How many continents have you traveled to?
Six in total and after I experience the Antarctic summer it will be seven of seven!
I didn’t really intend to visit places based whether or not it was a factor in how many continents I had set foot on. But, things kind of happened to continue growing outward, with my interests pulling me to new and far off parts of the world. Also, I have this haphazard bucket list from when I was like 10 years old. So, the childhood dream was to eventually make it to every place I put on my list. My first overseas trip was to Asia, following this I went to South America, lived in Europe, then Africa, and finally traveled around Australia.
How long have you traveled solo?
Part time for the past four years, I am now working toward full time digital nomadism.
When and where was your first solo trip?
I went to Istanbul, Turkey back in 2012!
Where was your first overseas trip?
As I explain in my about me section, my family is exceptionally diverse and spread out across the globe. My mother was born in India and her family emigrated to the US when she was quite young. I visited India back in 2001 with my family and that was my first time overseas.
Do you ever go on trips with other people?
Yes, definitely! I’ll take the occasional family vacation, visit loved ones abroad, and sometimes I travel with friends if schedules fit and the opportunity arises. I studied abroad in while I was in University and that was like one very long extended trip with strangers turned friends!
Two of my favorite ladies and best friends live considerable distances from me (Hawaii and South Africa). So we’ve made a point to meet up somewhere mid-way since 2012. I spent this past June on the Big Island, so that was a huge highlight as I had never traveled to Hawaii!
Did you get a degree in journalism, travel writing or public relations?
Nope, I did not study any type of communications field, though I do have a University degree. I studied social and behavioral sciences – anthropology to be more specific. Anthropology is a vast field, which encompasses archaeology, biological and behavioral studies (of human beings and related primates), in addition it has linguistic and socio-cultural branches.
If you’re interested in anthropology, I highly recommend reading up on Claude Lévi Strauss, Jane Goodall, Margaret Mead, Paul Farmer, Zora Neale Hurston and Wade Davis. It’s an interdisciplinary field so many of the aforementioned anthropologists also fall under other disciplines for example primatologist, ethnobotanist, folklorist etc.
Why do you continue traveling alone if it wasn’t intentional on that first trip?
As I explain in my blog about Turkey, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect from traveling solo. But, this type of exploring has opened my eyes up to new ways of understanding myself and the world around me. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone was truly the catalyst for so many wonderful experiences and friendships abroad. After experiencing what it’s like to “go solo” I was excited to continue repeating that style of exploring. Independent travel forces me to really hone in on my surroundings, take in the various features of a place, and learn how to physically navigate new lands… Particularly because I can’t depend on anyone else (except maybe Siri) to do it for me. Traveling independently also gives me the most flexibility and fulfillment.
Imagine having sole discretion over what destination to select, how much to spend on accommodations and activities, what and where to eat, and how long to stay in a particular city or town. I’ve spent weeks exploring a small and quaint location simply because it captured my interest, I can only imagine how this might irritate a companion that didn’t feel the same way. My favorite part is of solo travel is when I decide I don’t want to make any decisions that day. Sometimes this means I’ll arrive in a new city without a hotel or knowing a single soul! Then, I’ll use the airport wifi, or stop in a cafe to browse for nearby accommodations. It’s truly liberating to be the sole decision maker guiding every minute of your day. I think that women are far stronger, more competent and resilient than the narrative about us would lead you to believe. So, trust your instincts, get out there and explore!
Finally, solo travel saves me endless amounts of money! Going when and where I please enables me to take advantage of last minute deals and incredibly low flight fares. Coordinating can be mind numbing… unless of course your travel companion has a similar digital nomadic lifestyle or your schedules coincide. When you’re going with someone else you (usually) have to merge two (or more) schedules. And, in my experience the other person often only has set dates and times of year to travel, which can be extremely expensive if they fall during major holidays. Americans are also notorious for underutilizing paid time off. To make matters worse, we have some of the lowest hours allocated for vacation globally and astonishingly low rates of passport holders. So, for me, linking up with a friend during peak holiday time (summer or winter holidays) can be hectic and expensive in the planning stages and beyond! I’ve really come to prefer the solo sensory experience that forces me to trust my instincts and absorb new countries without distractions.