inventive takes on tacos, burritos and burgers. Located behind a bar, Grunts. Perfect spot to have a drink and stuff your face with tacos.


Better than Sex 

This dessert bar offers an extensive menu of decadent treats in an intimate environment. Be sure to indulge in the dipped wine glasses. With my champagne obsession, I ordered the Kiss Me Katie which is sparkling wine with a carmel sauce dipped glass(drooling just thinking about it). Be sure to make a reservation, this place fills up fast!


Southernmost Point

This landmark marks 90 miles north of Cuba. Tip: Go at night to avoid the crowds and line of tourists waiting to snap a picture in front of it. It’s very peaceful sitting on the ledge overlooking the water.

Day 2:

Firefly Key West – delicious Southern restaurant, perfect for brunch and blood orange mimosas. If the heat is bearable, sit upstairs on the terrace.

Alternative spot: Blue Heaven


Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Now a U.S. National Historic Landmark, this literary icon’s house is filled with his original furniture and memorabilia. The garden is remarkable, and one of my favorite parts. The house is swarmed with cats, have their own Instagram account(celeb status), @hemingwayhomecats. $13 admission for adults.



Key West Light House

The light house is located right across the street from the Ernest Hemingway House. The climb up the 88 steps is steep and constricting. Although, the 365 degree views at the top are worth it. $10 admission for adults.


Duvall Street

A street over a mile long filled with bars and restaurants. It’s definitely a tourist hot spot, but you can’t avoid going there. Tip: make your own bar crawl (day or night). My favorite spot is Fat Tuesday, a.k.a. frozen drink heaven. 

Bahia Honda State Park 

Add this beautiful state park to your list for some beach time and crystal clear waters.  It’s about an hour drive north from Duvall Street.



What are some of your favorite Key West spots?!

Girl Bosses on the Go showcases gals who have a passion for traveling. This is an on-going series to showcase those women who deserve a girl boss stamp in their passport.


The first of the Girl Bosses on the Go is my lovely friend, Rae, who has lived in Dubai for 3 years and currently works in business development. Read about her travel tips and tricks, life as a woman in the Middle East and favorite travel experiences after visiting 42 countries.


(hiking Mount Kilimanjaro)

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am American, from Orlando, 28 years old, have completed 2 master’s degrees, lived on 3 continents, and traveled to 42 countries. Traveling is my oxygen, I itch to get out and explore the world – I want to see every country of the world – even the “forbidden” ones. Every country and culture is a new experience and I would hate to miss out on one.

2. What inspired you to start get your start your adventures living abroad?

My life has always been about chance… I read an article in Marie Claire magazine while on an airplane which highlighted this elite program at the International University of Monaco. I didn’t think much of it but my Mom encouraged me to apply. I didn’t tell anybody because I didn’t think I had a chance of gaining admission but when I got my acceptance letter, I was in awe. For a split second I had to think about what was happening, but then it just became a given that I was going because of the amazing opportunity awaiting me.

3. What made you decide to move to Dubai?

When I was living in Monaco, I was having the best time of my life. I always traveled here and there when I grew up in Florida… Bahamas or Mexico, always “far enough” but still close to home… but when I moved to Monaco is when I truly discovered my unquenchable thirst to explore the world. I suddenly found a new appreciation for history and cultural immersion, always seeking unique and authentic experiences. When I finished my degree, I knew I didn’t want to go back to the U.S. yet and Dubai just happened to have a great opportunity for me so as I always say in my life… “why not?”

4. What is life like as an American woman living in the Middle East? 

Before I moved to Dubai, I was buying sweaters, long dresses, one-piece bathing suits, and preparing myself to be ultra-conservative. Once I arrived is when I realized that the only people who dress like this (aside from the locals, of course), are the tourists because they don’t know any better. Being a woman in an Islamic country actually has its perks. We have ladies only taxis (driven by ladies wearing pink hijabs and the taxis are pink too!), ladies only check-out lines, ladies only gyms, and hundreds (yes, hundreds) of ladies nights all across Dubai every night of the week offering food and drinks specials – all of these are optional and nothing is forced. Ladies are always prioritized before men are – I often find myself being invited to skip lines.

Living here you learn to dress for the occasion and keep it appropriate… When I am going to the club, I wear the same as I would back home, when I go to the mall, I wear normal clothes (just not short shorts), and when I am going somewhere more conservative with locals (like a bank, government office, etc.) then I dress much more conservatively to show respect. Living in a country like this is all about finding the balance and maintaining respect.


(Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates never gets old – the opulence and details are simply stunning!)

5. What’s the hardest part about living in Dubai?

The hardest part about living in Dubai is obviously being so far away from my family and missing key moments. A few weeks after moving to Dubai my Grandfather passed away and it was very hard to get back for his funeral, but thank God I did. This past Christmas I missed my step-sister’s wedding. Living so far forces you to make tough decisions and learn to be independent while also making painful sacrifices.

In regards to Dubai specifically, the hardest thing about living here is respecting the laws for the Holy Month of Ramadan – especially when it’s in the dead middle of the summer and it’s 120 degrees Fahrenheit outside! I have experienced 3 Ramadan’s so far and it’s very hard to not eat in public, drink in public, no road rage, no cursing, no loud music, and basically just creating a “Stepford” style environment. Of course it’s a nice change to have everyone being so happy and nice, however, when it’s so hot outside and it’s illegal to drink water being seen, it definitely creates a challenge (I mean, who wants to sneak in a public bathroom just to sip the water you’re hiding in your purse!? Gross!).

6. What do you miss most about America?

Umm, totally Chik-Fil-A! Jokes. I mean, I do miss it but it’s not the number one thing I miss. The thing I really miss the most is special moments. I’ve had to pass up bridal showers, engagement parties, bachelorette parties, baby showers, funerals, weddings, American holidays and other monumental moments in the lives of my family and girlfriends. You would think that as the time goes on it gets easier but that’s never the case. Each one hurts just as much as the first time.


(I’ve celebrated the 4th of July being abroad for the last 5 years – this year was my favorite celebrating in Dubai with fellow Americans.)

7. What advice can you give to people to make the leap to start traveling?

Americans get criticized a lot for having one of the most powerful passports in the world but not traveling enough. Once I moved abroad, I finally understood why… Traveling from the U.S. is not convenient as it often takes 24-hours each way to get anywhere vastly different from home. Given that most employees get a mere 2 weeks’ vacation, this does not make it easy to tempt someone to waste 2 days just for travel purposes. On the contrast, I wish more people would take the leap of faith and just go… go somewhere totally different, somewhere out of your comfort zone, so you can experience something completely new and at the same time, learn to appreciate where you are from.

8. What’s your best advice for someone who has never traveled abroad before?

Before booking a trip, if you want to go with someone, make sure they have the same traveling style as you. By “traveling style” I mean, find someone who has the same priorities. For me, I can’t stand wasting my time in museums. I spent 30 minutes in the Lourve and 20 of those minutes were spent battling crowds just to see the Mona Lisa, take my photo, and get back out. When people travel they have styles whether it be shopping, adventure, museums, city trips vs. nature trips, etc. I have been on a trip with someone who has a totally different approach to traveling than me and it doesn’t allow for a productive or enjoyable trip.


(Hiking up the mountain to enjoy the beautiful views on Cat Bâ island in Vietnam.)

9. What are some of your traveling tips?

I have 3 goals when I travel: look for adventures, immerse yourself culturally, and give back.

When I go to a new city or country, I always try to book something adventurous (some examples of my adventures: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, a hot air balloon ride over the Great Migration in Kenya, riding on an elephant bare-back in a river in Thailand, taking a private side-car tour in Spain, great-white shark diving in South Africa, and the list goes on). These moments to me were each unforgettable in their own ways.

For immersing yourself culturally, I always try to seek the most authentic moments possible… be spontaneous and see where you end up. Trust your gut. Talk to locals, hear their stories. Try to get off the beaten path and go where the tourists aren’t. Discover your own places and experiences.

When I travel, I naturally want to give back because many of the countries that I’ve been to are not thriving economies and I want to contribute as much as I can. Giving back doesn’t always mean volunteering but there are other ways, too. For example, when booking to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I realized there are hundreds of companies to choose from, with many based out of the U.S. and U.K. Instead, I chose a local company based out of Moshi, Tanzania. I would much rather give a local company the business than some overpriced Western company.


(After climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, all I wanted to do was go play with the kids at Amani Children’s home in Moshi, Tanzania.)

10. Where has been your favorite location to visit and what made it so special?

After conquering 42 countries, it’s really hard to narrow it down to one. I am in love with so many countries and places for reasons that were unique to each experience. 

Laos was definitely one of my favorite and life changing at the same time. While I was there, I learned of “The Secret War” which basically is a huge event in the history of the country, but no one knows about it – which is strange since the U.S. was the cause of all of it from 1964 to 1973 ☹ Basically during the Vietnam War, when the U.S. fighter planes had bombs that they didn’t drop, they couldn’t risk landing while still carrying them because of potential risks of self-explosion. Because of this, they would drop them over Laos, land safely back on base, and think nothing of it. The UXO’s (unexploded ordnances) would then sit there for years and still decades later and have caused detrimental damage to the country and people when they eventually develop the land. Because of the U.S.’s negligence, this beautiful country is still facing major, major challenges and deaths even today due to the presence of the UXO’s. Long story short, learning about this was embarrassing as it is indeed a secret (the U.S. finally acknowledged our role on May 15, 1997) but the most humbling moment was realizing that the Laotian people were so peaceful about it and so kind and welcoming to me.

It was a moving moment for me, so moving, that I got the word “Peace” tattooed in Lao language as the people represent the ultimate example of peace and how we should live. The fact that they don’t seek revenge or publicity, just peace, was absolutely mind blowing to me.

Catch Rae’s recent adventures on her travel blog or on IG @roamingrae. Comment below any questions you have for this traveling babe!