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She Roams Solo Ladies – Beckie

solo-female-travel-interview-Beckie

This weeks interview is with Beckie from Jet-setter Jones. This interview has a bucketload of solo travel information, not t mention all these beatutiful photos are taken by Beckie herself. If you are interested in becoming one of the She Roams Solo Ladies? Drop me a line 🙂


Hello!! I'm Beckie, born and bred near Glastonbury, UK and lucky enough to call Bristol, UK my home when I'm back in the homeland. I am a solo female traveller who struggles with an anxiety disorder and OCD. I blog about my travels and my struggles with mental health in order to challenge the stereotype and attempt to break the stigma but more importantly, as an "if I can, anyone can". My blog is a journey of sorts and not just in the literal sense.


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© All photographs are copyright

Tell us about your first trip alone overseas? What emotions you felt, scared, happy, excited, was it a mixture of everything? How old were you? Where did you go?

I am currently on my first trip alone overseas. I was 28 when I left England and it was a case of now or never as I knew that I wanted to work in both Australia and New Zealand and VISA age restrictions unfortunately exist. I spent literally a decade waiting for this friend or that boyfriend, the perfect opportunity or, just to not feel scared anymore. The truth is, you're never ready. There's always more you could do to prepare, someone you could wait for, more money you could save and the fear never goes. With an anxiety disorder this fear is, at times, all encompassing but that's really what this journey is about. I am challenging myself and battling my mental health to take on the world, one step at a time. I jumped in with both feet and despite a few wobbly days, I've never looked back.
I flew to Bangkok  on 5 November 2015 and worked my way through South East Asia. Thailand (twice. I love it, left too soon the first time and decided that I HAD to go back), Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. I volunteered in Borneo for two months at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary before making my way back to Cambodia for a second time to stay with my friend who owns a hostel there on a paradise island, making art and friendships. Then I moved onto Australia for a saving stint on a working holiday visa. I landed in Melbourne in September and I love it here - Music, art and family; totally my bag. I leave Melbourne in June to explore this enormous island before slowly making my way to New Zealand via Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Fiji.

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How has your experiences travelling alone been compared to traveling with someone? Do you have a preference on alone or traveling with someone?

When you travel alone you are never alone for long. The first few days in Bangkok, I eased myself in by staying in a hotel. My anxiety got the better of me and a hostel stay felt out of my capabilities. This was possibly an error in judgement. Although I enjoyed the luxury and sleeping off the jetlag in peace, I met no one and ended up fleeing Bangkok in a miserable negative state that nearly saw me flee back to England instead. As soon as I moved to hostels this changed. Meeting people became easy and having a new buddy to learn all about every few days is fun and exciting. Of course there is always the slight fear when you part ways with your new chum that you won’t meet another like-minded soul, and maybe you won’t for a while, but those days alone are peaceful and character building and actually welcomed after the repetitive travel chat of "where are you from? How long are you travelling for? And where are you off to next?"

I can’t say I’m a complete convert for solo travel. It was always my dream to travel the world with a partner or a best friend and as an anxiety sufferer, it is nice to have that familiar face for comfort, support and company. Putting two heads together in a challenging situation is always better and obviously there is a certain element of safety in numbers. But, travelling is like living together. You get to know a person inside out so quickly; all their beautiful character traits as well as all their flaws. When travelling solo you are free to go where you want, when you want and with whoever you want. If someone is getting on your nerves, you can relieve yourself the burden without fear of losing a friend, hell, you’ve only known them 2 days! 

When you travel alone you are never alone for long.

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When travelling solo you are free to go where you want, when you want and with whoever you want. If someone is getting on your nerves, you can relieve yourself the burden without fear of losing a friend, hell, you’ve only known them 2 days!

What is your thoughts on traveling alone as a women and the issue of safety?

Be aware, be sensible and be in contact. Don’t worry yourself sick about the what ifs; obviously, being a solo female traveller puts you at higher risk than your male counterpart. However, the same is true of walking home in your own town. It’s just about taking necessary precautions; don’t walk home alone at night, don’t get out of your mind drunk, tell people where you are going and when you expect to be back and be in contact with your friends and family back home when you can. 

Know the local custom and culture; dont walk about in hotpants and a bikini in Asia for example; that will lead to unwelcome attention. I bought a fake wedding ring as well to stave off too friendly advances from over familiar men (which I later lost in Koh Phangan, but that’s another story).

Interview solo-female-travel-anxietyTell us a story about your best travel experience (with or without someone else)

Khao Sok National Park. Trekking and hiking galore however, for me the real attraction was the overnight lake stay. The lake is so vast that the long tail boat ride to the bungalows took an hour and in places the lake is 100 metres deep. We did numerous treks through thick jungle to a viewpoint and also went caving in a cave with a river running through it, at points pulling ourselves up through a small waterfall via a rope and swimming through deep subterranean pools. The cave was populated with cave crickets, bats and crazy looking spiders that can only be described as the creature Mad Eye Moody performs the Cruciatus curse on! 

However, with that said, there's too many to choose from; motor biking through the mountains in Pai, exploring the Angkor Wat ruins, kayaking through Halong Bay, trekking in Ratanikiri, spending a week at a yoga retreat in Siem Reap, painting for months on Koh Rong Samloem, swimming with the phosphorescent plankton in M'Pai Bay, witnessing a sunrise from the top of Mt.Kinabalu, comforting a baby orangutan in my arms, spending four drunken days in a country-wide water fight, road tripping to Darwin from Melbourne and rubbing shoulders with the locals in Mondulkiri.

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What are your top 3 favourite countries you have traveled too?

That's a really hard question. Every place I've visited is so different from the last and all offering something so unique to take away with me. I think Asian countries speak to me the most as a whole though. The North of Thailand; so scenic and different from the South, the North East of Cambodia; meeting the locals, showering in waterfalls after 20k treks and swimming in flooded volcanic craters, and Vietnam; stretching over such a long expanse and over many climates, it is probably the most beautiful I've visited. Myanmar is also a strong contender, the Burmese are amongst the nicest people I've ever met and Bagan is a must-see for everyone to add to their bucket list.

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What are your least favourite experience or country traveled too?

When I first arrived In Bangkok I didn't like it. Despite there being so much to do there, I stayed for too long and the mayhem got to me. However, Bangkok is a handy stop-gap due to its location and being a hub for transport; "the gateway to South East Asia" as they say. This means that I've ended up visiting about five or six times throughout my journey and it's grown on me. My last time there was spent in sky bars, at a dinosaur theme park, late-night skinny dipping in rooftop pools and partying at Songkhran  (also up there amongst the best things I've done so far).
Yangon is another city I didn't like. I'd actually go as far as to say that apart from the Shwedagon Pagoda (hands down best temple I've ever seen), it's a bit of a hole. I got trapped there for 4 days and it was miserable.  But again, there were other factors involved; I'd just parted from a long term travel buddy, I was in quite an anxious place and maybe it, like Bangkok, just takes longer to grow on you than some places.
I wouldn't say I have a least favourite country. They are all so varied and so great but have their negatives too. Cambodia you have to constantly dodge scammers, Vietnam is incredibly difficult to find vegetarian food and Thailand is so on the beaten track now that it's hard to escape tourists. I remember looking forward to bus journeys with 1 person per seat and toilets where you can flush toilet paper, prices being the same for tourists as they are locals and salad. Bowls and bowls of salad followed by vegetables that aren't friend in kilograms of oil. That being said, I love Asia and wouldn't change it for the world.
My least favourite experience so far has probably been when I landed in Australia. The transition back to Western civilisation after a year of freedom in Asia; having to find a job, a house, make friends and a life, even though only temporary... it was too much. It took me longer than I would have liked to sort these things out and I was not in a good way for the first few months of my time here.

Let’s play a game, give us the first word or sentence that pops into your head around these words. (Think experiences on the road).

FUN – mopeding through Pai, Northern Thailand with new friends 

TRAVEL – best thing ever

FOOD – too much good food, too much fried food; Asia gave me wobbly bits! 

MEN – ridiculous and hilarious shenanigans... but I don't kiss and tell ?

EXERCISE – in dire need of more 

INDIA - hot, dirty, smelly. I haven’t actually been but it’s never really appealed to me for one reason or another.

AMERICA – bucket list country : the dinosaur freeway, Yellowstone, trans allegheny lunatic asylum, redwood trees, appalachian trail, Pacific crest trail, San Francisco, Chicago..... everywhere!

PACKING – necessary daily evil. I have a love/hate relationship with my necessary burden of a bag.

JOB – left behind , along with my worries 

ALCOHOL – too much fun, too much money 

DANGER - keep your wits about you, trust your gut.

TAXIS – no I don’t want a bloody tuk-tuk! 

BED BUGS -WHAT? ! WHERE? ! GET ME OUTTA HERE! 

LOVE – People, places, new experiences, and myself a little more for having the balls to do this  

FAMILY – Weeks feel hollow without the lengthly phone chats Mum. Thanks all for being so supportive of me chasing my dreams. Love you xx 

NEW FRIENDS – super quick bonding, I hate missing you already xxxx 

OLD FRIENDS – My support system. The most ridiculous bunch of crazy cats I have the privilege of calling my friends. I love you, I miss you, don’t have too much fun without me xxxxxxx 

SWITZERLAND – beautiful, must visit 

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Lastly what advice would you give to someone who is looking to travel alone but is too scared?

 Do it. Worst comes to worst you can always fly back home but always wondering ‘what if’ is so much worse than giving it a go and realising that maybe it just isn’t for you. Getting on that flight was the single scariest thing I have ever done but this experience that I’m living every day is the single greatest. It makes every pre travel panic attack worth it, every weekend I gave up to overtime, every beloved item I sold... 

People will have you think that the big wide world is a scary place but it really isn’t. People generally just want to be helpful and friendly. Obviously, you need to be sensible and have your wits about you and there are the usual charades games you have to play to overcome the language barrier but that’s all part of the experience. I’m not going to lie, travelling with anxiety can be a massive burden; panic attacks over bike riding, social anxiety over meeting new people and fear of parting ways with new friends but, I’m here, I’m doing it, I’m challenging myself every day and I can feel it getting easier and myself getting stronger. If I can do it, anyone can. Good luck and see you on the road!

Do it. Worst comes to worst you can always fly back home but always wondering ‘what if’ is so much worse than giving it a go and realising that maybe it just isn’t for you.


How to get in contact with Beckie and read more of her adventures:

She-Roams-Solo-Icon-Blog http://www.instagram.com/cbrondbo She-Roams-Solo-Icon-Facebook 


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