All posts tagged: solo travel

Why I decided to keep traveling

‘Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.’ -Rumi

When I arrived in Bali in early January 2017, I planned to spend five weeks exploring the island of the gods. Little did I know, but my experiences in Bali would change the course of the next year of my life, inspiring a last-minute decision to cancel my return ticket back to California.

8 important lessons I learned from traveling the world

As I contemplate the last four months of world travel, I realize I’ve learned a lot from the experience of backpacking across Europe and Southeast Asia. I’ve discovered places that eclipsed my wildest imaginings, explored modern cities and ancient ruins, watched sunrises and sunsets with newfound friends, climbed literal and figurative mountains and stripped away layers to reveal a stronger, smarter and braver version of myself.

I know I’ll want to remember a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way, so here’s eight of the important ones…

Too broke to travel? 7 travel hacks to get you there sooner

At least once a week, somebody tells me “I wish I could travel too, but I don’t have the money.” Well, guess what?  It’s a lie. Stop telling yourself this convenient story and get out there and start exploring the world. As I write this, I’m cozied up at a hip cafe in Canggu, Bali eating divine vegan food. I drove here on a motorbike I got for free, five minutes from the surf/yoga camp I’m staying at (also for free). This afternoon, I’ll drop in at a discounted yoga class before meeting friends for sunset at the beach. All together, my awesome day will cost less than $15…and it could even be free, if I chose to take advantage of the restaurant back at the camp (but I have a weakness for trendy eateries, which Canggu is overflowing with). So, without further ado, here are seven resources to help you stretch even a small amount of cash into months or even years abroad: Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOFing) Browse hundreds of listings from organic farms …

Pinch me, I’m dreaming…twelve days exploring magical Myanmar

As 2016 came to an end, I hopped from Vietnam to Myanmar (formerly Burma) to explore this incredible country where ancient tradition is just beginning to meet the modern world. Due to an ongoing civil war, much of the country is still off-limits to foreigners, but a bourgeoning tourism industry and recent democratic elections indicate things are changing rapidly. With cheerful shouts of “Min-ga-la-ba!” (hello) echoing down every street, the friendly and optimistic Burmese people are the true gem of this beautiful country, which sits between Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh. With more than 100 ethnic groups, Myanmar is a diverse place, although almost 98 percent of the population identifies as Buddhist. Indeed, Myanmar is home to nearly 500,000 buddhist monks. Whether you are shopping in a bustling market or visiting a temple, the sight of the monks’ saffron robes is a common one. Here’s a few of my favorite photographs (and memories) from the twelve days I spent in beautiful Myanamar. I expected that watching the sunrise over the thousands of ancient temples in Bagan would be good …

Ancient temples, island escapes and mountaintop monasteries: 7 days in Greece

One of the biggest challenges I had while planning my trip to Europe was how to spend seven days in Greece. The ferry connections were bewildering, and since I was visiting in the off-season (November), it was even harder to determine whether certain ferries were running.

This itinerary offers a little bit of everything –the history and awe-inspiring sights of Athens, the scenery and hiking of incredible Meteora, plus the must-see island of Santorini.

Why travel solo? 10 reasons to take on the world by yourself

I’ll admit it —when I first decided I was going to travel alone through Europe and Southeast Asia, I was terrified. The thought of spending four months by myself, traveling through foreign countries surrounded by a bunch of strangers who didn’t speak the same language sounded…scary. Friends and family telling me how dangerous the world was didn’t help much —according to popular opinion, if I wasn’t killed in a terrorist attack or raped in a dark alley, I would be lucky to arrive back in San Francisco as a travel-hardened survivor of sexual harassment, rampant pickpockets and mosquito-born illness.

Epic hike: the monasteries of Meteora, Greece

If you ever get the chance to visit the stunning rock formations and monasteries of Meteora, Greece, don’t miss it. Meteora, which literally means “middle of the sky,” “suspended in air,” or “in the heavens” is a region of spectacular monolithic stone pillars in northern Greece. Occupied by monks since the 14th century, the six gravity-defying Greek Orthodox monasteries of Meteora sit high above the village of Kalambaka, offering a vista of Greek religious history, eye-popping scenery and confounding structural engineering. You’ll find yourself wondering, “How on earth did they do that?” at every turn.  Apparently, God doesn’t require a building permit. Getting there There are daily bus connections and trains from Athens, and bus connections to Thessaloniki, Delphi and many other cities in Greece. I recommend using the website Rome2Rio to map out your transportation. If you’re visiting Meteora on the weekend or during high season, it’s smart to book your transportation ahead. Once you arrive in Kalambaka,  it’s a half day hike to visit all of the monasteries via the trail that connects them, …

Salzburg: city of music

I arrived in Salzburg at night, in the rain and was immediately lost. Luckily, a kind local went out of his way to walk me to the hostel I had brilliantly decided not to book in advance. Apparently, Salzburg is the place to be on a Friday night in October in Austria, because this large hostel didn’t have a single bed left. The receptionist handed me a map, scribbled a bus number on it and circled a point far across the city where she said they might have a hostel bed. Back into the cold, rainy night I went. After several more mistakes that ended with me trudging in circles (hey, it was a roundabout), I finally staggered into the hostel around midnight, three hours after arriving in the city. “Yes, we have one bed left,” said the nice young guy working at the reception desk. If I’d had any energy left I would have jumped over the desk and hugged him. Instead, I handed him my passport. I spent the next two days roving the city of Salzburg, entranced …

Paris

Paris was a photograph come to life. Narrow cobblestone streets were lined with bistros and cafes, overlooked by tall 19th century apartments with windows fronted by wrought iron balustrades, intersected by canals and river walks, while the Eiffel Tower and the Arc d’Triumph stood sentry over the city.