I’ve mentioned a lot on this blog recently how incredible social media has been as a tool for meeting others in the travel community, forming friendships and connections, and even opening doors of opportunity.
This is the case with Jemma, who posted about an open call for travel bloggers to contribute to a group post. The questions covered top travel tips for a first time traveler, the 3 things we can’t travel without, and how travel has changed our lives. I was stoked to be a part and to contribute!
The first question is now up on a blog post on her site. There are a lot of really incredible individuals on this list with me- make sure you check them out and give them a follow!
Some good news– This piece I wrote was awarded 2nd place in The Nasiona’s micro-nonfiction/poetry tournamentrecently:
I feel like all women (travelers or not) can unfortunately relate to this. And the emotions it brings are so complex, aren’t they? A mixture of anger, fear, shame, helplessness… Wanting to stand up for yourself but not knowing how, & being so scared it could backfire.
Let me know what you think of the piece, or how you respond to this type of harassment, in the comments 💛
Though it feels weird to post this in a time when hardly any of us are traveling, I’ve been asked this question quite a few times, and I’m hoping this will be useful to other female travelers.
*Keep in mind I’m a very low maintenance traveler. I don’t bring hair products or styling tools, and haven’t found neck pillows or eye masks to be necessary. That’s just my personal preference. Also, things like your passport, visas, money, phone, camera, etc. go without saying.*
Without further ado, here are some of the things I always bring with me on my trips:
As a solo female traveler, there are (unfortunately) extra precautions that are necessary to take. However, that shouldn’t hold you back from your dream of traveling. Here are some items that may help your peace of mind:
These loud alarms have LED lights and come in packs- great for women, kids, or elders- so there’s one for everyone in your family.
Pepper spray (above) and key whistles (below).
What’s great is that these come in multiples as well.
(If you’re forgetful or lose things like me, this will certainly come in handy.)
..And for bonus #11: A mask!!!
Be sure to follow all COVID-19 guidelines and be aware of the measures and rules in place before you get to your destinaton.
This list can go on and on, but I’ll stop there.
I’m forever interested in helpful gadgets, space-savers, and all things cute, practical, and safe to take on my trips. What’s something you always take with you? Let me know in the comments!
*Disclosure: Please note that some of the links listed above are affiliate links. This is to no extra cost to you- as an Amazon affiliate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.*
Since creating my public Instagram account (@fromthissideofthesun) to showcase my travel adventures and writing, I’ve made so many connections & found friends in like-minded individuals. I’m so grateful that one of them, Edher, AKA The Cinnamon Traveler (find him on Instagram, and his Facebook page) asked to interview me on his YouTube channel.
Edher lives in Cusco, Peru and has conducted several interviews with travelers, bloggers, and more that I’ve found to be both fascinating and inspiring. He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve met, (which says a lot seeing as how we’ve only “met” a couple months ago, and have yet to meet in person!) and I’m so glad he shared his platform with me for me to tell my story as a solo female traveler.
I’m super awkward and there were some technical difficulties on my end, but I had such an amazing time chatting with him! Check out the full interview here.
Looking back, 2018 was one of my craziest travel years to date. I’d just ended the last day of 2017 in Belize, spent a whirlwind long weekend in between Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden, a month later jetted off to Mexico with friends I’d met in Belize, spent two perfect weeks in June studying poetry in the heart of Dublin, Ireland, welcomed July in Colorado and ended it in Maine, spent my birthday in Puerto Rico, stepped back in time in Havana, Cuba in August, and that’s what brings me here: a slice of time from September to October when I was so lucky to visit two AMAZING countries: Liechtenstein and Portugal. (I ended the year by dipping into Panama City, Panama & then dipping my toes into the beaches of Curaçao, but that’s for another post.)
My friend Sarah, who I met through my friend & coworker Debra, was also a passionate traveler and was working and living in Europe at the time. We had talked about meeting up somewhere in the world, but it just felt like a far-off venture that probably wouldn’t work out. Until, it did. We both had been wanting to go to Portugal, and miraculously our schedules aligned! I took a couple days before arriving in Portugal to meet up with my friend Cathy, who I had met in my MFA program. Cathy lives in Liechtenstein with her family and had often told me of the gorgeous mountain views she saw on her early morning hikes, but experiencing it with her was another thing. Putting on our sweatshirts and shoes in the dark, we climbed up the hills, past farms and pastures, and watched the sun come over the town below.
While I was there, Cathy brought me to her son’s school to speak to the kids about poetry. I didn’t realize how nervous I would be- I have no clue how to be in front of middle schoolers, y’all. I know how important poetry is, and what it means to me, but how could I ever relate that to a group of eleven year olds? Regardless, I was so honored she had invited me.
Cathy took me to the Werdenberg Castle, showed me Vaduz and the art in Städtle, but my favorite place was her kitchen, right in the heart of her home with the big picture windows, sitting with a glass of white wine and laughing.
After our short time together, I caught a flight to meet up with Sarah, and we set out to see as much as possible in two of Portugal’s most beautiful cities, Lisbon and Porto.
We started out in Lisbon, one of the oldest cities in Europe, and it did not disappoint!
Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge Jerónimos monastery Torre de Belém pastéis de nata Tram 28/funiculars Mercado da Ribeira (market) Alfama District (hill, old town) Rossio Square/Pedro IV Square (peoplewatching, eating/drinking) the Bairro Alto (nightlife) the Padrão dos Descobrimentos LX Factory Check out all of the amazing street art, too!
OOH, we also took a day trip to Sintra/Pena Palace/Cascais, which is gorgeous and I would definitely recommend:
We packed a lot of fun into Lisbon, but nothing could prepare us for what the cobblestone streets of Portugal’s second largest city, (known for its port wine production) would lead us down…
We drank as much of the city in as we could ❤
The Cais da Ribeira/ Luís I Bridge Clérigos Tower Avenida dos Aliados Graham’s Port Lodge Teleférico de Gaia – Estação Cais de Gaia Funicular dos Guindais Croft Port Muralha Primitiva Pillory of Porto Igreja dos Clérigos Igreja do Carmo Praça de Lisboa São Bento Station (beautiful station from the 1800s) Câmara Municipal do Porto (city hall)
Full transparency, there aren’t a ton of photos from Porto due to the many glasses of wine you see pictured above.
Some memories you can’t capture 🙂 I had the time of my life with Sarah and I’m SO glad it worked out for us to cross off a bucketlist destination together.
Portugal, you’re more beautiful than I could’ve imagined. Your landscape, architecture, seafood, and of course, wine, are still spinning in my head.