Travel is a lifelong lesson.
I remember the first time I heard “73% of women felt that travel made them stronger” while reading Wanderful’s blog and my immediate reaction was throwing my arms in the air saying “YES!”. For me, travel, no matter how close or how far, is simply putting yourself in a new environment and “seeing what you learn”. In every travel experience I’ve had, by gaining a new perspective and seeing the world in a new way, I’ve been empowered to better understand who I am as a person and the importance I have in making an impact on the world.
How I started my travel journey
For many, many years I worked 10-12 hour days in the corporate world for big-name companies. The figurative ball and chain I wore in my cubicle felt heavier and heavier over the years. I would find ways to maximize my limited vacation time by building personal travel around my business travel.
Later, I started creating content about my travel and realized the more content I made, the more I could help and encourage others, especially women who would say “oh wow, if Christine can do that, I can do that.”
Now, as a full time creator that creates the kind of travel videos I WISH I got to see before I traveled somewhere, I haven’t stopped traveling. It’s become my lifestyle. In communities of other travel creators like Wanderful, I realize that I’m amongst colleagues when saying “I’ve never spent more than three weeks in one place in eight years” (true statement) is the norm.
I can’t stop traveling because I refuse to stop learning.
The one thing travel always teaches me is perspective. No matter how much I travel and no matter where I go in the world (popular or not at all populated), I go with the expectation that I will learn something that changes the way I see the world. Growing up in San Diego, then spending the majority of my life living in cities (SF and NYC) I realize that many of the views I have of the world are shaped by the very limited experience I’ve had living in these three places.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is to people-watch. Most recently when I was camping in Ethiopia I would spend the afternoon sitting with my bike in the open field watching the local townspeople come down to the camp, which was near the water source they would walk hours to get to. They would stop and touch my tent. They’d never felt that material before. Then they would stare at me, curiously, because they’d never seen anyone that looked like me. Then I would spend an hour watching them take cow droppings, turn them into patties and then burn them to cook their dinner.
When I went home after that trip and turned on my stove with the turn of a knob to make a cup of tea in which the water conveniently came out of the tap, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the microwave (another option to heat up tea) and thought about how my face looks just like all the diverse faces that were right outside the window in the city I was in.
That’s just one new perspective I’ve had from one single trip.
Planning and safety
Like the story above, people always ask to hear about the “crazy travel experiences” I’ve had, but they also ask me what my top travel planning tip is.
You can look up a million things to do, but if you travel with an open mind, you’ll find a million things to do once you’re there. One thing I do every time I travel is what I call “Wanderlost”. I will build time into my itinerary to quite literally wander around and purposely get lost. You never know what you’ll find and if you’re open to an adventure, it’s guaranteed you’ll find it.
A lot of people ask me my favorite place for getting “Wanderlost” and hands down it would be Venice, Italy. Why? There are so many little twisting alley ways that lead you to so many surprises: a canal, a little wine bar, a beautiful church, a museum, a bakery, and a musician playing the violin, the list goes on.
I spent a week traveling solo in Venice and one thing I always do is I download the Google Map in advance (in case I’m not connected via a SIM card) so just in case I get “too Wanderlost”, I can always find my way back quickly and easily.
As a woman, I’m equally asked about safety because I often travel with a small group of me, myself and I.
Even with the (relatively) adventurous travel I’m constantly doing (biking across Ethiopia where no tourists have gone, scuba diving with manta rays while living on a boat in The Maldives, or spending a week trying to find the black tip shark migration with my drones were some of my 2021 highlights), safety is a priority. This is especially the case for me being a woman and because the majority of my travel is solo.
For example, I tend to book hotels on KAYAK, paying close attention to the reviews I’m actively looking for comments about the safety of the property and the location it’s in.
I also do small, seemingly silly things, but they always help me to have a better experience. For example, any time I dine out or sit at a bar, I turn the chair next to me toward me, I put my jacket on it, and I order a water served in a cocktail glass and put a napkin over it for the person that “is joining me” (but never does). Do you know who bothers me during dinner? No one.
Here’s one last tip to use if you decide to try out being “Wanderlost”, while I never walk around with headphones (from an experience and a safety standpoint I like to be completely in tune with my surroundings), I do make a point of talking to strangers. A New Year’s resolution I had 10 years ago was to talk to every stranger like I’ve known them forever. For example, getting espresso from a local coffee shop and asking the barista what they did last weekend leads to you learning about some really interesting local intel on where to find the best pasta in town (yes I ate that pasta later that evening).
8 countries and a countless number of cities traveled solo later… I’m always looking forward to my next solo trip and encouraging other women to do the same.
The world is our oyster. My next travels will take me to… wait a minute. There’s a reason why my travel channel is called “Where in the World is CL”… it’s because it’s the hardest question to answer correctly because I keep everyone on their toes.
Christine Lozada is a travel creator, drone pilot and podcast host. She makes the must-watch video before you travel to a place and has helped over 1.5M million people to travel smarter. She’s a certified drone pilot who’s taught thousands to quickly and easily get into flying drones. While she’s traveling and flying drones, she’s also the host of Everyday Badassery, a podcast of inspiring travel stories.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of KAYAK Software Corporation, its subsidiaries, and their respective parent companies or affiliate companies.