I’ve always loved travel stories— specifically ones that follow brave women embarking on global journeys of self-discovery and unexpected adventure. Not only do they spark a familiar sense of wanderlust within me, they give me the courage and passion I need to embark on my own journeys.
Ladies who travel know that the nomadic lifestyle is far less glamorous than Instagram makes it seem. Exploring the world brings ups, downs, and unexpected twists. But through these honest and authentic tales we’re reminded that for the growth and experiences, travel’s unpredictable moments are always worth it.
When I launched the Travelhers Collective blog I wanted to create a safe and honest space where women could tell these truthful stories of adventure. A space where travel wasn’t depicted as white sand beaches and eggs benedict every morning, because when it comes down to it “travel” has a different definition than “vacation.”
We empower female travelers through storytelling; we don’t feature city guides or packing essentials— we feature stories and stories only, told by female wanderers around the world. While these stories range from inspiring and heartfelt, to shocking and heartbreaking, there’s always a lesson to be learned. Here are our five favorite takeaways from our brave writers’ global journeys across the globe.
1. Just say hi.
“The next morning when the bus stopped at our destination we decided to share a taxi to our accommodations, though they were on opposite sides of town. Our driver made us a “package deal” you could call it: he brought us to see the sunrise, then took us each to our accommodations. We had a lot of time to talk throughout the morning, and seeing the sun rise together was so magical.
You know when you just kind of click with someone? It was like being with one of my girlfriends from home. This girl is from Turkey, so she had a really strong accent, but we managed to have great conversations anyways. We actually ended up traveling around the country together, and we’re still in contact— I’m planning a trip with her in the winter.”— Elle, The Traveling Wallflower
2. Embrace and celebrate the unfamiliar customs you encounter.
“We booked the trip so it would fall on America’s memorial day weekend, but didn’t look at the dates in terms of what was going on in Morocco at that time. We ended up visiting in the middle of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month-long religious holiday when they don’t eat from sunrise to sundown, plus a lot of stores are closed and certain tours can be cancelled. A part of us was like: what are we going to do, it’s already booked and we’re not going to not go. But it actually ended up being one of the best cultural experiences I’ve had while traveling. When they break fast in the evenings it’s called “Iftar,” and we actually got to break fast with locals two of the four nights we were in Marrakech.” — Angelina Zeppieri
3. If you can’t find someone to do it with you, do it alone.
“Two weeks before we were set to leave, she bailed. It was too expensive and she couldn’t make it. I felt completely crushed; I was no longer going to share these experiences with one of my best friends, but I was also left to take on all of the costs on my own. I had put literal sweat and tears into this itinerary, and there was no way I wasn’t going… Since my road trip, I say I’m a solo traveler. But really, it’s just me getting out there— traveling, living, and experiencing the best way I know how. Whether it’s going on a trip abroad or going to a concert by myself, I’ve learned to love being on my own.” — Natalie Cambata
4. Accept the low points of your adventure and know you’ll learn something from them.
“As we were riding an evening train to Berlin where we would spend the night, I realized the 8 hours of pure anxiety was actually worth every second. This honeymoon adventure, including the hard and miserable moments (no matter how uncomfortable and stressful), strengthened our marriage. We got lost, drank too much wine, got lost again, stayed in crummy Airbnbs, stayed in awesome fancy hotels, and rode on a non air-conditioned overnight train— and we prevailed together.”— Mallory Lehenbauer
5. Your journey might not bring that “aha” moment you were looking for.
“While working full time at my day job I romanticized traveling— dreaming about that ‘aha’ moment when suddenly life’s purpose becomes clear and a perfectly planned path unfolds. Instead, I experienced deep conversations with loved ones and new faces, gaining an insight into what makes me feel alive. I realized that the answers I was looking for were inside me all along, if only I’d been patient and quiet enough to listen to my intuition without judgment.”— Safiya Bouhouch
Olivia Wickstrom is a freelance creative in Minneapolis, and the founder of Travelhers Collective. She believes writing is the most powerful tool in influencing how we view our world. Through her writing she hopes to inspire others to explore and seek adventure around them.