A lot of people write to find out how they can travel like me. “Where in the world are you today,” many will ask. While my first response is to share my tips for trips so they can have a similar lifestyle, there’s something else they need to know first. This craving to escape it all isn’t serving them. Moving cross-country or traveling Europe for months will not solve all of the deep questions my friends have about their position in the world. Trust me, I’ve done it.

One nugget of wisdom I would send myself back in time is, “Everything is fine the way it is right now. There’s no need to pick up or go anywhere until you figure a few things out.” I spent too much time checking excursions off of my bucket list to notice the real problem with my life was me. Understanding my appreciation of culture with environment only developed over trial and error that in retrospect I’d give anything to do over. Now I tell my friends nothing is better than the place they are because it’s where they are.

Master Getting The Most Out Of What You Have

Mastering the challenge of gaining a new perspective will prepare them for the biggest challenge in experiencing something new. There’s no need to buy that $1,200 ticket to Australia if they aren’t already creating a desirable life for themselves at home. It didn’t feel like I’d really gotten the benefit of traveling until I did it solo because that’s where my perspective was forced to change. Whether they realize it or not, traveling with friends is only an extension of what they’re already doing at home. That’s an important factor.

Meet New People

When I say new that means far outside of your current social circle. By practicing the art of story listening I’ve been enchanted in my interactions with anyone willing to share a bit of their history with me, whether domestic or international. Creating conversations with random strangers isn’t enough since the element of a deeper connection happens when time is spent carefully paying attention to culture and surroundings. By harnessing their own style here, the process naturally engages their mind for richer experiences local or abroad.

Pickup A Good Book

Escaping the grind with a book of any type is a gift few have the attention span to enjoy. If they find themselves caffeinated to the point of intense concentration, an escape into a travel short story, classic novel or historical writing will free the boundaries they place on themselves through ordinary weekday existence. Book reading is the ultimate form of story listening in a separate context and expands the mind into a fantasy without the time or money it takes to travel large distances.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Become An Influencer

Introverts don’t have to be super social to be an influence in their own unique ways. By becoming part of an existing social group, the pressure of being the center of attention is gone. This opens them up to challenging others in the group to share who they are through stories. Of course extroverts are loud but does that make them effective? Are they currently creating a buzz around what they value in life? All of us seem to be on the journey of finding likeminded individuals. If my friends seek a new class of people then adopt qualities like those they wish to meet. Traveling to an exotic location will only offer more of the same if they aren’t prepared to manifest this law of attraction.

Take A 36 hour Road Trip

Crowd funding is one of my dark secrets in travel. Finding a group of awesome adventurers through the former strategies to take part in their journey creates an out of routine experience at a third the cost. The best part is there’s no limit to where they can go once the mind is free. Get out of the mindset that 10 hours is too far to drive. It is not unreasonable to fly to New York City for a weekend. By traveling in short 36 hour snapshots I’ve seen a large amount of the USA which gave me the courage to complete my international journeys since.

Your city doesn’t suck anymore because you understand that the place you live is where someone else longs to visit. Somewhere else in the world they read a short story fantasizing about experiencing the life you try to escape. Hedonic adaptation creates a warm place for you to preserve your happiness. We slowly adapt to our situation in order to survive so the things that are unique fade away quickly with routine and this is often mistaken for complacency. Try on the new perspective and ask your city out on a date. You’ll be surprised at what’s hiding right next door.

It may not seem possible for some women to take the plunge into the unknown by traveling alone. Fear begins to manifest for the “chick on the road” when what-if speaks louder than adventure.

What if something bad happens to me because they know I’m traveling alone?

For Jamie, Amber and Joann, solo travel is more than just an option; it’s a necessity. Each of them has taken on their own journeys in different parts of the world on similar missions. The inherent risks were worth the reward to forget about waiting for someone else to give them permission or travel with them.

Amber and Joann struggled with feeling safe while they were away from home for the most common reasons anyone would. Traveling on a budget with nothing but a backpack means picking places that may not be in the safest areas, taking public transportation, tackling bears or surfing the urban streets. These women have shown resilience, courage and overcame their fears in a way many of us will never know. During Jamie’s upcoming trip across the country she will have times on the road where situations unlike those on a normal weekend playing a night on the town or meeting up with friends will come about. The difference is, she’s taking a risk for a reason; to live a life like no one else.

During my travel in hostels I spent time with a lot of female international travelers that thought it was crazy that American’s were so conservative with their adventures. In an interview with Amber we discussed some of her initial challenges last year when she chose to drive across the United States by herself. Most of them were tackling the solitary confinement we get into after being alone for an extended period of time. Then on to spending time out at bars or the mechanics of daily life that we all risk some type of danger.

Travel is important to them because they learned key things about life, people and self. I can relate to those experiences deeply because of my adventures but there’s another level of respect there about these women that are a level-up from the norm. Joann left after college to travel Europe, coach surf, work for families as a nanny and use a very small amount of funds to do it. Amber also spent time doing piecemeal work in order to fund her new album while gaining insight into new creative outlets. Jamie started a business helping others travel the world from her home in Alaska from a vision of a world that breaks free from the standard tourist mindset.

If you’re as inspired about their stories as I am please take some time to check out and support Amber’s new album on Indiegogo launching this year. A project that sparked simply because of her solo journey. Stay tuned for more information on Jamie’s new Alaskan travel business and Joann’s medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Any woman out there reading this that wants to travel but is waiting for someone to embark on that journey with them let me encourage you to take small steps to take the plunge yourself. Amber, Joann and Jamie are strong examples contrary of the American conservative (and somewhat sexist) view that there are just some things women shouldn’t do. These three examples are more than enough to give you a light push over the edge into the unknown because of their incredible fortitude.

The decision you’ve made to travel the world is the best decision you’ll ever make. The investment you’re making is an investment in yourself, and there’s no better way to spend your time or your money. Did you tick off your boss by taking this time off? Good. You are your own boss now. The world is in front of you, and you get to decide how your story goes. Spend wild nights partying at local bars until 2:00 A.M. Create your own personal oasis at the local park where you can focus on reading, writing, or just simply being in the moment. Meet others who are traveling, and strike up conversation with those who live in the area. The uneasiness will soon fade away, and you’ll feel like you’ve been doing this forever.

I know you are a mixture of emotions, and you feel like the blender is on high speed. You are excited, scared, unsure, anxious, ready, and not ready all at once. The ticket is booked, your arrangements are made, and it’s almost go-time. You are about to embark on an incredible journey. It’s a journey that will continue as long as your soul remains eager and your mind remains open.

I remember the first time I traveled in college. It was only possible during that phase of our lives because we were able to pull together and take crowd-funded trips. Once college ended and the real world hit, that adventurous side seemed to slip away for so many. But not for you, First Time Traveler. You are different. Something inside you stirred around until you couldn’t ignore it anymore. As uncomfortable as you feel, you also know you’ve made the right choice.

As you await your flight, train, or ship, think about what you ate for breakfast yesterday. You probably can’t remember, can you? Can you think of an awesome experience you once had that left you feeling fulfilled and curious? Of course you can. You’re about to add to that group of experiences. Open your eyes, your ears, and your mind, because your adventure is here.