While cruising to the Bahamas in April of 2011, my friend, Diana, and I were soaking up the sun when a we were approached by a young woman. She was on the cruise alone and wanted to know if we would mind if she joined us. Of course, we didn’t mind, although this was long before I traveled solo, and I remember thinking how brave she was. We spent much of our time together during that week-long cruise and always vowed to see each other again. However, it wasn’t until this past summer that I would reconnect with Christy Shulich, this week’s Wanderer of the Week.
After reading Wild, I was obsessed with going on a long haul hike and wrote up something on Instagram. Christy saw my post and invited me down to North Carolina, where she lives, to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail with her. After a grueling five days on the trail, we both made life-changing decisions: I quit my job and Christy found one across the country. Since I suddenly had my schedule wide-open, I flew down to North Carolina and helped Christy move to Oregon.
When we met on the boat, I had no idea it would lead to such an incredible friendship and such fabulous adventures. Now, I am excited to introduce you to someone who has become one of my favorite travel buddies.
Why do you travel?
I have this insatiable appetite to explore, to discover new things, cultures, and geography. I feel alive when I travel, like an eagle spreading its wings and flying for the first time. My favorite journeys are the ones that emit beauty beyond words could describe or a photograph could capture. When the beauty is so powerful that one can not contain their emotions, that is the moment where you realize it is all worth it.
How do you make friends while traveling?
Put yourself out there. Keep your fears at home. Leave your heart open. Smile. Embrace opportunities to talk to others. Making friends during travel…Priceless.
What is your favorite travel quote?
“I don’t care how long it takes me, but I am going somewhere BEAUTIFUL.” Author Unknown
What advice would you give to people who want to travel solo but are too afraid?
I have been traveling solo for the past five years. The best advice I can give is: research the area first, make plans ahead of time, participate in group tours, pay attention to your surroundings, always have a back-up plan, and leave your fears at home (sometimes, the mind can be your worst enemy).
What’s the best road trip that you have been on?
Some of my favorite vacations have been road trips. I love being on the road and discovering a new place every day. Last fall, I took a 2 ½ week road trip zig-zagging across the United States with my wonderful friend, The World Wanderer. 🙂 We had a basic plan of places we were going to stop, but decided on a day-by-day basis where we wanted to go. It was so freeing and the possibilities of discovery were endless! I discovered places that I had been dreaming to explore for years: South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon, among others.
What is one of your most memorable trips?
In December, I embarked on another amazing road trip, starting in Oregon. I, independently, traversed Highway 101/ Highway 1 from the Oregon Coast to Southern California. Another epic road trip to add to my repertoire. The Pacific Ocean proved to be a powerful force against the rocky cliffs as I drove my SUV along the western edge of the United States.
If you could take one epic journey in the next year, what would it be and why?
I have always felt especially connected to the ocean. If I could take one epic journey in the next year it would be in a sailboat around the world.
Leave us with your best travel tip:
Savor every moment!