4 reasons to embrace your inner badass and take that solo trip

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

-Henry David Thoreau

I believe everyone should take a trip alone and here’s 4 main reasons why.

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  1. the freedom: Nothing is more exhilarating than the thrill of knowing the world is yours to conquer. You are free from the lifestyle you chose to leave behind, free from being chained down to an apartment lease and free from the thoughts of feeling like you’re missing out on all that life has to offer.

 2. friends: when you travel alone it is easier to meet people, and having contacts all across the globe is the best type of network one can dream of. Of course you have trust your gut when it comes down to judging a person’s character and there’s nothing wrong with being skeptical at first, but I have made some good friends along the way who I still keep in contact with.

3. experience: Sometimes, pictures just don’t do a destination justice, and the feeling of actually climbing that mountain in Japan or swimming in the crystal clear blue waters of the gulf coast cannot be replaced. Nobody, not a single person, can take away the memories you have made, and no two stories are the same.

4.personal growth: My favorite reason of them all. Going out and seeing other cultures and participating in social norms besides the ones you know as your own, develop a person into a more rounded individual with more perspectives on lifestyle then they may have had before. I believe solo travel makes you more self efficient and confident. You learn to cope with feeling homesick, you become an expert at feeling comfortable when lost, you learn that if you speed that power walk up to a light jog you will make that flight. You learn that it’s damn good to be alive.

People who travel alone have the hearts of lions and I never fail to admire them for their adventurous spirits.

 

Wounded Warrior

 

Last year, I found myself face down on the ground, hesitant to stand up. How did
this happen, one may ask?

 

Well, my best friend and I decided to take a trip to Thailand. When we got there, we headed North to explore my personal favorite town, Pai. As we arrived we rented a moped to cover more ground. Everything was going great and we were having the time of our lives.

 

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Until the accident happened.

I was driving, and she was on the back. We were going down a gravel road and the tires lost traction and slipped. We went flying off the moped. My adrenaline was going faster than Usain Bolt at the olympics, and it took me a second to process what had just happened. So there I was, laying in the middle of the road.

When I did finally stand up, I glanced over at her and she was fine. Instantly I was filled with relief. I felt fine too, until I looked down at my right knee and could see straight to the bone. It was by far the nastiest thing I’ve managed to do to my own body (so far).

What happened next was truly incredible though. The locals rushed over to us
and took total control of the situation. Mind you, they spoke minimal English and neither of us speak Thai, so the communication was a little iffy, but that didn’t matter to them. This family had a small first aid kit in their car and managed to rinse my knee and stop the bleeding, while some of the others sat on the curb with my friend to calm her down. They didn’t care who we were, what we looked like or where we came from. Those people just saw that we needed help and they gave us exactly that.

They got us to the nearest hospital, where I got 8 stitches in my leg and 3 in my arm. The quality of care was nothing compared to what we have in the US, but it was better than nothing I suppose.

After that, I continued the trip. Yep, I was down to only one functioning leg at the time, but I guess that’s why I was born with a backup.

A few days went by, and we were in the Phi Phi Islands. They had a travelers medical center so I went there to get my wound cleaned. The doctor there decided to take out the stitches because he said they were done so poorly. Here’s a visual

 

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The doctor cleaned me up real good and sent me on my way. I stopped for a drink and found a place to sign up for an early morning boat tour of the islands for something awesome to do the next day, crippled or not.

The next morning, as the sun was rising, we took off and sailed to paradise. I wasn’t supposed to get my leg wet so I thought I was going to have to miss out on all the fun….

Luckily, I was wrong.

The tour guide was truly a saint. He took duct tape and a plastic bag and tied that shit up right to my leg to keep it dry. It actually worked! So him, my friend and I spent the majority of the day cracking up, soaking up the sun and enjoying the perfect day in the most beautiful place in the world. Now I see why they call it “the land of smiles”

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That’s us!

At the time, I was a little embarrassed by my stupidity and tendency to behave recklessly. But I’ve realized more good has come from the experience than bad. I was able to meet some of the best people imaginable, share my story with the world, develop into the fearless female backpacker, learn to handle anything that may happen on the road, and more importantly, pay it forward.

 

I’m from Orlando, Florida. Therefore, tourists from all over the world visit our city year-round. From that day, I’ve made it a point to always take care of our foreign visitors they way the citizens of Thailand did for me, even if it is something as simple as helping with directions.

I’m all healed now, but I have plenty of body surface area for more scars.

Thanks for reading!

-Erin

The clothes on your back

Why I chose to only bring a backpack


 

You won’t need as much gear as you think you do.  Especially when it comes to clothes. Even as a female, I will say, when you start to pack all the shit from your closet, it’s just going to sit balled up in your bag. 

Migrating from place to place is easier with a lighter load. Sometimes you get caught in the rain. You could have to walk uphill or through sand on the beach. Whatever it is, rolling a huge suitcase will make your life a lot harder than it has to be, which is why I am a fan of the backpack.

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So this is the one I use. It was very affordable and reliable. 65l is more than enough space and it comes with a rain cover which is a must (believe me) . The cushions make it comfortable on your back and you can adjust it according to your hight and what feels best for you. The waist strap comes with most bags but I usually don’t use it, some people do though. It has tons of pockets so you can reach the small things you have without having to dig around. And lastly, when you pull all the straps on the front and make them a bit tighter, it shrinks the bag down, making it fit really well into the overhead compartment of the plane. 

(I once thought it was a good idea to check my shit. When I had a layover and had to switch flights, my bag never switched with me. I went without luggage for 3 days and finally getting it back was a pain in the ass. Needless to say, I now always carry my stuff with me.) 

It’s easier to pack when the temperatures of your destinations are all within a close range. This will help you not have to take up more space carrying bathing suits and jackets at the same time.

Laundry. There are indeed places all over to wash clothes. Hostels often times offer laundry services for a few bucks or you can go to a laundromat. Do everyone around you a favor, take advantage of the washing machines. 

Getting what you need is not hard. Every place I’ve been to so far has had easy to get to convenient stores. So when you do run out of toiletries and shit, have no fear.

I usually make a list of things I want to bring, and then I cross stuff off as I go because I know I can do without. Everyone has different needs so there is no “one size fits all” but this is just the method behind my own madness. 

-Erin

 

 

When booking a flight…

As we all know it, flights will most likely account for draining the largest chunk of your trips budget, and if the price isn’t right, let’s be honest, we wont be going anywhere. If you are planning a trip soon that requires you to fly, finding the right one is one of the most important parts. After you finally put the check in that box and get it booked, everything else beings to fall together. So here’s what I have learned so far when it comes to conquering the flight monster: Read more