What would you do if you were a single woman traveling alone in the African brush? According to Erin Marie Musich: Jump right in! The 29-year-old teacher and self-described indie traveler is the mind (and hands) behind the blog The World Wanderer — a combination of stories, essays, photos, and even musical tracks from around the world.
We spoke with Erin about her blog, what it means to be an indie traveler, and how she makes it all happen.
The Trip Tribe: What is Indie Travel?
The World Wanderer: The idea of indie travel first came to my attention in November of 2011, when BootsnAll ran 30 Days of Indie Travel, giving bloggers a chance to reflect on their past travels each day of the month. It was the first time I was really involved in the blogging community, and it opened my eyes to the idea of indie travel. It was a term I was unfamiliar with, but I identified with the idea.
To me, indie travel is all about experiencing places through the people and culture of the place you are visiting. It’s putting the camera down and soaking up the moment. It’s taking any opportunity to explore the world, and really putting yourself out there and immersing in the country you are visiting. Honestly, in my mind, this is the only way to travel.
TTT: Favorite trip. Go.
TWW: My four-week adventure in Africa was absolutely my favorite. I spent three weeks overlanding through Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa with Gecko’s Adventures. We went on safaris, met tribes, went sandboarding and quad biking on the sand dunes, and camped throughout Africa. It was my first solo trip, but I made friends from around the world who I still talk to after almost two years.
Once, in Cape Town, I climbed Table Mountain and went cage diving with Great Whites. Then, I flew up to Egypt and spent three days in Cairo and Luxor. To this day, it’s not only my favorite trip, but it was by far the best four weeks of my life.
TTT: You seem pretty young to have traveled to so many places (as compared to folks who have traveled half as much in twice the time). Any advice for folks who “don’t have enough money, time” or are “afraid of forgoing career progression” for making traveling plans?
TWW: My parents always taught me to go abroad when I had an opportunity, and this is my advice to others. I realize finding the time and money isn’t always an easy task, but when you find you have time off or discover a deal to travel, don’t question your decision, just do it. There are ways to travel on the cheap, and it does take a bit of work to figure it out, but once you discover that it doesn’t cost thousands of dollars to see the world, the decision is easier.
Plane tickets are usually expensive, but often the destinations themselves are affordable. Instead of staying in a fancy hotel, find an apartment and immerse yourself in the life of a country. With a kitchen, you can shop at the local market and cook some of your own meals. An expense of travel can be eating out, but by eating breakfast and lunch in the apartment and dinner out, you can save money for other experiences. For example, if you’re willing to see Africa by sleeping in a tent that you pitch yourself each night, the costs drop dramatically. It may not be a luxury hotel, but I can’t imagine a better way to see the countries of Africa.
I am very lucky to have the time off that I do, as I am a teacher and have summers off. Even so, you can do and see a lot in a short amount of time. I’ve traveled to Seattle for a weekend, not taking any days off from work, and London for a long weekend. It’s possible to see the world in a short amount of time, and if you really want to see a place, just do it. You will not regret it.
TTT: Favorite travel blog (outside of your own). Go.
TWW: So hard to choose, but I really enjoy Captain and Clark‘s website, as well as their videos. It’s hard not to be inspired by this couple.
TTT: Any pitfalls, advantages, (or stereotypes you’d like to dispel) about being a single woman traveling alone?
TWW: Solo travel is the most liberating experience I have ever had as a woman. It’s the best feeling in the world to know that I succeeded at doing something on my own, whether it’s figuring out directions or opening a bottle of wine without help in my apartment. When you’re alone, you can spend all the time you want at certain destinations without feeling like you’re holding anyone up, you can eat when and where you want to, or go to sleep early if you feel like it without feeling guilty. The experience is all about you, and even though I am a very laid back traveler, sometimes there’s nothing better than being selfish.
I also realized that it’s not as scary or lonely as people imagine it to be. I’ve traveled quite often by myself, and I’ve never run into an issue of any kind. I make sure that I don’t stand out, and that I blend in as much as possible. I trust my gut in any situation, and if something doesn’t feel right, then I don’t do it, even if it could be something innocent.
TTT: Describe yourself in six words.
TWW: Energetic. Loving. Adventurous. Free-spirted. Independent. Ambitious
Erin Marie Musich is free-spirit who loves to explore a new destination by wandering around the streets discovering her own connection and off-the-beaten path finds. She has a passion for learning about a city or country through its culture, the people she meets, local food and drink, and music. So far, Erin has traveled to six continents, twenty-seven countries, and twenty-five US states, but she dreams of exploring the whole world. Her hope is to inspire her readers to look at the world with new eyes and see the beauty that can be uncovered by traveling. Also, to live each day fully, no matter where in the world they may be.