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.)

Map app that has detailed notes on where to find wild camping spots, wifi access, and more.

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!

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.

 Thanks to @womenontheroad and @she_explores for the opportunity to read my essay “In Which I am Hit by a Truck” for their Women on the Road podcast (link in bio). It was incredibly emotional for me to read as I prepare to fly back to Central America this weekend.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ I’ve spent the last 4 months taking a break from adventure travel, boxing in Asia and eating my way across Europe. Tomorrow, I fly back to Central America to pick up my motorcycle to continue the journey that was stopped last year when I was hit by a truck outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. All good vibes appreciated, it’s going to be a rough week seeing my wrecked bike for the first time since the accident, being back in Honduras, and starting the journey again after almost a year of recovery.  “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” ― Albert Camus ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Yesterday, I found myself climbing the three flights of stairs in the hostel two at a time— the first time since the accident. All of sudden, I was running up the stairs and there was no pain, and I cackled with glee and bounded up the remaining stairs to jump around on the landing to celebrate. What I’m saying is, if there’s no one there to celebrate with you, celebrate with yourself. Support yourself. Love yourself. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Every day is about making the most of what we’re given— not wishing something hadn’t happened, or to be someone else in a different place, or circumstance, or life. The only thing we can change is ourselves— if you can only walk, walk, and when you can sprint, run up three flights of stairs two at a time and celebrate that blinding, all-encompassing moment of joy.  “Do or do not, there is no try.” —Yoda ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ I’ve had a blast here this past month— and I do mean right here in this spot, as I’ve barely left this compound save to go running in the mornings or grab an iced green tea out on the main road. ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ I found such an awesome, supportive community here in Muay Thai— training twice a day in 90 degree heat sweating on and hitting each other has been the best time. It’s taken me years to accept endings, to not mourn for places I’ve left and people I’ve left behind, but every new beginning has an ending somewhere and life marches onward- hopefully with a new skill and a new place and amazing people added to that life roster. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve been eyeballing my down climbing jacket hanging on my door here for the past few weeks, and when I roll out of bed tomorrow at 5 AM to catch my flight, I’ll be wearing it all the way to the airport to celebrate the cooler weather coming. Romania here I come. Onward.  “I changed what I could, and what I couldn't, I endured.” ―Dorothy Vaughan ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These past few weeks in Thailand will be a period of time I’ll remember forever. Getting stronger every day, sweating buckets, walking along these tiny highways to get a soda water or fresh fruit or walk to my running route in the morning. Waving to small kids, shouts of ‘Muay Thai?’ walking down the street in this residential neighborhood, because if you’re not living here you’re probably training at Sor Vorapin Muay Thai. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m grateful for these moments to be present in one place, to learn a skill and meet amazing people and train with World Champion boxers (one of whom, before learning his identity, I accidentally missed the pads and kneed, and spent the rest of training under an ice pack. As I sat on the bench, he came up showed me a video of him fighting Danny Romero (and winning) in New York City. #humility  “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” ― Robert Frost ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Throwback to one of my favorite places— Montañita, Ecuador. The first few nights I ever spent here were at Hidden House Hostel, and even after I left they let me creep in and shoot some photos sitting in a hammock under their colored lights.  “A strong woman builds her own world.” ― Ellen J. Barrier ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ While on the beach watching the sunset, two Indonesian guys walked up and sat with me in the sand, and we spent the sunset chatting about the States and Indonesia and taking ridiculous selfies in the golden light. “Are you alone?” Didi asked. “I’m with both of you,” I smiled.  “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)
 “The meaning of life is that it stops.” ― Franz Kafka ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There’s something incredibly humbling about staring at a pile of bones, and skulls, and recognizing our own mortality. Life always, always moves on.  “Every city is a ghost.” ―Libba Bray ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Being in Europe feels like such a luxury— backpacking from hostel to hostel surrounded by beautiful streets and markets and bakeries and beautiful architecture is food for the soul. Every day I’m pouring over city maps and working in cafes, drinking gallons of coffee and squealing inside at the piles of crispy bread and stacks of pastries.  “You are defined by you.” ― Kailin Gow ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ll miss walking along these little roads when I fly out of Thailand this weekend. This past month training here outside of Bangkok has been an adventure, in a really different way than I’ve ever experienced—it’s been peaceful and stressful and challenging, and I’ll remember this time forever. The most important commodity we’ve got is time— I lost so much of it last year after the accident, being stuck inside and not able to move, and being here feels like a beginning.  “Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.” ―Leonora Carrington ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ My perfect little narrow room, where I’ll be living for the next month while I train in Muay Thai, sits in the upper level of Sor Vorapin Muay Thai gym, and at the far end there’s a little open-air common room with a small sofa and bookcase that overlooks the compound. The boxing ring below, I watched the sun rise over the palms in the distance while the sky turned dusty pink.  “I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.” —Silvia Plath ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When life on the road gets overwhelming, I like to hide inside for at least 24 hours sitting in bed with my laptop, eating double-stuffed oreos one at a time over and over— wafer, cream, wafer— until I wake up sugar-high covered in crumbs wondering what happened and why I’m surrounded by cookie wrappers but ready to face the next day out in the world.  “Stories are light.” ―Kate DiCamillo  “...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
©2017 Lone Rucksack