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.

 “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  “I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it's these things I'd believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn't all she should be.” ―F. Scott Fitzgerald ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I can’t run, or climb, or do most the things I’m used to doing— but I can kayak. I crutch down to the dock, climb into the kayak on one leg, carefully setting my braced leg onto the floor of the kayak, and pull myself into the water along the metal handrails beside the ramp. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And so I glide across the lake every morning, watching the sun rise above the pine trees on the opposite shore. I can’t walk, but I fly across the water.  “You're going to be fine. You're at the bottom, you're only going up from from here. Everyone is always looking to the past but history is happening right now.” —Brian Bradford ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This may not look like much, but it’s an x-ray showing my foot is fine, which was an indescribable relief. In 2 weeks I find out if I need any additional surgery on my tibia. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This past month I’ve been in a dark place, finding out there were complications with my leg, not knowing what would happen, feeling like I was drowning in my inability to do anything about my current situation. I’ve spent the last month+ indoors, watching the clouds drift by through the window, the light slowly shifting from pale dawn to harsh afternoon to soft evening— waiting and wondering, seeing the world outside go by, wondering what it would hold for me, after the motorcycle accident. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve still got a long way to go, but for the first time in weeks and weeks, I feel a little bit of hope there’s another side. That this is the bottom, and the only way is up.  “Change will force you to step off the path… to close your eyes and dive right in, knowing that the greatest opportunities in life are found in the sink or swim, do or die moments.” ― Stella Payton ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Throwback to riding around Isla Mujeres. It’s been just over one month since I was hit in Honduras, and there are still so many unknowns— when I’ll be able to walk, if I’ll need another surgery. Recovery seems very much like staring out into the horizon at an end I can’t see, but keep telling myself is there— in the meantime, onward.  “A map provides no answers. It only suggests where to look: Discover this, reexamine that, put one thing in relation to another, orient yourself, begin here... Sometimes a map speaks in terms of physical geography, but just as often it muses on the jagged terrain of the heart, the distant vistas of memory, or the fantastic landscapes of dreams.” ― Miles Harvey ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The last stop I made— where my motorcycle is, where my wreck was, where I’m going. Soon.  “At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.” ― Chuck Palahniuk ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Small things are a struggle, trying to get into a fridge, bending my knee, opening a door. I repeat my PT exercises several times a day, counting the repetitions like a mantra, 1,2,3,4,5… holding onto the idea that with every number, I’m a step closer to walking. To standing up on my own. To camping. To riding a bike. Four fractured bones, surgery, road rash, lacerations, thousands of dollars in damage to my motorcycle and hospital expenses. 3 months until I can walk again. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I have so many emotions about the accident: from not being able to work and having to stop the trip, from the callous guy who hit me in Honduras, to arriving back in the states to victim blaming— being told I shouldn’t have been in Honduras in the first place, as if the accident were somehow my fault instead of the guy who drove across the road into me. Hearing ridiculous rumors I had been arrested, that somehow family members were going to be locked up and held in Honduras due to my being hit by a truck, that I should have left my motorcycle on the side of the road and fled the country, and I was irresponsible for receiving treatment in Honduras. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s an unfortunate reality of being a woman traveling alone, you more often hear ‘you should be more careful’ than you do anything else, like ‘people should be more careful driving’. At the core the message is, this world isn’t safe for you, and it’s your fault if something happens. Listen up— there’s no place in this world that’s ‘safe’ for anyone. Drive hard, go places, challenge yourself— and when things happen, crazy things you didn’t expect, push yourself through that too. Life moves on. Struggle makes us better.  “People often believed they were safer in the light, thinking monsters only came out at night. But safety – like light – is a façade.” ― C.J. Roberts ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Mornings in Honduras and the path through the jungle. I woke up to the morning light at 5:30 to wander through D&D Brewery, the light filtering through the dense vegetation and the sound of insects in the air.  “Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.” — C. Day Lewis ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Catching those first morning rays in El Tunco, El Salvador. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #findingfitzroy #eltunco #centroamerica #centralamerica #tourismo #sunrise #elsalvador #olas #rei1440project #beach #playa #naturallight #powerofshe #ladiesontravel #ladiesontour #adventureon #solotravel #sheexplores #forceofnature #lonelyplanet #wandersouth #adventurelife #shewentwild #neverstopexploring #lonelyplanet #travelstoke #letsgoplaces #adventurelife #outdoorwomen #in2nature
 “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!  “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” ―James Baldwin “If someone hits me on my motorcycle,” I told another motorcyclist, “I wanted to be unharmed or killed outright.” Just a week later, I was hit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I wasn’t angry or upset at the accident— lying on the side of the road in the dirt, when my leg was being set and cleaned without anesthetic, or when I was lying alone for hours and hours in a hallway at a hospital in Honduras not knowing if I’d be able to get in for surgery as I lay there bleeding. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I wasn’t angry in Honduras, but I was back in the States— not at the accident itself, but at the sheer isolation of it; every day cleaning a horrific wound on my own leg, having to compartmentalize and pretend it wasn’t a big deal so I could get through it; crawling up stairs to scan documents I needed for the hospital; staring out the window at the outside, aching to get there; gossip and lectures by people who should have been supportive. Weeks after the accident, someone said to me, “This must be so hard for you,” and I almost cried to know there was someone tangible who understood and felt empathy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I don’t know what the next few months will hold, but I’m here, and every day brings more problems but also more solutions, each day sliding into night, another opportunity to become better from an experience I didn’t choose for myself.  “... nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That's the only lasting thing you can create.” ― Chuck Palahniuk  “Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” ―Zelda Fitzgerald  “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” ―Sun Tzu  “So many people, they risk so little. They spend their whole lives avoiding danger, and then they die. I'd risk everything to get what I want.” —Petyr Baelish ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Explore. Wander. Push yourself to the limits. Take risks. Find those delicate, beautiful things hidden in the mundane. Watch the sunrise.  “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ―Mother Teresa ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Really excited to read the book I was interviewed for last year by the amazing @kathmo — and it’s now on Amazon. For all those people asking questions about freelancing and travel— this book is for you! Link to book in bio.  “No matter how dim the light filtering through the trees is, you can still try your best to grasp it.” —Kaien Cross ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Cat vs. Machine
©2017 Lone Rucksack