Hi. I’m Amanda and I’m an introvert. And I travel the world full-time by myself. So, I spend an extraordinary amount of time in my own head.
Here's a pretty rare spewing of some of the nonsense that rattles around in there. Because I get asked a lot of questions, by a lot of people, a lot of the time. These are my answers to all those questions.
introverts vs extroverts
Tell anyone in the world that you're a solo full-time traveler, and you will be interrogated. To the max. People don’t understand how I can spend days or weeks at a time completely alone. I think only true introverts can understand.
First of all, I don't seek out social situations, I avoid them. Because for me to spend time in a social situation, then I need exactly that much downtime, usually more, to recharge afterwards. It sucks my life-force. And life-force sucking is pretty exhausting.
And second, not to toot my own horn here, but I'm a pretty unique snowflake. Being a solo female vegan full-time traveler definitely separates me from the normal people who have the normal lives in the little boxes. This divide can make it hard to relate to anyone that doesn't understand any of my unique lifestyle choices.
I often get asked what I do with my time. This question always confuses me because I think, well, I do the same things as everyone else. I read books, watch movies, take walks, give love to animals and eat food. And sometimes I travel.
But then I consider the source of the question, and it occurs to me that extroverts plan their entire lives around, and according to, other people. They live with, eat with, work with, play with, sleep with (insert Groucho Marx cigar antic) and even go on vacations with other people! They’re rarely, if ever, alone.
"Solitude, I reflected, is the one deep necessity of the human spirit to which adequate recognition is never given in our codes."
me, myself and i
There's a big part of me that enjoys being in countries where I can't speak the language because it's the perfect excuse to not have to engage with anyone. Here's the part where the lines between introvert and misanthrope tend to blend. Let me explain.
I always feel deep empathy and love for any animals I meet because they are innocent creatures that don't deserve harm. Not so much with the humans though. I get asked a ton of questions about veganism which shows me people don't care much about them. Is it just me or does the entire human race behave like an evil virus invading its host while ruthlessly destroying it and all its inhabitants?
So, I like animals more than people. And I pet-sit full-time, so I'm never really all by my lonesome in the world. I'm always in the company of friends, but more often than not, they have fur or feathers.
I get asked a ton of questions about traveling alone. I don't know why, I'm quite happy in my own company. I take myself out to eat, out for drinks, to the movies. I'm a great date. Being solo means I never have to compromise with anyone on anything so I can always do whatever I want, whenever I want. Which is pretty rad.
But that's how I like it. I'm selfish. I like quiet. I like solitude. I like simplicity. I would go live in an off-grid cabin in the words like Thoreau if I could. I very nearly built myself a tiny house a few years ago actually. I took a workshop on how to build one from scratch. But that idea never came to fruition when I realized it shackeled me to a house, even if it was a mobile one.
"It often happens that a man develops a deeper love and friendship with his pet cat or dog than he does with most of the other humans in his life."
the anti-selfie manifesto
Just because I'm a travel blogger doesn't mean that I have to succumb to the oversharing epidemic. I share, but I do it mindfully.
I don't like selfies. So don't take them. Or videos. If you see a picture of me, I guaran-damn-tee you that somebody else took it. Most likely with a good deal of protesting from me at how ridiculous the concept even is. I don’t have a camera, camera gear, a drone, or (gasp) a selfie stick. I don't have any photo editing programs. There's that simplicity thing again.
When I take photos, I give my unique perspective on the world at that time, what I see, where I go, what animals I meet, the food I eat. I never wanted to be one of those people that took pictures of their food, until I realized that only by actually showing pictures of vegan food can I help people see what vegans eat, and that there are endless options of delicious plant-based foods all around the world. So, it became a necessary evil.
However, at no point during any of this digital cluttering do I ever feel the need to show you pictures of myself doing ridiculous things like shoving food into my mouth, pretending to pinch tall monuments, or showing you how bendy I can be in front of epic location backdrops. I just can't help but wonder that this odd element of third person photography distracts from living in the moment simply by its very existence.
"I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone."
Daphne Du Maurier Inspirational Travel Quotes
Traveling full-time means I am homeless. No base, no address, no anchor. Nothing. Just the contents of my backpack. Oh boo, the sad story of a soul with no home. Just kidding. It's not sad. It's awesome. I have no bills.
I've always been a rolling stone. Blame DRD4-7R. What? That's right, folks, wanderlust is genetic. I was lucky enough to have parents that loved traveling and took me everywhere throughout my childhood. I fell in love with the excitement of airports, hotels, exotic locations and new experiences.
Ever since, I've been bouncing around the world, like a pinball in an arcade game, rarely settling anywhere for longer than 6 months. I broke a lot of apartment leases and a lot of hearts.
I changed cities, states, countries, jobs, homes, hair colors, you name it. Nothing sticks too long. The curiosity and restlessness always spiral into my thoughts, until I have to experience something new. To learn, to change, to grow, to experiment, to evolve, and to live.
This really hit home on a recent visit to the one city that I most identified with in the world. The one that I had spent the most time in. The one that, when asked where I'm from, I would confidently say it out loud, and mean it pretty hard.
But, upon return to the mothership, I was met with a shocking absence of emotion. An empty void that was almost tangible. The city was familiar, but it was not home. Maybe it never was my home at all.
I couldn't identify with the people, the climate I thought I loved was uncomfortable, and I found it difficult to live in. I romanticized the rose city through rose-colored glasses. I didn't fit in. I never did. And I can't help but wonder, if we are constantly evolving, do we ever really have a home? My home is everywhere and nowhere. It's just wherever my backpack is.