World travel is an incredible opportunity, but it’s not always glamorous. Some of the challenges are similar to those at home, and some are completely new. I wanted to share what my day to day life is like, aside from the awe inspiring moments.There are many different ways to travel, and this list is only representative of my own experience.
1. I don’t like everyone I meet
In general I do really like people, but I don’t get along with all of them. There are some people I just don’t vibe with, understand, or feel awkward around. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it justs means they’re not for me. I do not dislike someone simply because they are different than me. In fact, I tend to get along with people from other cultures better than those from my own.
2. I don’t like everywhere I go
I never know what to expect when I arrive in a new city. Oftentimes I find myself in total disagreement with guide books. The cities I Iike the best are the ones they like the least, and vice versa. Sometimes there isn’t a concrete reason a place doesn’t suit me, it just doesn’t make me feel the way I want it to. The beauty of traveling alone is that if I don’t like a place, it’s pretty easy to leave.
3. It gets boring sometimes
Even though I post pictures and write stories about amazing experiences I’m having, they don’t happen all the time. Even in the most beautiful places in the world, life must go on as usual at a certain point. There are many times that I just want to sit on my tablet at a coffee shop or lay in my room and read a book.
4. I look and smell bad
I have to fit everything I need for eight months in a backpack that fits on my small frame. Subsequently, I cannot bring that much. My clothes don’t match, and I often look like I’ve been camping for a week even when I’m in the city. Sometimes I have to wash my clothes in the shower. I think pretty little about my appearance. This can be a challenge when I’m setting up meetings in healthcare organizations. I have one passable outfit I can wear.
5. I eat at tourist restaurants
I love trying all the local cuisine from the countries I’m visiting, but there is only so much rice, beans, and tortillas I can handle in one day. I like eating a variety of vegetables, and often the best way to do this is to eat at a westernized place. They cost a little more, and don’t give me an authentic experience, but I’m okay with that sometimes.
6. I stay in private rooms
I don’t like dorm rooms, and I don’t like party hostels. I make sure I am never in a situation that I have to stay in either one of these. Some people say I’m not getting the true travel experience this way, but I think my experience is made up of whatever I want it to be.
7. I don’t mind being alone
On average, I am in each country for 3-4 weeks, and in each city for a week or less. To me, it is sometimes really exhausting making new friends every couple of days. I’m not rude to anyone, I just don’t go out of my way to meet people if I don’t feel like it. It gets old repeating my story over and over again, no matter how great I think it is.
8. Being female limits my options
Being a female solo traveler is not the same as being a male solo traveler. I can’t walk alone after dark, and there’s always a chance I will be harassed or followed no matter what time of day. This sometimes means I go out to dinner at 5:00. If I don’t have anyone to go somewhere with, sometimes I just can’t go. Male travelers definitely have an advantage, as do people in groups.
9. I don’t have a budget
I don’t track exactly how much I spend. I know about how much I have each day to equal the total of my scholarship. I’m usually under this amount, and the excess goes to transportation and entertainment. I am unwilling to compromise my safety or comfort to save a few dollars. I know this is a luxury that a lot of travelers do not have.
10. I still think Seattle is the best place in the world
It’s not a home for everyone, but it’s my home. Despite the clouds, rain and traffic, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I will travel until the end of time, but I don’t see myself moving to another country, or living a nomad lifestyle. I love my life in Seattle, and traveling only makes me appreciate it more.