FAQs

What equipment do you use?
I shoot with the Sony Alpha a7s and use predominantly 3 lenses: FE/4 24-70 lens, f/4 10-18 lens, and the FE/4 70-200 lens. I also use a GoPro for shooting on the motorcycle or in the water.

Where do you get all your quotes?
I read A LOT, and never have any less than 3 notebooks on me at one time, filled with quotes and notes.

What are you afraid of?
Wearing high heels down a cobblestone street— I saw this a lot in Europe and the thought terrifies me.

How do you make money while you travel?
When I was younger, I would work for a year or so, then take a year off, but now I work full-time remotely. I’m a freelance art director with clients in the US, as well as a freelance writer— for my own brand Lone Rucksack as well as other companies, including HelloGiggles. (You can read more about that here, in my bio section.) If that isn’t enough, I also work as a photographer. I love digital storytelling, so at any moment of the day if I’m not asleep, I’ll be working on something, whether it’s a story or photo or design project. Ultimately, I have a lot of years logged in my field, working with many different companies, and I work very hard at what I do.
But, I also spend very little. I’m a minimalist, I don’t agree with consumer culture, and only have a small closet-sized storage unit in the US for anything I can’t take while I’m traveling (my bicycle, books, important papers, extra gear, etc.). I stop there every now and again to swap out gear. I don’t buy clothes or jewelry or entertainment— I bike everywhere and don’t replace anything until it breaks and can’t be fixed. When I was younger, I was horrified to see how much of my money was going to insurance and car payments, house payments, cable and heat, entertainment and cocktails and impulse purchases. I found by traveling full-time and minimizing my expenses, I had a much more fulfilling life.

Aren’t you afraid of traveling alone?
No. Fear of being alone, as well as the fear of traveling alone as a woman, are things that are culturally taught— it’s not inherent. There’s no point in being afraid of the world, of things that may happen— so head to the mountains my friend, and spend the night alone. It may seem strange and a little scary at first, but I promise if you do it again and again and again, soon you’ll feel nothing but peace, and the fear will be gone.

How do you plan for these trips?
Depending on the type of trip, planning is definitely a lot of work. To have a successful trip takes some thought about what you’re going to need on the road— especially on a motorcycle trip. Replacement parts, maintenance, camera equipment, route planning, maps, timeframe, budget— all these things need to be taken into consideration when planning. I have multiple spreadsheets for travel, and am constantly making notes and doing research before, during, and after a trip.

Sites like the ones below can be very helpful in determining what type of gear to bring and what kinds of situations may be faced in country.

CIA Factbook
Checking in-country info like water quality, political climate, and border issues. (Keep in mind the travel warnings aren’t always accurate.)
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

iOverlander
Map app that has detailed notes on where to find wild camping spots, wifi access, and more.
http://ioverlander.com/

Maps.me
Offline maps app, great for walking around towns or using for directions on a motorcycle tour. Be sure to download the maps of the areas/countries you need before hopping off wifi!
http://maps.me/en/home

When you’re traveling, is it a problem if you don’t speak the language?
Not at all, communication is a lot more than words. I speak Spanish and English, and between these two, I get around just fine.

Do you carry a weapon with you?
There’s no point in being afraid of the world— fear is a negative emotion, and should have no part in planning. However, I do carry bear mace on me when I travel. I go to some sketchy places, and though I’ve never once had to use it, it’s nice sometimes to have a giant can of mace close by. I once had someone ask, “Wow, you must see a lot of bears when you travel!”. *ahem. Yes. Yes I do.

 “No one has ever asked an actor, 'You're playing a strong-minded man…' We assume that men are strong-minded, or have opinions. But a strong-minded woman is a different animal.” ―Meryl Streep  “You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun.” ―Shaun Hick  “It takes 10 times longer to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart.” —Suzanne Collins The 3 Stages of A Motorcycle Accident: 1. Spend a Couple Months in a Wheelchair 2. Slowly Lose all Your Muscle Mass 3. Spend the Next Year Trying to Get it Back (Step 4, eat plenty of chocolate to make up for the muscle loss)  “Your strength doesn't come from winning. It comes from struggles and hardship. Everything that you go through prepares you for the next level.” ―Germany Kent ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There’s a one footed pigeon I see sometimes in the morning. When I first arrived in Medellin, I noticed her limping down the sidewalk— she hobbled along with me for half a block before flying away. Human on one side, bird on the other, both struggling to get from one place to another. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a new place where I didn’t know anyone, limping conspicuously down the street— knowing another creature was there struggling but thriving made me feel a little bit better. Every now and again I see her, loitering around the corner bakeries. She seems just fine.  “If I exist, then surely there must be someone else out there like me.” ―Joyce Rachell  “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” —Frida Kahlo  “Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality...” ― Jim Morrison ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These last couple months in Colombia I’ve been hard on myself— feeling like I should be healing faster, that I should be doing more, angry at myself when I want to retreat from the world while simultaneously wanting to be part of it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Part of acceptance in moving forward is allowing time to heal. Even if it’s when we’re traveling, or when we meet awesome people— even if it’s on holiday and all we want is to feel normal again. When we’d give anything to put on our hiking boots and walk off into the mountains or the jungle for days, but can’t. Sometimes getting to the other side of pain takes 6 months, or 9, or 12. Sometimes getting back to normal is one small dose of social interaction at a time. Sometimes it’s caring a little bit about something very small before we can reach the point of being able to care a lot about something big again. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One day at a time.  “She is of the strangest beauty and the darkest courage, and when she walks with intent the earth trembles beneath her feet.” ―Nicole Lyons If I could go back in time and find the woman I was, riding her motorcycle in the sunshine, and talk to her, tell her what was to come, I would not. We save ourselves, every day, by fighting for what we need and what we dream of, and by searching for it. We have to build the life we want, even if it means building it from the remains of what we’re left with, after what’s been done to us. Link to full post in bio. #wandersouth #neverstopexploring #motorcycleadventure #adventureon #forceofnature #findingfitzroy #lonelyplanet #sheexplores #letsgoplaces #shewentwild #adventurelife #adventuretime #adventureiseverywhere #naturallight #exploretocreate #sheisnotlost #adventureisoutthere #solotravel #medellin #colombia #southamerica #adversity #womenwholead #ladiesontour #womenwhoexplore #ladiesontravel #powerofshe #tourismo #photooftheday  “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” —Dumbledore (aka J.K. Rowling) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Trusty boots. Gear. Go time.  "There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster." -Dalai Lama XIV See that brace? I don?t need it anymore! I found out Friday, as of now, I don't need additional surgery. Nothing is certain, and if I don't get more movement back in my knee it's still a possibility (ah the complications of being hit by a truck). All the exercises and buckets of spinach have paid off, and now I have another 6 weeks to heal before I see the surgeon again. The hope is I'll be walking without support end of October, and another 5-6 months until I can get back to normal activity (jumping off rocks, backpacking, trail running). Thanks for all the support, messages, and shared stories fellow Instagrammers!
 “...a thousand lights carried her.” ―Vatsal Surti In a world of constant stimulation, I’m always grateful for the time to watch the sunrise, to sit in the quiet alone and patiently wait for the light to illuminate the world around me, to touch the trees, the grass, me.  “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ―Mary Oliver  “All great and precious things are lonely.” ― John Steinbeck  “She loved only 2 things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing.” —500 Days of Summer  “Blessed be she who is both furious and magnificent.” ―Taylor Rhodes ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This morning I went for my first run since the accident—a slow, 1 mile loop in Medellin, the slowest mile I’ve ever run, awkwardly prancing like an antelope at first, then settling into a slow but (hopefully) more normal gait. It was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done, but, like life, the more you try and do the stronger you become. #goodvibes to anyone struggling today- embrace prancing like an antelope, looking like an idiot- run toward the person you want to be.  “...I have big dreams, too. I used to think that made me different and strange. But when I came here and found all these books, I realized there are places in the world where I belong, even if I haven't found them yet.” ― Walt Disney Company ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There was a time when I thought belonging meant making the most of a situation I was given, and learning to live with it— but that isn’t true. Belonging is about being active and making hard decisions and creating a space— even if that’s sometimes by yourself.  “We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” ―Chuck Palahniuk ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 2017. In April I hopped on a motorcycle and headed toward Patagonia. I was hit by a truck. I spent 2 months in a wheelchair. I re-learned to walk and (now) run. I launched a business from Colombia. I worked 12 hours a day, then went home and worked some more. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ No matter what insane cards life handed you last year, what matters is what you do with them. How you played them. What you learned. Be authentic, be respectful, be brave, be kind, be open with yourself, and the world is yours. 2018 is yours. Go for it.  “The search is what anyone would undertake if she were not sunk in the everydayness of her own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.” —Walker Percy ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Really excited to have a photo appear in these pages! Check out the @natgeoexpeditions page for their seriously awesome trips like this one at the Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica.  “All great and precious things are lonely.” ―John Steinbeck ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀“Why aren’t you crying?” the x-ray tech asked at the military hospital. It was Saturday night, and I had just been moved to the military hospital after I was hit by a truck riding my motorcycle in Honduras the day before. I lay on a metal table, while two Honduran guys helped me twist into unnatural positions with a tibial plateau fracture, fibula fracture, sprained ankle, fresh stitches from one side of my leg to the other, road rash across my lower back, and dark purple bruises up and down the right side of my body. I was on a highway, riding at 60 mph to Tegucigalpa when a truck drove across the road in front of me, too close to react. Suddenly I was rolling, over and over and over, and heard the screech of metal— my motorcycle sliding across the asphalt. If the truck was going a little faster, it would have been a head-on collision, and I probably would have been killed instantly. Instead, my motorcycle clipped the front of the truck, and slammed sideways into the cab before taking off at a mad spin across the highway on its side, while I was thrown in the opposite direction. In the bright sunshine, on the side of the road, I struggled to pull off my helmet and gloves, finding my jeans in tatters, my boot pulled halfway off my right foot, and seeing blood and bone protruding from the open flesh on my right knee. It’s been almost 4 months since the accident— 15 weeks of wheelchairs and stitches and crutches and uncertainty. 15 weeks of being inside. There are only two ways forward— to be angry, or to move on. I moved on. Even though this careless guy in a truck changed my life in a split second, every adventure has risk, and a life without risk is no kind of life at all. I flew to Medellin, Colombia this past weekend to spend the next few months working, recovering, and learning to walk properly again. There’s a lot of crazy in this world, but also beauty— I still can’t be as active as I’d like, but from my bedroom window I can see the clouds rolling over the mountains in the early dawn, and the sparkling lights of buildings in the darkness. That I’m here to appreciate them is beautiful.  “Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.” ― Veronica Roth
©2017 Lone Rucksack