This month in the SFT series I’ll be chatting with a traveller who’s certainly covered her fair share of the globe (definitely more than me!). On the road solo since 2012, she’s no stranger to travelling alone and hopefully she’ll have a few stories and advice that you guys will find handy. Interestingly, she had a few answers that were quite different to previous interviewees, so read on to get her take on nomad’ing solo as a female.
Psst – she also writes a great blog – one I always enjoy checking in on from time to time. Do check it out!
Anyway, let’s get to that interview; say hello to Kristin from Be My Travel Muse.
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
A girl from Southern California who likes to pretend she’s deep and complex by writing about traveling. I’ve been on the road solo since September of 2012.
Tell us a bit about how you started a life of travel. What was your inspiration, how did you make it happen, and what were the hard things you had to leave behind?
My inspiration was other travel bloggers who showed me, through their writing and stories, that a lifestyle like this is actually possible without being a trust fund baby. I saved up a chunk of cash, sold everything I had, and took off on a one-way ticket, effectively demolishing any bridges behind me. The things I left behind are still difficult to do without – my best friends and family, all of whom mean the world to me.
What’s the response been like to you going nomadic and breaking the ‘traditional’ mold of job, marriage and kids?
I still have a job. I don’t think traveling means you can’t have a marriage and kids. That’s a big misconception and a lot of people I meet are out there doing it, such as the family volunteering with me on a farm I’m staying on right now in South Africa. There is no ‘normal’ anymore and these days, thinking outside the box is much easier to execute with all of the opportunity online and for native English speakers who want to teach abroad.
How I’ve been getting around #China: hitch hiked over 1000km (621 miles) in the past 2 weeks meeting amazing people and having incredible adventures A photo posted by Kristin Addis (@bemytravelmuse) on
One of the biggest concerns about solo female travel is safety. What’s your experience with this, and what advice can you share for staying safe on the road as a female?
I don’t think traveling alone as a female is THAT different than a male traveling alone. We do have different concerns but so much boils down to common sense and intution. I view it this way: You’ve stayed alive this long, keep doing what you’re doing on the road as well.
Share one of the philosophies you live your life by. When, how, and why did it become part of your life?
Compassion heals and helps us understand. It cultivates patience and removes the “us vs. them” mentality. It improves the mood and when you feel connections to people rather than differences, life becomes easier.
Tell me the one book you’ve read that has inspired the biggest positive change in your life.
It’s called What Makes You Not a Buddhist. The title is a bit misleading because it sounds like it’ll be a religious book but it’s largely not. It’s more about the four truths of Buddhism and how they can help us deal with loss, change, and other difficulties. It changed my entire perspective and it’s the book I always recommend to friends.
People always think travel is glamorous and full of smiles all the time, but as you know that is far from the truth. Tell me the one (or two or three) things you hate most about the traveller’s life.
The lack of stability, friends, and the comfort of understanding a place.
#SCUBA diving in #Belize. Take me back A photo posted by Kristin Addis (@bemytravelmuse) on
We always say that travel changes people. Looking back now, what is the one thing you don’t like about your old self that you managed to change through travel?
I don’t think it changes people. I think it allows them to be who they’ve always been without the judgement and influence of people back home. Family and friends do, inevitably, have a lot of influence over how we act and behave, but without anyone who knows you from before on the road, you can be whoever you want to be in that moment.
Where are some places you’ve had to deal with unwanted advances or harassment from men and how do you handle it?
I got groped in the dark in Nepal by a man who foricibly grabbed me then ran away in the span of a few seconds. It left me feeling shocked and vulnerable, but I stayed for a month regardless and still think highly of the country. There are bad eggs everywhere and I’ll be more careful about walking alone at night moving forward.
How do you afford your travels?
I support myself from brand partnerships and advertising on my blog, freelance writing, and some freelance social media work. It took a while to get here, but now it’s a solid living and I couldn’t be happier.
Right now you’re wandering through Africa, a continent that many would perceive as dangerous for a solo female traveller. Give us your opinion after spending some time on the ground there.
I’ve gone to townships where some locals here won’t go, and been treated with so much kindness that it’s overwhelming. Africa is huge, there are a lot of dangerous places but that’s also true of the US.
Waterfalls in Hogsback #SouthAfrica. Stayed on a perma culture farm there and loved the experience of living completely off the grid. Gorgeous A photo posted by Kristin Addis (@bemytravelmuse) on
Are you a nomad for life? Why? Why not?
A lot of people ask me that and it’s impossible to answer. I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow! Most likely traveling will always be a part of my life but at some point a home base would be nice.
And lastly, for the girls out there still on the fence about their first solo trip, what advice can you give them?
This is for the girls and the guys: do it because you will meet people, you won’t be alone that much, and it will be worth it. It’s scary right now and that’s okay because it is for everyone, but most things worth doing are.
Kristin is a former investment banker from California, who left her job to travel the world in 2012. To read more about her story, check out her blog at Be My Travel Muse, or connect with her through her social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Enjoyed this interview? Check out the rest of the series here!