While in India, I met some amazing people, especially at my yoga teacher training, and Alissa David was one of them. After a full day alone in Rishikesh, I woke up on my second morning excited to meet the people I’d be spending a month with; Alissa was one of the first people I met, since she was my neighbor.
Alissa and I hit it off right from the beginning with her adventurous spirit, and we often shared travel stories. Together, with another friend, we headed to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. When we parted, she spent a few more weeks in India and then in Sri Lanka before heading back to Canada, and I loved following her adventures. I know, you’ll enjoy her travel stories as much as I did.
What was the first trip you remember?
I’ve been traveling all my life. My parents always made traveling a
priority, I think that’s why my wanderlust is slightly out of control! Although my idea of traveling has ventured quite far away from the all-inclusive and ski vacations I grew up on! The first trip I remember is a blur of multiple beach vacations can’t quite put a finger on which one exactly.
The first big one I can remember is Hawaii, I remember this because it was slightly traumatizing. Hawaii is amazing and you should feel blessed to be there, right? Well as a kid, hiking up volcanoes and driving around with your parents and your little sister gets boring. I fell on a volcano and got a huge cut from the dried lava, my whole knee was gashed open. We got to the beach and I was so upset and in pain, my mom suggested swimming in the ocean for the salt water to clean the wound. As you probably know the waves in Hawaii can be huge! As we swam, the swell went up and a big wave took me away from my mom, she tried to grab me but all she could feel was my face. As she reached me her long nails dug all around my face as she pulled me out. I then had cuts covering my face as well as the knee. Let’s just say I won’t forget that adventure!
How do you make friends while traveling?
Anyone who knows me would know I have no problems doing this! My thought process is everyone is in the same boat and for the most part everyone wants to meet new people and make new friends! I always approach people and have the typical, “How long are you traveling? Where are you from?” conversation. Usually ends up to a good friendship. I love talking to new people and listening to their experiences and ideas. Making friends is probably one of my favorite parts of traveling! My travel partners always end up throwing me out to make new friends as they know I am not afraid. Lines like, “Do you have the time?” or “Do you know where…….is?” are usually a good way to start. “Want to come drink with us,” has a high success rate!
What advice would you give to people who want to travel solo but are too afraid?
DO IT! I’ve traveled with one friend, with groups of friends and by myself, and I can honestly say that solo travel is my favorite! Sometimes you can’t just sit and wait around for someone to come with you places or you could be waiting around a long time and miss out on some amazing experiences! Also when you are alone you get to do everything on your own schedule. From my experience, every time I go alone I end up not even being alone, I meet amazing people who I end up traveling with!
If you’ve ever spent a holiday abroad, which was it and how did you celebrate?
I’ve spent quite a few holidays abroad. My favorite was probably this past Christmas, I spent it in India. I had met a cool group a few weeks prior who convinced me to stay with them for Christmas and miss my flight to Sri Lanka. It ended up being a great decision! On Christmas Eve, we did Secret Santa and got some “expensive”(for us backpackers) wine and opened our gifts which were so thoughtful and amazing, everyone wrapped them in newspaper or whatever other wrap-like items they could find.
The next day, I went to wake up the girls with some treats from a bakery and we opened more gifts between the three of us. Then went to the beach for some cocktails and a seafood lunch. At night, we dressed up in new clothes and ate a nice home-style Christmas dinner with more wine of course!
Do you over plan before you arrive, just show up at a destination, or have a mixture of both?
Me and over planning don’t go together at all! I like to wing it. The best tips and advice I ever got NEVER came from a Lonely Planet book, it’s all from first-hand advice and meeting people! The books don’t tell you where those cool hole in the wall $1 meals are or those wild impromptu parties! I like doing everything as it comes and figuring out each day as it arrives. I like waking up and not knowing what the day has in store!
Tell us about your most memorable trip.
My most memorable trip would be South East Asia. I had done some backpacking before but this was my first big one, and I went with 3 friends. I think I just learned and experienced so much on that first big trip, and although I’m a big advocate for traveling solo, it was amazing to have friends to share those experiences with and still talk about today! Also that trip had so many mishaps getting sick, getting robbed, scooter accident, getting scammed and so on that it was definitely a big learning curve trip that now has helped me on my later trips!
What do you think is the best way to budget your money while traveling?
On my last trip some friends I met introduced me to this app called Trail Wallet and it literally changed my traveling life! 2 days in and I was obsessed! It’s a good way to organize and track all your expenses in subcategories. Great for those times when you wonder, “Hey, where did that $200 that I just took out go?”
In your home country, what’s a destination that you think people should visit?
Well, Canada is amazing! I would definitely recommend people visiting
the Rocky Mountains! I was lucky enough to spend a while living out there in Jasper National Park, and the scenery is like nothing I’ve seen elsewhere! Turquoise lakes, snow capped mountains, wildlife everywhere and just a happy place to be. Also, if you want a party, mountain towns in Canada know how to do it!
Are you a light packer or a heavy packer?
I try to pack light, but it never works out! I always end up forgetting that you can buy everything there! So I shop and pack before then, go crazy with cheap shopping and end up having to ditch half my clothes in order to make my bag manageable!
Why do you travel?
I travel because I want to see and do more! I want to know what’s out there and how other people live! My biggest fear is being oblivious, ignorant and closed-minded. Through traveling you get to open up your eyes, ears and life to experience so much more then everyday life. A few years ago I literally would have said you were crazy if you told me I would go to India for my yoga teacher training, put a python on my neck in Thailand, book a trip to Nicaragua the day before, randomly go to Sri Lanka alone or half the other stuff I’ve done since I’ve started backpacking! Now I can’t stop, I’m consumed with ideas of future ventures.