About Me

Petra – I’m usually not a huge fan of ‘let’s go to the top of this tall thing and take a picture’ but the Treasury from above was worth the hike.

Hi friend! I’m Melissa.

This is my journal for my break from the working world to travel solo around the world. For my friends and family, I hope this inspires you to get your passport and travel overseas and explore other countries and cultures. I also hope it puts your minds at ease since I know a few of you think I’m nuts for doing this. Finally, this blog is a great way to keep in touch with me while I’m traveling.

For people who have stumbled onto this page, welcome! I hope that I can help you answer some of the same questions I had when trying to plan my trip – what should I eat, what should I see, is it safe for me as a single female to be here, how do I get from point A to B, etc. So many times we are making decisions based on the experiences of other travelers we’ve never met so I hope you trust my recommendations and suggestions on how to be safe and still have a memorable trip.

Travel Style

Travel lightly – One backpack, one daypack and one Melissa.

I prefer to travel by myself instead of going with tours. If you travel a lot, you know that this doesn’t mean you’re alone all the time. I have met many other solo travelers through walking tours and by staying in hostels. Most of my travel memories were experienced with someone that I had only met that day. This is how solo traveling works and why it’s wonderful.

When you’re traveling alone you tend to meet someone, spend an afternoon or maybe even a day or two exploring with them before you both go your separate ways on to your next locations. There’s no commitment to keep in touch (unless you want that) – you’re just looking for a shared experience for that snapshot in time. Once you get this, it’s a lot less intimidating to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you and see where it goes. Last thing – don’t wait for your friends at home to share your enthusiasm for travelling before you feel comfortable booking your plane tickets – there is a whole support system for solo travelers once you get on the road. You’ve just got to take that leap and get there to find it.

My Background

Somewhere in Cambodia – Trying new foods should be fun, delicious and not get you sick.

I’m 30 years old and originally from northern New Jersey, just outside of New York City. I’ve also lived in Boston before eventually finding my way down to Atlanta. For the next 8 months, I’m putting all of my belongings into a storage unit and traveling with just a backpack.

For the past 8 years I have worked in the food and beverage industry in quality and food safety. When you buy a beverage from the store, you want it to taste the same as it did the last time you bought it and not have it make you ill. These are what my job responsibilities were for the most part, though many other hats have been worn over the years. I’ve worked with, for and managed many talented individuals who have helped me build up knowledge on how food needs to be handled before it gets to your plate so that you don’t get sick. Therefore if I end up with a foodborne illness on this trip I will be rightly getting a lot of sass from my work friends.

Other fun background: I’ve previously traveled through Europe and my last trips were to Turkey, Nepal, Jordan and Cambodia. I studied chemistry and French literature at college. I still know enough French to be dangerous but my reading skills are miles above my speaking skills. Also, in addition to working in food safety I volunteered for a couple years as an EMT with the emergency squad in my hometown.

Pixie Cut Abroad

Kathmandu, Nepal – Trying to get where you want to go is difficult when you can’t read what’s on your ticket. But it makes travel fun.

Things you should expect to see or hear about on this blog:

  • Unfiltered commentary on my experiences. If it was bad, I’ll say it was bad. If it was uncomfortable or unsafe, I’ll say that too. I’m traveling as a single female so my experiences may be different from those of other people
  • Packing lists & thoughts on replenishing supplies while traveling (finding sunscreen and feminine hygiene products has always been problematic for me)
  • Reviews of overnight buses and trains (goal is to travel overland whenever possible)
  • Recaps of theatre performances (musicals, concerts, opera, ballet)
  • Considerations on how to navigate international borders
  • Hostel reviews
  • Cringe moments in food safety (because I can’t help myself)
  • Beer reviews
  • Rough ideas of costs per country
  • Stories from the road that are worth retelling
  • Travel rules to live by
  • A guide on how to apply for jobs for after your trip while still on the road (once I figure this out myself)

Things that hopefully do not make an appearance:

  • How to replace your lost passport
  • How to buy a new phone to replace the one you broke
  • How to make a claim with against your travel insurance policy