Meet The Stamp Collectors: Where Goes Rose

Meet The Stamp Collectors is a series of interviews with travelers who've reached the milestone of visiting 50 countries, hence they've collected 50 passport stamps. This elite group of adventurers share real-life insights about their love of exploring our precious planet. They are voyagers who seek out unique experiences and develop their own perspective through immersive travel experiences. I hope their stories and sage advice will inspire you to push your boundaries and continue to travel near and far. This is not a contest about who's been to the most countries but a reflection on what it's been like to visit at least a quarter of the world's nations.

Rose Munday is a solo female traveler who has visited 51 countries and shares her globetrotting experiences on her candid travel journal, Where Goes Rose. She aims to inspire other girls who want to explore our big, wide world. Born and raised in Oxford she grew up daydreaming about discovering all the places she'd only seen in photographs. Her wishes were fulfilled when at 14 she got the chance to visit Austria. Since then she's realized that you can find beauty anywhere, even by visiting a new town or park near your hometown.

What was the 50th country you visited?

South Africa. I arrived at the Namibian border on a six-week overland tour. My new friends and I had visited eight African countries together and had all manner of crazy memories and experiences. South Africa was the final country on the tour meaning we were about to say goodbye to one another and end what had been one of the best adventures of my life. As if that wasn't emotional enough, it was my 50th country - a real milestone!

Which country cemented your love for travel? 

Ecuador. I visited South America when I was 19 and it was the first time I’d been outside of Europe. I didn’t know what to expect, it was my first trip going solo. The diversity of the country was so huge, the beaches were beautiful, the mountain villages misty and inspiring, and the Amazon was incredible and totally off-the-grid. I stayed with a local family and learned about their customs and ways of life. That experience made me want to do that all around the world!

Which country left a lasting impression on you? 

Lesotho. Along with a friend, I traveled around on local minibusses and stayed in basic accommodation. We befriended two local girls our age and spent ages talking about our lives and how they compared. I often think of Florence and Patience and I wish I could imagine that – like me - they can earn a good wage and visit other cultures.

Which country exceeded your expectations?

Tanzania. Here I went on safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. I was expecting it to be amazing but it completely blew me away! I saw lions, leopards, hippos, giraffes, and so much more. The highlight of my life might have been seeing 6 lion cubs running towards our car. I teared up a little bit – it was so overwhelming! After seeing them the way they should be in the wild I’ll never go to a zoo again.

What country are you eager to get back to?

Italy! I went with family when I was younger and I so want to go back. The weather’s amazing, the food delicious, and the buildings beautiful. I could write all day long while eating gelato which would be heaven. 

Which was your favorite country for architecture? 

Macau. This was such an interesting place to visit. There are loads of old European buildings dating back to Portuguese rule like the Ruins of St. Paul's. There are also beautiful Chinese temples that have been around for decades. It's also the gambling capital of Asia with some crazy casinos. The Venetian has a replica of Venice inside with real gondolas!

Which was your favorite country for nature?

New Zealand. It's so beautiful and really varied. One day we were climbing mountains and looking out over flat stretching land and the next we were exploring blue and green crater lakes at the Tongariro Crossing. Then we were traveling to Fox Glacier by helicopter and wandering around on the ice which seemed to stretch out forever!

Which was your favorite country for street art?

Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa! I absolutely loved the urban art there. It wasn't just for decoration - each piece carried an important message, some about poaching and animal conservation, some about the apartheid and the struggles that are still relevant to life today. 

Which was your favorite country for food?

Japan. I came just expecting to eat masses of sushi (something I was very excited about) but I also ended up really enjoying okonomiyaki, yakitori, ramen, and matcha! The sushi was different to what we have at home, lots of eel and scallops and less avocado. I really enjoyed it!

What is your all-time favorite country?

Vietnam! I love the food, the temples, the people, the culture, the nature. There's so much to do. Hanoi is so hectic and exciting. Hoi An is really beautiful, I love wandering the lantern-lined streets. There's so much history in Ho Chi Minh and there are some beautiful islands like Phu Quoc.

What is the most prolific lesson you've learned through travel?

To be yourself and do things your own way. Some people like moving quickly between countries, others would rather do fewer countries slowly. I’m not into being sporty so I don’t have to do all the daredevil activities. I love spending days wandering a city and getting to know the locals. Travelling solo has made me really independent in all areas of life. I believe it can do the same for everyone!

What's your favorite phrase in another language you've learned through your travels? 

'Saru mo ki kara ochiru'. This is Japanese for 'even monkeys fall from trees.' It means that sometimes even experts get it wrong. I can totally relate this to traveling - everyone has stressful days or times you catch the wrong bus. To me, it means not to worry so much.

Is there a novel that has greatly influenced you as a traveler? 

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung. It's about the Cambodian genocide which is not widely talked about. This book really moved me - it reminded me how lucky I am and how we need to learn about the past to not let it repeat itself.

What countries are on your bucket list?

Israel. I've been wanting to go for ages and I'm hoping it will be one of my next stops. I'm also really keen to go to Morocco–all the photos I've seen look stunning, especially those of the Sahara Desert and Marrakesh. I went to South America eight years ago but didn't make it to Colombia or Argentina so those are high on the list. I also just love the way of life, food, and temples in Asia - I'd love to go back and base myself in Thailand or Vietnam.

What is your favorite travel quote?

It's not necessarily a travel quote but I like 'You're born and you die–what you do in between is up to you.' It’s really empowering and means that you can do anything you want and your life is decided solely by you. For me, that means to fill it with as much travel as possible!

What is your top travel tip? 

Don't plan too much. If you're new to traveling you may want to firm up plans and be organized which totally makes sense. Now that I'm a more experienced traveler I try and keep myself open to being spontaneous and staying longer in a place if I love it.

What keeps you motivated to continue traveling?

My desire and love for travel. There's always another destination on my bucket list. I also want to go back to almost everywhere that I’ve been! After a few months at home, I get itchy feet all over again. I also really enjoy creating content–whether that's writing my own travel guides for my site or taking photos for my Instagram page. 

Where are you headed next?

I'm heading to Germany twice this month. The first time for an Africa tour group reunion at a beer festival in Munich. I'm really excited to don a dirndl and down a stein as well as explore the city. My trip to Germany later in the month will be to Bavarian town, Nuremberg, where my sister lives and works. This town is so picturesque so I can't wait to explore the typical streets and houses.

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