Well, one thing has remained with the relaunch...five questions. Maybe it's because I grew up wanting to be a journalist or maybe it's because I love connecting with people, which is exactly what leads to today's post.
Sierra from Passport Voyager is a solo traveler with a beautiful Instagram to boot and that is where I came across her travels. Originally from California, but now a NYC resident, she has done a fair amount of travel on her own and boasts some beautiful posts about things to do and places to go.
She graciously said yes to being interviewed and so here are her experiences and stories, I highly recommend following her Instagram as it's a bright spot full of lovely pictures too.
1. What first motivated you to travel?
I've always loved taking trips and exploring new places, ever since I was a child. My family didn't travel across country a ton, but we did go up to Yosemite pretty frequently and explore the surrounding areas. My first trip out of the United States was Mexico - I went twice with my youth group as a middle and high schooler to help build houses, so it wasn't exactly a lay back on the beach vacation! I remember feeling exhilarated by the idea of being in a new place, learning a new language, experiencing a culture completely different to mine
However, my deep love of travel really hit when I was about 16 and traveled to visit my brother in Italy (he is in the military and was stationed there at the time). I fell head over heels for Italy. The people, the food, the gorgeous blue water...everything felt magical to me. After that trip, I knew I wanted to see more of the world - a LOT more of it!
2. As a solo traveler, what has been the biggest lesson you've learned?
Probably to trust myself and my gut. It's very rare that I feel afraid while traveling solo, and I think that's partly due to the fact that I plan everything out so I know where to go, what to do and what to expect, and I just don't put myself in dangerous situations. For example, I don't go out drinking when traveling solo. That's just a personal choice I've made. I know I'm the only one there, so I want to stay alert and keep myself safe. And I've never had any issues!
3. Are there a few consistent items always in your luggage? If so, what are they?
Yes! I went to Germany a few years ago and became obsessed with a particular brand of German lip balm. It's called Haupt und Kindercreme, and it's life-changing. I keep that with me whenever I go anywhere. I also bring a luggage scale (I like the Camry brand - super cheap on Amazon and easy to use) because I travel with a carry-on only and want to avoid those sky high international baggage fees. Another thing I always bring is a portable charger, and I make sure that I have converters or international plugs with USB ports I can charge all my devices at once.
4. Do you have a fond memory of a moment with food from your travels? What makes it so special?
So many! One favorite food memory is from a dinner I had at a place called Frenchie Wine Bar in Paris a few years ago. The food was so fresh and delicious, I'd never tasted anything like it. Another favorite memory is my first time at Dishoom in London - they have the best Indian food I've ever tasted. It's perfection.
I love trying local cuisine and discovering new restaurants and little shops when I travel, it makes the experience that much more special to me.
5. Do you have any advice for those who are a little weary to go and adventure solo?
Definitely! My advice would be this, in a nutshell: 1) Plan ahead - know where you're staying, how to get around, etc. Having a plan alleviates so much anxiety and helps you have a general sense of security, as well as keeping you safe. 2) Be smart - like I said, I don't drink when traveling solo. I don't stay out walking around after dark in isolated areas I'm not familiar with. Just use common sense! 3) Check in with your friends and family - this is even easier if your phone company has an affordable international plan (get it!) Being able to connect to people you love helps you feel like you're not isolated. 4) Have FUN! Don't feel weird about traveling solo, it's the most fantastic, empowering adventure you'll ever go on.
I have learned so much about myself through solo travel, and I can't imagine who I'd be today without all the amazing experiences I've had out in the world on my own!