Travel Tips · Uncategorized

5 Reasons Black Women NEED Solo Travel

Thailand

Let’s talk about solo travelling for Black women. The fear of sticking out, facing racism or fetishization makes solo travel especially daunting. Today, I want to encourage you to travel alone as a black woman by sharing 5 reasons why you should. To be honest, travel is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it can be really empowering.

As a matter of fact, solo travel has the power to transform your life. Case in point: traveling solo in Thailand opened my eyes to travel and inspired me to take chances and blog my entire experience. Head over to my instagram to see my Bus Chronicles which often shows the reality of backpacking and dealing with buses haha.

1. There’s Not Many of Us

Our voices, our stories, and our experiences deserve to be heard. I challenge you to take a scroll through instagram and search hashtags such as, #backpackers, #femalebackpackers #femaletraveller #girlstraveltoo and what do you think? Hear me out though, I LOVE that women are doing the damn thing. That being said, it is important that Black women and Women of Colour are exposed to these spaces too.

2. You Deserve to be a Trailblazer

Imagine, what the first female backpacker felt? Imagine what the first black female backpacker felt? Probably nerves, shoot! Everyday as a women we have to become trailblazers in our communities. I encourage women to be Trailblazers in their own communities/ families.

When, I first decided to solo travel and told my family- the reaction was not what I expected. There was a lot of questions and my mom was NOT on board. But eventually, everyone was amazed at my journeys and were inspired by the courage I had to change the path in my life. You can travel as a Black women and you can inspire other young Black/women to follow in your foot steps. Encourage young girls to DREAM BIG and to TRAVEL and see what this beautiful world has to offer outside traditional norms.

My sister & I on an Adventure in Ontario

3. Despite Racism, YOU CAN

I talked about racism in a previous post but, I wanted to emphasize this again. Racism will always be around. We cannot control how people treat others unfortunately but we can control, our responses. Some people will always be ignorant and that’s a fact.

However, with all the ugliness in the world there is beauty and often times on my journeys, I wasn’t faced with racism. Questions at time yes, but not that much racism. I learned to love the world again by back-packing because there are still good people out there waiting for you.

To sum this up- WE CAN TRAVEL LADIES

Chiang Mai, Thailand- Surviving the Sleeper Train

4. To Find Your Purpose

Everyone deserves to find their purpose, including you sister. Now, I am not saying, that I ‘found’ my purpose travelling, i simply found the answers to key questions in my life. Such as, what I wanted to do career wise, what my goals were, why I tried to please everyone around me. Often times, Black women are warriors in our communities taking care of everyone and forgetting to give the same amount of energy to themselves. I encourage you, Black women and all women to also give yourself that 110% energy you give everyone around you. I promise, it will do you wonder’s.

5. To Make Make Memories That will Last a Lifetime

Wether it is solo travelling within your own country or deciding to travel abroad, it is important that you make memories, that will last you a life-time. I unfortunately lost my cousin Chantel in February of 2020 and if there was one thing that she taught me it was to make memories that will last a lifetime. We as Black women have so many barriers in our lives and anxieties to worry about. But, the one thing that brings calm is making those memories to bring us back to a place of comfort. It is so important that we travel the globe and share our stories and then create memories that remind us that we are Superhuman’s in our own way. That we too are trailblazers and most important Human.

My Cousin Chantel, Rest in Paradise My Angel

If you have anything to share to fellow Black Women thinking about travelling please comment below!

Thank you so much for reading, don’t forget to like/ leave a comment. I will see you in my next post!

2020

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8 THINGS BLACK WOMEN TRAVELLERS WANT YOU TO KNOW

I want to express that my experiences shouldn’t be symbolic of the entire demographic of black women, but that as a black woman, these are various things I’ve experienced, noticed, and would like to bring attention to by sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned. Please note: I am not an expert, but I learned the ways by self- teaching.

I WANT TO BE VERY FRANK: I’M DISAPPOINTED THAT IN 2020, THIS TOPIC IS STILL RELEVANT. It’s a shame to see that women of color like myself aren’t traveling more often, so much so that when looking at the landscape of travel bloggers and bloggers, I’m one of a handful. That being said: traveling is a privilege, one that women of colour often do not always have.

1. We Barley Exist

I am not kidding, going through my travels there was always excitement when I saw another female black traveller. Especially, one that is back-packing. Of course, there are black women traveling the world every single day, but the ratio to everyone else traveling is minuscule.

2. We Experience More than Cat-Calling.

Of course, all women have to deal with the annoying and entitled action of rude men catcalling as we casually walk around, even in our own cities. There is so many videos of men harassing women as women are simply walking or minding their own business.

Often times, on trips fellow Black travellers had told me experiences of being cat-called and men blowing loud kisses or getting extremely touchy. However, this kind of treatment isn’t only limited to foreign travel but also extends to our Home countries.

I once read “There’s a sense of respect that white women receive without knowing it” which is very much true for travelling women of colour. That being said: Black female travels have far more anxieties than the average cat-calling.

3. We surprise people.

Because of all of these preconceived notions about black women/people around the world, when we travel, we’re helping soothe the worlds’ ignorance about us. The more we become present in the travel space, the more we’ll change “ugly black women” stereotypes. I’ve had several conversations with men and women who are genuinely surprised at my ability to not only travel but to step into countries where Black people are not often seen. Now, this is not easy but I truly believe inserting ourselves in places where we have not been seen before can allow for exposure and representation.

4. We carry more weight than the average traveler.

This is just a fact, because there are so few of us out there traveling, when we come back from a life-changing trip, we swallow the moral duty to share our experience with the world, and more importantly, to other black women. Whether I’ve come back with stories of racism, praise, ignorance, or friendships in uncommon places, I always want to share my journey. As it’s in most women’s nature to help causes, and people, I feel personally responsible to bring up our kind.

I started this blog with the hopes of encouraging others to travel and learn what this beautiful world has to offer.

As a travel blogger, I feel this burden more with each new subscriber or reader. We carry the weight and responsibility of speaking on behalf of our entire kind. But let me correct myself, this is defiantly not a burden because I love writing about my experiences with you all.

5. We are seen as ugly in most countries.

Despite the high level of harassment we receive, we’re not seen as beautiful by most of the world, mostly because societies simply aren’t used to our thick hair, brown skin, and curvy bodies. The stereotypes that societies hold on to about black women never have the words: beautiful, graceful, or intelligent, attached; something that I’ve learned through microagressions.

Now: among my travels I have only received one comment which made me feel uncomfortable however, I’ve heard this statement a lot in my home country of Canada. I was traveling between countries one time and at the border the Agent advised “Wow you’re gorgeous for a Black women”. Now… I did not like that, but this statement wasn’t surprising to me because of the normative storylines society has created about Black women/People. That being said: I smiled and proceeded to walk away, I think if I wasn’t in a foreign country I would of directed that. But these are comments that Black women are often faced with. Indicating that Black women are commonly ‘ugly’ which also aligns with comments “You cant be full Black”. These microagressions Black women carry through travels and their daily lives.

6. We’re Scared

To up and travel is just not a luxury: We have so many things to think about. Such as: Are they praised in Cuba? Are they honoured in Portugal? Are they shunned in Denmark? Can we go to Germany? We have questions on what being a black woman means globally and we empathize with our sisters.

7. We’re Role Models

Breaking stereotypes and stepping outside our comfort zone. We ultimately become role models and story-tellers for fellow black female travellers. We inspire others to step outside their comfort zone and experience this beautiful world. It’s about changing the reputation of black women everywhere

8. We Can Do it

Despite, the barriers we CAN DO IT. We can travel, we can backpack, we can create communities, we can build friendships and most importantly we can be unapologetically beautiful and free.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post. Please leave me a like/comment xoxo

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VENICE

As a teacher, I am constantly meeting the learning styles of all my students and most of that stems from tuning into the multiple intelligences of students. That being said, this week’s post is a little different. I am sharing with you my ‘5 MUST SEE’S IN VENICE’. I made this video a couple of months ago in the middle of quarantine and I felt that it was only fitting to share it with my new followers on this platform. If you’re wondering why I went to one of the most Romantic places in the world, check out my blog post here on Why you Should Solo Travel!

Special shoutout to all my new followers on here!

Thank you to everyone who has recently followed/liked/commented and subscribed for email notifications. This means so much to me and I can’t wait to share all my experiences with you! Let me know in the comments below if you enjoy a mixture of videos/ short blogs.

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How Am I Surviving During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Thanks to COVID the travelling world has been halted/changed forever. I for one, am very nervous about the travelling industry and what this means for hostels/hotels. I know things wont go back to the way they were but, hopefully they will become better! These are some things I’ve been doing to keep myself sane during these unprecedented times.

Ways to Ease Your Wanderlust During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Plan your next adventure

While nobody knows how long this is going to last and how long there will be restrictions on travel, nothing stops you from having fun planning your next adventure. Perhaps order yourself a scrapbook and make a wanderlust book. Make lists of all the places and things that you would like to see, print off some pictures and place it in a journal! This will help you narrow down where you want to go!

Eat international food

Satisfy your appetite for wanderlust! If you can’t go to the destination of your dreams, bring the destination of your dreams to you! I would recommend searching for family owned businesses that specialize in their country cuisine this can really satisfy your ‘belly wanderlust’.

Sort out the practicalities

Why not get everything ready so that when you can travel again, after the covid-19 pandemic has passed, you are prepared to go straight away. Perhaps your passport needs renewing – why not see if you can do that now? 

And let’s say (because this is the truth) COVID doesn’t disappear research what other countries are doing to keep their residences safe and see if this aligns with your worries. This is a great time to research and see if the country you’re planning to go has proper safety protocols in place.

Watch Must See Video’s

This is a great time to research “MUST SEE VIDEO”. Where people post the top must sees in specific places. Have you seen my ‘5 MUST SEE’S IN VENICE?’. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Read travel blogs

That might have brought you to me.  Well, if that’s the case WELCOME and thank you so much for reading and following my blog. By reading travel blogs, you can always find new information such as, new places to visit or new destinations you would of never have considered to visit before.

During this time I have been reading a lot of travel blogs, this is the perfect way to get a hit of travel and ease your wanderlust. Stay tuned for my new series I started with ‘Photo Journaling’ places in the World.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post! Leave a comment below what you’ve been doing!

Check out my latest posts below and take a read, xoxo

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HOW TO FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

I always wondered what were the tricks to cheap flights? Was it having a buddy pass? Working as a flight attendant? or COVID (you know before, anyone knew what would happen). While, those are all things that could get you cheap flights. I’ve found over time these hacks Im sharing today have helped me get some steals to get away.

In this post i’m giving you all my hacks I use, to get cheap flights. Through my experience with my brothers ‘last minute’ flights to my ‘get me out this country flights’ and ‘I just need to save coin’ moments . I’ve found all these tricks have helped me secure flights for the low low.

Apps

  1. SkyScanner

If you haven’t read ‘My Favourite Travel Apps’, I talk about this app here. Basically, it’s a great tool to have to secure cheap flights. The only con is: You will typically get flights with layovers.

2. Hopper

This App is basically a two-for one, I love Hopper! I use this religiously and i mean RELIGIOUSLY. This app predicts prices for flights and hotels, with 95% accuracy up to 1 year in advance. It also shows you the dates where flights are the most expensive. This helps me with my planning process which I talk about in this post (See Number #1) on “How to Start a Solo Adventure’

General Hacks

  1. Fly Budget

Honestly, a lot of people are afraid to fly budget but to me the risks are equal in comparison to bigger airlines.

Below is a list of budget Airlines:

Somewhereintheworld (2020)

2. Don’t Always Fly Direct

Not only does it help to be flexible with dates and destinations but being flexible with the route you take is another way to get a cheap flights. For example, sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to a major city than search for another flight. See an example below

I did precisely this when I was going to Bali. The flight from the CA was $1300 CAD, but I could fly to Thailand for $700 and get a $60 flight to Bali (round-trip). It meant more flying time, but savings were added to food and activities that my girl Alexis made me do lol.

To use this method, send me a comment or email and I’ll help you through the process.

3. Newsletters

Before you start looking for specific lights, make sure you’ve signed up for some newsletters. As annoying as it can be, when you know you’re going to be travelling soon I recommend signing up so that you don’t miss any deals.

**HACK – Secret Flying is a great tool I use to find cheap flights and deals. You can also catch nice 5-day specials from time to time.

4. Search Multiple Sites

Honestly, not all sites are the same and sometimes they can search you over. Below are my top three for flight searching:

Skyscanner

Momondo

Flighthub

5. Search Incognito

Now, some people say this is a myth but honestly, not for me! It has taken me a long time to figure this out but I realized the longer you use the same browser, same sites they track your interest. Much like an Algorithm therefore, they KNOW you want this flight and when time is ticking eventually you’ll select whatever is available.

By using Incognito, I’ve been able to snag some cheap flights without the computer jacking up the price.

6. Take Advantage of Discounts

Typically, companies/ employeers may have a ‘discount’ for their employee’s. Dont pass this up, as a Teacher I commonly look at the discounts and monitor what is available to me.

For Students, (or if you’re under 26) here are many, many discounts available to you. You can usually find prices 20-30% off the standard fare. Travel agencies usually offer this at times. So just take a quick look at those options.

7. Use Points and Miles

I rarely use this (Credit Card Point Wise), but it is worth mentioning to check your Airmiles card. The KEY to this I found is making sure your Air-miles card is set-up to add points to your *Travel* points verses Free Items, etc.

Airmiles

8. Book Early But Not Too Early

Play it smart! I like to think of finding flights as playing Russian roulette. Airline fares will keep rising the closer you get to departure, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book far, far in advance either.

9. Book between Monday-Wednesday

Airlines post new prices on Monday. Book your flight Monday-Wednesday because price changes come after Wednesday into the weekend. Usually for the worse, lol.

10. Check your fly out dates.

Flying out Tuesday/Thursday and returning Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday are the cheapest days to fly, typically.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post.

Don’t forget to leave a comment, xoxo.

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What Solo Backpacking has Taught Me

Lost in the Rice Fields in Ubud, Indonesia

I did a lot of solo backpacking in 2019 and it was my first time ever doing it. It is crazy to think, I just jumped in head first and didn’t look back. This was by far the biggest fear I had to overcome thus far in my life and honestly, I do not regret it. I do regret not doing it sooner. It took a lot of time and patience with myself to reframe my understanding and really commit to what I wanted to do.

In today’s post, I am sharing a few things that Solo Backpacking has taught me. Please keep in mind, this is specifically for Backpacking. Backpacking is a very different style of travel that not everyone is accustomed to. However, it is something that I think you should defiantly try. It really opens the doors for you to understand yourself in a different perspective. Without the influence of family or friends.

ACCEPT EMOTIONS EVEN THE BAD ONES

Not everyday will be the greatest day as a solo backpacker. But one thing I learned was that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Prior, to solo travelling I often feared sadness and showing that vulnerability because being a Black women in today’s society. You HAVE to be strong and often times being strong 24/7 can lead to a hard downfall. I learned while travelling it is totally okay to be happy and totally okay to be sad. In life, you have to take the good with the bad and allow yourself to experience different emotions to truly feel human. And if I’m being honest, bad emotions can often project you towards the right path.

If you follow my instagram: Kyramurrel, I post my awful bus chronicles (Croatia)

TO ASK QUESTIONS

This is an ego thing. I will be honest haha, prior to travelling asking questions was very difficult for me. I’d rather struggle and go through PAIN before asking a question. After, backpacking I realized it’s okay, not to know the answer. The most important thing, is to find out how you can get the answer. And if i’m being honest, in interview’s they love this shit. Being able to ask questions when “you’re not sure and seek support”, My friends, if you say this line you’re on your way to employee of the month baby. Lol, just partially joking. But in all seriousness, asking questions and seeking help is a big thing I learned while backpacking and it’s taught me so much about using the community and people to help me get by.

VALUE MATERIAL THINGS DIFFERENTLY

This is a very interesting one because you often think you don’t value material things or showing material things. However, when you step outside of your home city you learn just how much it runs a lot of lives. While back-packing I learned to value material differently for example, buying those bottles at the club and poppin champagne likes its always my birthday. It’s just not the scene for me anymore, that $250 bottle every night I go out can go towards climbing Machu Picchu. Now, Im not saying- not have fun but think of alternative ways that fun can be had that allows you to see the world because honestly, its beautiful.

TO LIVE WITHIN A MOMENT

I loved this realization and it is still an on-going thing for me because I am young and I love instagram and I love pictures. That being said, while backpacking there were a few times when I would be quick to take a photo and not just any photo, but the perfect photo. I would also record views and look through my phones lens (i know terrible right!?).

But most of us are guilty of that because it is what we’ve become accustomed to. For example, think about the last time you were in the club and either had bottles served to you or someone else. How many camera’s were recording? and who was really in the moment?

While, it is good to take photos it is also important that you live in the moment. Take one photo, and then LIVE in the MOMENT, observe it, take it all in or just look at the scenery listen to the; air, the birds, the people, and yourself and you’ll realize that there is beauty in simplicity and despite how terrible the world is, there is also beauty in it as well.

Sunsets in Croatia

I’VE RECEIVED MORE RACISM IN THE CA THAN ABROAD

Yep. You read that correctly! More than anything, racism (at least the face-to-face kind) isn’t something that a traveler can ever really be prepared for. TBH: Racism is always on my mind when travelling. But, in my years of travel (all-inclusives/short trips/back-paCking) I have only encountered 3 situations and that was in the US and than the every-so often case in Canada(where I live).

When I talk to other travellers (specifically back-packers), especially Black women, we all mostly agree that racism is more in your face in America. In almost all cases I have met nothing but respectful people who are willing to help/sell me items/hang-out with me. I sometimes get stared at thought. In most cases, it’s because Black people are not a common occurrence in the area. And yes there has been a few cases where it was “let’s take a picture” and yaknow I kindly say NEOOOOOOOOOOPE.

TO BE CONFIDENT

I learned very quick that you had to be confident in a holistic way. Confidence for yourself as well as confidence in yourself (decisions). The moment, I landed I had to make a lot of choices in every country and often times it has been easy for me to text a friend asking ‘what do you think’ and when you’re travelling you don’t have that. So i had to quickly, get on the Somewhere in the world train and just trust myself and be confident in my choices.

2019

YOU CAN BE ALONE AND NOT LONELY

If nothing else, being by yourself is a great way to learn who you are, what you love, what you don’t love and where you want to go in life. Learning who you are is a great way to build self-confidence, resilience and courage. Building that confidence in yourself is the first step to living a life you’re proud of.

I realize that such a sentiment is quite dramatic but I have found it to be true after my travels. If nothing else, it builds confidence in the smaller things. I used to be afraid to try new things totally outside my comfort-zone (i.e., doing these crazy long hikes). I am now more confident in my abilities and more willing to put myself out in the world and push myself to the limit. Travel is a big part of this.

I have already proven to myself that I can take care of myself. Why wouldn’t book bigger and better trip? I have already shown myself that I can do what I put my mind to. Why not step up at work and take on more responsibility? Take chances? Asks questions and LEARN.

A Beach in Zadar, Croatia

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post, don’t forget to leave a comment.

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My Favourite Travel Apps

In most cases, you can use a phone app to do just about anything – from booking a flight to buying a house, finding your partner, and getting WOKE. I can’t remember the last time I actually had to sign-on to a direct website or a bank’s website to actually do something since apps have replaced opening up a web browser. I mean, unless the app is just absolutely useless. Which I’ve come across a few haha.

Travel apps are amazing – from airlines, to hostels, to transportation, to storing documents it makes travelling so much easier. Especially as a backpacker, you really have to save space when traveling as a minimalist.

This post contains a list of the BEST free travel apps out there, for an even better travel experience in 2021.

I’ve listed the apps in order starting with Hostelworld.
  1. Hostelworld

This app is great for booking hostels on the go when you’re travelling place to place. It is also a good app to use if you know you’re going to one place and just want to book through here. They also show if the hostel offers any day-trips or excursions which makes it a lot easier on you.

2. Google

Google is a good app to have when travelling or backpacking. I find the safari searches better then using the one meant for my Apple products. It can also redirect you quickly to Google Doc’s which is also very important to have on your phone.

3. Skyscanner

Is a great app for finding cheap apps, you just have to be sure that you’re also looking at the ‘layovers’ at times, you can have a long layover/short layover/ or no layover. There are benefits to all of them. But, I will save that for another post.

4. Maps.Me

Is a offline mobile site that offers Maps for virtually anywhere in the world. The only thing you have to do, is download the country/city map you will be using when you have wifi and then you can use it whenever you’re ready!

5. Airbnb

This app is great for looking up alternatives to hostels/hotels and you can read reviews and see overall ratings. ** Just be mindful, that some hosts will do ANYTHING to get a good review. Therefore, look for both the good and the bad.

You can also use this app to book excursions, which me and my friend have used and I’ve used a few times and I have run into any problems yet.

If this is your first time using Airbnb to book your vacation here is a code for $45 CAD off your first booking plus you get $17 to use towards an experience booked through Airbnb as well.

6. XE Currency

This is an awesome tool for currency exchange without being bombarded with ad’s. Add the currencies of the countries you are visiting before you leave home! or when you have wifi. You will be able to put a price in and see it in your currency almost instantly.

7. Google Translate

This is probably, my favourite app I recommend you download when visiting another country. It helps support you with language barriers and allows you to read signs when you’re trying to figure out your location and how to get to a specific location.

8. Worldpackers

Is a “collaborative network for those looking for a unique travel experience. Develop skills, learn languages and meet others through cultural immersion with local hosts”. It’s an awesome way to travel and learn new skills, or simply to volunteer within countries local communities and learn the true culture outside of touristy attractions.

9. Audible

On audible you can download audiobooks for your kids or even yourself for long flight, drives, train rides, or even when you have that morning coffee alone at a cafe.

10. Your bank institution.

Typically whatever bank you’re associated with will have an app and it is very important that you monitor your spending on your trip as you can get carried away fast with all the excitement.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I decided to give a hack which I found while travelling Europe.

11. Rick Steves Audio Europe

Okay.. Rick gives the most corny jokes on this app. But it’s TOTALLY FREE with NO AD’s and it’s honestly, the best thing I ever found. He provides FREE walking tours with maps which is great for parents as well as older kids. Included in the app is: various tours, maps, historical sites, museum you name it. Just download everything you need while you have wifi. This app got me through the Vatican City without having to pay for a tour.

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post!

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How to Start a Solo Adventure?

This was my very first inquiry, when I decided I was going to travel solo. There were so many question’s and so many thoughts in mind. Here are a few things, that quick-jumped my solo planning.

I decided I would start a series through a few posts breaking down each of these things. However, for suggestion number one, see here how to ‘cheat your vacation time’.

Here is how I started my solo adventure:

  1. I had to decide how much time I had.

Now, not everyone has the same amount of time off. But, I was graduating and I wasn’t going to start working until September so I had months. I decided two months was going to be good enough for me.

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2. Research Countries

This is really important. Especially, being a black female I had to research other Black female travellers experiences in different countries. This is a sad reality for many Black people travelling as we don’t have the privilege to just go ANYWHERE! That being said, Everywhere has racism, the question is how much of it am I willing to tolerate in order to explore a country?

I joined a few travel groups and searched a few hashtags. Overall, I found it comes down to personal experience however, here are places I found where Black/Women felt uncomfortable:

Countries where BW felt uncomfortable: (just a few)

Barcelona, Spain
Morocco
South Africa
Southern, Ireland
Naples, Italy
Cambodia
Parts of Vietnam

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With that information (which there was many more places) and people are very willing to share their experience, I decided to search for the SAFEST countries to visit. Here’s what I found:

Portugal
Denmark
Thailand
Veitnam
Slovenia
Indonesia

I know you’re probably reading this list like, huuuh?! But, this is what I mean- research is the biggest part of starting your back-packing journey because honestly, you can spend hours watching Videos of peoples experiences or blog posts about it and learn a lot so while, it may take you away. In the end it’s really helpful, and I highly recommend it.

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3. Budget

This is BIG, I can’t emphasize this enough. Budgeting is what will help you make this a smooth process. I recommend if you’re from Canada. SEARCH OUR DOLLAR CONVERSION. GOLLY, this was depressing! our dollar doesn’t go far in some places. That being said, I was broke graduating from my undergrad but, I had this trip in mind for over a year so I’ve been saving. **Don’t worry I’ll post how I budgeted for a year for this trip.

Budgeting for a solo adventure, is much like doing a monthly budget if you ever done one. You input your daily costs (activities, hostels, food) and you calculate how much you’ll be spending daily and then you go from there. Keep in mind, this also takes research to see how much it costs daily as a back packer or solo traveller. There is a lot of information out there, and I’ll share how to find the best info.

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4. Growth Mindset

I learned this concept in my B.Ed and while we mainly use it for our students, I think its important to use it for other areas in our lives. It basically means, being open to learning and growing, and with that comes the possibility to reframe your previous understandings.

Going into solo travelling I had to get rid of certain thoughts and messages being sent when I shared my news:

“WHAT?!: You can’t go alone you’re a female”
“Maybe, you should just wait until your friends can go”
“I don’t think it’s safe”
“You wont like [insert country]”
“Go with a boyfriend, and enjoy life together”

The list goes on.. Don’t let it discourage you, continue your plan to travel and to make memories that can last a lifetime. I once had a cousin who told me, in life to “Make Memories to Last a lifetime” and if there’s anything I want my travel journey to do, is to inspire you to do, just that.

Source: Drew Doodles (2020)


Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post

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OK, I CAN’T TRAVEL I WORK FULL-TIME OK? Think Again.

I travelled as a full-time student to: Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

I also travelled as a full-time Masters student and full-time worker to Europe. It is, possible if you just try.

I try to make travelling a priority in my life because it makes me happy. I also know a lot of people who wish to travel however, they’re just not sure how to integrate it with their full-time job. In today’s post, I’m giving you 10 Simple ways to travel with your full-time job or as a student. Here we go:


1. CREATE A MONTHLY BUDGET

If you’ve never created a monthly budget, I highly recommend you start one now. This can help with overall better financial literacy skills as well as preparing you to save for a future trip. By creating a monthly budget you can see exactly where your money is going and how fast. This can help with looking at vacations and costs to save.

2. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

Studies show that employees are typically happier when they take vacations (CLEARLY!!) and mental breaks. Employee’s are more likely to have a positive work-life balance when they take time off. When they return to work, after the first day back (we all know this feeling) have increased productivity and lessens early work burn-out.

If travel is something that you really want to do. You’ve got to start prioritizing it and become strategic about your time-off. Establish a plan and follow through with it, bank your vacation days and start saving NOW. I recommend creating a Savings account that charges you every time you withdraw money. This will help keep you on track.

Also, trips do not have to be 10 days in order to have the ‘back-packing experience’. They also do not have to be in another continent to enjoy as well.

3. USE THE WEEKENDS !!

Honestly, this is the !!golden rule!! and never forget it. I learned through experience it is best to use the weekends to extend your vacation and SAVE on your vacation time. Leave on a Thursday or a Friday and Save yourself the extra days.

Here’s an example: traveling Monday through Friday = 5 vacations days. VERSE Thursday through Tuesday = 3 vacation days.

Similarly, try traveling Friday through the next Sunday – this would give you 10 vacation days opposed to 5 using the same time off as traveling Monday through Friday, because you included the weekend before and after.

4. USE THE HOLIDAYS

I know, it can be hard to leave family behind for the holidays. That being said, for the past few years, I’ve missed a few however, I always made sure to face-time/call and be involved in the festivities. I’ve also celebrated before I left with people such as my grandma.

Using Holidays can also help you save on time off. I recommend looking at your work calendar and seeing which holidays you can piggy-back on. It’s basically a FREE- DAY.

5. FLY CLOSER TO HOME

You do not have to take 13 hour flights until you’ve banked enough days or gathered enough seniority to get whatever days off. And that’s totally okay! There are numerous closer destinations for you to visit and you can knock them off your bucket list first. Air-time can take away at least 2 days for a trip and jet-leg can honestly be a PAIN.

Here are a few places you can pick over a 22 hour flight to Taiwan: (Assuming you are in Canada/USA)

i.e: Costa Rica, Hondura’s, and Curacaco.

6. WORK FROM HOME

COVID-19 YA’LL. Has defiantly changed the work game moving forward. With many jobs moving to online work. I suggest you take this opportunity when borders open up to work in a new city. It’s 2020, you should also have no problem finding wifi. I remember having to look for wifi all over Croatia, because I had big deadlines to finish my assignments. (or just use data is all else truly fails).  

If working in a new city isn’t possible, you can always search hidden gems around your city. The KEY to finding these is searching for ‘Backpackers Edition’. But, I’ll come out with a post soon for that.

7. TRAVEL DURING LONG WEEKENDS

Travel during long weekends, and see attractions close to home (See #4 again). I’ve been to such beautiful countries and seen some amazing things. However, there is so much of Canada I’ve yet to see and even hidden gems within the GTA.

I also recommend banking not only on holidays, but also cashing in on those random long weekends we have. I know it can seem like “UGHHH i just want to relax”. But I am all bout maximizing your ability to travel while working a full-time job or as a student.

8. REMEMBER THAT BENEFITS PACKAGE?

Remember the company welcome package you first received when you were hired at your job? Most people don’t. The pages are overwhelming with information, most of which you think ‘mehh I’ll never use’ and often times the amount of jargon inside are hardly memorable and you’re just happy you have a job and one that can pay your bills/debt/netflix account/ You name it.

That’s how I felt, at least.

It may take a while to realize this job you need a vacation from may actually be able to help you take one… and it is all mentioned in your welcome package or benefits package that they provided during your orientation.

Many jobs offer a health and wellness program that encourages you to take ‘mental health leave’ or ‘health days’ or ‘compressed work days’ just to rejuvenate which is separate from your vacation days. So take a look through your package to see if this applies to you. Also, check to see if your employer offers you the opportunity to do a volunteering trip as professional development. This can also help you travel without worrying that you have a full-time job.

9. START EARLY

An early morning start will help you beat large crowds, and it literally doubles the time off that you do have in a given place. In some countries waking up earlier will also enable you to beat the HOT HEAT. I had to do this a LOT in Thailand because by 10am, the sun was unbearable. I am pretty sure i lost 15lbs just by standing in the sun for 5 minutes haha. If you are on vacation and you wake up at 7 or 8 am instead of 11 am or 12 pm, you’ve added 4-5 hours of daylight back into to your day (YIPPIE!)

10. TRAVEL SOLO!!

If you wait for friends to finally hop on board. You’ll never get to go or it will end up taking forever.

To be honest, we always think we have time and the saddest truth of life, is that we don’t. I’m not saying dash away your friends, but don’t wait for them to decide. JUST DO IT! You’ll end up loving yourself for it afterwards. It’s also difficult to align budgets and time off, so when you plan for just yourself it relieves a lot of stress.

BONOUS TIP***

YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO TRAVEL SOLO!

I’ve met people across all age groups and I promise you, You’re never to old to Solo Travel or go Backpacking !

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post.

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Why You Should Solo Backpack

After numerous all-inclusive’s, girl-trips and staycations. I finally jumped the broom and decided that I should solo backpack. Now, this wasn’t easy to over come because; 1 I was a female and 2 I was Black. It was hard to imagine that this could be the leisure travel I dreamed of. Anyway, I watched my good-friend Alexis backpack most of Asia and I was so inspired, I couldn’t believe the amount of places she was going and SOLO! So, I decided that in 2019 it would be the year for me. There was A LOT of prep work however, I’ll save that for another post! Below are my top 10 reasons why you should travel Solo.

  1. Convenience, Baby !

Heres the truth! None other than yourself knows exactly what is going to make you happy and make you smile. Also, you set your own budget and know the exact amount of time and money you want to spend. Imagine how much easier it is to decide if you didn’t like a certain place you didn’t have to go!

2. You Learn to Trust Yourself

I remember the first day I landed in Taiwan, I was so nervous! I didn’t know what I was going to do miles away from family and friends. I learned very quickly that I had to trust myself, that everything was going to be okay.

Zadar, Croatia

3. Facing your fears

Things can seem impossible until you just DO IT! Honestly: backpacking especially for a young Black female seemed impossible for me! But, the moment I booked that first flight, the first hostel. I faced my first fear and golly, did it ever make me feel more alive than ever before. No matter what happens, trust yourself, take chances, and make memories to last a lifetime!

3. You Make Memories to Last a Lifetime!

This has to be the best part, you make memories to last a life-time!. From the things you see, to the activities you do, to the food you eat, to the people you never forget and to the hosts you’ll always love. You truly make memories to last a life-time.

Florence Region, Italy

4. Safety and Common Sense

Okay, the elephant in the room here. Safety is the number one concern and given it is COVID-19 safety is even more important. I found using proper common sense (e.g., researching culture/crime/safety) goes a long way. Most places, are safe and genuinely people are kind to help a lost traveller however, always trust your instinct. If you think it’s a bad idea DONT DO IT. But, do remember too have fun!

5. Walking to the Beat of your own Drum!

You’re really on your own time when solo travelling and this way you get to see all the things that interest you. You also, tend to realize new things about yourself that you never knew before. Its truly eye-opening!

Mount Batur, Indonesia

6. Budget Honey

I remember money being a BIG thing, when thinking of solo travelling. Until I realized, I can budget honeyyyy! Even while on the trip, i stuck to my budget i created and i didn’t have to worry about luxury because I knew exactly what my budget was going to cover. Luckily, so many hostels these days resemble high-end hotels. Honestly, sometimes I couldn’t even tell the difference.

7. You can be Spontaneous !

I am not kidding, you can literally do anything you put your mind to! and try new things. I swam with elephants, rode through the rain forest, and ate poo coffee! Yeeeeeep poo coffee haha formerly known as Kopi Luwak coffee.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

8. You meet such awesome people !

The amount of people I’ve met and stories I’ve heard have truly shaped me into the person I am today. I love learning through social interaction, because honestly we’ll never understand people until we listen to them first.

Mount Batur, Indonesia

9. You learn to value life differently.

This is something so hard to explain, unless you experience it. While, any travel can make you appreciate life more. Backpacking does something exceptionally different. You learn to view life through an alternative lens, you become less materialistic and more holistic. You learn that life, is truly measure by moments.

10. CULTURES!!!

Do I really need to say more? The amount of cultures and history you learn while back-packing is something different!

Ubud, Bali

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post.

  • Somewhere in the World