A huge part of travel for me is the people I meet and the friends I make in the places I get to experience. Some of, well most of my best friends are people I have met while living overseas or travelling and the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what? The whole travel life. The coming and going frequently, the moving towns often and regularly. The face that we will rarely if ever live in the same place for long. And the feeling of saying goodbye/reuniting with each other. So when I meet people who share this passion and understanding I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have taken them. I find myself drawn to these sorts of people even if I've never even met them in real life, enter Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. The whole wide World of blogging has given me the opportunity to (virtually) meet people I would never have if it wasn't for this passion project I have.
Born in Canada. Raised in Michigan and an explorer of the whole wide world! October's WanderWoman Wednesday feature brings you Alexis from The Soul Traveler Diaries . She is mastering the art of travel through storytelling, & she has some incredible stories to tell. She has have traveled to 51 countries across 7 continents and I have circumnavigated the globe in a span of 4 months by ship. To find out all about those adventures and so much more read on!
Alright, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
Hi! I'm Alexis (or Lexi for short!) I am an adventurer, travel storyteller, an expat, and a lover of dance. I am originally from Canada, but was raised in the US. I have traveled to over 50 countries across 7 continents, and I have circumnavigated the globe in a span of four months by ship. I am currently living as an expat in Jakarta, Indonesia teaching English! I love to travel, read, dance, laugh, and spend time with my family and friends.
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I am a Latin social dancer. I never took dance classes as a kid. But if music came on, you could bet I would be out on the dance floor having the time of my life.
My first true dance class was in my first year of university. It was in a dance studio on the top floor of a Mexican restaurant that I was introduced to Latin dancing. I struggled to learn at first, but loved the beat and learned to challenge myself to follow someone else.
And here I am, 6 years later, still dancing. I am not a pro nor do I want to be, but I love being on the dance floor. I love going out to dance when I travel and getting to know the dance community in the places I visit.
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
Long-story short – Yes. I always knew I wanted to travel the world.
My family introduced me to travel at a very young age. When I was 3 years old we emigrated from Canada to the United States, and when I was 4 and 5 years-old, we traveled to Sicily, Italy to visit my dad’s family. We took numerous road trips across the US as a family and we even did a family cruise to Mexico and Honduras. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a wildlife veterinarian who lived and worked on conservation and rehabilitation centers all over the world (seriously, I don’t know where this ambition comes from).
I visited Spain and France with my high school language classes, and traveled through Europe in university. But, it wasn’t until I studied abroad with Semester at Sea in my final semester of university that I was truly bitten by the travel bug. I spent four months circumnavigating the globe on a ship that was my home and my school all in one.
And in the 2.5 years since disembarking from my study abroad journey, I have traveled almost non-stop. I would travel for weeks, if not months at a time, exploring new places and enjoying places I had already been.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to travel the world at such a young age and for my ambition and passion to continue traveling that has led me to the life of full-time travel.
How do you decide where to travel to?
Often times I don’t. I know that seems weird or scary to some people. But, I love the spontaneity of travel taking me wherever it may lead me. I once purchased a one-way ticket to the Philippines and ended up spending 2 months traveling all over Southeast Asia.
I even crafted my first solo backpacking adventure around my desire to visit New Zealand and another backpacking trip around my Antarctica expedition. Let the journey take you wherever it may lead.
Top 5 places you’ve ever been to?
Ooo. This is always hard. The most memorable places I have ever visited are:
Top 3 bucket list places you’d love to visit?
I honestly have the entire world on my bucket list, but I mean, don’t we all?? But, my top 3 countries that I would love to explore one day are:
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
I don’t know if I really ever had a pre-travel life since I started traveling at such a young age. But if I could go back and tell my pre-solo-travel self, I would tell her that she can do it, to trust her gut, and to never let anyone let falter her from her dreams and the travel life. Oh yea, and to just go with the flow.
Best & worst travel moment?
One of my favourite memories is from my first solo backpacking trip. During my 2-month adventure, I did a road trip through New Zealand and purposefully made a stop in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, to go bungee jumping. It was one of the most exhilarating and exciting things I have ever done. I loved it so much that when I was in Macau 3 months later, I bungee jumped two more times.
One of my worst travel memories was when I was in the Philippines with a friend. We were on our way back to our Airbnb from some rice fields and we got into a motorcycle accident with two young kids. One of the boys broke his arm in the fall and we had to contact his family to get him to a hospital. We filled out a police report and my friend visited the boy in the hospital every day while we were there and we supported them financially to help pay for the medical bills.
Never have I caused anyone harm like this before and I fell into a state of depression afterwards. However, I am happy to report that the boy recovered quickly from his injury and was back to playing basketball within a few months. We still keep in touch with the family from time to time.
If you could choose 1 place you’ve visited to live in where would it be and why?
Well, other than the fact that I am currently living in Indonesia as an expat, I would have to pick Australia or Chile.
I fell in love with Australia when I visited back in 2018 and I have wanted to return ever since. My plan is to apply for a Working Holiday Visa and to hopefully live and work in Australia for at least a year, maybe even two! I would love to explore more of the cities, the outback and the Great Barrier Reef. I would also want to join conservation efforts out there to help endangered species and protect the reef.
I also fell in love with Chile, especially Valparaiso, while backpacking through South America this past winter. The culture, the food, the street art, and the people. It had just a vibrant and energetic vibe that filled me with a lot of energy and passion. I could walk those hills for weeks and not see every piece of artwork created on the walls of buildings and houses. I would love to live there for at least 6 months and dive deeper into the city and the beauty of Chile.
Who is someone in the travel blogging world that inspires you and why?
Matt Kepnes, from Nomadic Matt, is one of my biggest backpacker and travel blogging inspirations. I found his blog, books, and community on accident and I am so glad I did. He has inspired me so much to enter into the travel blogging world and do it my way. I am not great at photography, but I love to write and tell stories. He shares things like it is and provides so much value and authenticity to the community.
My other travel inspirations are Kiki at The Blonde Abroad, Glo at The Blog Abroad, and Viv at The VO Guide. All four of these amazing bloggers, coaches and inspirational people have helped me dig deeper into the type of blogger I want to become, what kind of business I want to create, and what community I want to serve.
Do you think social media has changed travel, and if so, how has it changed?
I absolutely believe that social media has changed the way we travel. I think it helps people determine the destinations they would love to see because someone they follow has been there. Social media has made travel more personal. We follow travellers for months and feel a personal connection with them and trust their travel experiences.
But it has also changed travel expectations. We believe that when we go somewhere it will look exactly the way the travel influences are capturing it to be, which is not always the case. Our expectations are often skewed by social media and it is good practice to experience the places we visit for ourselves and not to hold the place at the expectations of the photographs we’ve seen.
Famous last words for all the wanderers out there…
“You can do it!”
My mom texted me after living here in Indonesia for 1 month asking what was my favourite thing I had learned about myself. And my response was “I can do it!”
Not that I didn’t believe that I couldn’t live and work on my own halfway across the world. But, more so that I had just lived an entire month here in Indonesia and I proved to myself that I really can do it. I can reach my goals and dreams.
And you can to!! Whatever it is you want to do, you will find the way to do it if it is founded by a dream and driven by passion. You are going to get there one way or another. You will find the means and the finances and the will. And when you look back on that journey, and at times may have been a struggle as well, you can say that you did it and can still do it to keep moving forward towards your dreams. I believe in you because You Can Do It!
If you want to keep up with Alexis and her worldly adventures be sure to check out her social channels below!
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