The RTW Trip Giveaway: A Winner’s Update (Part 1)

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/success-story-heather/

Heather hanging out in South America
What would you do with a free trip around the world? Last year, I gave away a trip around the world. After going through thousands of entries, in the end, Heather was the winner. Her story was powerful. She’s been on the road a little over a month now and it’s time to catch up with her and find out about her trip, how the budgeting is going (is she doing $50 a day?), and the lessons learned.

Nomadic Matt: Heather, congrats on winning! You’ve been on your trip for about a month. First, how did you feel about winning?
Heather: Thanks, Matt! Winning was, in a word, surreal. I’ve never felt so dazed in my life. I’ve never won so much as a raffle prize before, so I didn’t actually believe you for at least a solid week. I kept thinking it was a dream, and I was scared to tell people in case it was. My little sister asked me if I was sure it wasn’t a human-trafficking scheme!

Overall, I feel so loved and supported by my friends and family and extremely, extremely lucky.

I’ve been trying to imagine what my mom would say if she were here to see this. I don’t have much of a frame of reference, since I only really started traveling after she passed. However, I’m sure she would be shaking her damn head at this trip! She would definitely think I’m crazy. And I know she definitely wouldn’t understand leaving my stable job to do this. In the end, though, I know she wouldn’t try to stop me or dissuade me. She would be happy for me; it just might not have been her first reaction. “Stop talking crazy” might have been the first thing!

Where are you going on this trip?
I’m spending the next few months in South America. I originally planned to stay in Peru for three weeks, but I might end up staying for six because there is so much I want to see here! I chose to spend a lot of time in South America because it’s been my dream to backpack here for so long.

I also just love the huge diversity of life and cultures here, and the interaction between indigenous cultures and Spanish colonialism. There are also so many amazing sites (such as the Galápagos, the Amazon, Machu Picchu, etc.). There is so much to learn and soak in.

Heather lounging in a pool in Ecuador

I leave for Lisbon on May 2nd, and then I want to see Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Kenya, and Tanzania before heading on to Southeast Asia. It was really hard to choose which countries to visit — my list was originally about 36 countries long! But my friends talked me down and convinced me that it was better to go in depth than to keep hopping around and tire myself out. I have the rest of my life to go and see the rest of the world.

I actually put my whole (hopeful) itinerary up on my new blog.

Where have you been so far?
I spent a few weeks in Ecuador, including the Galápagos, before I moved on to Peru. I’m working my way south and east, eventually to Brazil.

The first week I spent in Quito being hosted by friends of my family. I mainly rested and planned the trip, including getting my visa to Brazil at the consulate there. I was so focused on closing up my life in LA and getting out quickly that I had put barely any thought into my trip. I just left. Taking the time to plan really calmed me. My hosts were really gracious and took great care of me.

After that, my sister came down and we spent a few days in Baños, Ecuador, which was fantastic! I jumped off a bridge and we went canyoning down some waterfalls. We also did a day tour of the Amazon. I had mixed feelings about the tour — I tend to hate planned excursions like that, and there was a part of the day that included an indigenous show that felt forced and disingenuous. It made me a little uncomfortable.

Heather bungy jumping off a bridge

I also spent 10 days in the Galápagos, which was insanely beautiful. It was hard on the budget for sure, but the islands are so well protected. Now I’m in Cajamarca in the north of Peru enjoying the Carnaval celebrations. It’s madness. I’m really not much of a partier. My host is so generous and accommodating, so I’m really enjoying my time here.

How’s your daily budget going? Any big surprises?
I’m definitely running a deficit right now, because of the trip to the Galápagos, but I knew that going in. (Some other expenses too, such as paying for the visa to Brazil ($160), contributed to that as well.) Everything is super expensive on the island. Last-minute cruises for four days are about $1,000, and eight-day cruises start at about $1,700. I opted out of a cruise and decided to do the self-tour, which was a bit more challenging but still an amazing experience. Hostels on the island are basically $20 everywhere, which is about twice as much as on the mainland. But I did find some ways to save money. For instance, I found a restaurant on Santa Cruz Island that served a great $5 lunch.

I’m feeling OK about the splurge, though, because I’m saving in other ways. For instance, I bought my flight out of South America to Europe on points. That saved me about $700. I plan on buying most of my flights on points. I’m also doing a lot of Couchsurfing in Peru (and Peru is cheap overall).

Heather snorkeling in the Galapagos

Not counting the Galápagos, in the first month, I spent about $600, including my hostels, food, activities. Hostels are generally costing me $10 a night, and meals are rarely more than $10 each; lunch is usually much less. In Baños, for instance, we met the owner of an arepas restaurant and just ate lunch there every day. Now, in Cajamarca, between Couchsurfing and the cheap cost of living, I would be surprised if I’ve spent more than $30 in the past five days. Breakfast is $1-2, and we took a 30-minute ride bus outside of the city, which cost 5 soles, or about $1.50, each.

Also, looking back on my journal of expenses, I would say I’m spending too much on transportation. I would attribute this to taxis. When I’m out and about, sometimes people tell me it’s unsafe to walk and I should take a taxi. Or, for instance, when I was staying with my family friends in Quito, their house is pretty far from the city, so I would find myself taking a taxi rather than walk the 40 minutes to the bus stop. If I’m feeling unsure about the situation I’m in (at night or if I don’t see many solo walkers around), I take a taxi. So I think I could cut back or find other ways to avoid feeling unsafe.

Speaking of safety, how do you feel about your safety as a solo female traveler? Is South America safe?
Yes, I generally feel safe. I’ve only had a few problems. The caveat is that I really don’t go out at night that often (I’m more of a morning person) and tend to stick to the ‘safe’ areas. I get a lot of people warning me to be extra safe and that always freaks me out. I would like to be more adventurous and I’m trying to balance that desire with the practicality of being safe.

The first month is always an adjustment. How are you going to stay on budget in the future?
I’m a huge planner, and taking the time to think through my “must haves” really helps. I’ve also found that not rushing and going slow helps cut down expenses. I’m trying to take my time and stick to the activities I will really enjoy. For instance, paying an admission to see a cathedral almost never makes my list. A lot of guides online mention churches as the must sees. I ignore them completely, unless there is something different about them. For example, I paid for a tour in Lima to see the catacombs but, other than that, I’d rather use the money elsewhere.

Heather at the equatorWhat are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far?
I am learning how to not stress about plans or money, which was something my mom was always trying to teach me. I’m literally living my dream, and it’s foreign to me not to have something or someone to worry about. “If you’re gonna worry, don’t pray. If you’re gonna pray, don’t worry,” is what she would always say. I was never very good at it (to her dismay), but I think she would be happy with how I currently am. My belly is always full and I’m seeing something new every few days. What more could I ask for? Next up, to work on my patience…

What’s the worst thing that’s happened? Do you think it could have been prevented?
Yes! My phone got pickpocketed! It was completely preventable. I was in Baños and I needed a rain jacket because it rains every other second there. I wasn’t used to the pockets and my phone was hanging out slightly. I was just completely comfortable — it’s very safe there, so I didn’t think I had to worry. I noticed it was gone almost immediately. I was pissed because I just paid off that phone so that I could take it on the trip! Sigh…

Finally, what’s been your favorite moment so far?
My favorite moment is a tie between jumping off the bridge in Baños and snorkeling with sea lions and turtles in the Galápagos. Both moments were surreal. I loved jumping from the bridge because I’ve always loved heights. When I watched the video of my jump, it seemed to happen so quickly. But in the moment, the fall felt like it took forever. It felt so long that I forgot I was tethered and almost felt like I was flying. I would do it a thousand more times.

The water in the Galapagos was so clear and beautiful and the animals were so unafraid and curious. The chance to observe up close and interact with them was so beautiful. I loved feeling as though I was part of a different world. I just want a million more moments like that.

In the following months, Heather will be navigating South America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. As she keeps going, we’re going to follow along to get more details about her trip, experiences, roadblocks, budgeting, and everything in between! You can follow her journeys on her blog, Confidently Lost, as well as on Instagram. She will also be sharing some of her experiences here!

The post The RTW Trip Giveaway: A Winner’s Update (Part 1) appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/success-story-heather/

Heather hanging out in South America
What would you do with a free trip around the world? Last year, I gave away a trip around the world. After going through thousands of entries, in the end, Heather was the winner. Her story was powerful. She’s been on the road a little over a month now and it’s time to catch up with her and find out about her trip, how the budgeting is going (is she doing $50 a day?), and the lessons learned.

Nomadic Matt: Heather, congrats on winning! You’ve been on your trip for about a month. First, how did you feel about winning?
Heather: Thanks, Matt! Winning was, in a word, surreal. I’ve never felt so dazed in my life. I’ve never won so much as a raffle prize before, so I didn’t actually believe you for at least a solid week. I kept thinking it was a dream, and I was scared to tell people in case it was. My little sister asked me if I was sure it wasn’t a human-trafficking scheme!

Overall, I feel so loved and supported by my friends and family and extremely, extremely lucky.

I’ve been trying to imagine what my mom would say if she were here to see this. I don’t have much of a frame of reference, since I only really started traveling after she passed. However, I’m sure she would be shaking her damn head at this trip! She would definitely think I’m crazy. And I know she definitely wouldn’t understand leaving my stable job to do this. In the end, though, I know she wouldn’t try to stop me or dissuade me. She would be happy for me; it just might not have been her first reaction. “Stop talking crazy” might have been the first thing!

Where are you going on this trip?
I’m spending the next few months in South America. I originally planned to stay in Peru for three weeks, but I might end up staying for six because there is so much I want to see here! I chose to spend a lot of time in South America because it’s been my dream to backpack here for so long.

I also just love the huge diversity of life and cultures here, and the interaction between indigenous cultures and Spanish colonialism. There are also so many amazing sites (such as the Galápagos, the Amazon, Machu Picchu, etc.). There is so much to learn and soak in.

Heather lounging in a pool in Ecuador

I leave for Lisbon on May 2nd, and then I want to see Morocco, Greece, Turkey, Kenya, and Tanzania before heading on to Southeast Asia. It was really hard to choose which countries to visit — my list was originally about 36 countries long! But my friends talked me down and convinced me that it was better to go in depth than to keep hopping around and tire myself out. I have the rest of my life to go and see the rest of the world.

I actually put my whole (hopeful) itinerary up on my new blog.

Where have you been so far?
I spent a few weeks in Ecuador, including the Galápagos, before I moved on to Peru. I’m working my way south and east, eventually to Brazil.

The first week I spent in Quito being hosted by friends of my family. I mainly rested and planned the trip, including getting my visa to Brazil at the consulate there. I was so focused on closing up my life in LA and getting out quickly that I had put barely any thought into my trip. I just left. Taking the time to plan really calmed me. My hosts were really gracious and took great care of me.

After that, my sister came down and we spent a few days in Baños, Ecuador, which was fantastic! I jumped off a bridge and we went canyoning down some waterfalls. We also did a day tour of the Amazon. I had mixed feelings about the tour — I tend to hate planned excursions like that, and there was a part of the day that included an indigenous show that felt forced and disingenuous. It made me a little uncomfortable.

Heather bungy jumping off a bridge

I also spent 10 days in the Galápagos, which was insanely beautiful. It was hard on the budget for sure, but the islands are so well protected. Now I’m in Cajamarca in the north of Peru enjoying the Carnaval celebrations. It’s madness. I’m really not much of a partier. My host is so generous and accommodating, so I’m really enjoying my time here.

How’s your daily budget going? Any big surprises?
I’m definitely running a deficit right now, because of the trip to the Galápagos, but I knew that going in. (Some other expenses too, such as paying for the visa to Brazil ($160), contributed to that as well.) Everything is super expensive on the island. Last-minute cruises for four days are about $1,000, and eight-day cruises start at about $1,700. I opted out of a cruise and decided to do the self-tour, which was a bit more challenging but still an amazing experience. Hostels on the island are basically $20 everywhere, which is about twice as much as on the mainland. But I did find some ways to save money. For instance, I found a restaurant on Santa Cruz Island that served a great $5 lunch.

I’m feeling OK about the splurge, though, because I’m saving in other ways. For instance, I bought my flight out of South America to Europe on points. That saved me about $700. I plan on buying most of my flights on points. I’m also doing a lot of Couchsurfing in Peru (and Peru is cheap overall).

Heather snorkeling in the Galapagos

Not counting the Galápagos, in the first month, I spent about $600, including my hostels, food, activities. Hostels are generally costing me $10 a night, and meals are rarely more than $10 each; lunch is usually much less. In Baños, for instance, we met the owner of an arepas restaurant and just ate lunch there every day. Now, in Cajamarca, between Couchsurfing and the cheap cost of living, I would be surprised if I’ve spent more than $30 in the past five days. Breakfast is $1-2, and we took a 30-minute ride bus outside of the city, which cost 5 soles, or about $1.50, each.

Also, looking back on my journal of expenses, I would say I’m spending too much on transportation. I would attribute this to taxis. When I’m out and about, sometimes people tell me it’s unsafe to walk and I should take a taxi. Or, for instance, when I was staying with my family friends in Quito, their house is pretty far from the city, so I would find myself taking a taxi rather than walk the 40 minutes to the bus stop. If I’m feeling unsure about the situation I’m in (at night or if I don’t see many solo walkers around), I take a taxi. So I think I could cut back or find other ways to avoid feeling unsafe.

Speaking of safety, how do you feel about your safety as a solo female traveler? Is South America safe?
Yes, I generally feel safe. I’ve only had a few problems. The caveat is that I really don’t go out at night that often (I’m more of a morning person) and tend to stick to the ‘safe’ areas. I get a lot of people warning me to be extra safe and that always freaks me out. I would like to be more adventurous and I’m trying to balance that desire with the practicality of being safe.

The first month is always an adjustment. How are you going to stay on budget in the future?
I’m a huge planner, and taking the time to think through my “must haves” really helps. I’ve also found that not rushing and going slow helps cut down expenses. I’m trying to take my time and stick to the activities I will really enjoy. For instance, paying an admission to see a cathedral almost never makes my list. A lot of guides online mention churches as the must sees. I ignore them completely, unless there is something different about them. For example, I paid for a tour in Lima to see the catacombs but, other than that, I’d rather use the money elsewhere.

Heather at the equatorWhat are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far?
I am learning how to not stress about plans or money, which was something my mom was always trying to teach me. I’m literally living my dream, and it’s foreign to me not to have something or someone to worry about. “If you’re gonna worry, don’t pray. If you’re gonna pray, don’t worry,” is what she would always say. I was never very good at it (to her dismay), but I think she would be happy with how I currently am. My belly is always full and I’m seeing something new every few days. What more could I ask for? Next up, to work on my patience…

What’s the worst thing that’s happened? Do you think it could have been prevented?
Yes! My phone got pickpocketed! It was completely preventable. I was in Baños and I needed a rain jacket because it rains every other second there. I wasn’t used to the pockets and my phone was hanging out slightly. I was just completely comfortable — it’s very safe there, so I didn’t think I had to worry. I noticed it was gone almost immediately. I was pissed because I just paid off that phone so that I could take it on the trip! Sigh…

Finally, what’s been your favorite moment so far?
My favorite moment is a tie between jumping off the bridge in Baños and snorkeling with sea lions and turtles in the Galápagos. Both moments were surreal. I loved jumping from the bridge because I’ve always loved heights. When I watched the video of my jump, it seemed to happen so quickly. But in the moment, the fall felt like it took forever. It felt so long that I forgot I was tethered and almost felt like I was flying. I would do it a thousand more times.

The water in the Galapagos was so clear and beautiful and the animals were so unafraid and curious. The chance to observe up close and interact with them was so beautiful. I loved feeling as though I was part of a different world. I just want a million more moments like that.

In the following months, Heather will be navigating South America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. As she keeps going, we’re going to follow along to get more details about her trip, experiences, roadblocks, budgeting, and everything in between! You can follow her journeys on her blog, Confidently Lost, as well as on Instagram. She will also be sharing some of her experiences here!

The post The RTW Trip Giveaway: A Winner’s Update (Part 1) appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

5 of the best places to visit in 2018

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/02/21/5-of-the-best-places-to-visit-in-2018/

In 2018, some countries will celebrate big milestones in style. Elsewhere, certain regions are opening up to visitors with an array of new tours and experiences. And, due to recent political developments, there’s a decidedly optimistic mood surrounding other countries, making them more accessible and more appealing than ever before. The Taranaki region, New Zealand […]

The post 5 of the best places to visit in 2018 appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/02/21/5-of-the-best-places-to-visit-in-2018/

In 2018, some countries will celebrate big milestones in style. Elsewhere, certain regions are opening up to visitors with an array of new tours and experiences. And, due to recent political developments, there’s a decidedly optimistic mood surrounding other countries, making them more accessible and more appealing than ever before. The Taranaki region, New Zealand […]

The post 5 of the best places to visit in 2018 appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Andalusian Spring comes early, bring on the fiestas!

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/02/15/andalusian-spring-comes-early-bring-on-the-fiestas/

Winters in Andalusia are as mild as they come, and the sense of the spring season seems to linger for half of the year. The sun bathes this southernmost region of Spain for more than 300 cloudless days each year, giving Andalusia bragging rights for mainland Europe’s best climate. Spaniards have a definite penchant for […]

The post Andalusian Spring comes early, bring on the fiestas! appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/02/15/andalusian-spring-comes-early-bring-on-the-fiestas/

Winters in Andalusia are as mild as they come, and the sense of the spring season seems to linger for half of the year. The sun bathes this southernmost region of Spain for more than 300 cloudless days each year, giving Andalusia bragging rights for mainland Europe’s best climate. Spaniards have a definite penchant for […]

The post Andalusian Spring comes early, bring on the fiestas! appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

A Lifetime of Hope and Regret

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/regret/

black and white photo of a man walking on a beach
It’s easy to get lost. To look around and suddenly find yourself wondering how you got here — and why it seems so far from where you thought you’d be. What wrong turn did you take? Is there still time to go back and start again? To be the person you wanted to be? To do the things you want to do?

One day becomes a year, which quickly turns into a decade. Before you know it, you’re miles from the life you imagined.

“Tomorrow,” you say to yourself. “Tomorrow, I’ll fix things.”

But tomorrow comes and goes and you continue down the same path, caught up in the surging river that is life.

Reading entries for my round-the-world trip contest brought regret to the forefront of my mind. I saw so much of it from the strangers who entered; strangers who poured their heart out to me about loss, pain, suffering, snuffed-out dreams, and second chances.

Yet beneath all the worry, regret, and sadness, there was hope.

The desire for a new beginning. A chance to be the person they wanted to be; to find purpose in their life; to escape a future they didn’t want — but one that felt so inevitable.

As writer and blogger Cory Doctorow said, “You live your own blooper reel and experience everyone else’s highlight reel.”

When you ask people why they want to travel the world, and 2,000 people come back with stories that all end with a version of “to start fresh,” it brings this obvious but forgotten realization back into your mind.

My own life is a minefield of regret — both big and small: Regret at not traveling sooner, partying too much, never becoming fluent in a foreign language, never studying abroad, letting a certain relationship slip away, not staying in touch with friends, not saving more, not moving slower, and not following my gut. Then there are the day-to-day regrets — things like not closing my computer 30 minutes earlier or reading more or laying off those french fries more. There are countless regrets.

In thinking about our own issues, we often forget that everyone around us is fighting their own inner battles. That the grass is never truly greener. That when someone is snappy at you in the grocery store, short with you at the office, or sends you a nasty, trolling email, they, like you, are dealing with their own inner demons.

They, like you, think of second chances, missed opportunity, and unfulfilled dreams.

We’re taught by society to avoid “a lifetime of regret.” “Have no regrets!” is our mantra. But I think regret is a powerful motivator. It is a teacher, a manual to a better life.

Regret teaches us where we went wrong and what mistakes to avoid again.

Reading these entries initially weighed me down. I couldn’t help but think, “There’s a lot of unhappy people out there.”

But the more I thought about it the more I realized they weren’t unhappy. Yes, there was regret, pain, and sadness in those contest entries — but there was also a lot of hope, determination, and energy. These entrants were not going to wallow in regret. They were looking for a way to move forward. They felt inspired, motivated. Many promised that no matter the outcome of their entry, they were determined to make a change.

Reading these entries taught me that regret, it turns out, is life’s best motivator. Two thousand people said, “Not again — I won’t do this twice!”

And made me realize that a little regret isn’t such a bad thing after all.

The post A Lifetime of Hope and Regret appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/regret/

black and white photo of a man walking on a beach
It’s easy to get lost. To look around and suddenly find yourself wondering how you got here — and why it seems so far from where you thought you’d be. What wrong turn did you take? Is there still time to go back and start again? To be the person you wanted to be? To do the things you want to do?

One day becomes a year, which quickly turns into a decade. Before you know it, you’re miles from the life you imagined.

“Tomorrow,” you say to yourself. “Tomorrow, I’ll fix things.”

But tomorrow comes and goes and you continue down the same path, caught up in the surging river that is life.

Reading entries for my round-the-world trip contest brought regret to the forefront of my mind. I saw so much of it from the strangers who entered; strangers who poured their heart out to me about loss, pain, suffering, snuffed-out dreams, and second chances.

Yet beneath all the worry, regret, and sadness, there was hope.

The desire for a new beginning. A chance to be the person they wanted to be; to find purpose in their life; to escape a future they didn’t want — but one that felt so inevitable.

As writer and blogger Cory Doctorow said, “You live your own blooper reel and experience everyone else’s highlight reel.”

When you ask people why they want to travel the world, and 2,000 people come back with stories that all end with a version of “to start fresh,” it brings this obvious but forgotten realization back into your mind.

My own life is a minefield of regret — both big and small: Regret at not traveling sooner, partying too much, never becoming fluent in a foreign language, never studying abroad, letting a certain relationship slip away, not staying in touch with friends, not saving more, not moving slower, and not following my gut. Then there are the day-to-day regrets — things like not closing my computer 30 minutes earlier or reading more or laying off those french fries more. There are countless regrets.

In thinking about our own issues, we often forget that everyone around us is fighting their own inner battles. That the grass is never truly greener. That when someone is snappy at you in the grocery store, short with you at the office, or sends you a nasty, trolling email, they, like you, are dealing with their own inner demons.

They, like you, think of second chances, missed opportunity, and unfulfilled dreams.

We’re taught by society to avoid “a lifetime of regret.” “Have no regrets!” is our mantra. But I think regret is a powerful motivator. It is a teacher, a manual to a better life.

Regret teaches us where we went wrong and what mistakes to avoid again.

Reading these entries initially weighed me down. I couldn’t help but think, “There’s a lot of unhappy people out there.”

But the more I thought about it the more I realized they weren’t unhappy. Yes, there was regret, pain, and sadness in those contest entries — but there was also a lot of hope, determination, and energy. These entrants were not going to wallow in regret. They were looking for a way to move forward. They felt inspired, motivated. Many promised that no matter the outcome of their entry, they were determined to make a change.

Reading these entries taught me that regret, it turns out, is life’s best motivator. Two thousand people said, “Not again — I won’t do this twice!”

And made me realize that a little regret isn’t such a bad thing after all.

The post A Lifetime of Hope and Regret appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

How Staci Didn’t Let a Rare Medical Condition Prevent Her From Seeing The World

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/staci-nager-syndrome-interview/

Staci swinging on a swing
I first met Staci when she came to one of my meet-ups in NYC. She wanted to thank me for helping her travel the world. See, for her, it’s not as simple as just getting on a plane and going somewhere. Staci was born with a rare genetic condition that has left her deaf, with fused fingers, jaws, and a host of other medical issues. Determined to not sit on the sidelines, Staci has worked hard to overcome the obstacles before her so that she can make her travel dreams a reality. So, without further ado, here’s Staci!

Nomadic Matt: Hi Staci! Tell us about yourself!
Staci: My name is Staci and I’m 28 years old. I happen to have Nager syndrome, a super rare genetic condition wherein I was born with fused jaws, fused elbows, four fingers, and deafness, to name some fun facts about it. I’ve had many surgeries to correct a lot of issues and increase my quality of life.

I was born in Seattle and moved to an incredibly rural town in New York when I was ten. I’ve always had an interest in languages and other cultures. Even though I’m deaf, I easily excelled in Spanish past my third-grade hearing classmates because I found it fun and challenging. My other loves are history and art and yes, they got combined into a bachelor’s in art history and museum professions.

I like anything that challenges me, and I hate being stagnant.

How did you get into travel?
When I was growing up, my family made various trips around the US, but it wasn’t until my senior year at a small high school for the deaf that I went to Italy and Greece with the senior and junior classes. There, I finally experienced what it’s like to travel, even though I felt stifled by the chaperones and the itinerary. But it gave me a taste, and I wanted more. I became addicted to the idea of freedom.

Staci posing on a rocky beach

In 2010, I was supposed to go to Montreal with a friend for spring break, but she had to drop out. I went ahead anyway and experienced the freedom of solo travel: I could do whatever I wanted without any set plans. I loved it.

I took off for Germany, in March 2011, which kick-started my months-long trip through Europe. I didn’t tell my family for a few weeks, because I didn’t want to be discouraged and made to stay home. I explored Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia (I easily fell in love with Belgrade and stayed there for two months) until I had to return home in August due to a broken arm.

In 2012, I went to Nicaragua for spring break. It was my first taste of Latin America, and I knew I wanted to learn more Spanish. Then in 2013 and 2014, I went to Mexico, which quickly became my favorite country—one that I want to move to in the future. I felt connected there and I could be as independent as I wished. It was also easy to get more of my special food at a large grocery store, even if it was expensive compared to local food. In 2015, I headed to Ecuador on spring break, and in 2016, I found a cheap flight to Iceland—seeing the northern lights was easily the highlight of my week there.

2017 so far has featured a birthday trip to the Philippines, my first Asian country. Recently I spent a month in Mexico visiting my friends and hanging out like a local.

What’s been the biggest lesson so far?
Budgeting. I had zero ideas about budgeting on my first huge trip and overspent so much. I have gotten better with it, but I still struggle. For example, my mom had to help me with a $130 domestic flight in Iceland because I was so horrible at budgeting.

Another struggle is overpacking. Even if I manage to pack a just week’s worth of clothes, it’s too much, because I have to also bring many bottles of my special food.

Staci posing near the ocean

How did you fix these mistakes? How did you get better at them?
Well, as for budgeting, I learned that I need more money than I thought, so I saved more. Now I also tend to focus on places that are cheap for the most part, and if my original plans fall through, I have backup plans so I don’t have to spend unexpectedly or borrow money. I have gotten better with money, but I do still slip up.

When it comes to packing, I try my best to pack only 3-4 bottoms and several dresses, but I still have a tendency to pack too many shirts. Being short in height, a lot of my clothes are on the small side, which it makes it easy to overpack my backpack. I do try to pack two pairs of shoes max, besides flip-flops, but my favorite waterproof Dr. Martens shoes definitely take up a lot of room when I’m not wearing them. I stuff socks into my shoes, and I always roll my clothes.

Since I do have a habit of going shopping while traveling, I try to not pack too much, only to end up with an even heavier backpack when I return. When I was in Europe the first time, I shipped things home because my backpack was getting heavy with stuff I got for my family and with cold-weather clothes I no longer needed in warmer weather. Now, I basically layer as much as I can if heading to a cooler place.

Staci standing near a large mountain

What resources are out there for deaf travelers?
Seek the World by Calvin Young is a good resource for deaf travelers since he is deaf himself. He has a very active Facebook page, and he shows the different finger-spellings and signs of various countries. He also links to other helpful resources that encourage more deaf people to travel.

Another option is No Barriers by Joel Barish. He posts vlogs in which he meets deaf locals around the world and asks them about their jobs and lives. He’s also the founder of DeafNation, which is focused on deaf “language, culture, and pride.”

How do you communicate if sign language is different in every other language?
I always have my iPhone with me, but I also carry my notepad in my purse when using a phone is not ideal (safety or it not being charged). There’s also international sign language, but I don’t know it, although I do know a little bit of Mexican Sign Language. I also used to be able to speak, but a medical complication happened so at this moment, speaking is not possible. I am the worst at lip-reading, and even though I wear hearing aids, I just prefer to type things out.

Staci standing on a cliff

You mentioned you have a fused jaw so it’s hard to eat. Do you only travel for short periods?How do you get around your medical needs when you travel? Do you just carry everything with you?
Nager syndrome makes eating difficult. I recently had surgery to open my jaws, and it was the first successful surgery to do that; however I still can’t eat solid food because I need therapy to get those unused muscles to work and other fun medical stuff.

All the challenges I faced were related to my food. Running out is easy to do, and I can’t just bring five boxes or 16 bottles since I travel solo and it would exceed the check-in weight limit for flights and make packing impossible for me. Everywhere in Europe, and even in some other countries, I cannot find my special food and I’m left without many options for nutrition due to my fused jaws. Soups cannot fill me up, and smoothies, milkshakes, etc. are not a solution either, because it’s too easy to lose weight, which is a very bad thing for me. It’s also extremely easy for me to choke on a small pieces of food, so I can’t just eat peas, rice, or corn, and I don’t like mashed potatoes.

My food is for nutrition purposes, and I drink about 7+ bottles a day to fill me up. Traveling for several months at a time depends on if I’m able to get my food or not. I cannot find Ensure Plus anywhere in Europe, whether at pharmacies or large grocery stores, so forget about my staying there long-term. At least in Mexico, I could find it easily and therefore can stay there for several months if I wish, but it’s expensive and the cost eats into my budget.

As for taking my food with me when I fly, I always hold up the TSA line because they need to test my food—and on occasion open a bottle (then I drink that bottle at my gate). I always carry a doctor’s note to show to the agents, and I try to be as pleasant as I can to make everything go smoother and quicker. When I had a layover in Taipei on the way to the Philippines, security and customs were more intense with my food, and I was nervous that they would not allow me to bring it with me even though I showed my doctor’s note, but luckily I had no issues.

I do carry everything with me when I travel. I love that international flights allow free checked bags so I take advantage of that, but even so, I often have no room for food in my checked backpack. So my carry-on bags are incredibly heavy with the many bottles I bring. If I do manage to pack food in my checked backpack, even when they’re stuffed in a garbage bag to prevent food from spilling all over my things, I always find the garbage bag ripped apart because of TSA inspections to make sure everything is OK.

Staci petting a dog

Is there a big community of travelers with your condition that you can get support and information from?
Well, since my condition is incredibly rare and requires so many surgeries to improve our lives, it’s not a large group, probably hundreds of people. However, every two years, the Foundation for Nager and Miller Syndrome hosts a conference somewhere in America. I do not go to these much, because usually I’m one of very few who use ASL (or the only one), and often it’s hard to relate to others whose experiences are very different from mine. There’s also a private, international Facebook group for people with Nager syndrome and their family members, but since it’s a private group, I’m not going to share it because we don’t want bullying.

What have been some of your favorite experiences?
One of my favorite experiences was seeing the northern lights in Iceland. That week, it rained pretty much every day and snowed one day. But on my last day there, it was sunny for once and that night was clear, so I was able to see them. My other favorite experience was the Philippines, because it was an amazing country, even if I couldn’t stand the heat. I got to see tarsiers [a kind of primate] and the Chocolate Hills, and swam in the comfortable waters of Palawan.

But my number one favorite thing to do is to travel to many amazing places and learn about them and their culture. I’m a huge history and art nerd, and I get so excited when I visit historical sites and museums such as El Tajín, Teotihuacán, Museo Nacional de Antropología, and Museo El Tamayo in Mexico, or El Museo de Arte Precolombino Casa del Alabado, a museum dedicated to pre-Columbian history in Quito, Ecuador.

What’s your number one piece of advice for new travelers?
Make the effort to meet locals on your travels. Couchsurfing and Airbnb are my favorite ways to meet locals when I travel. It’s awesome to learn about the culture of a place you visit. But again, I’m a huge art and history nerd and so am incredibly interested in learning about cultures and languages. Even though I’m deaf, I’ve never had any problems communicating, and for some odd reason, even though I’m shy as hell, I’m more outgoing and willing to chat it up with people outside of America.

Become the Next Success Story

One of my favorite parts about this job is hearing people’s travel stories. They inspire me, but more importantly, they also inspire you. I travel a certain way but there are many ways to fund your trips and travel the world. I hope these stories show you that there is more than one way to travel and that it is within your grasp to reach your travel goals. Here are more examples of people who overcame obstacles and made their travel dreams a reality:

The post How Staci Didn’t Let a Rare Medical Condition Prevent Her From Seeing The World appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/staci-nager-syndrome-interview/

Staci swinging on a swing
I first met Staci when she came to one of my meet-ups in NYC. She wanted to thank me for helping her travel the world. See, for her, it’s not as simple as just getting on a plane and going somewhere. Staci was born with a rare genetic condition that has left her deaf, with fused fingers, jaws, and a host of other medical issues. Determined to not sit on the sidelines, Staci has worked hard to overcome the obstacles before her so that she can make her travel dreams a reality. So, without further ado, here’s Staci!

Nomadic Matt: Hi Staci! Tell us about yourself!
Staci: My name is Staci and I’m 28 years old. I happen to have Nager syndrome, a super rare genetic condition wherein I was born with fused jaws, fused elbows, four fingers, and deafness, to name some fun facts about it. I’ve had many surgeries to correct a lot of issues and increase my quality of life.

I was born in Seattle and moved to an incredibly rural town in New York when I was ten. I’ve always had an interest in languages and other cultures. Even though I’m deaf, I easily excelled in Spanish past my third-grade hearing classmates because I found it fun and challenging. My other loves are history and art and yes, they got combined into a bachelor’s in art history and museum professions.

I like anything that challenges me, and I hate being stagnant.

How did you get into travel?
When I was growing up, my family made various trips around the US, but it wasn’t until my senior year at a small high school for the deaf that I went to Italy and Greece with the senior and junior classes. There, I finally experienced what it’s like to travel, even though I felt stifled by the chaperones and the itinerary. But it gave me a taste, and I wanted more. I became addicted to the idea of freedom.

Staci posing on a rocky beach

In 2010, I was supposed to go to Montreal with a friend for spring break, but she had to drop out. I went ahead anyway and experienced the freedom of solo travel: I could do whatever I wanted without any set plans. I loved it.

I took off for Germany, in March 2011, which kick-started my months-long trip through Europe. I didn’t tell my family for a few weeks, because I didn’t want to be discouraged and made to stay home. I explored Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia (I easily fell in love with Belgrade and stayed there for two months) until I had to return home in August due to a broken arm.

In 2012, I went to Nicaragua for spring break. It was my first taste of Latin America, and I knew I wanted to learn more Spanish. Then in 2013 and 2014, I went to Mexico, which quickly became my favorite country—one that I want to move to in the future. I felt connected there and I could be as independent as I wished. It was also easy to get more of my special food at a large grocery store, even if it was expensive compared to local food. In 2015, I headed to Ecuador on spring break, and in 2016, I found a cheap flight to Iceland—seeing the northern lights was easily the highlight of my week there.

2017 so far has featured a birthday trip to the Philippines, my first Asian country. Recently I spent a month in Mexico visiting my friends and hanging out like a local.

What’s been the biggest lesson so far?
Budgeting. I had zero ideas about budgeting on my first huge trip and overspent so much. I have gotten better with it, but I still struggle. For example, my mom had to help me with a $130 domestic flight in Iceland because I was so horrible at budgeting.

Another struggle is overpacking. Even if I manage to pack a just week’s worth of clothes, it’s too much, because I have to also bring many bottles of my special food.

Staci posing near the ocean

How did you fix these mistakes? How did you get better at them?
Well, as for budgeting, I learned that I need more money than I thought, so I saved more. Now I also tend to focus on places that are cheap for the most part, and if my original plans fall through, I have backup plans so I don’t have to spend unexpectedly or borrow money. I have gotten better with money, but I do still slip up.

When it comes to packing, I try my best to pack only 3-4 bottoms and several dresses, but I still have a tendency to pack too many shirts. Being short in height, a lot of my clothes are on the small side, which it makes it easy to overpack my backpack. I do try to pack two pairs of shoes max, besides flip-flops, but my favorite waterproof Dr. Martens shoes definitely take up a lot of room when I’m not wearing them. I stuff socks into my shoes, and I always roll my clothes.

Since I do have a habit of going shopping while traveling, I try to not pack too much, only to end up with an even heavier backpack when I return. When I was in Europe the first time, I shipped things home because my backpack was getting heavy with stuff I got for my family and with cold-weather clothes I no longer needed in warmer weather. Now, I basically layer as much as I can if heading to a cooler place.

Staci standing near a large mountain

What resources are out there for deaf travelers?
Seek the World by Calvin Young is a good resource for deaf travelers since he is deaf himself. He has a very active Facebook page, and he shows the different finger-spellings and signs of various countries. He also links to other helpful resources that encourage more deaf people to travel.

Another option is No Barriers by Joel Barish. He posts vlogs in which he meets deaf locals around the world and asks them about their jobs and lives. He’s also the founder of DeafNation, which is focused on deaf “language, culture, and pride.”

How do you communicate if sign language is different in every other language?
I always have my iPhone with me, but I also carry my notepad in my purse when using a phone is not ideal (safety or it not being charged). There’s also international sign language, but I don’t know it, although I do know a little bit of Mexican Sign Language. I also used to be able to speak, but a medical complication happened so at this moment, speaking is not possible. I am the worst at lip-reading, and even though I wear hearing aids, I just prefer to type things out.

Staci standing on a cliff

You mentioned you have a fused jaw so it’s hard to eat. Do you only travel for short periods?How do you get around your medical needs when you travel? Do you just carry everything with you?
Nager syndrome makes eating difficult. I recently had surgery to open my jaws, and it was the first successful surgery to do that; however I still can’t eat solid food because I need therapy to get those unused muscles to work and other fun medical stuff.

All the challenges I faced were related to my food. Running out is easy to do, and I can’t just bring five boxes or 16 bottles since I travel solo and it would exceed the check-in weight limit for flights and make packing impossible for me. Everywhere in Europe, and even in some other countries, I cannot find my special food and I’m left without many options for nutrition due to my fused jaws. Soups cannot fill me up, and smoothies, milkshakes, etc. are not a solution either, because it’s too easy to lose weight, which is a very bad thing for me. It’s also extremely easy for me to choke on a small pieces of food, so I can’t just eat peas, rice, or corn, and I don’t like mashed potatoes.

My food is for nutrition purposes, and I drink about 7+ bottles a day to fill me up. Traveling for several months at a time depends on if I’m able to get my food or not. I cannot find Ensure Plus anywhere in Europe, whether at pharmacies or large grocery stores, so forget about my staying there long-term. At least in Mexico, I could find it easily and therefore can stay there for several months if I wish, but it’s expensive and the cost eats into my budget.

As for taking my food with me when I fly, I always hold up the TSA line because they need to test my food—and on occasion open a bottle (then I drink that bottle at my gate). I always carry a doctor’s note to show to the agents, and I try to be as pleasant as I can to make everything go smoother and quicker. When I had a layover in Taipei on the way to the Philippines, security and customs were more intense with my food, and I was nervous that they would not allow me to bring it with me even though I showed my doctor’s note, but luckily I had no issues.

I do carry everything with me when I travel. I love that international flights allow free checked bags so I take advantage of that, but even so, I often have no room for food in my checked backpack. So my carry-on bags are incredibly heavy with the many bottles I bring. If I do manage to pack food in my checked backpack, even when they’re stuffed in a garbage bag to prevent food from spilling all over my things, I always find the garbage bag ripped apart because of TSA inspections to make sure everything is OK.

Staci petting a dog

Is there a big community of travelers with your condition that you can get support and information from?
Well, since my condition is incredibly rare and requires so many surgeries to improve our lives, it’s not a large group, probably hundreds of people. However, every two years, the Foundation for Nager and Miller Syndrome hosts a conference somewhere in America. I do not go to these much, because usually I’m one of very few who use ASL (or the only one), and often it’s hard to relate to others whose experiences are very different from mine. There’s also a private, international Facebook group for people with Nager syndrome and their family members, but since it’s a private group, I’m not going to share it because we don’t want bullying.

What have been some of your favorite experiences?
One of my favorite experiences was seeing the northern lights in Iceland. That week, it rained pretty much every day and snowed one day. But on my last day there, it was sunny for once and that night was clear, so I was able to see them. My other favorite experience was the Philippines, because it was an amazing country, even if I couldn’t stand the heat. I got to see tarsiers [a kind of primate] and the Chocolate Hills, and swam in the comfortable waters of Palawan.

But my number one favorite thing to do is to travel to many amazing places and learn about them and their culture. I’m a huge history and art nerd, and I get so excited when I visit historical sites and museums such as El Tajín, Teotihuacán, Museo Nacional de Antropología, and Museo El Tamayo in Mexico, or El Museo de Arte Precolombino Casa del Alabado, a museum dedicated to pre-Columbian history in Quito, Ecuador.

What’s your number one piece of advice for new travelers?
Make the effort to meet locals on your travels. Couchsurfing and Airbnb are my favorite ways to meet locals when I travel. It’s awesome to learn about the culture of a place you visit. But again, I’m a huge art and history nerd and so am incredibly interested in learning about cultures and languages. Even though I’m deaf, I’ve never had any problems communicating, and for some odd reason, even though I’m shy as hell, I’m more outgoing and willing to chat it up with people outside of America.

Become the Next Success Story

One of my favorite parts about this job is hearing people’s travel stories. They inspire me, but more importantly, they also inspire you. I travel a certain way but there are many ways to fund your trips and travel the world. I hope these stories show you that there is more than one way to travel and that it is within your grasp to reach your travel goals. Here are more examples of people who overcame obstacles and made their travel dreams a reality:

The post How Staci Didn’t Let a Rare Medical Condition Prevent Her From Seeing The World appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

24 Things Every Solo Female Traveler Learns on the Road

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/things-every-solo-female-traveler-learns/

Kristin Addis with a glacier in Alaska
Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes our regular column on solo female travel. It’s a topic I can’t cover so I brought her on to cover topics and specific issues important other women travelers! In this month’s column, Kristin reminisces on the lessons learned from traveling solo.

“You’re going across the world by yourself?! Are you sure?”

You’ve heard it before, right? Someone who means well and tries to talk you out of traveling solo, mentioning all kinds of things that could go wrong.

They can be pretty convincing, focusing heavily on the negative — but completely forgetting that there are so many more positives that come from travel. What about all of the things that could go right?

There are things that only solo female travelers get to experience (things that just don’t happen when you’re traveling with someone else). It’s like a club that almost anyone can get into but few know about. But for those of us who have done it, we know that it’s not as scary as we thought, and much more rewarding than we ever imagined possible.

Traveling the world solo has taught me many lessons and made me realized there are some truths you only learn when you travel the world solo:

1. It’s way more exciting to try a new food on the other side of the world – and find that we absolutely love it – than it is to go to a swanky restaurant back home.

2. An exotic dish somehow tastes better when we eat it with our hands. With our shoes off, while sitting on the floor.

3. Being in a hammock on a tropical beach, watching the waves roll in, whether all on our own or surrounded by new friends, is worth the mosquito bites.

4. We can say “hello” and “thank you” in more languages than your fancy car has gears.

5. Playing with a child in another language is more warming than all the designer sweaters in the world.

6. People are beautiful everywhere, in every shade, shape, and size, and there is absolutely no singular beauty standard.

7. There is no greater rush than buying a plane ticket to a place that we alone want to see and that we alone picked out.

8. It is sexier to have more stamps in a passport than watches and fancy purses.

9. A sugar rush is somehow sweeter when we’re sitting in Europe eating a chocolate croissant with a whole day of adventures ahead of us.

10. It doesn’t matter what someone is wearing, where they’re from, or what their savings account looks like. If they can carry an intelligent conversation halfway across the world, we’re more than happy to hang onto their every word.

11. Espresso really does taste better in Italy, and Panang curry really does taste better in Thailand.

12. Knowing what it looks like when the sun sets over the ocean on the other side of the globe is worth more than all the Instagram likes in the world.

13. The Facebook news feed is a lot less interesting when we have an entire day of adventures ahead of us, with no plans, no obligations, and no strings attached.

14. Maybe makeup and hair products and straighteners and Spanx aren’t all that necessary, and we look fantastic just the way we are.

15. The heartbreak later is worth the fling right here and now with this beautiful stranger with an accent from far away and the promise of an adventure.

16. Being able to say “yes” without having to check in with anyone first feels so damn freeing and satisfying.

17. Being able to say “no” without worrying about offending anyone or feeling obligated feels even more powerful than saying “yes” sometimes.

18. We’re braver than we thought.

19. We’re capable of doing things that a year ago would have terrified us.

20. No classroom anywhere will ever be a better learning environment than going it alone on the road.

21. No boardroom, job interview, or house party where we don’t know anyone will ever intimidate us again, because we know what it’s like to go solo to a country where absolutely nothing is familiar and everything is new. And we handled it like a boss.

22. There were a few blunders and “learning experiences” here and there, but we’re better off for them.

23. Out of all of the things we learned, most of all we’ll remember that we are capable individuals with a better understanding of how we fit into the world now, and that’s something that will be beneficial for the rest of our lives.

24. When the trip is over, we’ll remember these things that only we know, and what we’re capable of — and probably start researching plane flights again.

We solo female travelers know that traveling alone is an amazing gift. It gives us a chance to develop our confidence, make all of the decisions about where we want to go and what we want to do, and be the CEO of our own lives and adventures. This confidence and ability carries over into our daily lives long after the trip is over.

Our loved ones’ fear and misunderstanding of it will probably always exist. Rebuffing a few well-meaning but uninformed remarks just comes with the territory. You can often show those naysayers by example how wonderful it can be.

If you haven’t yet traveled solo but really want to find out who you are and what you’re made of, go to the other side of the world by yourself and prepare to be amazed. Don’t let anything hold you back — you deserve to see the world on your own terms.

ANNOUNCING A BRAND NEW CONQUERING MOUNTAINS EDITION

In the second edition of this book, we did updated prices, tips, links as well as:

  • Expanded sections on finding travel deals, staying safe on the road, banking smart, and making friends.
  • Expanded resource section.
  • New section on working overseas.
  • New section on saving money on the road.
  • Added interviews with other travelers.

This is the most robust guide to solo female travel out there and brings together the tips and advice you need – plus the perspective over dozens of women – into one place. It has helped over 1,000 women plan their trip effectively. If you’ve been thinking about going somewhere but not sure where to start planning, this book is for you. Click here to learn more and start reading today!

Kristin Addis is a solo female travel expert who inspires women to travel the world in an authentic and adventurous way. A former investment banker who sold all of her belongings in 2012, Kristin has roamed the world for more than five years and visited over 70 countries. You can find more of her writings at Be My Travel Muse or on Instagram and Facebook.

The post 24 Things Every Solo Female Traveler Learns on the Road appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/things-every-solo-female-traveler-learns/

Kristin Addis with a glacier in Alaska
Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes our regular column on solo female travel. It’s a topic I can’t cover so I brought her on to cover topics and specific issues important other women travelers! In this month’s column, Kristin reminisces on the lessons learned from traveling solo.

“You’re going across the world by yourself?! Are you sure?”

You’ve heard it before, right? Someone who means well and tries to talk you out of traveling solo, mentioning all kinds of things that could go wrong.

They can be pretty convincing, focusing heavily on the negative — but completely forgetting that there are so many more positives that come from travel. What about all of the things that could go right?

There are things that only solo female travelers get to experience (things that just don’t happen when you’re traveling with someone else). It’s like a club that almost anyone can get into but few know about. But for those of us who have done it, we know that it’s not as scary as we thought, and much more rewarding than we ever imagined possible.

Traveling the world solo has taught me many lessons and made me realized there are some truths you only learn when you travel the world solo:

1. It’s way more exciting to try a new food on the other side of the world – and find that we absolutely love it – than it is to go to a swanky restaurant back home.

2. An exotic dish somehow tastes better when we eat it with our hands. With our shoes off, while sitting on the floor.

3. Being in a hammock on a tropical beach, watching the waves roll in, whether all on our own or surrounded by new friends, is worth the mosquito bites.

4. We can say “hello” and “thank you” in more languages than your fancy car has gears.

5. Playing with a child in another language is more warming than all the designer sweaters in the world.

6. People are beautiful everywhere, in every shade, shape, and size, and there is absolutely no singular beauty standard.

7. There is no greater rush than buying a plane ticket to a place that we alone want to see and that we alone picked out.

8. It is sexier to have more stamps in a passport than watches and fancy purses.

9. A sugar rush is somehow sweeter when we’re sitting in Europe eating a chocolate croissant with a whole day of adventures ahead of us.

10. It doesn’t matter what someone is wearing, where they’re from, or what their savings account looks like. If they can carry an intelligent conversation halfway across the world, we’re more than happy to hang onto their every word.

11. Espresso really does taste better in Italy, and Panang curry really does taste better in Thailand.

12. Knowing what it looks like when the sun sets over the ocean on the other side of the globe is worth more than all the Instagram likes in the world.

13. The Facebook news feed is a lot less interesting when we have an entire day of adventures ahead of us, with no plans, no obligations, and no strings attached.

14. Maybe makeup and hair products and straighteners and Spanx aren’t all that necessary, and we look fantastic just the way we are.

15. The heartbreak later is worth the fling right here and now with this beautiful stranger with an accent from far away and the promise of an adventure.

16. Being able to say “yes” without having to check in with anyone first feels so damn freeing and satisfying.

17. Being able to say “no” without worrying about offending anyone or feeling obligated feels even more powerful than saying “yes” sometimes.

18. We’re braver than we thought.

19. We’re capable of doing things that a year ago would have terrified us.

20. No classroom anywhere will ever be a better learning environment than going it alone on the road.

21. No boardroom, job interview, or house party where we don’t know anyone will ever intimidate us again, because we know what it’s like to go solo to a country where absolutely nothing is familiar and everything is new. And we handled it like a boss.

22. There were a few blunders and “learning experiences” here and there, but we’re better off for them.

23. Out of all of the things we learned, most of all we’ll remember that we are capable individuals with a better understanding of how we fit into the world now, and that’s something that will be beneficial for the rest of our lives.

24. When the trip is over, we’ll remember these things that only we know, and what we’re capable of — and probably start researching plane flights again.

We solo female travelers know that traveling alone is an amazing gift. It gives us a chance to develop our confidence, make all of the decisions about where we want to go and what we want to do, and be the CEO of our own lives and adventures. This confidence and ability carries over into our daily lives long after the trip is over.

Our loved ones’ fear and misunderstanding of it will probably always exist. Rebuffing a few well-meaning but uninformed remarks just comes with the territory. You can often show those naysayers by example how wonderful it can be.

If you haven’t yet traveled solo but really want to find out who you are and what you’re made of, go to the other side of the world by yourself and prepare to be amazed. Don’t let anything hold you back — you deserve to see the world on your own terms.

ANNOUNCING A BRAND NEW CONQUERING MOUNTAINS EDITION

In the second edition of this book, we did updated prices, tips, links as well as:

  • Expanded sections on finding travel deals, staying safe on the road, banking smart, and making friends.
  • Expanded resource section.
  • New section on working overseas.
  • New section on saving money on the road.
  • Added interviews with other travelers.

This is the most robust guide to solo female travel out there and brings together the tips and advice you need – plus the perspective over dozens of women – into one place. It has helped over 1,000 women plan their trip effectively. If you’ve been thinking about going somewhere but not sure where to start planning, this book is for you. Click here to learn more and start reading today!

Kristin Addis is a solo female travel expert who inspires women to travel the world in an authentic and adventurous way. A former investment banker who sold all of her belongings in 2012, Kristin has roamed the world for more than five years and visited over 70 countries. You can find more of her writings at Be My Travel Muse or on Instagram and Facebook.

The post 24 Things Every Solo Female Traveler Learns on the Road appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

5 of the finest luxury hotels and resorts in Vietnam

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/02/08/5-of-the-finest-luxury-hotels-and-resorts-in-vietnam/

Vietnam is an exciting and vibrant Southeast Asian country where you can spend your time exploring dynamic and bustling cities, embracing the culture and natural beauty or checking in to a luxury spa resort to relax and rejuventate. However you decide to spend your vacation there are some exceptional hotels and resorts to choose from; […]

The post 5 of the finest luxury hotels and resorts in Vietnam appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/02/08/5-of-the-finest-luxury-hotels-and-resorts-in-vietnam/

Vietnam is an exciting and vibrant Southeast Asian country where you can spend your time exploring dynamic and bustling cities, embracing the culture and natural beauty or checking in to a luxury spa resort to relax and rejuventate. However you decide to spend your vacation there are some exceptional hotels and resorts to choose from; […]

The post 5 of the finest luxury hotels and resorts in Vietnam appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

For skiing or Summer sunshine: the undiscovered wines of Savoie

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/01/30/for-skiing-or-summer-sunshine-the-undiscovered-wines-of-savoie/

The Savoie Region is one of the more dispersed of the French wine growing regions being nestled around the northern Alps, south of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and east of the Rhône.  It is also quite small by volume, encompassing only 2000 hectares of vines or about 0.5% of French wine production.  The vineyards are separated not […]

The post For skiing or Summer sunshine: the undiscovered wines of Savoie appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/01/30/for-skiing-or-summer-sunshine-the-undiscovered-wines-of-savoie/

The Savoie Region is one of the more dispersed of the French wine growing regions being nestled around the northern Alps, south of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and east of the Rhône.  It is also quite small by volume, encompassing only 2000 hectares of vines or about 0.5% of French wine production.  The vineyards are separated not […]

The post For skiing or Summer sunshine: the undiscovered wines of Savoie appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.