Six Women Tell Us How It Really Is To Live A Life of Travel And Adventure

Ever wanted to know what the best thing is about being a solo female traveler? The freedom and adventure? Making money from the beach? The people you meet? The downsides? Find out all below.

People often ask me how I find being a solo female traveler. For some reason the question often surprises me as it’s not something I actually pay much thought to. I don’t feel it’s been an issue in any way, shape or form. Yet there have been times when it’s clearly been an advantage to be female (think Italy) and when it’s clearly been a disadvantage, where women are either objectified or aren’t held in high regard in society.

Natalie Sisson at Iguassu Falls

Me many years ago at the Iguassu Falls, Argentina

I struggle with the latter a lot. Being born in New Zealand, the first country in the world to allow women to vote, with two strong female Prime Ministers in a row for the majority of my childhood and into my 20s, a female Governor General and a female CEO of our largest telecommunications company, I felt empowered being surrounded by such strong role models.

I went to an all girls’ school where I was led to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. Nothing’s changed on that front. And yet travelling has helped me become aware of just how lucky I am to feel on an equal level with men and to have so much freedom.

I’m well aware that my experience growing up and travelling from such a young age differs a lot to others. So I wanted to get the opinion of other fabulous women leading a similar lifestyle to me, to find out what they love about traveling the world, and what they find most challenging. As well as how they earn their living and what their most memorable travel moments have been.

Meet The Female Nomads And Adventurers

This all started from a tweet actually. Prime Sarmiento put out a #followfriday to her favourite female travelers and as I clicked on their profiles, landed on their blogs and read their unique stories, I felt the need to share their stories with you. The idea sparked in my head to do a collaborative post. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Let me introduce you to…

Prime Sarmiento is a travel journalist who helps women craft their journeys via her blog www.solofemaletravel.net. You can follow her at twitter @prime_sarmiento

Nellie Huang is a freelance travel journalist who’s always on the go. During her quest for adventures, she has climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, skydived in Costa Brava and built a house in East Africa. She writes about her misadventures on WildJunket and nelliehuang.com. You can find her on Twitter @WildJunket

Nina Fuentes  is a Filipina travel blogger who practically lives online, but enjoys life offline. You should visit her website justwandering.org and chat with her on Twitter @NinaWanders

Rosemarie John is a Travel journalist contributing to local newspapers and magazines. Based in Singapore, her writings portray a kaleidoscope of all things travel related mixed with just the right dosage of history and culture. You can visit her websites travelandbeyond.org and rosemariejohn.com/ plus find her on Twitter at @TravelnBeyond and @GypsyScribbles

Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo who has been traveling the world full-time since 2007, and she does it in a financially sustainable way. You can find her on Twitter @hobonora

Lauren Rains is the creator of TheMadToLive.com  and WildWorldCreative, a blog and a business all about showing people how to creatively turn their passions talents into their business and lifestyle. You can catch her creative and adventurous tweets on Twitter @LaurRAINS

What is the best thing about living a life of travel and adventure?

The freedom and the ability to combine work with passion! I love being able to jet off to some place every other week and earning an income as I’m on the road. ~ Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang

The obvious upside is getting to travel! I love exploring (and getting lost!) in new, unfamiliar places so this is one aspect of traveling that I really enjoy. ~ Nina Fuentes

The ultimate freedom to go anywhere in the world and (responsibly) “chase butterflies”. The world really is my oyster! ~ Nora Dunn

Hands down is the fact that it’s the most rewarding, eye-opening challenge out there. Living a life of travel and adventure is like living 10 lives at once. You see, do, feel, experience unique things so much more intensely. ~ Lauren Rains

Being able to live life based on my own terms, beliefs, needs and not based on what my society, family or friends expect me to do. When I’m in Manila, I sometimes feel confined within my society/family’s expectations. It’s like living inside a box. While I have redefined and crushed the box several times as I’m one feisty, rebellious gypsygal, when I’m outside Manila I’m free and I assume a different persona, leading life as I see fit. ~ Prime Sarmiento

The best thing would be experiencing new cultures and customs, meeting people you would never meet back home, and understanding how different the world can be when you view it with an open mind. ~ Rosemarie John

What is the most challenging thing about being a solo female traveler/ entrepreneur?

Work-life balanceis a challenge. Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not “on vacation” all the time (or really, any time!), despite having the luxury of working in various far-flung destinations. ~ Nora Dunn

Nora Dunn The Professional Hobo

Nora Dunn

Sometimes the most challenging part is the sense of security – the feeling that you’re all alone and there isn’t anybody else to rely on should an emergency arise or you find yourself in a bit of a fix. Even taxi drivers can try to be funny when they notice you’re going solo. ~ Rosemarie John

Having to be versatile and handle all aspects of my ‘business’ myself: from writing to social media to accounting and marketing. It’s hard to juggle that along with my personal life and a hectic travel schedule. ~ Nellie Huang

The first thing that popped into mind is that you’d have to battle with a lot of similar blogs to stand out and get the readers. On the other hand, being female and writing about solo female travel gives you an edge because there’s not nearly as many blogs dedicated to it (though the numbers are now steadily growing compared to a couple of years ago). ~ Nina Fuentes

Well, to be honest, sometimes it gets a little lonely. There’s something about sharing places or projects with others that makes the experience feel more real, if you will. Whenever I feel that way though, I remind myself there are fellow travelers, entrepreneurs, and friends right around the corner doing the same thing. ~ Lauren Rains

Lauren Rains Mad To Live

Lauren Rains

As a solo female traveler (and now a newbie entrepreneur who just set up a copy writing business), my biggest challenge is doing everything by myself, and that can be very difficult sometimes. I have to book my trips, plan my itinerary, figure out a way to keep safe and not go broke.  I do ask for help, but being responsible for everything can be scary. ~ Prime Sarmiento

Your most memorable travel moment?

I camped on one of the watch towers of The Great Wall of China once with 10 friends. Two days later I left Beijing after being there for 1 year. It was the best finale I could ask for. It was also one of the coldest nights of my entire life!!! ~ Lauren Rains

In the dramatic/scary category, top of my list was getting caught in the middle of the Victorian Bushfires in Australia – the country’s worst-ever natural disaster. But all’s well that ends well; I became instrumental in the relief efforts, and karma has a funny way of rewarding those who do good! ~ Nora Dunn

Plenty! The one I can think about at the moment is my experience at the War Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I spoke to a local man in his early twenties, who was a victim of the war. As he was showing us the landmines and photos in the museum, he started crying as he recalled the day he lost his fingers in the war. It had a huge impact on me. ~ Nellie Huang

Most memorable travel experience was climbing up the ancient temple of Borobudur at 4am in complete darkness (only a small torchlight in hand) to find the best spot among the stupas right on top to photograph the sunrise. ~ Rosemarie John

Rosemary John

Rosemarie John

Too many memorable moments, I don’t even know how to answer this question. But I think, one of the most memorable is when I did a movement meditation session in Ubud, Bali in 2005. It’s empowering, and taught me to let go, to just do my thing, and shed my inhibitions -on my body and with my sexuality.  I wrote about that in How I got my groove back. ~ Prime Sarmiento

It was during my first time to travel solo. I was in Ko Samui in Thailand and I was supposed to take a boat to Ko Pha Ngan. The owner of the resort I was staying at said the boat docks just a couple of hundred meters down the resort. I wouldn’t miss it, he said.

Of course, I missed it and ended up walking to this travel agency. The two ladies sorted me out with a boat, but it wouldn’t be until 4pm (it was just before noon when I arrived). I settled myself outside their shop to wait, unsure how I’m going to get lunch since there’s no place to eat nearby. One of the ladies went out and asked me to join her for lunch. So we rode her scooter out to the main road (it was my first time riding one) and we stopped at this small place where she usually gets their lunch. It was just a simple meal of rice and vegetables, but it’s easily one of the best meals I’ve had in all the times I’ve been to Thailand. She wouldn’t even let me pay for the food — upon knowing that I was traveling solo, the two ladies took me under their wing and were intent to make sure I was okay. ~ Nina Fuentes

The coolest way you’ve made money doing your thang?

There was no money involved in this, but the most memorable thing I’ve got out of travel blogging would be my US Visa. Being a Filipino citizen, getting a US visa is not an easy thing: the fee is steep and you’d have to wait in line for hours for the interview and there is no guarantee that you will be granted a visa.

Nina Fuentes

I don’t really have any intention of visiting the US and getting a visa, but I received an invitation from the Guam Visitors Bureau for a media familiarization tour. I told them that while I’m interested to attend, I would need a lot of help to get that visa. They assisted me the entire way, but on the day of the interview, it came down to just me and the consul.

The consul asked me why I was going to the US, and I said it was because of the GVB invitation. She then asked why they invited me. I have to say, never did I imagine that one day I would utter these words to a consul: “Because I’m a travel blogger.” ~ Nina Fuentes

Being recognised for my work through my blog and offered an opportunity to write on a freelance basis for the local newspaper in Indonesia when I was living there. ~ Rosemarie John
I’m not making money from blogging. For my bread and butter, I work as a copy editor for an international news agency. However, I have plans of being a location independent entrepreneur so I set up a “side hustle” (thank you Pam Slim for that lovely phrase). I’m using my blog as a showcase of my writing and blogging skills to get clients for my side business – blogging for entrepreneurs.

But more than money, my blog allowed me to feed my passion (travel writing) and connect with fabulous writers, entrepreneurs and traveling women (fellow gypsygals)  like you :) ~ Prime Sarmiento

Prime Sarmiento in Penang

Prime Sarmiento

I love checking my emails, because I never know what opportunities lie in waiting. I’ve been contacted randomly by television producers and taken around the world having filmed two different shows in three countries, I’ve been given opportunities to travel crazy distances by train , and even more recently I’ve joined the Ultimate Train Challenge – again, all for just doing what I love, and writing about it. ~ Nora Dunn

Simply by writing The Mad To Live and giving 200% to every project I work on I was chosen to be part of

a 2 week sponsored road trip throughout the West Coast of the US. We went everywhere from San Diego to Vegas to Napa Valley and then some. ~ Lauren Rains

Just recently I was on a beach in Mauritius, checking my email and placing links on my site for advertisers and got paid $600 instantly. Just another day’s work! ~ Nellie Huang

Don’t you just love these ladies adventures? What are you some of yours? Go ahead and share them below.

  • LuckytobeYou

    authentic Living ladies! thank Y?U for being an inspiration*

    I have fallen in love with several places as a traveler and soon found myself remaining as a local.

    wanderlust*

  • NatalieSisson

    @LuckytobeYou Indeed. I can’t tell you how many places I’ve visited that I’ve said `Ooooh I could so live here’. Here’s to forever wandering and discovering this planet and beyond.

  • alexisgrant

    Great feature! And now I have some fellow solo travelers to check out :)

  • NatalieSisson

    @alexisgrant Yes you totally do and feel free to list your fave ones here too

  • LaurenRains

    Hey Natalie!

    What a great article! I have to check out the blogs of all these other amazing women as there are a few I’m excited to say I’ve just happened upon through this article!

    Great questions and thanks so much for featuring me in this article! I’m a proud working, traveling woman!! :)

  • NatalieSisson

    @LaurenRains I know I thought the same thing and it was such an honour to share everyone’s answers. I love this article. It reminds me why travel, adventure and business combine so well for a rich life.

  • Yemoonyah

    Great post! I have found quite a few male full time travelers but not too many women. So thanks for bringing us all together :-) I went location independent 4 months ago, so I don’t have a lot of experience yet but so far I LOVE IT! The freedom of being able to go where I want when I want is so much more worth than a house and car and the other stuff most people spend their money on. I also love having my own business (helping artists and other creative entrepreneurs set up online businesses that support their dream lifestyle). The only thing I still need to master is the art of packing light. I started off with 40 lbs, now I’m down to 30 and aiming for 20 lbs :-)

  • NatalieSisson

    @Yemoonyah 20 pounds that really impressive girl! I love not owning much. It is so freeing as you say. Each time I stay with friends or visit family I’m kind of glad they own all their stuff not me. I like being settled from time to time but accumulating stuff is just not my style. Welcome to location independenceville!

  • NatalieSisson

    @Yemoonyah 20 pounds that really impressive girl! I love not owning much. It is so freeing as you say. Each time I stay with friends or visit family I’m kind of glad they own all their stuff not me. I like being settled from time to time but accumulating stuff is just not my style. Welcome to location independenceville!

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  • TravelnBeyond

    Hi Natalie! Its a lovely piece! Am going to follow all of these amazing people. Hope to be as successful as them one day! :) And thank you for including me in this list!!

  • DruStefanStone

    It is interesting to me that you are all so young! I’m curious how long you have all been traveling!

  • http://www.ataracticmind.com/ Dharmesh

    Am I the only guy commenting here? :) Natalie’s posts (not being sugary here) have always been so inspirational. Cool thing is she is not the only source for inspiration but brings like minded fellow entrepreneurs together that help us learn from each other.

    Traveling, that too for long periods is not something I crave for but learning how everyone here does what they really want to do is very educational. Helps me to get a new spin on the things I do, photography and blogging.. connecting with people :)

  • LoraleeHutton

    These women are absolutely fabulous! Love your stories. And then I instantly want to share mine, but where do I start? I have the most amazing memories from a trip to Ecuador in 2008 where I met with some business women who created a craft market that funded an after school program in their community. They invited us to lunch (I’m vegetarian) and served a lunch of chicken foot soup (and some other lovely chicken tidbits)… It was so generous, the conversation was divine, and I quite graciously managed to not eat a single bite. :)Next Monday I’m transitioning to full location independence. Nervous like you wouldn’t believe. Thanks for the inspiration.~ Loralee

  • NatalieSisson

    @TravelnBeyond You are already successful! You’re living the dream that many would like to as well. You keep on being a great role model.

  • NatalieSisson

    @DruStefanStone Not that young :)

  • NatalieSisson

    @Dharmesh Yay for the male influence here – welcome my friend. Yes I think it’s great to look at what other women and men are doing and how they live their lives and make money from their talents and knowledge, all the while travelling to new destinations. Thanks for your lovely words!

  • NatalieSisson

    @LoraleeHutton Yes you are indeed and we will be featuring your diaries of your new found location independence right here! I’m a huge fan of chicken and even I don’t think I would have eaten the feet – well done you

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  • http://www.facebook.com/MoniqueParkerMarketing Monique Parker

    Awesome post Natalie + inspiration to continue the path I am on :)

  • Natalie

    Great to hear Monique. It’s certainly a great path to be on and an exciting one.

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