TRAVEL YOUNG, TRAVEL MORE
I meet amazing travellers from all ages while travelling. All of them has a different aura that amaze me, but I dedicate this article to young solo female travellers.
The typical questions that young solo female travellers get to asked…”Ohh, so you’re travelling alone?”, “hmmm but you’re so young to travel alone?”, “Isn’t this dangerous for a girl? I think you’re lucky”, “At least, you should have waited a bit to travel by yourself!”
People who start travelling young have an advantage in life whether it’s decision making, trusting their gut or being more creative and open minded. Having understood that “it doesn’t take to be rich to travel” makes them value experiences more than physical possessions. Once they’re bitten by the travelling bug in the early ages, they’ll find themselves craving to travel more. Now, you may say, these apply to every age group, agreed. I met amazing people from all ages but the most important part is to see more and more young people travelling and having amazing experiences that can shape their future early on.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.- Mark Twain
Cambodia was an eye opening experience for me…Among all the people that I met, I got to meet 2 very young solo female travellers. They were very positive and open to social and environmental problems and wanna make a change in the society, it was inspiring, eventhough they weren’t aware of that.
HOW DID OUR PATHS CROSS?
I was in a bus to Battambang where things got interesting. First, the bus broke down and afterwards I realized that there was a very outgoing monk who was talking about his life and some parts of buddhism at the back of the bus with the audience of 2 foreigners, a guy and a girl. Of course, I went at the back of the bus to join them but I was way to tired so after thirty minutes I came back to my seat. Soon the girl at the back came to me and asked that she wasn’t sure whether she should get off the bus with the monk as he invited her to show around his home town. She added by saying where we were was in the middle of nowhere. I looked around and it was literally in the middle of nowhere and I said it would be better not to get off. I’m glad she stayed in the bus cause this led us to travel together for the rest of my journey. So who is my travelling sista?
Laura is from Austria, 21years old and she started travelling alone when her boyfriend went back earlier. She is a university student and she is very aware of the environmental problems of the places she’s been to. She was thinking of making a difference in the world in this way.
We experienced absolutely amazing things that are unique to get, like getting lost and ending up in Thai border during our 21 hours bus ride, stayed with a lovely American family in Battambang who I had met and talked for 5 minutes at my hotel in Siem Reap that we immediately clicked with, experiencing a lesson at a Cambodian primary school and met the class teacher who was a lovely Cambodian woman, seeing the bat caves and being under the pee shower of the bats haha, wandering around the rural areas of Battambang.
We talked a lot about the life, relationships, our passions etc. I could clearly see that how travelling can make someone absolutely amazing! I was so suprised how wise she was. I haven’t met anyone with an aura like hers. I am so happy that our paths crossed.
I was standing in front of the reception of my hostel in Phnom Penh to get my bus tickets sorted out. There were many travellers around me waiting for their tickets as well. Soon we started to talk about our next destination and realized that 3 of us, one of them was a Chinese guy and the other one was an Australian girl, were heading to Koh Rong but with different bus companies, so exchanged facebook and we said we’ll meet up in Koh Rong.
This is one of the greatest things that happens naturally when you travel alone, teaming up with fellow travellers.
After a long bus journey, I was lucky enough to find a bed at one of the best hostels in Sihanoukville, even with a swimming pool, yet still a hostel. The next day I ran into the same girl that I met at the hostel I was staying in Phnom Penh. Eventhough we said we were gonna meet up in the island, I hadn’t known that we were gonna spent the most of the days together in Koh Rong, sharing the accomodation, going into a boat trip, exploring the island. The interesting part comes when I learnt about her age. I knew that she was looking very young but she was wise at the same time, that’s why I never expected her to be this young! So who is this free soul?
Eilish is the youngest solo female traveller, 19 years old, I’ve ever met. She is from Australia, studying Physiotherapy in university & she combined travelling with volunteering too. The morning she was leaving, I asked her whether she would be interested to have a short interview with me. She said she would love to do it, so we made it happen at the balcony of our tree house.
Here is what my fellow travelling buddy says:
Evrim: What do you think about solo travelling?
Eilish: After travelling alone, I am not sure I would do it the other way. I think I will travel alone from now on. It’s nice to share things with someone but it is also nice to have that freedom.
Evrim: What would you say to solo female travellers to stay safe and stay away from touble or dodgy stuff?
Eilish: I think you brought attention to yourself as a female traveller, especially as a white female travelling alone. I haven’t been into much trouble but some people would say that it is lucky but it’s not being lucky, it’s being smart.
Evrim: You know that some people think that solo travelling is like you’re gonna be all alone. What do you think?
Eilish: No, I have not been alone for one second. You always meet someone, some of the best people I’ve ever met and some of the worst people I’ve ever met too but mostly nice people. There is always someone who does the same thing as you do. You’re not gonna be alone. You’ll never be alone.
Evrim: What is your motivation to travel? What keeps you travelling?What makes you hungry for travelling and meet new faces?
Eilish: At home I was just bored, there was the same thing every day, same routine, same people that I’ve known for the past 10 years and I like where I live but I just wanted to see more and explore more. Wake up one day and do something and I have no idea how the day will end. It is just so much of a world to see, where I live is just a small place.
Evrim: Can you tell us about one experience that changed your whole point of view towards life, what made you think differently?
Eilish: Well, specially travelling on a budget, I know everyone says you realize how much you take for granted but working in an orphanage, I really got to see more than a normal tourist would see. There was one day and there was an accident at the orphange, big metal security door fell and crached the seventeen year old girl. That was a very traumatic experience. But what I learnt about that is how my eyes were opened to the hospital systems here. You see how different it is here and how much we take for granted. That was a real eye opening experience.
Evrim: Why didn’t you only travel but you did volunteering plus travelling?
Eilish: Well, yeah for me I was into volunteering, helping others. I have very mixed ideas about volunteering now. It was a lot different than what I had expected. Some organizations are very good and some organizations are sort of a tourist volunteering thing. People come over here for 2 weeks of holidays and they work in orphanages, take photos with the kids and play with them and they leave after 2 weeks. That’s not good for people who could be working there full time, it’s not good for the kids, it is very varient. Volunteering, especially in Cambodia, is becoming very economic as to describe. I had a very different experience than what I was expecting. There wasn’t as much work for me as I could be able to do, but still challenging and it was a good experience. I would volunteer again but to those who do want to volunteering need to research the organizations.
Evrim: What are your next plans? Where are you gonna go next?
Eilish: Ahh well I haven’t had enough of Southeast Asia yet. I would probably love to do Vietnam, Laos. I really wanna do Burma, India, Nepal.I don’t know what’s coming next so.
Evrim: I think I have to let you go to catch your boat and I ‘m sure we’ll meet somewhere in the middle. I am glad that your parents supported you to travel by yourself.
And she went by herself to her journey back home…
I saw in these two young travellers’ eyes the passion and the difference they can bring into the world. I felt lucky to witness and share great times with them.
Have your mind blown by interesting people, places and food. You’re gonna have the time of your life as well as you’re gonna have a heightened state of awareness towards social and environmental issues around the world like global warming, clean water, powerty, education system and etc. You’ll learn amazing lessons on the road where no school can teach you. Everything that happened to you and every one you meet along your journey will be your teacher. The best part is you’re gonna apply these lessons to every aspect of your life, but the only way to have this experience is to let go off your comfort zone. Travelling gives you clarity so when you’re back, you’re gonna see every little thing with different eyes. The experience is powerful and fundamental that will change you for good!
The choice is yours whether to spend your lives by letting the world to tell you who you are and letting the time to kill you slowly in your comfort zone or you can decide who you are and invent something better!
We’re here for a reason!
Now this is your life and this is what counts!
Travel young, travel more!