Reasons Why You Should Travel Solo

I caught the travel bug at a very young age, 6 months old to be precise.  My first airplane trip was to Colorado and over the years my travels increased to be longer and further from home.  For the first 15 years of my life, I stuck to traveling as many of the States as I could but then that international travel bug hit.  I went to Central America, Europe, and Asia over a span of three years with different friends and organizations, then began going on my own.  There is nothing more thrilling and exciting to me than going off completely on my own and having to figure out each problem that comes my way on my own. 

Traveling by yourself gives you a sense of freedom, confidence, and you feel incredibly accomplished.  Experiencing a new culture, language, and foods is something I wish everyone could do because of how much your eyes become opened to the different countries in this world. You’ll find that what you thought was “wrong” or “weird” in your perspective now makes sense in that specific culture.  You also will become open minded, which is in my opinion, one of the best things you can do for yourself and others around you.

1: You’ll meet more people.  Most of the people I meet on my solo travels are groups of 2 or more people who already know each other, which isn’t a bad thing, but usually that means that those people stick together without meeting as many people as you would or could if you were traveling on your own!  I walked into a hostel last month and met two Irish men who within about 5 minutes of introducing ourselves had invited me to go to the pub with them to meet up with some other friends of theirs.  It ended up being one of my favorite evenings of my trip, thanks to my three separate trips to Ireland, I had enough stories to keep up with them.  “My life story is the story of everyone I’ve ever met.” – Foer




2: You get to figure out the solution on your own.  Is it weird that I like having problems on my trips because I feel so accomplished once I figure it out by myself?  I enjoy the challenge and responsibility, there’s a sense of accomplishment once I get to the root of the problem and do something about it.  Once when I was in Europe, flying from Bulgaria to Ireland, I lost my bag.  I had never lost my bag before and didn’t exactly know how to retrieve it as I had never dealt with this problem before and didn’t have a number of the friend I was visiting. (10/10 would recommend getting contact info beforehand!)  Ended up having to leave the security area to go outside and get contact information, then call the airport to have them deliver my bag to my friends house.  Bonus! Tip: always pack a few outfits in your carry on as my bag didn’t arrive for another 30 some hours!

3: The adventures you experience.  This seems like an obvious one, and also a bit hard because while it would be fun to have another person to experience the crazy things you’ll do, it’s also quite fun to be the only one who can tell the story that doesn’t even sound believable.  Like that one time my bus never showed up in Byron Bay, one appeared four hours later, hopped onto that one with no accommodation pre-booked at my destination. I had planned on walking from the bus station to find a hostel but by the time I arrived in Brisbane it was extremely late and dark out.  My phone was nearly dead and I had no idea where anything was.  Figured that I’d just sleep in the bus station only to find out it closes at midnight.  Went and sat outside trying to think of what I should do, only to end up seeing that there were some other people that were sleeping on the streets just around the corner so I went and slept right there on the sidewalk.  No roof, no sleeping bag, no pillow.  Just the stars up above.  Used my backpack and blanket to sleep on, grabbed my towel out for a bit more cushion. (I didn’t really realize how hard sidewalks are.)  It ended up being an incredibly eye opening event as I laid there trying to sleep, I was thinking of all of the homeless men and women who have to sleep outside every night.  In that moment I realized how deeply grateful I am for a bed and a roof over my head.  “I’m a product of all the countries I’ve visited and people I’ve known.” – Koudelka 

4: Doing things you wouldn’t ever do at home.  Back in good ole Minnesota, where you have about 3 months of summer and 9 months of winter, there isn’t a big window of opportunity to do a lot outside that doesn’t involve dressing up in about 7 layers of clothing and resembling a snowman.  Living over in New Zealand and now Australia, I’ve been able to experience something along the lines of 9 months of summer and 3 months of winter.  I can go surfing on a regular basis, see different wildlife you can’t find in the States, getting Koala designs on my coffee, and trying new foods like kangaroo!

5: Last but not least, the people.  I know I mentioned people earlier in this post, but this is solely about the native people to the specific country you’re visiting.  If you’re traveling alone, more than likely you’ll have an easy opportunity to befriend someone who could give you a tour around the town or city you’re in.  They can show you the culture and help you experience the country for what it really is – not just the version that every other tourist sees.  I am so grateful for all of the people I’ve met who have taught me how to do things in their culture that are completely foreign to the culture I grew up in.  Who I was before I moved overseas is not the same person I am today.  My heart and mind are opened, my beliefs have expanded and deepened because of my travels and the people I’ve met.  It makes you appreciate how vast and spectacular this planet and the people in it are.

If you’re looking to do something different, or want to expand your worldview, or start your life over, go travel the world.  You won’t regret it.

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener 




Reasons Why You Should Move Overseas.

When I first started talking about the idea of moving overseas I got quite a bit of negative feedback, which I anticipated due to the fact that Americans are so against doing anything with your life before you get a degree.  Well, as usual, I wasn’t too keen on taking the same path that every single one of my friends and peers were taking.  I wanted to make my own path.  It wasn’t always an easy path, there were moments of loneliness where I looked myself in the mirror and asked myself “Why did you do this to yourself, why couldn’t you’ve been normal”.  Thankfully those moments didn’t last very long before I’d find myself hiking a mountain with breathtaking views, meeting the friendly people of Cambridge, or getting a cuppa with a stranger I had only just met who would end up becoming a dear friend.  My life has drastically changed for the better since moving to Middle Earth, New Zealand and if I had a chance to redo this year, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Now, here’s a list of reasons why I think YOU should move overseas as well.

ONE: You will gain a new understanding of the world.

It’s impossible not to see the world in a new way after living abroad.  I also see the impact my homeland has made on the countries in which I have lived and visited.  I see the US itself in a totally different way than I used to – for both the good and the bad.

TWO: Some epic stories.

I’ve been traveling internationally since a young age and I have to admit, almost all of my best stories are in another country.  Some of these stories are so unreal, most people don’t really believe me when I tell them.  Those stories will stick with me for the rest of my life and the best part of living overseas is that I get to continue making stories with people in other countries.

THREE: Growth.

I think this one has been one of the biggest accomplishments of mine over these past years abroad.  I’ve grown a backbone.  Sometimes you’re in another country and someone tries to take advantage of you because they know you’re a foreigner, you can’t let that happen.  You must stick up for yourself, speak up and use your voice.

FOUR: Freedom.

Freedom to become who you really want to be.  Back home in Minnesota, USA, most of the people who know me, have known me since I was in nappies.  They know pretty much everything about me.  They assume that I’ll stay that same 13 year old girl forever, but I’m a grown woman now, a woman who knows the kind of person she wants to be in life.  Moving to a place where no one knows who you are means you can truly become the person you’ve always wanted to be without anyone critiquing and criticizing you.

FIVE: Material possessions do not equal happiness.

This is something I realized from a very young age, which my mother hated because whenever I got grounded from something I never really cared.  But I’m quite happy for the fact that possessions are not that important to me.  There are certain things that I don’t travel without; phone, laptop, and camera.  But even without those three things, I still manage to have the most incredible time.  I came to New Zealand with one suitcase.  I knew that I didn’t need much to survive, I didn’t need a make up box the size of a car, I didn’t need to bring all of my clothes from home, and I didn’t need to bring all of those odds and ends that just appear in your house.  You can be happy without a house full of items, you really can.

SIX: You’ll learn social skills.

I’m an introvert.  But once you really get to know me, you’ll come to realize (quite quickly) that I am an extrovert.  Which makes the first “meeting” period quite difficult to get to know new people. This is something I’ve definitely had to really work on this past year.  But I threw myself right into the swing of things in Cambridge and have made lifelong friends here and some who have become like family to me.  You learn how to interact with people who are from a very different culture than you and see how these friendships will be so different from the ones you have back home.

SEVEN: You become adaptable.

This one is a MUST.  When moving to another country, you have to adapt to that specific culture.  I’m not saying you have to have the same beliefs that that specific country has but for instance, I learned about the Maori culture literally hours after entering the country and it helped me get an understanding of the people I would be living and working alongside for the coming year.  One of my favorite laws in New Zealand, or lack there of, is the fact that I don’t have to wear shoes if I don’t want to.  I absolutely detest shoes and have since I was little, and during the summer months I don’t think I wore shoes once, aside from when I would workout.  I walked into the supermarket, my favorite sushi shop, and cafes all without shoes.  No one even bat an eye.  I’ve seen people take their shoes off before entering a store.  Can you imagine if I tried doing that in the States?

Well, I have plenty more reasons as to why you should live overseas at least once in your lifetime, but I think that’s enough reading material for now.  Let me know what you think, would love to hear from you!

“And suddenly you just know…
It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings”

– Meister Eckhart

Living In New Zealand

It’s official: I have been living in New Zealand for just over 9 months now, and somehow, I’ve managed to not write a single blogpost about my time here!  So, I’m changing that today! Below are some of my favorite pictures from my time living here.  Throughout the course of the past nine months, I have checked a number of things off of my bucket list and I want you to come to New Zealand to be able to check off your list, one thing at a time!  I’m going to share with you my top 10 favorite places I’ve visited, they don’t go in a specific order, I have too many favorites.

1) Mt Roy’s Peak, Wanaka


If you can’t tell why this is my number one spot, then you need glasses.

Also, I thought I was in shape, until I went on this hike.  I also have no words to describe the beauty I saw that day.

2) Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

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Cathedral Cove. Honestly, this place has been on my bucket list since I was about eight years old.  I acted like a little kid on Christmas Day, and I have absolutely no shame in that. Stunning place.

3) Mount Maunganui


Ahh the good ‘ole Mount.  A pretty easy hike, and a view that’s absolutely incredible.  Amazing beaches, clear water, and some pretty delicious ice-cream shops nearby!  Each time I visit the Mount, it gets prettier, I swear!

4) Te Waihou Springs, Putaruru


As you can see, Te Waihou is a Spring, so the water is extremely cold.  I only lasted in the water for about 30 seconds before I needed to jump out because I couldn’t feel my toes anymore!

(TIP: Bring an empty drink bottle to fill up, the water tastes amazing!)

5) Wairere Falls, MatamataIMG_3704

This is quite a steep hike, but the view from the top is amazing, especially on a clear day!  It’s about a 3 hour roundtrip hike and has a stunning waterfall that you can see halfway up, once you get to the top, you’ll be standing over the waterfall. How cool is that?!

6) Bridal Veil Falls, RaglanIMG_8591Lots of stairs, lots of pretty pictures. Definitely worth the burning muscles getting back up! There are multiple viewing areas so you don’t have to go all the way down to the pond at the bottom but I do think it’s worth it!

7) Whangamata Beach, Coromandel


Whangamata has some incredible sunrises, let me tell you. I got up at 5am to watch this sunrise and it ended with me running all over the beach trying to capture the sunrise in the best places possible.  One of my all time favorite sunrises.

8) Rere Falls, Gisborne 

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Rere Falls is a crazy cool place! There’s a rock slide, a waterfall you can swim in, and a little pond.  Be careful if you go onto the rocks – they’re extremely slippery so I scooted on my bum most of the way out to slide down the rocks. Had an absolute blast swimming in a waterfall.  The water can actually be quite painful if you aren’t prepared for it!

9) Kaikoura, South Island


The South Island is in a league of it’s own! Some absolutely stunning pictures just waiting to be snapped. My host family and I went whale watching while we were there, we only saw one whale but ended up seeing a pod of over 300 dolphins! I also happened to see 5 of the most endangered dolphins that were swimming right along the beach, they announced over a loudspeaker that the endangered dolphins were at the shoreline and I went from being the only person on the beach to about 50 people running down towards where I was standing.

10) Pauanui, Coromandel 


I went to Pauanui with my best friend, Katie, and we stayed up at her host families bach! It was an incredible week of adventures, pictures, and a 4 meter Great White Shark showing up at the beach! Pauanui is just a bach town pretty much! There’s one cafe, one supermarket, and if I remember correctly; one bar. That’s about it, so unless you know someone who owns a bach, you probably won’t stop for more than an hour to take pictures, but it’s a gorgeous place!

There you have it! My top 10 places to visit in New Zealand! There are so many more places, to be honest, I could’ve made this my top 50 places to visit, but I figured no one would want to read such a long blog post.  I hope you enjoyed looking through these photos, every single snapshot means a lot to me and each one has so many incredible memories that go along with the photo.

I hope to see you in New Zealand soon!