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 run a Design Studio called Hazard House and work from the road full-time, as well as working 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 freelance 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.

 “Show me what you are becoming.” ― R.W. Patterson  “The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it's here is up to us.” ―Alexandra Elle Is it really a hike if you don’t come out the other side covered in mud?  “As I saw more light in everybody else, I seemed to have more myself.” ―Victoria Moran This week has been characterized by amazing women; phenomenal yoga instructors, truly wonderful women at my hostel— for surfing and chatting and sitting around on sofas eating breakfast, women who come together from all over the world to chill in their bikinis eating beans and rice and connecting over similar experiences. When people ask if I’m lonely and afraid traveling alone— there are 7.6 billion people on this planet— people everywhere waiting to connect.  “Love is not consolation. It is light.” ― Simone Weil While sitting on the beach in Nicaragua, three dogs came running up and sat around me while I watched the sunset— camera bag by my side, three dogs at my back.  “Suspecting and knowing are not the same.” ― Rick Riordan ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are three ways to cross the border from Honduras to Nicaragua— Guasaule, El Espino, and Los Manos. I’ve been chatting with the US Embassy, bus companies, my hostel in San Pedro Sula, other motorcyclists and people in the ground on Nicaragua, trying to figure out the best route through and what the situation is currently like on the ground. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My plan is to cross into Nicaragua via Guasaule this Saturday morning at 5 AM, where (hopefully) there will be less roadblocks and people around. My route avoids all major cities (particularly Managua, Estilo, and Masaya where there’s been a lot of violence) and arrive in Popoyo (a surf town on the South Pacific coast in Nicaragua) late afternoon Saturday.  “I am the wisest woman alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” ― Plato ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This week has been a runaround of going from one government agency to the next, popping into the Suzuki shop for an update, going to the US Embassy, researching the unrest in Nicaragua, and route planning. Antonio, who has been patiently driving me around, explains to every person we meet when we need a part or to ask about paint about this gringa who needs to fix her bike to head towards Argentina after being hit last year. ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Jorge at the body shop yesterday exclaimed, “Alone!?” and made the sign of the cross. We pulled the motorcycle parts out of the trunk of the car and he told me about the Harley Davidson he painted last year.  “I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.” ― Jimi Hendrix ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A little throwback to Indonesian waves, and a thank you to @soundonpodcast for chatting with me about Lone Rucksack, storytelling, and being a land pirate. Link to podcast in bio!  “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.
 “Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” ― Cheryl Strayed  “This is a girl you can’t keep.” ― Khadija Rupa I rode into town late afternoon Saturday, the slow road snaking up into the jungle from the sea, pulling into the small grassy drive for my AirBNB to the sound of a little brown dog barking it’s head off until it ran up to be friendly. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m spending the week here in Dominical working from the jungle, venturing down into town for coffee and to visit the little organic market there, and, yesterday, hiking to this beautiful spot to swim.  “When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water. Its color is silver.” ― Anne Spollen I’ve spent a lot of time in these hammocks already. After arriving soaked from riding through several storms on Saturday from Nicaragua, I’ve been doing yoga, surfing, and working from this awesome little town on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. My hostel is right on the beach, so every day I grab my board and walk off the deck onto the sand and into the ocean.  “The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly...” ― Søren Kierkegaar Spending time on the beach yesterday in Popoyo, Nicaragua, was such a treat after the madness of the weekend— finally getting MotoBike back, heading off into Honduras, crossing through Nicaragua. I can’t believe I’m finally on the road again, and able to sit on a beach and watch the sunset like the past 11 months never happened— like I entered a wormhole and was taken back to a time when I wasn’t hit, and crossed into Nicaragua without ever knowing that experience at all.  Ahoy everyone! Tomorrow I’m giving a Webinar hosted by @cloudpeeps with CloudPeeps' Social Media Lead, @katloughrey on the Art of the Sell about how to package your services and get the kinds of clients you want, based on my experience running my own design business. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m frequently asked about what I do for work, and this is a great opportunity for anyone interested (or currently running) their own business to get some great tips and ideas from this great community. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Link in bio— hope to see you there!  “I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.” ― Sylvia Plath ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ MotoBike Update: he looks so much better than I expected! The Villanueva family who helped me so much here last year, and who have been storing my bike for the last 11 months until I was well enough to come back and pick it up, washed my bike and had it sitting in their backyard waiting for me. I couldn’t believe how little damage there was— a lot of external parts were damaged (the cover for the exhaust, turn signals, smashed tachometer, tail light, rear brake lever, etc.— but the frame is fine, my @giantloopmoto saddlebags protected the bike. The biggest issue is the cover for the oil filter— when the bike skidded across the highway, it sheared off the bolts, which need to be drilled out again and the cover replaced. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Luckily, the @suzukicycles shop here was able to order the part, so MotoBike sits outside waiting for some love and new parts. We’re (MotoBike and I) are hoping to head out beginning of next week.  “Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” ―Arthur Schopenhauer ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ 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.
©2017 Lone Rucksack