I met Anna at the youth hostel I was staying at, in Vancouver. We shared the same room. When she told me, she was traveling the world alone since 8 months, I was eager to learn more about her…
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I’m Anna, I’m 26 years old, and I’m living… Actually, I lived in Germany. I quit my job to travel, and now I am on a world trip.
What are you doing here in Vancouver and what have you done before?
I started my world trip last year in October. I started in Asia, in Vietnam, then I went to Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New-Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, and now I am in Canada, since April 2018. I started in Toronto and now I am in Vancouver. Here in Vancouver I’m visiting some places, some parks. I’m staying a bit longer here because just before I was on a roadtrip.
Why did you decide do go on such a journey?
A lot of things came together. I realized “I’m not happy anymore in my daily life, I want to change something”. So I wanted to change job, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I really loved it when I was traveling during the last years. I would save all my vacations for trips to Thailand, New-Zealand… Then I realized that I would love to travel for longer than one month. So I decided to quit my job, use my free time for traveling and… I’m happy that I did it.
How are you organized? Is it like you plan things well ahead or are you just living day by day?
In Germany, I was a really organized person. Everything was well-planned, it was hard to go without a plan. So I decided that I would book all my flights for this trip. I booked it with STA travel, it’s an agency for young people and world travelers. It was a good decision. So I booked with them all the flights until Toronto but no return flight, and one or two nights in each city I would land in. Everything else I planned when I was in the country. It was the best thing because you can ask locals, you can ask at the hostel, you meet other travelers, so you get more information about the city and what to explore… not the typical tourist things.
But I’m not sure I would book my flights in advance next time. After 3 weeks of my travel I realized I wanted to change something, and I cancelled a flight I had already booked… because I wanted to stay longer in Asia.
I wouldn’t want to ask you this question, but still, what can you say about traveling alone as a woman regarding safety?
At the beginning I was a little bit afraid to go by myself, especially in South America. But I think after 8 months of traveling by myself, it’s really safe. You have to look for your stuffs, but it’s the case in every city, every country, every tram… I think it’s possible to travel by yourself. I met more women travelling alone than men. I was really surprised, because when I was in Germany I wouldn’t expect that. Often, the fear actually comes from others (friends, family). At the beginning you are afraid, but later you often realize that those fears aren’t yours, but those that were transmitted by others. “Others” who have no idea about these kinds of experiences, and who have never traveled.
Talking about relatives, how did they react when you said you wanted to go on a world tour by yourself?
I think I started early to let them know what I had in mind… “Yeah, maybe one time I will travel the world”… Then things were getting clearer, I researched a lot, and talked a lot about it. I think my parents were surprised at the beginning, but they were happy, and also a little bit sad at the same time. Because it’s… with an open-end. And as a girl, alone, for sure at the beginning everybody is afraid of it. But they helped me a lot and supported me.
When we were discussing some days ago, you told me about something that I found interesting. Sometimes when you are in a country, and you think about something interesting, you send a present to yourself, at home, which is linked to your state of mind at the moment. Can you tell me a bit more about this?
When you are traveling by yourself you have a lot of time, you know yourself better and sometimes you get new sights of yourself, there are new things you didn’t realize you were interested in. I was in Australia, in Adelaide, I did a hike by myself. I thought a lot. I had good thoughts. I thought about the “Pomodoro Technique”(to learn more about it, click here). I was thinking that back home, I would need to try it. So I bought a timer online, and sent it to my home, with a little letter, so when I’m home and open it, I can remember the good thoughts I had on the hiking trail. I hope I will do it.
I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would like to go on such an adventure as you. So do you have some advice for them?
I think it’s important that you really listen deeply to yourself. Not too much to the other voices around you. When you really want to do something, and you think every day about this, I think you can do it. It’s important to follow you dreams, and not forget them in the daily life. Because you are always stressed and you forget it or you don’t realize that you can do it. During one or two months I thought everyday about the world trip, so it’s getting clearer, colorful, and you really want to do that.
Do you also have a practical tip?
It’s useful to have something like a scarf that you can use well… as scarf, as a blanket, as a towel on the beach… Something you can use in different ways, it’s very useful because you don’t have enough space to pack everything you want.
Is there a song or a quote that inspires you on this trip?
My first backpacker tour was in New Zealand. And I heard the song “River flows in you”, by the pianist Yiruma. Since then, this was my song which helps me realize where I am, what I see, what I have seen during the last days… It’s a quiet, calm song, to me it’s really a special song. Since I’m travelling, I listen to it every time I am in the mood, when I want to calm down and realize. Because we have so much input every day. Also, before I left Germany, my friends and family organized a farewell party. They wrote a song for me, so it’s obviously a special song for me.
Is there somewhere where we can follow your adventure?
I’m writing a blog: www.annabroad2017.wordpress.com (in German)
Thank you Anna for taking the time to answer my questions! It was awesome to do this interview, on the rooftop of our youth hostel in Vancouver, and to meet someone as inspiring as you 😊