Alexa West, founder and CEO of The Solo Woman’s Journey Information, is a bestselling journey writer and lodge reviewer. Alexa splits her time between Seattle, Mexico, and Southeast Asia, the place she spends her days doing what she loves most: writing, exploring, and taking part in pickleball. Irrespective of the place she goes, Alexa is on a mission to alter the way in which ladies journey the world: with much less concern and extra enjoyable.
In 2011, Alexa West sat on her bed room ground, packed her life right into a backpack, and received on a one-way flight with simply $200 in her pocket. She turned that $200 into over ten years of full-time journey. She went from price range backpacker to solo feminine journey skilled — and now teaches 1000’s of ladies find out how to journey alone and earn a living from anyplace.
The One-Method Ticket Plan reveals her decade’s value of classes, regrets, embarrassments, love tales, shortcuts, and problem-solving methods — all packed right into a hilarious page-turner and actionable plan for a complete life makeover. From real-world recommendation on how journey can decrease your price of dwelling to steering on touring safely, utilizing unusual bathrooms, avoiding vacationer traps, coping with unfamiliar meals, and dealing with friendships, romance, and loneliness, Alexa supplies the instruments and inspiration to show even probably the most inexperienced traveler into an skilled explorer earlier than ever leaving the sofa.
* I heard that you just lie rather a lot while you journey, is that true?
It’s true. Largely to males. And particularly in additional conservative cultures. For instance, let’s say a taxi driver begins asking me questions like, “Are you married?” or “Are you touring alone”? There’s an opportunity that he’s simply making pleasant dialog however there’s additionally an opportunity that he’s hoping to get freaky with the international woman touring alone. So, I lie. When requested private questions like this, I make up a pretend husband and say he’s on the lodge ready for me. I’d even faux to name him on the telephone once I get in an Uber and say, “I’m within the Uber hunny, be there in ten minutes. No, I really like you extra!” There isn’t a disgrace in my security sport.
* Do you ever get nervous touring solo?
On a regular basis. And nervous is sweet! I all the time say that “nervous” means you’re about to do one thing large and thrilling and out of doors your consolation zone. So sure, I get nervous however perhaps a clearer query is, do I get scared? Sure, additionally. I’m petrified of flying, I’m petrified of boats, I’m petrified of plenty of issues. However I attempt to decipher when my concern is or isn’t rational. Is it rational to get scared each time I’m within the air on a airplane? No. I do know that airplanes are safer than automobiles so, that could be a concern I have to work via. However once I really feel concern strolling down a avenue alone, interacting with an unsettling character or sleeping in a lodge with a bizarre vibe – I hearken to that concern and examine it. By no means attempt to be “fearless”. You want your concern. Fairly, attempt to decipher the distinction between being nervous and being afraid. Once you’re nervous, persevere. Once you’re afraid, pause and assess the state of affairs.
* Why do you write for simply ladies who journey, why not males too?
My secret to writing is that this: I write for youthful me. The woman who didn’t have a constructive feminine function mannequin rising up. The woman who struggled to seek out her function. The woman who traveled the world alone with out steering. I write to resolve the issues of youthful me and in doing that, I find yourself fixing the issues of tens of millions of ladies like me. So, it’s not that I wish to exclude males in my writing, it’s simply that I’m on a mission to assist heal and information little me. Nonetheless, when males do find yourself shopping for and loving my books, I’m so past flattered.
* What recommendation would you give younger ladies, in highschool or faculty, who wish to pursue a lifetime of journey like you will have?
Learn my e book. I wrote it with younger ladies in thoughts. It’s the e book I want I had again in highschool in order that I might have been extra sure about what I needed to do in faculty – or if I needed to go to school in any respect. It’s the e book I want I had once I was youthful in order that I had a whole understanding of my choices in life regardless of my price range. Learn that e book and when one thing excites you, spotlight it. In case you learn the phrase “seafood in Taiwan” and your coronary heart skips a beat, concentrate. There’s one thing there, even in the event you don’t comprehend it but. Hearken to your feelings extra. I do know that us ladies are taught to not be “too emotional” however us ladies have a superpower and that superpower is our instinct. If one thing excites you, regardless of how unusual it could be – like making prosthetic mermaid tails or grinding black pepper – discover it. Don’t observe the group. The weirder you may be, the higher. My motto in life is “be bizarre, have enjoyable”. That motto has led me not solely to happiness, but additionally to cash. And that’s fairly cool.
* What makes you such an skilled on this planet of solo journey?
Over a decade of full-time solo journey expertise makes me an skilled on this planet of solo journey. Except just a few boys alongside the way in which, I’ve traveled the world by myself because the age of twenty-two. I didn’t develop up as an grownup within the US. I grew up on rickety trains in Thailand, navigating snowy streets in Bulgaria, studying international languages in all places I went, and fixing issues by myself daily. Solo journey is all I’ve ever generally known as an grownup. I don’t drive on the freeway within the US, however I can experience a scooter via loopy Bali visitors. I’ve by no means labored in an workplace, however I understand how to seek out the perfect web cafes in The Philippines. I’m not nice at small speak, however I could make mates with anybody, can haggle in markets, and I do know what to do in the event you ever get a bug caught in your ear. Solo journey is my default setting.
* How a lot cash does it take to set off on a one-way ticket journey?
As a lot cash as you’ve received in your pocket. I left the states with simply $200 in my pocket. I used to be ready to try this as a result of I joined a volunteer program that paid for my travels. In case your financial savings account is struggling, the important thing to touring on a price range is discovering alternatives that can pay you or pay so that you can journey. Alternatives like volunteering, housesitting, buying and selling work for lodging or discovering a job overseas. There are tons of those alternatives on the market that many individuals don’t know exist. Chapter 2 of The One-Method Ticket Plan lays out all of the methods I managed to journey at no cost or low cost for practically 6 years, after which some.
* Is it true that you just really feel safer touring than you do at dwelling in Seattle?
Sure, I typically really feel safer touring than I really feel at dwelling. In The US, we take care of gun violence, drug epidemics, and untreated psychological well being points at a lot greater charges than many international locations the place I select to journey. To not point out, The US actually has probably the most serial killers on this planet by far! There’s rather a lot to be afraid of right here so once I moved again dwelling to the US from Southeast Asia, I had a tough time adjusting. I can’t simply exit at evening in Seattle and seize a chew to eat at a meals stand at midnight alone. However I positive can do this in Thailand. Or South Korea. Or Spain. And even in elements of Mexico. After I journey, I select locations the place I really feel protected. I select to put myself in environments the place I’m statistically safer. Easy as that.
* What’s it prefer to date or discover romance as a solo traveler that’s all the time on the transfer?
Oh, I fall in love in all places I am going. There’s one thing thrilling and romantic about being on the transfer and bumping right into a stranger who’s on an identical path as you. I say that journey acts like a relationship filter. Once you meet somebody you’re drawn to on the journey path, odds are that you have already got some issues in frequent. You each prefer to journey, you each are adventurous and also you each need to dwell life to the fullest. No mama’s basement dwellers out or unambitious slugs are going to take the time to fly to the opposite aspect of the world and do one thing totally different. Or perhaps you fall for a neighborhood who reveals you a world you’ve by no means recognized and speaks a language that sweeps you off your ft. In my expertise, falling in love whereas touring is less complicated than again dwelling. Staying in love or nurturing that love right into a stable relationship whereas touring, nonetheless, takes intention. Once you’re on the transfer, there’s no time to take issues slowly or play video games. In case you like somebody, you’ve received to make it recognized. You may need to cancel flights or change plans or take large dangers – however why not? I as soon as signed a one-year lease in Taiwan with a British man that I had solely spent a few weeks with in individual. That relationship labored for a very long time, past the one-year lease. Relating to relationship as a traveler, you have to throw out the rulebook and observe what feels proper. No video games required.
* The place did you get the concept to write down a journey how-to for ladies?
My firm, The Solo Woman’s Journey Information, is a group of destination-specific journey guides for ladies. And over time, I’ve seen an evolution within the journeys these ladies are taking. Again in 2017 once I began my firm, ladies have been taking shorter journeys and holidays. However these days, ladies are shopping for a one-way ticket to Mexico Metropolis to work from their laptop computer or packing every little thing as much as transfer to South Korea and train English. The imaginative and prescient of a “good life” for us ladies has modified.
At present, ladies are getting married later, having fewer kids, and making extra money than earlier generations. As a substitute of settling down, ladies are craving to pack every little thing up, fly to a international nation, fall in love, strive new meals, speak to strangers, and simply what it’s prefer to get up completely happy as a substitute of confused. That’s the life I’ve been dwelling for the previous decade. I’ve lived an unbelievable lifetime of journey. And likewise a silly one. In all these years of journey, I’ve made so many errors and realized tons of invaluable classes that turned me into an individual that I actually love. And I need this for my readers. That is what The One-Method Ticket Plan is all about.
* What are some security ideas you can give ladies who’re pondering of touring solo?
There’s this alarm referred to as She’s Birdie. I carry with me in all places and even sleep with it in my hand or beneath my pillow if I’m in a sketchy space. It’s an alarm, that when yanked aside, sounds this ear-piercing noise and flashes a lightweight. It’s not pepper spray or a weapon, however it should absolutely startle any creep and get the eye of these round you. I like to recommend carrying it and no, I don’t receives a commission to say this.
One other tip is to by no means be afraid to ask for assist or assist. One time, in Cambodia, I had a stalker. He confirmed as much as my lodge. I used to be terrified. I referred to as a pal who she rushed over. Whereas I used to be sitting there frozen in concern, she burst into the riverside restaurant and began screaming, “The place is he?”. Instantly, as soon as the opposite males within the restaurant heard that this stalker was right here to terrorize me, these males become pit bulls. Wanting a chunk of this asshole. The stalker left. I noticed that every one I needed to do was stroll over to one in every of these males and ask for assist. Individuals wish to enable you while you’re misplaced, scared, at risk or in want. Ask for assist. Oh additionally, don’t publish your whereabouts on social media in dwell time. Submit after you’ve already left the lodge so stalkers can’t discover you.
Using elephants. Swimming with captive dolphins. Volunteering at orphanages. Taking photos with tigers. Primarily, any development that includes ladies, kids or animals as vacationer sights ought to be canceled.
Additionally, overtourism. Overtourism is an unethical development that almost all of us aren’t even conscious we’re participating in. This development includes an extreme variety of vacationers overwhelming well-liked locations that may’t maintain that many guests, resulting in environmental degradation, elevated waste, and disruption of native life. Locations like Machu Picchu, the traditional metropolis that was constructed to maintain round 1,000 individuals – however receives properly over 1,000,000 vacationers per yr traversing the Inca path and overwhelming the areas round it. Large cruise ships additionally contribute to overtourism once they dock at a seaside or island and launch 1000’s of sunscreen vacationers into the waters, abandoning air pollution, garbage and little financial worth to the vast majority of the neighborhood. I might go on and on. My message right here is that this: go elsewhere. Keep away from the crowds not solely to your enjoyment however for the well being of the atmosphere and native economies. As a substitute of the #1 hottest Instagram vacation spot in a metropolis, get artistic and go on a meals tour within the #5 hottest metropolis. Not solely will locals be happier to have you ever, however your expertise is prone to be extra significant than your selfies with tons of sunburned vacationers within the background.
*What’s the attraction of the digital nomad motion?
There are presently over 35 million digital nomads worldwide who’ve taken their job distant whereas touring or dwelling overseas. Many of those individuals have left in the hunt for a extra significant existence. Many of those individuals have realized that they don’t have to endure via excessive prices of dwelling and low high quality of life. $3000 to dwell in a shoebox in downtown Seattle? Commerce that for a luxurious seaside villa in Bali for $1500 a month. $12 on Chipotle plus an $8 supply price? No means! $1 Pad Thai is sizzling and prepared in Thailand! Lifeless-end jobs that suck the soul out of your physique with no regret? Finished with it! Working remotely from a seaside bar in Mexico sounds far more fulfilling. With the 9-5 slowly dying, we’re positive to see a rise in digital nomads spreading world wide in the hunt for a a lot more healthy work-life stability.
The One-Method Ticket Plan: Discover and Fund Your Function Whereas Touring the World
Pub date: September 12, 2023 • Private Progress • $19.95
Commerce paperback • 288 pages • ISBN: 978-1-60868-870-8
Additionally out there as an e-book