Wednesday Women: Mandi

bonneville salt flats
Meet Mandi, a free-spirited traveler who broke away from the norms of society and started creating her own path.
I was born and raised in LA, the extent of my traveling growing up was a day trip to the beach.  I grew up living pay check to pay check and never could I ever dream that one day travel would be my future.

What inspired/inspires you to travel? 

Right before the summer of 2005 I was living a hum drum life.  Working with people I didn’t like, in a  job I hated.  I was stuck and didn’t even know it at the time.  Long story (that you can read about on my blog), but I happened upon an extra plane ticket, used it to go to Portland Oregon, met amazing people and had the time of my life.  I came back home a completely different person and that’s when I realized there is a whole world out there that I want to see and amazing people who I want to meet.

Where is your favorite destination to date?

 I am starting small, so I haven’t traveled abroad yet, as of now I would have to say Portland will always hold a very special place in my heart.  I fell in love with the people and the wackiness of the whole city.

How do you prefer to travel? Solo or With a group? Why? 

SOLO!!!  I get to do what I want, when I want!  Plus, I love wandering around new locations on my own.  There is something about getting wonderfully lost in a foreign place all alone.  Now that is heaven!

Do you think there is a difference traveling as a woman? 

#YUP Society wants us to think that women are helpless and shouldn’t travel on their own.  Instead they should be having babies behind a white picket fence while their husband goes to work and makes the 9-5 money.  This is 2016 people!  Do you think the news is gonna do a story on a 32-year-old man who traveled abroad by himself and wandered into some trouble?  Nope!  But if that 32 year old was a woman…well then STOP THE PRESSES!  Why is she alone?  She shouldn’t be traveling alone, what is wrong with her?  Does she think she’s invincible?  She must be stupid!  Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the news folks or read those stupid headlines that say “American woman killed in Moscow while couch surfing.” *insert rolling eye emoji here

How do you plan your trips?

I usually have one main location that I know I want to hit and then I couchsurf around.  I only stay in a hotel if I need a day or two just to myself, to take a breather.  Other then that I am couchsurfing my little ass off!

When is your next one?  

I am currently wandering around the East Coast until November and then I am gonna go see REAL WINTER WEATHER.  Being from LA, winter to me is 3 random rainy days somewhere between November and January.  I wanna see a white Christmas gosh darn it!
white sands

Any advice you would like to give to your fellow travelers?  

GO!  Travel!  Do it!  I promise you it’s worth it!

Want to learn more about Mandi?
Website/Blog: Hardly Grown Up 
Instagram: @MandiWanders

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A travel journalist who loves to dabble in fashion.

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