Welcome to today’s installment in my new travel blogger interview series! The goal of this weekly series is to help spread the blogging love and introduce you to some other awesome travel bloggers! Any travel blogger, whether new or experienced, can sign up to be featured in this new series. Today I’m happy to share that I’m featuring Debbi from My Debstinations.
My name is Debbi, and I run the solo female travel blog, “My Debstinations.” I’ve had the fortune of seeing 75 countries and I’ve lived in various parts of the world, always looking for new sources of adventure and food. In a nutshell, I’m an avid hiker, animal lover, food monster, pun aficionado, Star Wars geek, and professional bargain hunter. My goal is to inspire women to travel more (especially ALONE) and also serve as an advocate for mental health based on my past experiences.
Location: USA (California), but currently in Australia with my partner (will end up living here long-term)
I’ve been blogging for seven years, but I only recently decided to try this as a full-time job (and monetize my blog) since late March of this year! I started my blog in 2013 initially to chronicle my adventures to New Zealand when I moved there on the Working Holiday Visa.
Get started as soon as possible (it’s ideal in quarantine, since everyone is just at home reading things online anyway), and know that it’s a lot of hard work and consistency, but it’s WORTH it for the dream career you want to achieve. If you already have a blog, it’s worthwhile to look into training for SEO and Pinterest marketing to maximize the reach and engagement of your site. You should also think of ideas to sell a marketable, unique product that reflects your goals and niche (i.e. an e-book on why you should travel solo as a female).
Traveling is extremely addicting! We’ve all seen the articles and photos online that talk about “wanderlust,” but it’s another thing to experience traveling for yourself, especially if you’re a long-term traveler. Travel changes you (positively) in ways that you don’t even fully realize, and it’s so hard to ever want to stop dreaming about your next getaway, trip, and destination in general.
Like many others, travel is something that I didn’t grow up doing very often. When I left home at 23, it was like starting a new chapter in my life and finally having the freedom and independence to see, eat, explore, and hike everywhere I had always dreamed of. Travel gives you unique opportunities like being connected to an amazing community of like-minded people who have fascinating stories and the same passion for seeing the world. I used to think it was always about the places, but the memories I hold closest to my heart are ones that involve people: ones I’ve been fortunate enough to meet from every corner of the globe. The ability to immerse in new cultures, eat local cuisine, explore distant lands, and learn new languages are just a few of the reasons why travel is such a beautiful community.
My best travel experience was hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand, in which we used crampons and ice axes to hike through 19.4 km worth of gorgeous snow-capped mountains. The views at the top were absolutely breathtaking, and we bodysled down (safely) a huge snowy hill at one stage.
My worst travel experience was when I slipped and dislocated my shoulder while hiking in New Zealand last year. However, it ended up being one of the most memorable as well, since I was luckily “rescued” by two fellow travelers who stuck with me for over five hours to ensure that I was okay, and they even drove my car (two hours!) back for me to the nearest medical facility. This situation was the most terrifying, especially to be injured in a remote forest while alone, but I was in one of the safest countries and met such generous strangers who ended up saving me. I truly reflect on this experience with so much gratitude and love in my heart for humanity.
I definitely prefer solo travel since I started my adventures this way, and most of my trips are always by myself. It’s a lot easier to meet people when you’re traveling by yourself, and I prefer this method since you’re in full control of your itinerary: I get to eat, sleep, do, and go wherever I want, whenever I want, without needing to worry about anyone else’s preferences! I strongly believe that every woman should take at least ONE solo trip in their life, even if it’s just to a local destination for a quick getaway. The ability to be alone and truly reflect on oneself while on a trip is the most gratifying feeling in the world.
It’s so hard to only list ONE favorite place, as I’m sure many can also relate! However, I have a special place in my heart for Iceland. It may be one of the most expensive countries in the world, but it’s so pure and its landscapes are insane (I describe it as New Zealand on steroids, although both are very similar). I’m an avid hiker, and I’ve done some incredible treks in Iceland. It’s also extremely easy to roadtrip there by yourself, especially since they drive on the same side as America and Canada!
My biggest tip is to stop fretting about the planning part of travel (especially if it’s your first big trip or first solo trip) and just GO. I started enjoying things a lot more when I just winged it and trusted that everything always works out (and it does). Everyone has different travel styles, but the moment you get too stressed out planning a trip, it loses its luster. Don’t bother worrying about things beyond your control or trying to have every single day mapped out, because you’ll probably end up just going with the flow once you arrive in a new country anyway. Enjoy your present experiences and don’t focus on constantly planning for the future.
I’m a huge foodie, so I’m constantly beelining for the best food. I find it fascinating to visit all the various markets around the world, especially when a food market has different cuisines that we can’t get back in California. I don’t buy too many things when traveling except postcards, although I haven’t figured out how to display hundreds of postcards- they’re sitting in bags on my floor at home!
There’s too many! However, Japanese food is my absolute favorite. Ichiran ramen throughout Japan is just SENSATIONAL and I’ve never found another ramen shop that tops it. While it’s a chain (you can also find it in some Asian countries like Hong Kong), the flavor and texture of the noodles is unfathomable. Hilariously, it’s the one food that I’ll look at photos or videos of, and my mouth just starts watering involuntarily (it’s insane).
Plane or train? Train!
Hotel or hostel? Hostel! It’s a great way to meet fellow travelers as well.
City or nature? Nature (it’s so relaxing and good for the soul)
Popular site or off the beaten path? Off the beaten path (I don’t even bother going to crowded landmarks anymore!)
Suitcase or backpack? Backpack 10000%!
Fast travel or slow travel? Slow travel (you get to immerse yourself in new cultures this way)
Professional camera or iPhone photography? iPhone (it’s all about compact travel, baby)
Warm or cold weather? Cold!
All photos used throughout this post are taken by Debbi from My Debstinations.