Wednesday Women: Ashlyn


Meet Ashlyn.

I am a twenty-something outdoor adventure traveler. I’ve been to 52 countries on six continents and fund my travels by freelance writing, speaking and shooting and editing videos. I also sell photography when possible as well.

I like to push my limits when traveling and you’ll most likely find me out hiking, surfing, scuba diving or trying out any crazy adventure activity an area offers – I’ve even flown a military jet! If it scares me, I can’t say no.

What inspired/inspires you to travel?

After five years completing two degrees in university, I decided I wanted to spend the same amount of time traveling the world so I designed a five-year travel plan. On my first six month trip, I was hooked and knew it was a lifestyle I couldn’t easily give up. I love how every day I wake up wondering how the destination I am in is going to change my life. It’s thrilling and educational – much better than sitting in a classroom to learn.

As for travel inspiration, my destinations are usually chosen based on photographs I’ve seen as well as recommendations from other travelers.


Where is your favorite destination to date?
It’s really difficult to decide but I loved spending a month in Madagascar. It’s not an easy destination to get to and there aren’t very many tourists so the locals are still curious yet friendly. The wildlife and landscapes were pretty spectacular as well and I spent a lot of time hiking and diving.

How do you prefer to travel? Solo or With a group? Why?
I spend most of my time traveling on my own but always seem to meet up with other people on the road. Admittedly, I prefer traveling with family and friends as I find the experiences more meaningful when I can share them with someone I care about. To date, I’ve managed to visit six continents with my mom as she enjoys meeting up with me around the world.


Do you think there is a difference traveling as a woman?
There are definitely differences traveling as a woman than as a man. Some of them are positive and some are negative. As a woman, I’m more likely to get picked up while hitchhiking, but I’m also more likely to be bothered, catcalled and stared at by men. I have to be modest in how I dress and very respectful of other cultures depending what area in the world I’m in. Men and women definitely get treated differently while traveling.


How do you plan your trips?
I’ve discovered that long trips are best left to planning on the go, while shorter trips it’s easier and less stressful to plan in advance. I prefer to plan as I go as I like to add in side trips that I didn’t know about until I arrived at the destination.


When is your next one?
I’m currently working on a book back at home in Saskatchewan, Canada so I don’t have an immediate trip planned. I recently flew back from British Columbia where I hike the 75 kilometer West Coast Trail. Next month I’m thinking of escaping somewhere warm in the Caribbean if I can find cheap flights.

Any advice you would like to give to your fellow travelers?
A scarf is one of the most helpful items to carry. It adds warmth, style, and additional coverage when entering mosques or temples. It can also be a towel on short notice.

Want to know more?

 The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World  

Walk With Me: Cologne Cathedral

While shopping in Cologne,  we stumbled into the beautiful Cathedral. With the sun shining down on the Cathedral it made for a very colorful and picturesque interior ( with the assistance of the stained windows that told stories of Christ).

Even if you’re not religious, its nice to visit these building with such intricate design constructed all the way from the mid 1200’s. You get lost. Take a walk with me.

Wednesday Women: Danielle

worldsmith-headshot-2Meet Danielle.

I’m a freelance travel writer and blogger on a year-long RTW trip. Over the years, I’ve supported myself financially with everything from leading tastings at a winery to overseeing public art programming (and some less glam stuff too, but who likes to read about bookkeeping?). But it’s all been in support of this – my true profession.

What inspires you to travel?

Travel is just who I am. It’s in my blood. My dad grew up as an army brat, even spending a few of his formative years in Thailand. His parents continued traveling for fun well into their 70s, so I grew up with a strong awareness of the world beyond my home. I came by my wanderlust natural, and was very fortunate to have a childhood filled with stories of China, Egypt, and Peru. Travel was never painted as inaccessible to me, which sadly isn’t the case for everyone.

Where is your favorite destination to date?

It’s really impossible to pick just one. I don’t even play the favorites game with books or movies, much less cities. My most visited destination is the south of France, both Provence and the Languedoc. Florence ranks pretty highly in my book. If I had to choose a place to live, I’d probably go with London or Paris. And in the realm of pleasant surprises, I fell head over heels for Ljubljana, Slovenia and Belgrade, Serbia this summer. Two very different cities I never expected to visit. Ljubljana’s charm was instantaneous with a strong café culture, surprisingly good wine, and a clearly high quality of life. Belgrade was slower to warm, but once you get past the communist bloc architecture, the city has such a tremendous spirit and energy.


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

I’ve been on some fantastic group tours, but currently I’m a solo traveler through and through. I’m very introverted, which a lot of people mistake for being shy. Not the case. Shyness stems from a fear of rejection. Introversion is a more complex personality type, but essentially it means you have a limited amount of social energy and need alone time to recharge. Traveling solo gives me complete freedom and control over how, when, and with whom I socialize. It keeps me from burning out.

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

Hell yes! There’s a difference doing almost anything as a woman. That’s not because men and women are fundamentally different. We all have more in common than we realize. But a long, long history of people believing in a fundamental difference has led to genders being separated and having different experiences. (Is this too philosophical for the Internet? Sleeping is not allowed at the Athens airport, so I’m writing this at 2am to keep myself awake.)

For a more practical answer, women often have different safety concerns. Travel affects our health differently too because of menstrual cycles. And obviously people around the world react very differently to women traveling alone, even in more “liberal” countries where they think they’re being positive. I get a lot of “Damn girl!” and “Wow, good for you.” No one would find a man traveling alone remarkable, positively or negatively.


How do you plan your trips?

Obsessively. Travel planning is my favorite thing to do. Whenever I had time to kill at home or was procrastinating at my day job, I planned travel. I played with flight itineraries on Skyscanner or Bootsnall Indie and overland itineraries on Rome2Rio. I sketched out maps on post-its and compared daily costs of living. My RTW trip is a journey three years in the making, and I’m still making adjustments as I go. It is a constant process and always on my mind.

A couple of rules of thumb I use when planning a leg of my trip:

I try to travel overland as much as possible, but at the same time, I rarely book a bus or train ride longer than 10 hours. As a result, I often wind up in unexpected places.

I subscribe to Sherry Ott’s “one day on, one day off” model of working while traveling. When I decide to visit a city, I get a rough count of the things I want to do there, guess how many days it would take me to do them, and then double that number for my booking, so I can alternate work days with travel days.

When is your next one?

Who knows? It’s really hard to see beyond the end of my RTW adventure. I expect to return to my hometown at the end of June 2017. I’ll definitely need some time to regroup and save the money for whatever comes next.

The next stretch of my current trip will take me out of Europe for the first time, to India and Nepal, where my boyfriend is meeting me for a two-week Himalayan trek to celebrate his birthday.


Any advice you would like to give your fellow travelers?

Ditch your bucket list! Expectation is the mother of disappointment, and pinning all your hopes of happiness on a place you’ve never been is a risky game to play. I went to Dubrovnik in large part because kayaking around the city walls had been on my bucket list for ages. But thanks to a misleading sales rep and a rude guide, the experience was actually awful. My visits to unexpected corners of the Balkans like Ljubljana, Mostar, and Belgrade were all much more rewarding and enjoyable. I do still take part in “bucket list” activities, but I try to have a much more relaxed attitude about doing so.


Want to learn more about Danielle?


Wednesday Women : Eva

eva-explores-3Meet Eva.

I’m Eva, a solo female traveler who just left on a trip of indefinite length! I am working remotely as an editor and social media manager along with running my travel blog, Eva Explores, about solo female travel. I love expressing myself creatively, whether that’s taking photos of colorful buildings, singing a song, or creating a sketch comedy video with my friends.

What inspired/inspires you to travel?

I love to see how other people live around the world, and even how they used to live when I visit places with a rich history. The fascinating nuances of how culture differs around the world, but how we are all essentially the same. Also, to be honest, I am constantly searching for the best cup of coffee!


Where is your favorite destination to date?

I’m going to go SUPER cliché right now and say Paris! Although I recently went to Prague for the first time and that reminded me of Paris in a lot of ways. I just love French culture, and of course food! I feel like I’m living inside of a movie when I am in Paris.

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

I personally prefer traveling solo. I went on my first international solo trip this year, and was hooked! I love having the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want. It’s an easy decision for me, since I’m an introvert. Solo travel lets me choose whether or not I want to engage with the outside world or just stay to myself observing everything around me.


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

I do think that there is a difference. Unfortunately, women still have to think about safety in a unique way before deciding on a destination, and then during her travels. It’s no reason to stay at home, but it factors into the way we travel. I rarely leave my accommodation at night if unaccompanied, because I feel more comfortable. Also, around the world women don’t have the same freedoms to travel as men. In much of the world it’s still expected that women will get married and bear children at a relatively young age. There’s no time to travel, and even if there were the money they would spend traveling has to go to necessities like taking care of a family.

How do you plan your trips?

Currently I just wing it! When I first started traveling, I planned everything down to the hour. Now that I’m traveling long-term there’s really no need to do that. I usually get the desire to go to a certain place from reading a travel blog or seeing a photo on Instagram. Or I travel somewhere because I have friends who live there. From there, I try to travel overland as much as possible (I actually hate flying!) to any nearby destinations. For my current trip in Europe it was a combination of everything. Originally I wanted to explore Eastern Europe because of the beautiful photos I saw on travel blogs. Then I added Helsinki, Finland as a base because my best friend lives there. While in Helsinki I was browsing Instagram and saw a photo of a coffee shop in Prague and thought ‘I have to go there!’ I booked a flight to Prague and have been taking buses and trains north back to Helsinki.


When is your next one?

I am currently in Poland, but in October I am going to Asia for the first time! I’ll be going to my first TBEX as well. From there, I have one or two planned countries to visit, but mostly I’ll be taking my time exploring the region slowly.

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

Embrace the unknown! Anyone who travels for any amount of time will tell you that things pop up you never could have expected. If you’re rushing around from place to place just trying to check off the top sites, you miss so much. Try waking up in the morning with no idea of what your day will hold and then letting your intuition guide you!

Want to know more about Eva?





Snapchat: @evaeec


Walk With Me: Agadir, Morocco


I think visiting Morocco was the highlight of my travels for 2016! While on a completely unexpected journey, my friend & I visited the city of Agadir. Agadir appeared to be the Laguna Beach of Morocco. It was extremely interesting to go from sand surfing in the dunes with nothing but sand to being on the beach with your feet in the ocean. Agadir is definitely a surf friendly city where I encountered more expats than natives… But that still didn’t stop me from exploring. If only we didn’t have a bus to catch, it would’ve been nice to stay more than a few hours. Until we meet again Agadir. Walk with me 🙂


Designer vs. Destination

Have you ever had to decide between the two? I have. Its not an easy decision either. Especially with me becoming an adult now, sometimes I think “Do you really need those Guiseppe’s?” “Do you really need to take off work for a month and travel Europe?”… Crazy!! The decisions you have to make being a 20 something year old in the city!


So I did a little comparison. Lets say one month you buy another pair of Louboutin’s Pigalle Follies  (August, $675 ) and then the next month you plan out a month long trip in Europe for the same price. Which one do you think is more expensive? Would you be surprised if I told you that I actually spent less on the Europe trip than the Louboutins? This isn’t to deter you away from purchasing your luxury goods, because even with this information, Im still going to splurge when I can. haha. I just wanted you to see what else you could be doing if for one month the money you spent on shoes, bags, and shades were spent on a trip.

Here is a look at my itinerary for my October-November, Europe (and Africa) trip.

Germany to Milan                                                                                $11 

1 night stay in Milan                                                                             $75

Milan to Marrakesh                                                                            $51

4 night stay in Marrakesh**                                                             $113

Marrakesh to Madrid                                                                          $31

3 night stay in Madrid**                                                                    $80

Madrid to Cologne                                                                              $32

Total                                                                                                     $393

** accommodations split between 2 people, does not reflect entire cost.

Thats insane, right? I still have money left over! Im thinking of adding a weekend trip to Portugal, or maybe the Amalfi Coast, who knows. The world is my oyster, with these affordable prices it can be yours too.

If you’re wondering how accommodations and flights can be so cheap, check out my guide to Making Your Dollar stretch in Europe!

Walk With Me: Chicago

WTF?! Can you believe I have never done a Walk With Me: Chicago??? Thats kind of crazy. Chicago is so beautiful and I feel so lucky to call it home (sometimes). Here is a collection of photos from my year in Chicago. I need to take more, but this will have to do for now. With this walk hopefully you will fall in love with my hometown.



Wednesday Women: Sally


Meet Sally.

I am a travel agent and travel blogger who has always had big dreams and an even bigger bucket list. I help travel bloggers kickstart and grow their blogs to share their experiences with the world. Apart from my passion for travel, my secret loves are tea, TED Talks and running (even though I’m not very good at it).

What inspired/inspires you to travel?

Since I went on student exchange to Italy in year eleven, the world has opened up for me. That experience challenged me but also made me forever curious of foreign languages, cultures and the never-ending beauty of travel.

Where is your favorite destination to date?

I have been to so many amazing destination that it is a struggle to pick just one. My favourite destination to date would have to be a toss up between New York City with its incredible thriving mix of cultures and the Maldives with its million shades of blue water and the generosity of its locals.


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

It really depends on the trip but I do like solo travel because I feel it gives you a more authentic experience of the culture as it forces you to get out there and explore and meet new people. And, with solo travel you can do what YOU want instead of just doing all of the touristy things that are expected of you. The other great thing about solo travel is it really gives you a chance to grow personally through the challenges you face along the way and the time you have for reflection.

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

I think people are a lot more wary that women should not travel on their own but to be honest I have never felt unsafe whilst travelling solo. I think as long as you are aware of your surroundings and don’t take unnecessary risks you shouldn’t come across any danger.

How do you plan your trips? 

As a travel agent, I find with trips I book for clients I am a lot more meticulous and organised than I am with my own trips. I do like to have some things organised and read up on other blogs about where the best hidden places to go are but I also like to go with the flow a little bit and see what happens.


When is your next one?

My next trip is actually to the Philippines in October which I am extremely excited for. The Philippines has been on my bucket list for a while now and is definitely an up and coming destination at the moment. I got invited on this trip by Philippines Tourism as a travel agent to go and experience what it is like to travel there. They are splitting the group up into three and I have not heard which region I will be going to just yet but I can’t wait. The three options were Boracay, Palawan or Cebu and Bohol. I said surprise me!


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

My advice would be to get outside your comfort zone when you are travelling. I mean isn’t that the whole point?! Meet new people, see new things, experience new cultures and do things you wouldn’t normally do at home






                    Want to know more about Sally?

 Safe Travels by Sally





Wednesday Women : Sianna


Meet Sianna. 

Hello, my name is Sianna and I am Bulgarian travel blogger. Beside my passion for travelling and exploring the world I have just graduated university with a diploma in Fashion Design and currently work as a freelancer. At EoStories we are hunting for cool hostels and places around the world. I love new cities, hipster cafes, design hostels and good food.

What inspired/inspires you to travel?

I travel to eat! That’s an inside joke we have at EoStories because when we are travelling we always aim to find the best food places that are not in the guide books and try the local cuisine. Sometimes the cafes and ice cream shops in our bucket list are more than the famous landmarks in the city. Joke aside, I travel because it gives me a lot of new points of view and perspectives, makes me constantly change and grow. There’s no other feeling like arriving at a new place you don’t know and the endless opportunities it gives you. I’ve studied abroad twice and it significantly changed me in both personal and professional way. New skills, knowledge, inspiration, stories and ideas are just some of the things you can gain through travelling. Some of the people I’ve met are now really good friends and others have influenced me without even knowing it.

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Where is your favorite destination to date?

This is a hard question as I’ve loved most of the places I’ve been to. They just all have something special or specific that made me love them – the architecture, the people, the way my visit there made me feel, the lessons I’ve learned. I loved my stay in Poland when I was studying there and I think it is a gorgeous country that is really underrated. Italy is always in my heart and I am dreaming to go back for a food and culture road trip. London is a place I could go back to as many times as I can and would love to live there – so many vibrant people and creative spirit. This summer I’ve discovered Slovenia that surprised me with its nature and beauty and I can’t wait to go back.

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

I prefer to travel with a friend or a small group of friends. I haven’t travelled solo extensively (though I went to study abroad alone if that counts) but I feel I might want to try it soon. I also don’t like to travel with an organized group because I want to organize the trip and the places I am visiting myself. When I travel with friends with similar interests it is much easier and fun to explore the new places!

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

Unfortunately, there are some destinations that are safer for guys rather than girls. Lately there are more and more situations of girls travelling solo that has been harassed so I think there is a difference but this shouldn’t stop us from travelling and exploring this beautiful world. Just use common sense, try to stay safe, plan ahead and travel in a group when you feel vulnerable.


How do you plan your trips?
Some of my trips are rather impulsive – seeing a cheap plane ticket or a close by destination and it is decided. I’ve traveled only around Europe so I don’t usually buy tickets and plan long ahead. I plan about 4-6 weeks ahead when it comes to transportation and 2 weeks or less for the hostels. I try not to plan everything and leave some things to fate. After all the best trips are the ones that happen by accident. We had a 4-hour layover and instead of staying at the airport in Sweden we jumped to explore a small town close by and it was an amazing decision. (article about it if interested –
After transportation and accommodation is settled I start searching for the basic must-do things in the new destination. Once they are covered it’s time for the fun part of the research for me – I start looking for off the beaten path places where the locals go. This is also the most interesting part of any trip.
When is your next one?
As I am currently working on a personal project that is in development and expected to be launched soon, I try to reduce the travelling to a minimum. This is a seriously hard thing to do and I already feel like an addict waiting for the next travel dose. Especially when friends are constantly inviting you to join their trips because they know that you are always up for travelling. Hopefully some more European adventures are waiting in November!

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

There are many opportunities for travelling – you just have to look for them and grab them! From low-budget airlines with tickets for 10 euro (Thank you , Ryanair!) to working or studying abroad and European exchange projects. You have to be a bit creative when planning a trip but it can be done on a budget with some research in advance. All this “effort” can bring you to amazing destinations and experiences! Don’t forget your smile!

Want to know more about Sianna?