How I Met Your Adventure: TravelTogruta22 November 2013
How I Met Your Adventure is a series of posts featuring you, my readers! Whether it's that time you almost got arrested in Rome or a heartwarming story about finding love in Tokyo, I want to hear your unique travel story.
Hi! I'm Kirsten, the novice travel blogger behind TravelTogruta. I began blogging because I liked having an outlet for my travel 'feels' seeing as the majority of people in my life have long since tired of me continuously going on and on about my travels and all the travelling I plan on still doing. Not that I blame them. When I started my blog I had no idea how large of an online circle this wonderful world of travel bloggers actually was. It's been quite inspiring to see/read about these people who have turned travel into a way of life and are wholly unapologetic for their so called obsession with travel - makes me feel a little less crazy for wanting to do the exact same thing! I'm currently at home in Alberta, Canada, working like a mad woman in order to pay off my car by January because, as will be divulged by the end of this post, I've got some relatively big plans in the works.
So, this is something I've always wondered; what does your blog name mean?
Haha oh dear. Well, my brother picked it out. It's a Star Wars reference. A 'togruta' is an alien species in the Star Wars universe. Basically my brother named my blog after the togruta, Ahsoka Tano from the Clone Wars tv series. I've actually been considering changing it into something slightly less... geeky.
How do you plan your travels? What inspires you to visit a certain city?
Seat sales! Actually, I'm terrible at planning anything. Last fall I was planning on going to see Eastern Canada but I ended up going to NYC instead because WestJet had cheap last minute flight & hotel packages. In terms of what inspires me to visit places; there's so many things. I relly appreciate places with history and examples of architecture so that definitely plays a role in which places I find myself drawn to - sprawling ancient temple structures and anything by Frank Lloyd Wright are totally my thing. I'm one of those people where the prospect of getting to stand in places where our great historical figures have stood is absolutely thrilling! There have been some places that I'd never given much thought to and then I'd read a post or two about it from other travel bloggers and decide that it actually sounds pretty amazing and that I need to go there too. Beyond that, I can literally see something as simple as a Pinterest post and become completely stuck on the idea of absolutely having to travel there.
Do you have any travel tips for solo female travelers?
I hate to regurgitate the obvious but just be smart. I'm a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo and I've been teaching women's self defense for years. The first thing I tell my 'girls' is not to look like a victim; exuding an air of confidence, though not arrogance, can go a long way. I don't mean that you can't ask for directions if you get lost, just don't act scared or in a panic Make those little adjustments like wearing a headscarf when you're out and about in Cairo. If you feel like something is 'off' then listen to that feeling. There is absolutely no shame in not doing something because you're uncomfortable, it doesn't make you less of a solo female traveller if your intuition comes between you and a night out in London. I mean, we should be able to walk alone at night but, the fact is, as lone females, we are sometimes putting ourselves at risk whether at home or abroad so really try to avoid putting yourself in those situations that can make you an easier target. People tend to harp on the safety aspect of travelling as a solo female like we're somehow danger magnets which we really don’t have to be.
What's been your biggest adventure so far?
I'm going to have to say Egypt. Egypt was my dream trip that I'd been planning since I was little. I was all set to go with my grandparents when I was 11 but then the tragic events of 9/11 took place and the trip was cancelled. Whether that was due to my grandparents or the Canadian Government suspending travel to certain destinations I'm not sure. So, Egypt was understandably put on the back burner for the next few years. I finally went during the May 2012 elections and almost everyone told me not to go; it wasn't safe, I was gonna get caught up in a warzone, it's a Muslim country and I'm a little white girl, etc. I went anyways and it was the best experience I've ever had! I think it was the combination of having put a trip to Egypt on such a pedestal, memorizing every detail I could about the Pharaonic timeline as a kid, and the fact that it was so incredibly different from anywhere I had ever been before that turned it into such an eye opening adventure.
Where do you see yourself going next?
Actually, this question brings me to a sort of announcement. I'm planning on moving to Florida in January for an arts program. I'm from Alberta so it's quite a distance from my home. The semester finishes in early July and then I'd really like to spend some time seeing more of the States if everything goes according to plan. (Aryn- Yay! Congrats!)