September 1st marks my 2nd anniversary on the road. The last two years have been a constant adventure. It is overwhelming to recognize just how much I have changed as a person, and as a traveler. Since leaving the States on the first of September in 2015 I’ve gone near and far to 35 countries, mostly on my own. Throughout my life, I’ve now collected passport stamps from 51 countries. I took myself to my favorite European city, Budapest, twice, all alone. I explored Greece, Germany, Monaco, Slovakia, Sweden by myself. My first big solo trip to a culture completely foreign to me was a month in Thailand. Last summer I backpacked through the Balkans solo through fascinating places like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania. I spent six months this year alone in India. I’ve adventured beyond my wildest dreams. But this isn’t a dream, it’s my life, and I so worked incredibly hard to get here.
Solo female travel is a phrase I was never really comfortable with. Why couldn’t I just be categorized as a traveler? Why do I have to be labeled by my gender and the fact that I was traveling mostly alone? In fact, calling out that I was solo could have been dangerous in some situations. Many times I spoke to strange men about fictitious husbands that were waiting for me nearby to get them to back off. I even strategically placed wedding-band like rings on my nuptial fingers and smiled shyly most of the time when someone asked if I was married and then quickly walked away.
Traveling alone for two years has been the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself. Each day has been equally beautiful and challenging and I’ve grown in many ways. I’ve had to defend my decision to travel the world solo in my late 20’s. Globally strangers seemed to be deeply concerned about my love life. People just can’t grasp the concept of how I am traveling the world without a salaried job, no financial support from my family, and no husband in sight. This isn’t just in developing countries. I get asked this question more often in Europe than anywhere else. Wasn’t I worried I was wasting my youth? Didn’t I know my chances of finding a man to marry me were getting slimmer? My answer? No, I wasted my youth by spending the early half of my twenties chained to a desk and cycling through fuck boys.
In those moments, and almost every day, I embrace my network of like-minded travelers on Instagram. In recent months have dedicated more time to developing my little corner of the travel world, Miss Filatelista. To say I’ve changed drastically over the last 24-months would be an understatement. I’ve become more conscious of the decision I make as a traveler and opened my eyes to the endless ways that we can impact local communities in a positive way as we visit their towns. I’ve shared with you what motivated me to travel, the meaning behind the name Miss Filatelista, reflections 15-months into to my nomadic life, 7 hacks to be a smarter traveler, and 5 things I’ve learned from a life of constant travel. I am so grateful for each and every one of you who continue to read and support Miss Filatelista. Extra shout out for those who’ve also become dedicated to responsible travel.
The last few months have been particularly legendary. I was featured in some incredible publications such as, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Bravo, and My Domaine–just to name a few. Another highlight was seeing a photo I took in Krakow, Poland on the glossy pages of the Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine. Please excuse my humblebrag, I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far with this passion project of mine. I’m not ashamed that I’ve fallen a little bit in love with myself every time I witness something with my own eyes that I used to look at on the pages of National Geographic.