- Travel Topics
Can you start by giving us a little bit of background about yourself and your blog. How did you start traveling?
I used to be an investment banker in Southern California but gave all that up for the pursuit of a dream. I bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok that departed on September 27 of 2012. I’ve been traveling solo for about 15 months now and realized around month three that the type of things that really interest me are off-the-beaten path destinations and activities. Wherever I go, that’s what I seek out.
When did you start blogging, and what did you expect readers to get out of it?
I’d say my blog really started when my trip did. Though I bought the domain and had a few things to say prior to my trip, I just didn’t have much to write or any real material until I started traveling. I honestly didn’t know what I was all about at first. I find a lot of bloggers don’t! Now that I’ve realized I value local experiences, like taking local transport and finding places where I might be the only foreigner, I find what readers get out of it is great advice if they’re like me and don’t love tours, over-spending, or cookie-cutter destinations.
Let’s talk experiences – what has been the best experience you’ve had on the road? The worst?
My best experience might be the drive-by bananas. I was motorbiking with some friends on the Bolaven plateau in Laos and some guys in the bed of a truck handed us each bananas as we passed each other on the road. I couldn’t stop laughing. Why did it happen? I don’t know. It still makes me smile.
The worst involves a 26-hour travel day in Java, riding on the back of a crazed motorbike taxi and passing by a guy with a completely naked chainsaw and another with a ten foot steel pole. Any collision would have meant certain death and I knew it, all while I was adjusting my much-too-large helmet.
What are some of your interests outside of traveling?
I love to paint, which I’ve sometimes incorporated by mural painting at hostels. I also love to dance. I recently took up fire spinning, have been practicing yoga since 14 and Pilates since 19, and I speak Mandarin!
What are your upcoming plans, both travel and non travel?
The Philippines in the coming days! After that I don’t really know. I never know!
How did you get the idea to start your travel fitness website with your sister? How has the 60 day challenge been going?
Before I left for my trip I did spin and Pilates several times per week and even got certified to teach mat Pilates. Then I left for my trip and preceded to NEVER exercise during my first year of traveling other than the odd trek or bicycle ride. It was starting to show. My sister has taught yoga for almost 13 years and Pilates for around 9 years. She has been a practicing doctor of physical therapy for a few years and we thought, what’s missing from the travel industry are some exercises that can be done without any equipment or much space at all, from some real experts (okay she’s more the expert than I am!)
I’m in week two of the 60-day challenge and I feel great and already see some results. I can’t say it has been easy since I don’t always have time or space a-plenty, but I do my best to keep at it. The others joining in and the support has been fantastic.
You started your trip one year after your shoulder surgery – have you run into any problems on the road with your shoulder? Did you adhere to a physical therapy routine while traveling to help the recovery process?
Uh oh, you sound like my physical therapist! (aka my sister). I was pretty good for the first year, then shooting rifles (at clay pigeons, nothing living!) I reaggrivated one of the tendons. It healed again in time but it was a wake-up call that I need to be much more disciplined It will really help that the fitness website is going!
How do you feel about being a solo female traveler? Have you had any safety issues over the past year? Any advice for fellow female travelers setting out on their own?
Generally being a solo traveler is not that different for men or women. In general I meet tons of people and actually love this method of travel. I champion it for anyone. A few times, like in Java, I’ve felt a bit scared and targeted for being a solo foreign female, but I guess those experiences help build character and experience.
You participated in a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Thailand. Please tell us about your experience. What were some of the challenges and takeaways? Would you do it again?
It was so hard. Honestly. There was no speaking, reading, writing, using any technology, or anything that could get my mind off of my mind. Plus, we had to sleep on concrete beds with wooden pillows. Seriously. A lot of people drop out.
That said, it helped me so much to deal with negative thought and to resolve some things in my mind and heart, and I’ve even thought about trying another in India or Nepal!
Kristin Addis is the Chief Blogette at Be My Travel Muse – a website geared towards independent women travellers who like to head off the beaten path, mainly in Asia. She also writes Keep Fit on the Road a website made to help travelers eat healthy and exercise with little to no space or equipment. She is a former investment banker and now travels and shares her travel guides around the world, exploring off-beat destinations. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram