Wednesday Women: Alaska

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Meet Alaska Rue.

Hi there! I’m Alaska Rue, a typical millennial that just didn’t want to get a full-time job straight out of university. I’m in the jack-of-all-trades breed of humanity, and I’m the master of none (yet)! As a quasi-digital nomad, a self-published author in her early beginnings, a travel blogger/vlogger, and a book lover, I’m constantly trying to do too many things at once, to my own downfall. I’m in love with the location-independent lifestyle, and I’m determined to be my own boss. No more working for minimum wage, please!

Fun fact? I can solve the Rubik’s Cube in thirty seconds, sometimes less. 😉

 

What inspired you to start traveling?

Honestly, boredom. When I went on my first solo backpacking trip, I wasn’t satisfied with my life. I’d just been spending all my free time outside of school hanging with my friends, doing the same old thing all the time, and it was quickly getting old. I was wasting all my money on the same boring activities, just to pass the time. I needed something exciting in my life.

It randomly occurred to me that there was so much more of Canada to see. I’d been in Vancouver (where I lived at the time) for over a year already and hadn’t seen anything outside of the city limits. So, instead of waiting for a miracle to happen, I decided to take the money I would have spent on the same old habits and spend it on travel instead. I spent two weeks hitchhiking around the Okanagan, British Columbia, and two weeks touring the big cities in Canada by Greyhound (back when they still had discovery passes).

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What is your travel style?

When I first started traveling, I thought I was a backpacker. While I still travel with a single tiny backpack, over the years, I’ve come to realize I’m squarely in the category of a flash packer. I’ll still overnight it in an airport if I can, and I’m always trying to find the cheapest way to get to places, even if that means longer and more connections, or hitch-hiking. Instead, I tend to spend less frugally on activities and souvenirs (I absolutely love sending postcards!).

I fell in love with outdoor adventure travel when I traveled around Southeast Asia back in 2015. That trip, I got scuba diving certified, and did a lot of rock-climbing, deep-water soloing and deep diving. Now, I’m addicted. In the next two years, I’m looking to get skydiving certified, do a lot more outdoor rock-climbing, and try surfing.

 

If you had a one-way ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

If it was paid for by someone else, I’d probably go to Antarctica or Greenland. Those places are expensive to get to!

If I was paying for it out of my own pocket (most probably), I’d probably go back to Southeast Asia. I’m an adrenaline junkie and adventure travel enthusiast now; that region is where I can get access to activities like rock-climbing, windsurfing, scuba diving, ATV riding, etc., on the cheap.

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Any horror/funny stories while traveling?

A lot, ranging from the lightly comedic to the downright traumatizing.

To pick from the less dark of the pile—when I was on a two-week solo cycling trip along the Irish coast in 2014, I got myself into a really dangerous situation. I hadn’t realized that my brakes were completely shot until it was too late. Going down a steep hill that went on for a good kilometer or more, I was not able to brake. It was raining, and the roads were slick and narrow; if a car had come out of nowhere, I would have been toast. Somehow, I kept calm long enough to navigate the crazy descent (I couldn’t even use my shoes to brake because I was wearing slippers; I tried, and cut my toes). The moment the road leveled out, I got off, shaking uncontrollably, taking long, deep breaths, and thanked the higher powers for letting me survive that. Even thinking about it now, I don’t know how I got so lucky.

 

Are you married? Single? A mom? How do you think your status affects your traveling?

I’m single, but only recently so. I’ve been in kind-of, not-really, on-and-off relationships for the last five years, and consider myself fully single just this January.

Being in a steady relationship wasn’t the best thing for my travel spirit. I got into a live-in relationship right after my second solo backpacking trip, and went into dormancy. Didn’t travel for two years. It was because of my relationship that I didn’t transfer to a university across the country, even though I wanted to. But, when my last chance to go on exchange showed up, I knew I couldn’t miss it. It was tough. I missed him every day in the beginning, which was so bad because I would just hang out in my dorm room skyping and texting him instead of exploring Prague. Although I still did my fair share of traveling through the summer, I regret not doing even more and feeling so hung up over my guy at the time. I almost actually left field school early because I missed him so much… So glad I didn’t!

Being in a relationship that wasn’t really a relationship was even worse. At least with the first, I knew where we stood, and I could go off traveling, secure in that. With my next relationship, I made my travel plans around his because I wanted to be with him. I knew that if I didn’t follow him, we wouldn’t last, because he wasn’t interested in a long-distance relationship. It wasn’t sustainable at all; I ran myself broke trying to keep up with where he wanted to go. Eventually, we had to say goodbye because I literally had no more funds to continue, among other things. That was the most irresponsible I’ve ever been in my life, all because of love. I basically ran out on family obligations, and should have been working instead of traveling.

But, now that I’m single, I have the mental clarity and time to work hard on my own creative projects and on becoming the best version of me. It’s very empowering, being single after having been in relationships for so long. Being a single traveler opens up another world of opportunities, where I—only me—get to determine my experiences without having to consider the feelings of a significant other.

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

I prefer traveling solo, all the way. I don’t mind going on road trips with friends, but only for short periods of time. I find that unless you’re with really good friends who are easygoing and flexible, being in a pack is more stressful than fun. You have to compromise and miss out on things you want to do, or you have to deal with people who want to sleep in instead of go out and see things. The worst feeling though is when you get sick or just need a rest day, but feel like you need to put on a good face so you don’t become a burden on everyone else. I absolutely hate feeling like that, so the best solution for me is to just go my own way. I also like time to myself, and being able to experience a new place with my own thoughts in my head, rather than feeling like I need to entertain other people all the time.

 

How long have you been a travel blogger?

Like, less than a month? Haha.

Well, I’ve had my travel blog since 2013, but never really kept up with it. I wrote the (very) occasional post. I only decided at the end of February 2017 that I was going to get serious with it.

How do you plan your adventures?

I open up Google maps and the Wikipedia list of countries I can go to without a visa, then imagine the possibilities.

Recently, I’ve begun orientating my travel plans around certain activities. For example, next year, I really want to take part in the Mongol Rally, so I’ll be spending a large chunk of my summer going through Europe, the Middle East, and Mongolia! After that, because I want to focus my travels more around learning new skills and hobbies, I plan on heading to Mui Ne, Vietnam, for windsurfing; Indonesia and Thailand for scuba diving; India for yoga; etc.

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

Well, I think there’s a difference doing anything as a woman versus a man. It can sometimes be good and sometimes bad. Based on appearances alone, I know I am typically more approachable as a small Asian woman with funky yellow glasses than a big, tall, hulking man with obvious tattoos (people see what they want to see, right)? I think it’s easier for me to find rides when hitch-hiking, and people seem more willing to help me if I need it.

On the flip side, people also think it’s easier to rob a woman or sexually assault her, or worse. While I generally feel safe in most places, I do think women feel like they have to take care of themselves even more so than men. But I’d still do everything I set my mind to, no matter the traditional challenges a woman has doing them.

Do you have any dos/don’t when it comes to traveling as a woman?

DON’T let other people tell you what you can or can’t do! That’s my number one thought. I absolutely hate it when people tell me I can’t or shouldn’t do something “because I’m a woman”. Please, find a more original reason to stop me. You do you, and I’ll do me.

Want to learn more about Alaska Rue?

Travel Blog www.mydotonthemap.com

Author Website: www.alaskarue.com

Social Media Links:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/mydotonthemap/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/mydot.onthemap/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/alaskarue

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/alaskarue/

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheWhateverFreak

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