From an early age, women are taught that the world is a dangerous place. In some aspects, it’s true. The world can be scary, especially for a woman.

But by letting fear drive where we go in the world, we miss out on some amazing experiences. That’s why I love Wanderful.

I love that there is a space for women travelers to share their experiences with each other. By highlighting the stories of women who travel, we inspire other women to go out and see the world. I’m honored to be able to share the stories of these amazing fearless women.

As a Wanderful correspondent, each month I’ll be introducing you to members of our global community, sharing their stories of travel and hopefully inspiring you to be bold and fearless too. I’m excited to see what the coming months have in store for us.

For this month, however, I thought I’d share with you my own Wanderful story.

Finding my street in Indonesia.
Finding my street in Indonesia.

The Start of Something Wanderful

I caught the travel bug early, when I was just a kid.

I come from a family of travelers, and by the time I was 16, I had already been to twelve countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. We had seen places like the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and even the Grand Canyon. But in all those experiences, I was always afraid of venturing out on my own, and often relied on my parents to make the travel plans for me.

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That all changed when I happened to meet a young woman at the Changi Airport in Singapore.

I was 18 at the time, and traveling to the United States with my parents, after having spent the summer in Indonesia. This woman seemed to be in her early twenties, and it was the first time that I had met a woman who was traveling solo. I remember thinking how brave and fearless she seemed, and writing in my journal about how I wanted to be like her someday. Talking to her had opened my eyes to the idea that as a woman, you don’t need to rely on others to shape your travel experiences.

Four years later, I found myself traveling solo through Indonesia, on a month-long trip, inspired by my conversation with that woman. And shortly thereafter, I signed up to join the Peace Corps, and spent two years living in a remote village in the West African country of Togo.

traveling solo fearlessly
On the train in Java with my husband.

Over fifteen years since that meeting, I’m still addicted to travel. But now, I travel with my husband and kids. And although the pace and style of travel is a bit more low-key now (there’s no staying in hostels or crashing at some random person’s house when you have a couple of little ones in tow!), the sense of adventure is still there.

So Many Things Inspire Me to Travel

One of things I love about being a mom is that I have the power to shape the future — in the form of my kids. The way I see it, I can either choose to keep them protected, and prevent them from experiencing anything uncomfortable, or I can do everything in my power to help them see that they are citizens of the world.

I choose to do the latter.

The most important message that I want to pass on to my kids, especially my daughter, is that they don’t have to be afraid of exploring the world. And in a sense, that’s what Wanderful is all about. This community exists to show women that the world is theirs to be explored and experienced. That it’s not quite as dangerous as people make it out to be.

traveling solo fearlessly
Coney Island with my daughter.

I Often Think Back to That Woman I Met in Changi Airport

When I told her how I had always wanted to travel the world on my own, she simply said, “Then do it.”

That advice has stuck with me ever since, and has shaped the way I travel. To me, life is too short to fill with regret and longing for experiences. It’s better to try something and see how it turns out, than to shy away from even trying.

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Not all of my travel experiences have been wonderful and life-changing. I’ve definitely gone on trips that were challenging, or boring, or were all-out failures. But even the failures somehow opened doors to new opportunities and new experiences.

I’m proud to be a fearless woman traveler, and I try every day to pass that fearlessness on to others. Whatever you do, don’t let the potential for failure stop you from even trying. Go out there and explore!

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What One Conversation at the Changi Airport Taught Me About Traveling Fearlessly | Wanderful

Wanderful member Astrid Vinje is excited to come on board as Wanderful’s newest correspondent! Each month, she’ll be bringing you conversations with amazing women travelers and sharing their incredible stories and experiences with the Wanderful community.