After traveling to almost 50 countries solo, I’ve learned that planning trips is almost as fun as going on them. The excitement, the expectation — the post-it notes! But when researching, I rarely want to watch the travel videos I see online or TV. Because when I do, the flashy footage and hyperbolic beauty often leave me envious of others, rather than confident in myself.
With Who Knows Where, I wanted to create the kind of video that I would want to watch. One that included the everyday realities of travel (*ahem* diarrhea) as well as the perks, and featuring a woman out adventuring in the world.
In mainstream media, women have been missing from our travel narrative. It’s no wonder that the question I am most often asked is: Aren’t you scared traveling as a woman? Representation matters, and the litany of white males traveling on television can sometimes make it feel like women don’t leave the country. I dreamed that somewhere a viewer would finish my video and feel inspired to go on her own trip — not because I had been so inspirational on camera but because I was so ordinarily myself.
Because of how I identify, I face less barriers than most when searching for a platform for my voice. As a white woman, it is easier for me to move around in this world that prioritizes my skin color above all others. Being cisgendered, I am less at risk of being a victim of violence or facing psychological abuse. Able-bodied, I rarely have to worry about accessibility. As a person of financial privilege, I have the resources and the support system that allow me to more easily make unorthodox decisions in my career. Therefore, my experience is only one page in the story of traveling while female. If you’re looking to hear from other perspectives — or just want more badassery in your feed — here are three of my favorite women killing it in the travel world:
Jessica Nabongo @thecatchmeifyoucan Luxury traveler Jessica Nabongo has amassed over 30k followers on Instagram with her beautiful photos and frank discussions of discrimination in the travel sector.
Annette Richmond founder of @fatgirlstraveling Annette has created a platform where the stories of plus-size women are celebrated and amplified.
T J Lee @cupoftj A solo travel vlogger with over 80k YouTube subscribers who shares many tricks of the trade on her channel (watch her 7-Eleven video if you’re looking for a good belly laugh).
I wanted Who Knows Where to make people feel comfortable and included. For me, that meant using humor. Because I believe that taking up space as a woman — a woman with flaws and jokes and belly rolls — can be its own form of rebellion.
In this episode, you’ll follow along on my fifth trip to Nepal, as we trek up to Annapurna base camp in the Himalayas. Along the way, we’ll meet Sareena Rai, a leader in the punk rock scene of Kathmandu, and the didi of Chomrong Cottage, who makes a cake voted best in Asia.