Meet the Travel Bloggers: Be My Travel Muse

This week Meet the Travel Bloggers interviews Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse.

When, why and how did you start Be My Travel Muse?
The blog preceded my changeover to a nomadic lifestyle last fall. It served as a promise to myself to take the leap. I began writing it shortly after buying my one-way ticket to Bangkok. I felt like at that point, there had to be no turning back, and I had to somehow make myself accountable. The blog was a good way.

How did you get that name and what does the name mean to you?
I was heavily inspired by other travel bloggers to become a nomad myself. Seeing that others who weren’t rich could travel long-term inspired me to do it, too. Now, I travel the world looking for off-beat inspiration to photograph, paint, and write about. In short, travel is my muse.

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Stopped to paint a mural in Laos, photo/courtesy Be My Travel Muse

Where were you before you took off on your odyssey?
I’m a Los Angeleno who was living in Newport Beach, in Orange County, just south of LA.  I was working at an investment bank and finally decided that the long hours and lack of time off was too much.  I needed a break.

You’re out on the road traveling solo. What catalyzed the decision to leave your job and lifestyle and get out on the road alone?
I spoke a bit on my blog about a shoulder surgery that left me pretty helpless for a while. Life is surprisingly hard without one of your arms! It made me realize life is short, and sitting in a cubicle wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. I didn’t initially want to do it alone, but when I realized nobody else could drop everything and join me, I started to really like the idea. Now I’m glad to be traveling alone. I can make split-second decisions without affecting anyone else.

You started in Southeast Asia. Are you planning to hit other spots in the world in your travels?
Definitely! Southeast Asia was just my starting point. I like to move very slowly, and really get to know each place. So far, I’ve done Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and am now in Australia. This year will also take me to Malaysia and New Zealand. But I don’t plan, I just move.

What are the biggest joys and challenges of being a young woman on the road alone?
I don’t really think being female or male has anything to do with the experience. The biggest joy is simply being on the road, experiencing new things, and meeting amazing new people in beautiful settings. I find that I’m not lonely even though I’m traveling solo. I can always find a group to pal around with and that’s due to the open and friendly nature of people who tend to also be on the road.

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Motorbiking crew at the Bolaven Plateau in Laos), photo/courtesy Be My Travel Muse

Do you have an end date for your odyssey?
I hope it never ends.

What excites you about travel?
Definitely the people I meet. I have met some amazing travelers and locals, and it has really helped me to appreciate who I am, who I can grow into, and makes me brave enough to just be myself and follow what I want to do rather than what I feel I should do. That’s how life should be.

You’re currently backpacking. What about that traveling style appeals or doesn’t appeal to you?
I call my backpack my turtle shell because it’s pretty small (35 liters, or, 70 lb capacity), and holds all of my possessions at the moment – I just carry my “house” with me wherever I go! I sold just about everything I had back home when I left. It’s incredibly freeing. No complaints.

Do you seek out some experiences more than others?
I like to find off-the-beaten path destinations, even in otherwise popular and touristy places. I find I love artsy places and anywhere I can do some biking and motor biking. I try to eat new foods before asking what they are, just to appreciate the flavor without any preconceived notions. I love to swim, so I’m always looking for waterfalls and beaches. I’m a SCUBA diver and therefore love to dive. Most of all, I want to do something a little different than I’ve seen or read about before.

As for experiences I don’t seek; I really thought I’d be into trekking, but in all actuality, I kind of hate it. It’s not for me. I’m an avid hiker back home but something about climbing hand-and-food in the jungle and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes just doesn’t appeal to me. There, I’ve admitted it!

 

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Biking in Cambodia, photo/ourtesy Be My Travel Muse

Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
I have actively gone out of my comfort zone. I stay in dorms almost all the time, so I’ve completely given up privacy, but the tradeoff of meeting new people is worth it. I also had to get used to finding ants in my food almost all the time in Cambodia and Laos. I just had to pick them out and keep going. I never had hot showers there. Several times I was in a minibus that had way too many bodies and was going over potholes in the wrong lane. It would have been so scary to me back home, but here, I just had to get over it. I think most people who are considering travel would be shocked at what they’re willing to try and how far out of their zone they’d be willing to go on the road. It’s exhilarating and most of all, not scary!

What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever?
There was a beautiful moment in Otres Beach, Cambodia, that I’ll never forget. I was laying on the sand and a little Cambodian girl, perhaps only 7 or 8 years old, knelt down opposite me, leaned over my face, and put her hands on my cheeks and pushed so I’d make a funny face, and she did the same. Then, she giggled and walked away. It was so cute, and so endearing, and she was so beautiful. That was months ago and I remember it so vividly.

What’s your favorite place on earth?
Pai in Thailand. There was no standard mode of operation there. Everyone just was who they were and we all accepted it. It was naturally so beautiful. I rode a motorbike on my own for the first time there, and then extended to five days and several hundred miles. I will definitely go back one day.

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Tree pose in Pai, photo/courtesy Be My Travel Muse

Where are you off to next?
I’m exploring Australia at the moment, but honestly, I’m not yet sure which part I’ll explore next or when.  I’m currently in Melbourne and don’t mind staying for a while. I tend to operate on whims coupled with suggestions from other travelers. They are my guidebooks. I often decide on a day-by-day basis where to head next.

What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list?   
Don’t laugh – the moon. That is the final frontier, for sure. Can you imagine the literally out-of-this-world experience it would be? I have always wanted to be outside of the earth, just to know how it feels.  Being realistic, I see a safari in east Africa as an ideal trip. That would really be something.

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you feel you’d like to share about your travels?
Just to let others know, if they’re thinking about traveling solo, to not be afraid. I was terrified and now that I’m here, I really don’t know what I was so scared of. Every day has been a joy. Or, if there’s something else you’ve always wanted to do, even if it’s not travel related, you should do it. Follow your passions. I’m so glad I have.

travel bloggerKristin Addis is a former investment banker who quit her job, sold all of her belongings and bid the life she knew goodbye in favor of becoming a solo nomad in Asia. You can read more about her adventures on her site Be My Travel Muse. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook

 

 

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