I have been wanting to do a question and answer for awhile because I know that many of you have questions for me – but sometimes you don’t come forward and ask them (please, just message me). So, here are my answers to the questions I received on my posts!
How do you cope with language barriers?
Language barriers can be quite intimidating. Being surrounded by a different language that you don’t speak can cause some culture shock and honestly can make or break your trip. Lucky enough for me, I speak English….and most people around the world are taught English growing up. When I travel in Europe, it’s quite easy for me to ask questions and have conversations with people because they all speak a bit of English. When I travel in Asia, it becomes a little more difficult. The older generations don’t tend to know any English and I had to communicate with my hands a lot. In South America, it can be the same way. I am here in South America now and I am learning a bit of Spanish each and every day. When people try to ask me a question and they’re speaking so fast…it’s hard for me. I speak broken Spanish – and they understand. I always try and learn a few things in whatever language I will be surrounded by before my trips. Always learn how to greet others, thank others, and silly questions like “Where is the bathroom?” “How much does it cost?”, etc. I get overwhelmed with language barriers sometimes, but it’s really good for me to be amerced in Spanish currently because I want to be fluent. Most people understand and you can always find someone that speaks even just a little bit of English. 🙂 It isn’t as awful as you’d expect.
When you travel solo, how do you just go with it without having any set plans? Have you encountered getting lost/not understanding the language/not enough funds/etc? If so, what do you do about it?
When I first started traveling, I traveled with a set schedule. I remember my first time in Europe, I had all of my train tickets and hostel rooms booked months before I went. As I moved through my trip, I ended up getting kind of upset because I would fall in love with a city and want to stay longer. Or maybe an opportunity came up, but I couldn’t take it because I was leaving the next day. I’ve been traveling without an itinerary for about a year now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. All I do is buy a one-way ticket. I never have any issues with finding a place to stay or how to get there. Hostels and couchsurfing tend to have last minute options – if not, AirBnB is the next step. Traveling with complete freedom is amazing because I’m not held down by any plans and can move around as I wish. If I meet people, I can go with them somewhere if I want. If I want to stay somewhere longer, I can. Haha, I’ve gotten lost…but never anything too crazy. Always just minor things when it comes to getting lost, not understanding the language, and running out of money. Getting lost, I usually have a map (either paper, or screenshot on my phone). If anything, I can ask someone where my hostel is – and usually the locals know. Language barriers happen, but once again….nothing that has killed me. And my last trip to South America I ran low on funds and unfortunately had to cut my trip short….but I just keep an eye on my money and budget wisely.
Favorite and least favorite place you’ve been during your travels – why?
Oooo, the worst question ever. Indonesia is probably my favorite country that I have traveled to, Bali in particular. The weather was absolutely beautiful, the food was amazing, I was able to travel around for very cheap, and the locals are the greatest humans. Being surrounded by the culture there had a huge impact on me. The way people live and how happy they are with so little….it’s truly amazing. I got to experience a Hindu ceremony with a local family in a small village in northern Bali and that’s probably my favorite travel memory ever. My least favorite place? I didn’t care for Milan, Italy that much at all. It’s nothing compared to southern cities and the people there weren’t that nice. I had a creepy guy follow me around the main street and there wasn’t that many things to do there that intrigued me. A lot of expensive shopping….which I don’t care for.
How do you choose which country/area/cities to go to? There are so many different choices and places to go and see!
Yeah, exactly. There are SO many different places I plan on visiting. I usually see one thing on Instagram, an article, a movie, etc…..and I get fascinated and sort of obsessed with the idea of visiting/doing something there. For example – I got super obsessed with the idea of hiking the Inca Trail so I went to Peru. I wanted to get scuba certified and so I went to eastern Bali to dive. I wanted to volunteer with elephants – went to Thailand. Right now I am in South America because when I was in Peru/Chile 6 months ago, I really loved Latin America and wanted to experience the rest of it. I want to visit friends in Brazil, so now I’m traveling the continent. When it comes to cities, I usually just talk to locals or people that work at hostels for recommendations. They’re the best to ask 😉
How do you even begin to save for your trips? I want to travel so bad but don’t have the money for it.
Ahhh, yes. How the hell do I afford this life? First, you should know that I am a budget traveler. I don’t stay in nice hotels, buy fancy things, go out to eat everyday, etc. I stay in hostels and couchsurf – which I love both. (And if you see some of the hostels I stay in, they can be pretty amazing). When I am in a city for a few days, I will go to the store and get food that I can cook and that will last me a few days to save money. I am very careful with my money during my travels – so that helps and makes my trips last. Now, before my trips….I work….a lot. I thankfully had a good job when I was living in Michigan, so I was making good money, working ALL the time…and then I saved it. It’s all about focusing on the difference between wants and needs. I don’t go shopping often, I don’t go out to eat or hit the drive-thru. I don’t smoke cigarettes (saves me SO much). If you think about how many Starbucks coffees you have had the last 6 months, or how much you spent on going out to eat – it adds up….and can end up paying for your accommodation for weeks. I’ll give you an example. Say you go to Starbucks four times a week. Your coffee costs you $6 each time…..$24 in total. That $24 could give you 7 meals, 4 nights in a hostel, 10 bus rides in Asia, etc…..EVERYTHING MATTERS. So, not only am I saving my money and being a smart spender BEFORE my trip…..but during my trip, I still have to be smart…..and I travel for cheap. It works well.
When you’re abroad, what’s your favorite form of travel? Plane, train, boat, etc?
Depends where I am, I suppose. I typically go for the cheapest – so in Asia and South America I like to travel by bus. I can take a 10 hour bus for like….$5. I don’t really like traveling by plane because it’s such a hassle to go through airports, check baggage, delays, etc. I like buses and if I’m traveling islands – for sure a boat. The cheaper, the better…
What made you fall in love with the idea of world travel? What sparked the travel bug as a kid….or maybe as an adult?
I always traveled with my family on cruises and stuff as I was growing up and LOVED it. But actually, when I was in high school I became very good friends with a foreign exchange student from Germany. We always talked about how I would come to Germany and visit her one day. 3 years later, I bough a plane ticket to Germany and we backpacked to France and The Netherlands together. I fell in love with it, and wanted to see the rest of Europe…..so one year later I booked a plane ticket to Germany again and backpacked 9 countries by myself. I haven’t stopped since…..nor do I plan to any time soon 😉
Do you miss Michigan?
Considering it was almost 100 degrees warmer here a few days ago, I’m going to go with no. I always miss my family and friends, and I LOVE Michigan…..but I’m happy living this lifestyle right now.
When traveling around America do you ever sleep at rest stops? I’ve had a few people tell me not to do it.
When I was road-tripping around the states I was either couchsurfing or camping in my tent, but sometimes neither of those options were available. I don’t recommend rest stops because people are constantly coming and going, there’s usually no cameras, and sketchy things DO happen. I actually slept in parking lots of hotels when I ran out of options. I would put my blankets all around my windows, pass out, wake up early, and head out. Probably not allowed, but I felt safer and I only stayed for the night.
What’s your top 3 favorite places you have been to or recommend?
Depends on the person. Some people want to be surrounded by beaches and relax, some want to climb mountains, some want culture and food…..I can always give recommendations to people based on their wants. However, these three places have a good balance of everything: #1 Bali, Indonesia #2 Cusco, Peru #3 Oahu, Hawaii
What is the worst part about traveling the world?
The worst part?! Meeting amazing people and then having to part ways from them. I always meet people and immediately click….then I only get to spend a few days with them….my heart breaks every time!
Do you get lonely traveling by yourself?
I am traveling solo….but I’m not always solo. I am traveling all over the world and being alone forces me to connect with others. I hangout with new people everyday and have connections from all over the world. Some nights I want to be alone and relax, and I can do that too. It’s perfect.
Do you ever get scared when you’re traveling alone?
I have my days where bad things happen, I get overwhelmed and want to break down….but never anything extreme. You always have to be aware of your surroundings, which can make you skeptical…but I like to travel with a trust in humanity. I trust complete strangers with rides, my questions, and to sleep in their home. I trust my gut.
What’s your favorite thing about traveling?
The fact that I have become a better human because of it. I have been exposed to the reality of the world we live in and have gained empathy because of it. I have stayed in poor villages and realized that I don’t need much to make me happy. I have become more open-minded, respectful, and informed. I have become less judgmental, fearful, and