Oooh yeah! Happy Wander Woman Wednesdays! This week it’s the beautiful Stephanie Raley from Pearls And Passports and what an inspiration she is! She puts it out there that if you wake up one morning and know you’re not where you’re meant to be, you need to take action, eliminate your fears and doubts and follow your true calling. Don’t be that one wasting your life away if you know you need to make a change. Bring it on Stephanie!
1.Who are you, what do you do and what is your awesome blog about?
I’m Stephanie Raley, a twenty something solo female traveller who has recently moved to Japan. I now teach English in an Elementary school and love it! I just wish I did it sooner. In 2013 I travelled to ten countries in ten months solo. I learnt so much about myself and my passions. I thought a year abroad would cure my wanderlust but it just made it worse! I can now say I’m addicted to travel and new experiences.
My blog is geared towards solo travellers and prospective travellers. I will tell you the reality of travelling solo and give you advice on how to cope when times are tough. I have a series called ‘Pearls of Wisdom’, where I give advice on subjects such as loneliness on the road and how to stay safe.
2.How long have you been travelling? Where have you been and what are your future travel plans?
I was about 24 when I woke up one day and just wasn’t happy with life. On the outside I was successful but inside there was a deep yearning for something. The frustrating thing was I had no idea what it was. I decided to volunteer to teach English in Spain solo and had an amazing time and met inspiring world travellers. It was then I realised that travel was my passion so put steps in place to take a sabbatical and realise my dream.
I travelled to countries in Asia and Oceania during my travels. I did things that I never thought were possible like live with a crazy ex monk and skydive. It made me realise how amazing life can be and to never accept a mediocre life again.
I spent a year at home after my sabbatical. I found it hard to readjust and despite filling my days with friends and activities, life just seemed dull. After a trip to Italy I decided to move abroad. It took me a while to decide on a country. I now live in Japan and although it’s not the easiest country to live in, I love it.
3.Travelling solo can have some amazing benefits: what are they for you?
When you travel solo you can do exactly what you want to do everyday. There’s no one saying ‘Oh, I’m too tired’ or ‘Oh I don’t like it’, you can just do it! It’s total freedom. Travelling solo also pushes you out of your comfort zone. I’ve never been an extrovert but travelling forces you to speak to new people, barter with stall holders and generally be a more confident person. You don’t have anyone to fall back on. Miserable backpackers don’t tend to make many friends on the road!
4.What countries do you recommend for female travellers just starting out?
My second country was Sri Lanka. Although it’s an amazing country it was very overwhelming for me. I was a bit scared to actually travel so I spent two weeks in the same hostel!
Thailand is a great country to start as a solo female traveller. It has a really social atmosphere and lots of solo female travellers. It’s very Western compared to the surrounding countries too so you can still find home comforts like Western food if you need it.
New Zealand is a very safe and beautiful country too. I ended up meeting a group of fellow solo travellers on the Kiwi experience and I now have friends for life. A tour like the Kiwi Experience is perfect for a first trip because you meet friends quickly and don’t have to worry about the logistics of travel. Perfect for finding your feet.
5.How do you stay safe on the road? Do you have any tips for happy travels?
The best tip I have is to use your intuition. Hone your people skills and use them! With a bit of practice it’s easy to see if someone is lying or untrustworthy. Another tip is store money in your bra when you are on a night out in an area where bag snatches happen. It happened to a friend in Vietnam and after a few drinks common sense flies out the window!
6.What is the one thing in your backpack that every girl needs whilst travelling?
My favorite item was my quick dry towel. I bought the biggest one I could find and used it as a beach towel or body cover at night if the hostel only provided one bedsheet.
7.Has there ever been a time where you thought ‘”#%*!”? What happened and what did you do about it?
I got Dengue fever in Koh Chang in Thailand. I was so ill and should have been in hospital but there was no hospital on the island. I debated going home but am glad I fought it out and nursed myself healthy.
What surprised me was that no one offered to help me. It took me two hours to get dressed when I was first diagnosed yet no one offered to go and buy me water or a fruit shake so I didn’t have to use all my energy getting dressed and walking to the store. I call it ‘the beach’ effect after what happened in the book/film. It taught me a good lesson about life though. Don’t expect anyone to help you when times are tough. Always be strong enough to help yourself.
8.Is there anywhere you want to travel solo as a woman but feel you can’t?
Despite what people say, travel is a lot harder for a solo woman. I’d love to travel to India but I’m a bit scared of the sexual harassment. It won’t put me off though and I will visit at some point in my life.
9.What travel experience are you most proud of?
Hmm, I’m very proud of so many things. I have done so many things that ‘old Stephanie’ never would have done. Before travel I was scared to go out of my depth in the sea and now I’m a certified scuba diver! I’m very proud of travelling around Sri Lanka, even though I was a newbie traveller I gave it my all and made many friends on the way. I learnt how to barter and stand up for myself when needed.
10.What one piece of golden advice would you give to a solo female traveller?
Just get out there and do it! We are only young once and it makes no sense to waste that time working in a cubicle if travel is your passion. Hone your intuition and make being a female solo traveller work in your favour. Try every opportunity that comes your way, you always regret the things you didn’t do rather than the things you did!
Share The Inspiration! Pin Me!