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Who’s Out There Now: Stephanie

Written By: jeff

Posted On: August 9th, 2011

Welsh Dragon

In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Stephanie, the woman behind, Twenty-Something Travel.  I first met Stephanie at the big travel blogger conference, TBEX, in 2010 in New York. She was also involved with Meet Plan Go 2010 in Washington, DC. Not long after that event, she took off on her own career break around Asia and Australia.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

Ugh I hate to start with such a boring answer. At the moment I am back home in DC, but not for long! I’m headed to South America this fall. (Editor’s note: come to Colombia!)

2. OK, I have to ask the obvious question (which I know you’ve been asked before), is Thirty-Something Travel going to be making a debut soon? And, what happens to Twenty-Something Travel when/if it does?

Dude I’m only 26! Stop pressuring me! I did buy Thirty-Something Travel but I’m not sure if I actually want to use it or not. I’ll probably always keep Twenty-Something, but it will become a part of a larger portfolio of sites. I am thinking about it, even if on some level I don’t really believe I’ll ever be 30.


3. You’ve been pretty blunt about your attitudes of travel and what you should/shouldn’t do particularly writing about what you did right and what you did wrong on your big trip. But, in one you say you planned too much and the other you say you’re glad you stayed flexible. So, which is it? Are you a flaky traveler or an anal-retentive one?

I think it’s a really fine balance to walk between being open to changes and organizing awesome opportunities. When I started planning my big trip I had everything planned down to the week- I just really like planning stuff. Then most of it got thrown out the window before I even left. I was able to be pretty flexible with my plans, but the truth is I wish I’d been even MORE flexible. You just never know how things are going to be until you’re actually in the thick of it.

4. You have one of the few travel sites (maybe the only one I’ve seen) that has a ¨Philosophy¨ Section. Do you have a travel Socrates inside you trying to get out?

Honestly I never even took a philosophy class in college (I was an English major), but a lot of my writing does cover the more abstract aspects of traveling: Why are we so compelled to move around the world? How does that change who we are? How does it change the world? I don’t really know the answers but it’s fun to think about. For me personally this stuff is more interesting to write then “Things to do in Rome.”

5. I saw that you gave Vegemite a whirl while you were in Australia. Any chance you became addicted to Tim Tams?

Tim Tams are amazing- I especially like the mint ones fresh out of the refrigerator. My true love that I discovered in Australia however was meat pies. Yumm….

6. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trips?

This one is hard for me. I sort of started out with a gap year, and then after a couple of years of working I did another career break, which has morphed into actually being my career (which I guess makes me a digital nomad). I’ve also spent some time living and working abroad. I’m a bit of everything. Maybe I’ll just go with “nomad.”

7. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?

The biggest “secret” out there is that travel, particularly solo travel, is not nearly as terrifying as you’d think. In the United States particularly we are bombarded with messages that the outside world is scary and unsafe- and it’s simply not true. I’ve traveled through multiple continents, sometimes with people and sometimes alone, and it’s been many things but scary is not one of them. As long as you are somewhat sensible then you should have no problems in most parts of the world- even as a solo female.

8. What was your first ¨We’re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

It probably wasn’t the first, but arriving in Shanghai was a shock to the system. After two weeks in lovely, clean, orderly Japan, I wasn’t totally prepared for the complete chaos of mainland China. I spent most of my first day there hiding in my hostel room because I was just so overwhelmed by the intense sights, sounds and smells. I grew to love China though and ended up spending more than three months there in total.
9. What´s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

I spent a couple of months living in a local suburb of Xi’an, China. It was about as removed from the tourist area as you could get- and we were pretty much the only white people among thousands and thousands of local Chinese. The best part was the food- so amazing and so amazingly cheap! I’ll never eat that well again in my life.

10. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I don’t embarrass easily- I’m quite used to looking like a clumsy dork.  I was attacked by parrots in Australia, by deer in Japan and bitten by a horse in Iceland, but whatever. I’ve tripped, fallen and stumbled my way across the world, but I just get up and keep going.

11. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Relax. Sometime you’ll like places, sometimes you won’t. Don’t run yourself ragged. Sometimes you’ll want to spend your entire day doing nothing and that’s okay too. Your trip isn’t going to be like anyone elses- and that’s what makes it so great.

12. Finally, our lightening round.

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: Anything in Vietnam
  • Most exotic food eaten: Cobra
  • Most breathtaking moment: Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Biggest disappointment: Prague, Czech Republic
  • Most memorable place: Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Most memorable person: Gah! Too many to pick!
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride: A scarf- they freeze you!
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: Motion sickness
  • Best thing you packed: Jeans
  • Dumbest thing you packed: make-up
  • Funniest travel habit you have: I HATE asking for directions, I’m like a dude
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, the Balkans and I can never get enough of London.


You can follow Stephanie online at Twenty-Something Travel on Facebook and on Twitter @20sTravel

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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