2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust

2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

To the dear female readers who are reading this headline and thinking, "yes, and it's about time" or "girl, it's *been* the year of women and wanderlust." I am right there with you. If there's one thing I hold dearest to my heart, it's this... I believe in the power of women. I was raised by insatiably strong female characters. Seekers, mothers, feminists, hell-raisers, organizers, leaders, artists all the same. Aunts, grandmothers, cousins, sisters in friendship. All these women have guided my path, have demonstrated the power of vulnerability, resiliency, compassion, communication and so much more. 

As a woman (and yes, for a long time, I struggled with the idea of calling myself this... as opposed to "girl" or "lady") who explores the world, I struggle with the masculine implication the word "adventure" has. Perhaps it's the ingrained context of the men who traipsed and conquered new lands I've been taught in history class. Who knows... all I really can say is that at one time, I only identified "world explorers" as men. And you know what's amazing? That notion that I've carried with me since childhood has done a complete 180 in the past few years. What's even more amazing is this, there has been:

  • a 350% increase in women pinning solo travel ideas since 2014
  • a 230% increase in trips designed for women and women-only travel companies
  • 73% more women travelers embarking on solo trips, compared to men
  • growth by 60% in women taking part in backpacking/wilderness trips 
  • a dramatic increase in Google searches for 'female solo travel'... with over 100,000,000 searches at the beginning of 2017

Now, I'm no statistic wizard, but it's a staggering argument that 2018 is without a doubt the year of women & wanderlust. A dynamic duo, wouldn't you say? 

2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

So ladies, whether you're a veteran explorer or about to jet off on your first trip, take heart and know that this movement is propelled by you! Take pride in knowing that you are contributing to a great shift of the ideology of what travel and adventure is. And, more importantly, know that you are not alone! When I began my personal experiences with travel, I was completely unaware of the amazing resources that are available for like-minded women seeking adventure, encouragement and inspiration. Connecting with other women in travel, who share similar perspectives on investing in life experiences and approaches to travel has been one of the most meaningful aspects of what I do at Roam + Golightly.  It's amazing what's out there now, ladies!

SOME OF MY FAVORITE
FEMALE-EMPOWERED TRAVEL RESOURCES ARE:

  • Dame Traveler - My go-to Instagram source for encouragement, inspiration and dreamy photography that immediately makes me want to book that next trip. Connecting with women who are featured on this page (and those who comment on posts) is a great way to build personal relationships with other female travelers out there. 
  • Girls Love Travel - This Facebook group is consistently the place I go to for help on itinerary suggestions, meet ups and meaningful conversations about the ins and outs of travel. Seriously, if I ever have a question about any element of travel, this is the place I go to for answers!
  • #girlstravel - This Twitter chat is literally catered for empowering and connecting women who travel. Even if you're not into joining in on their weekly Twitter chats every Monday from 1 - 1:30 EST, just scrolling through the previous chats is a great way to get some uplifting words and insight. 
  • Women On The Road Podcast - Okay, this amazing podcast is alllll about the amazing stories women have experiences first hand throughout their travels, it makes me so happy inside when I tune in. 
  • Women High On Adventure - Although I haven't personally taken part in one of these fabulous trips, this travel company plans some insanely life-changing adventures and expeditions for women. I'm eyeing up doing something fun from this group in the future! 
  • Women In Travel Summit - This travel summit is great for any lady out there who wants to learn more about making their place in the travel industry. Their yearly organized meeting of the minds is always in a fantastic city and a great way to learn new skills and tips in the blogging, social media and marketing niche. 

I could literally go on and on with resources for female travelers. Is this something you guys would like to have on-hand? Let me know!

2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

Happy adventuring you wonderful women, this is
your year to wander!

China: Delirium, Contrasts & Soft Memories

It was a hot-hot teenage romance you and I had together, dear China. You made me sweat (dear god, the amount of sweat I collected that summer), you kept me awake at night, you catapulted unending amounts of attention my way, you enticed me with late nights out past curfew trying new foods in tiny hole in the wall entrances. And yet all the while getting to know you, I realized how much of a stranger I was in your lands. There was no denying, China and I were not made for a persisting, longwinded romance. Oh no. But my summer in China burned so heavily, I still have longwinded stories to tell that I have yet to find the audience for.

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The frenzy. Smells pungent, sweet, savory, spice. Smells that could knock you down with one whiff. Flavors that could send your eyes into a fizzy, frothy tear-stricken hysteria. Dumplings, dumplings, dumplings, fish head soups, peking duck, stinky tofu. Flavors that send me reeling (and undeniably drooling) as I type their names onto page. People kind, yet bold and insistent. Lines upon lines upon unending lines of people. Working people, business men, grandmothers fanning themselves in the midday heat, young students flashing selfies and the younger holding hands of their fast-paced parents decking the streets. The noise of millions. The loudspeaker salesmen, the alarm ridden streets, the running of the subway, the horns of thousands. Sights older than time, more densely historical than I could wrap my head around. Tracing steps of those from dynasties and centuries of family lines and histories. Limitless lights and billboards and seven storied shopping complexes. 

A summer of contrasts. A summer of sweat, and learning, and writing (lots of writing), and dumplings, and creating, and trains, and planes, and lines, and moments of such dizzying bliss/frustration all at once. A summer of split images and five second scenes playing out in my head. One second we were specks beside towering skyscrapers so high that we could barely see their endings, and another we were squatting into toilet holes. One second we would be exploring world wonders so ancient we can barely understand the context of just how old the relics they are, and another we'd be in one of the most slick, streamlined building of the future. 

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The delirium of China sits right in the forefront of my mind.

But the soft moments lining my imagination remain stronger.

Lily pads dancing lightly with the dense, thick summer breeze. The sight of the humpbacked mountains of the south, jetting out of the Li River like the back of a dragon about to take off. The ceramic lined shops where tea was poured and reading was done. The warmth of handmade dinners made with locals in their living rooms. The hours we spent learning about the making and tasting of tea, reaching a "high" of caffeine only questionable if you haven't experienced it yourself. The interactions of inn owners, jokes made over breakfast in the morning and then over drinks in the evening. Late walks around sunset drenched lakes. The joy of a cool breeze that would sneak in from the north. Watermelon for dessert. Showing travelers the absolute JOY of breaking open and slurping up their first soup dumpling (a small bite, savor the broth, pour sauce, sprinkle with ginger, devour). Discovering sugary splendor in the form of a dipped peking duck. Climbing ancient towers, learning stories of dynasties of yore, hearing folk stories of love and revenge and strength. The sound of a lone wooden whistle, playing melodies of centuries old. The pure acknowledgement of gratitude to be able to savor such a place as this. 

These memories persist. They meld into a stirring mixture in my mind. And yet, the ones that rise to the top are those moments, those blips in time, I find myself lost in China. Lost in its age. Lost in its culture. Lost in its food. Lost, discovering, coping, creating, yearning. An amalgamation of fleeting memories. China. I will never know you. But I will have many, many moments to sift through and learn from, from afar. 

I fall in love with places. What about you?

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip

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Your typical list of things to do before your trip might look like the following:

  • apply for visa
  • research the weather for duration of trip
  • make a list of "must-do" activities
  • PACK
  • check-in online and double check boarding passes/tickets and reservations
  • tidy up the house
  • contact family and friends with itinerary 

Ah, yes, the to-do list before jetting off on your next trip can seem very daunting. However, for many years I've found that the anticipation before going on an exciting journey... that buzzy, flighty feeling that comes in between when you book your flights and touching down on foreign soil was something to savor. That sweet spot in between checking off the necessities and the day before takeoff is GOLD to me. It's during this time that I find myself longing to amplify my excitement and knowledge about our next big adventure. Does anybody else do this? It cracks me up when Luke tells me that before he studied abroad in Rome, he never even knew what the city looked like! Like... what?! I'm a big advocate for entering foreign places with a sense of curiosity, but man... not that much!

Having some previous knowledge about the rich history, cultural and culinary traditions is an excellent way to connect with locals, and also approach our adventures with a sense of humility and appreciation. Not to mention, sometimes, the best part about getting ready for your trip is getting oh so excited for it. Here are eight simple ways to build your anticipation a little more and boost your knowledge along the way before you hop on that big jet plane!

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

WATCH A MOVIE OR TELEVISION SHOW FROM YOUR DESTINATION

Nothing gets me quite in the mood for adventure than watching a movie set in a foreign place. Seeing the streets of London set in the Victorian age, or the jungles of Thailand, or the trials and tribulations of the American West through a compelling storyline brings out the best of my wanderlust. I'm partial to turning on "Midnight In Paris" and "Roman Holiday" when I'm feeling nostalgic!

Hearing the dialect, getting swept up in dreamy settings, seeing the manner of dress and cultural expectations gives you a bit of insight on how your adventures might pan out. And not only do you get to see the nuances of the location, but you might also get to learn a thing or two about the history and culture. Choose a movie set in your destination, or research some that are considered to be "classics." A quick Google search will bring up lots of recommendations! 

RESEARCH LITERARY "MUST-READS"

There's something about reading a great book set in a fantastic setting that brings us closer to the heart of the history and culture of where we're about to jet off to. Just try to not feel excited about a trip to the English countryside after reading Pride & Prejudice! The same goes for Dracula and Romania, The Good Earth and China, On The Road and the American West... and so much more. 

Do some research and look up classic literature set in your next destination. Nothing will make you feel more swept away and buzzing with excitement! 

GAIN SOME HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Visiting a museum or watching a historical documentary might not seem like a must-do before you set off on an adventure abroad, but doing so certainly ensures that you can enter your destination more informed and with a sense of respect and admiration. Although it's impossible to learn everything about the nuances and intricacies of a place's history, taking an hour or two to gain some insight goes a long way. I loved learning all about Japanese history through quick Youtube videos before our trip a few years ago. I now find myself looking through historical books and documentaries on my next destination because it simply deepens my relationship and understanding to the area and its people! 

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

TALK TO A LOCAL WITH SOME PERSONAL TIES TO YOUR DESTINATION

This one is the ultimate. Connect with a local, either in person or online. Ask, ask, ask. Hear their stories. Hear their recommendations. Hear the thrill in their voice as they explain something unique or not-to-be-missed. Guaranteed excitement overload! 

MAKE AN INSTAGRAM "SAVED" LIST OR PINTEREST BOARD

The best way to save information is either through Pinterest (check out my Travel board, if you're curious!) or through saving geotagged locations on Instagram with their "save" feature. Anytime I see a gorgeous photo, I take a second and save it for future use. That way, when it comes time to planning a trip, I have a plethora of locations, hotels, restaurants and images to get inspired from. I can't tell you how often I find myself referring to this list when it comes time to plan a trip.

Don't forget to follow as many 'grammers that focus on your destination of choice! A quick search (either under the related Instagrammer channels tab or by searching through geotagged locations themselves) should come up with a ton of people to follow. 

ASK YOUR COMMUNITY 

You know what they said, there's no harm in asking! You never know what someone in your own community has to offer up. I like to ask for recommendations on Facebook to my friends, throw a question on Instagram stories for any followers to share insight, as well as ask questions on private groups I'm a part of (like Girls Love Travel). I'm always pleasantly surprised at the responses! 

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

COOK A TRADITIONAL MEAL OR GATHER SOME KEY INGREDIENTS BEFORE DEPARTING

The way to girl's heart is through her stomach. And the same goes for girls who travel. Perhaps there is no more intimate way to learn more about a place than through experiencing the act of cooking its food. Getting our hands dirty and deep into the ritualized steps of making traditional meals. Smelling the aromas of each ingredient combining step by step. The joy of making things together. Taste testing. Savoring each bite. It brings us closer to far away places. 

So, look up a traditional meal and get busy in the kitchen!

DOWNLOAD SOME TOP HITS FROM YOUR DESTINATION

Stocking up on music is my favorite way to get swept up in the romance of a place. Discover some of the top hits and classics of a destination is a double whammy. You get hours of entertainment to enjoy on the plane, on public transportation, while getting dressed, etc. while also getting a dose of culture. Win-win, right?

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

When it comes time to make your next "to-do" list before jetting off on a big, bold adventure... don't forget to add some of these ideas to it! You'll be gaining some excellent background history to feel even closer to the countries you're visiting AND getting yourself even more amped for the big day you hop on a plane! 

What are some ways you get yourself excited for your adventures?