Travel Interview With Strangers Abroad
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am a solo-female traveler, podcaster, pie baker, and storyteller. I live in New York, but I desire to hit every country before I die with modern medicine, I still have plenty of time.
Please tell us about your blog.
My first podcast, Strangers Abroad, is just the beginning of my love affair with the medium. I found a way to unite my Psychology & Sociology degrees with my love of storytelling, performance, and fervent discussions. Strangers Abroad is a series of conversations I had with strangers I met while backpacking throughout Latin America for 5 months, overlapped with my personal stories about being a woman who travels alone. The conversations focus on self-growth, world progress, and the importance of travel with all of the wonderful + weird people I met while traveling.
I have expanded to blogging in between podcasting to keep my writing skills and community sharp and engaged. I don’t write “ Top Ten” lists but my writing touches more upon the psychological, social aspects of travel and what it is like to be a solo-female traveler. I want to show the realities of being a SFT and inspire other women to preserver through the challenges that come with it.
How long have you been blogging for? And what do you enjoy most about blogging?
I started documenting my travels three years ago, and it began with my podcast, which will always be my first love. However, I do find that writing about my travels is a different cathartic experience- it’s more free thinking and uninterrupted by the feeling of needing to perform. I feel I can be more honest in certain ways with writing but the same goes for podcasting. I enjoy combining the two mediums because I think both provide separate experiences for the audience.
What are your top 5 destinations on your bucket list and why those places?
“I am interested in all these places because they all seem very extreme in geography, environment, and culture. These are also corners of the world I have yet to explore and am dying to get to”.
What have been some of your favourite destinations you have visited & why?
In order of falling in love with them.
I have fallen in love with each of these cities for the same reasons: the architecture, the creativity, and the light. They all make me feel more connected to an aspect of myself I don’t get at home. Maybe it’s because they are older and carry really heavy histories within them. At the end of the day, I can never really explain why I feel more aligned in these places other than I simply do.
What 5 things could you not travel without?
A notebook + inky pen.
A good pair of sensible walking shoes.
An iphone with plenty of downloaded podcasts.
My favorite pair of leggings that has a hidden pocket where I stash all of my credit cards+cash.
As you are a solo traveller – do you have any good solo travel tips to share with our readers?
Talk to as many strangers as possible. One huge advantage of traveling alone is that you are more approachable to people who might not feel comfortable going up to a group of people. When you are alone, especially as a woman, people are more curious about you and are more likely to talk to you.
I have been able to have just as insightful conversations with strangers as I have friends who I have known since I was four. Only these conversations hold no preconceived notions; you are able to talk from where you stand in that moment and not let your past cloud how the other person perceives you. It holds more opportunity for honesty and is impeccably freeing.
Please share one travel quote you love or have made up yourself.
“The world is filled with best friends, lovers, partners in crime, and companions. But they may live in New Delhi, Stockholm, or Perth and you may never meet them unless you go out and travel.”
Do you use travel apps? If so which ones do you recommend & why?
Duolingo for learning languages.
Google maps because you can save your maps offline.
Hopper for flights.
How do you plan your trips / travels?
There are a few things I do to prepare myself for my travels.
I will read a lot of literature and history about the place I am about to visit, so I have a better understanding of the people’s perspective, priorities, and history.
I will always look up on travel.state.gov to make sure the country I’m traveling through is safe and if there are any current political risks to going there.
I will always research body language habits in case they are different so I don’t accidentally offend someone.
Lastly, I will look up off the beaten path things to do there. I like having a balance between touristy activities and more local experiences. I avoid group tours but will do them if that is the only way to see an attraction. I don’t like having my handheld and prefer to go at my own pace.
When it comes to flights, I can typically find some good deals at studentuniverse.com.
Have you had any scary or strange experiences when travelling ? If so what happened?
Oh, we don’t have enough space on the internet to go into all of them. However, I have been trapped in a tannery in Fez, was almost sold for a pack of cigarettes in Turkey, was abandoned at a bus stop in Rome, had to bail someone out of jail in Essaouira, hitchhiked in the Netherlands, and had my passport stolen in Mexico. Fortunately, the universe was kind in all of those situations and nothing detrimental happened to my mental/ physical/ emotional health happened.
What are some of the highs & lows of solo travel?
Loneliness was something I had to overcome when traveling. It was hard being surrounded by so many people all the time who didn’t know who I was. But that also gave me opportunity to really define myself and not have it be based around the perceptions of those who did know me. I feel like that is a high and low at the same time.
Do you have a favourite travel books?
Bill Bryson “ A Sunburnt Country”
Alain de Botton “ On Love”
Rolf Potts “Vagabonding”
Joshua Feur “Atlas Obscura: An explorer’s guide to the world’s hidden wonders.”
Many of our readers are interested in travel blogging & earning whilst being able to travel, do you have any tips on this topic?
Travel blogging as a form of income is trending right now and seems like it is an easy in to get free trips and things. But it takes a long time and a lot of dedication because it is an oversaturated market. I would say the most important aspect is to be yourself and find your true voice because no one can mimic that.
As a solo traveller – do you have any good money saving travel tips to share?
For most of my trips I have tried to couchsurf + volunteer as much as possible. I don’t necessarily do it because it is cost effective, but I truly get a better perspective and understanding of the people and place I am staying in. The fact that it is free/ cheap is a bonus.
What are three things travel has taught you?
Travel has taught me so much more than I could have anticipated. There are more than three things that travel has taught me, but there are overarching lessons that really stick out.
First is that your problems follow you around the world. I thought that because I was traveling I wouldn’t feel lonely or directionless, which were two feelings that would plague me at home. However, they still crept into my hostel rooms, sat next to me on buses, and walked me home late at night. But after months of traveling alone, I got cozy with these feelings and stopped allowing them to dictate my experience. I honestly love being alone now because I feel more centered as a person and am truer to who I am.
Piggybacking on the previous point, because I traveled alone, I was able to see what my true potential was and who I was without the influence of others. I was able to become more mindful of the parts of me I needed to work on. Simultaneously, I became more solidified on the integral aspects of who I am regardless of my location. Traveling alone gave me time to see my true potential and become a more empathetic person to myself and others because of it.
Lastly, I think I was able to test how strong I really am. When you travel alone and aren’t dependent on others, you have to rely on yourself. I was in a relationship during my last long trip in Latin America. I was traveling with my ex for two out of the five months, and I realized while my (ex) partner and I were traveling together that I was embarrassingly dependent on him. I was nervous that once he left, which was part of the plan, that I wouldn’t be able to travel on my own. This was a truly ludacris thought because years before I had traveled on my own for months at a time, for farther distances, and with fewer inhibitions. But there was this level that I couldn’t trust myself. When I turned my back on him and gave him the last kiss we would ever exchange, I stepped onto the bus with the fear that I couldn’t do it. However, the universe has a way of showing you your true strength. In less than 2 hours, I had made friends with some Kiwis and locals on the bus and went out to dinner with them once we got to our destination. I remembered the high of traveling alone and realized that I could travel as far as my legs could take me without him or anyone.
Please subscribe to my podcast on iTunes! You can also follow Strangers Abroad Podcast on Stitcher + Spoke.
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