Stopping the rat race to travel around the world is a modern dream for many people.
California-born Kiersten Rich, 31, made that dream come true by returning to her business job in 2011 for three months of backpacking in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
That journey would lead to nearly nine years of solo travel and a worldwide successful blog – The Blonde Abroad – before settling in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this year.
Mrs. Rich, who is running now travel for women, revealed her favorite places to visit and explained how traveling alone is really fun for young women.
California-born Kiersten Rich (shown in Marrakesh, Morocco) quit her business job in Los Angeles in 2011 to backpack throughout Australia
During her trip through Oceania, Mrs. Rich recorded her adventures in an online diary to keep friends and family up to date at home, and she soon came up with the idea of a full-time travel blog.
& # 39; I came up with the idea The Blonde Abroad in 2012 when I saw blogging was actually a potential career path – something that allowed me to combine my love of storytelling and photography with travel & # 39 ;, she told FEMAIL.
Traveling solo gave Mrs. Rich a sense of independence, empowerment, and ownership over her life that she had never experienced before.
& # 39; Few things are as liberating and exciting as traveling alone, & # 39; she said.
Mrs. Rich (shown here at the Circular Quay of Sydney) documented her journey through Oceania and Southeast Asia in an online journal
Her full-time exploration became the basis for her globally successful blog and Instagram account The Blonde Abroad
& # 39; Being able to do what you want, when you want, is something that is so underestimated.
& # 39; When it comes to solo travel, you can choose whether you want to sleep late, fill your day with activities or treat yourself to a day lost in a beautiful city. & # 39;
About the difficulties of traveling alone, Rich said, while you face emotional and financial challenges, there is always a silver lining.
& # 39; One of the emotional tests I sometimes feel is to blame myself only if something goes wrong – but this way you tend to get over the travel issues faster! & # 39; she said.
& # 39; Not sharing costs with another traveler can sometimes make it a little more expensive, but I notice that when I travel with others, someone tends to hang on to the & # 39; not so perfect & # 39; things and it kills the atmosphere a bit. & # 39;
THE BLONDE ABROAD FOR CREATING PERFECT INSTAGRAM PHOTOGRAPHS
1. Don't be ashamed when you take pictures yourself – they are your memories and you cannot expect that someone will always be there to capture them for you.
2. Read more about the third-party rule. It is not the ultimate composition, but it is a good guideline to work from.
3. Do not skip the operation. I shoot in RAW for more flexibility in post-processing and use my Lightroom presets for editing.
Source: The Blonde Abroad
Mrs. Rich (left, at the Rockefeller Center in New York City and right, at the pyramids in Giza in Egypt) said that solo travel empowers her and teaches her valuable emotional lessons
She admitted that she is only to blame if something goes wrong, but that forces her to resolve difficult situations quickly (shown in Chefchaouen, Morocco)
And although she feels mostly at ease traveling alone, Rich said there are times when she is a little more aware of her clothing and behavior.
WHERE TO TRAVEL – ACCORDING TO THE BLONDE ABROAD
For culture and food: Spain, Thailand, Croatia and Turkey
For adventure: Iceland, New Zealand, Namibia and Bolivia
For tropical relaxation: Indonesia, the Seychelles and French Polynesia
& # 39; I felt at ease in most places and really had a great time meeting the locals.
& # 39; However, when I travel through more conservative countries, I make sure that I dress conservatively and respect their culture. I also try not to flash with my camera equipment or valuables.
& # 39; When travelers think a destination & # 39; is secure & # 39; they tend to abandon caution and if they & # 39; have poor & experience, they blame the fact that they heard it was safe.
& # 39; Safe does not mean comfortable or that you will not encounter different cultural norms that make you uncomfortable – that is where things are misunderstood a bit, & # 39; she said.
Although there is no country that she discourages as a solo female traveler, Mrs. Rich said she is careful to dress conservatively in certain places (pictured on Mount Norquay in Banff National Park, Canada)
Her favorite places to travel are South Africa, Namibia, Iceland and French Polynesia (photo)
Mrs. Rich's favorite destination is South Africa, thanks to the endless list of activities for all tastes.
& # 39; I fell in love with South Africa because there is so much to do, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; From beaches and safaris & # 39; s to wine tasting and huge foodie culture, there really is something for everyone. That's why I moved there! & # 39;
She also advised Turkey for culture, Bolivia for outdoor adventure and French Polynesia for tropical relaxation.
BLONDE TIPS ABROAD TO TRAVEL ON A BUDGET
– Receive a city tourist card: Throughout Europe, local tourist information offices offer tourist cards for discounted trips, access to attractions and restaurants.
Use tourist cards in notoriously expensive cities such as Reykjavik, Copenhagen and Oslo.
– Take night buses: If you travel in the long term, it is likely that you will make a number of very long bus or train journeys along the way.
Take a number of night buses to save on accommodation costs.
– Freebies research: Large cities, particularly in Europe, often offer an enormous amount of free attractions, such as museums, art galleries and state buildings.
– Use credit card points: According to Rich, one of the easiest ways to increase your travel budget is to use credit cards for travel rewards.
Choose a card that is affiliated with a large number of partner airlines to maximize your choices.
For example, Ms. Rich uses a Capital One Venture Travel credit card to build & # 39; Life Mile & # 39; points through the Colombian airline Avianca.
Avianca flies to 52 cities in North and South America, Europe and the Caribbean, and cooperates with major airlines such as United Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Turkish Airlines and SAS, which means that you can also use Life Miles with these lines use.
Source: The Blonde Abroad
For a rich food culture, Rich recommends Turkey, Spain, Thailand and Croatia (considering her noodles in Singapore)
For Mrs. Rich, the biggest challenge of solo travel is the decision to go.
& # 39; Traveling alone has changed my life! Instead of make-up excuses not to travel by waiting for someone to come to you, you go solo, & she said.
& # 39; Be confident – you are on your own for the first time and it is both daunting and exciting, so look confident and safe while exploring.
& # 39; You will be approachable for the right people and not an easy target for the wrong people. If you don't feel it yet, pretend until you make it!
& # 39; You would be surprised how many other travelers are talking to you.
& # 39; My best advice is to talk to the waiter or bartender during one of your first meals.
& # 39; They are some of the best sources for local tips and precautions to take when experiencing a new destination.
& # 39; Just book your flight, pack your bag and go! & # 39;
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