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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