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.

 “I am the shore and the ocean, awaiting myself on both sides.” ― Dejan Stojanovic  “Put your hands on me Destiny.” ― Cindy Skaggs  “Honestly, if you're given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don't say 'what kind of tea?” ⁣―Neil Gaiman  “She had a desire to be near the distance.” —Wild  “Come on try a little. Nothing is forever. There’s got to be something better than in the middle.”⁣ —The Wallflowers⁣ ⁣ Long tunnels of dirt were carved out of the road, leading down the steep hill toward the beach. I inwardly sighed. The beautiful highway petered out on the turnoff as a huge slab of asphalt dropped off, crumbling into a steep embankment of mud. And it had started to rain. ⁣ ⁣ I started down the steep side street on my motorcycle into Dominicalito, a small town to the South-East of Dominical in Costa Rica. I was supposed to meet two girls here for dinner, and we had picked a place on the map where it looked like there were restaurants. The ‘restaurants’ appeared in front of me as one tiny, deserted gypsy caravan. There was no one around, just the dirt road continuing along the shore along a line of swaying palm trees in the cooling evening air. ⁣ ⁣ I pulled my motorcycle to the side of the dirt road, careful to avoid the deep piles of sand, and perched on a rock to wait. A little ways down the dirt road, I saw two young men approaching, one carrying a long machete and a coconut. I watched them walk slowly down the street toward me, one of them smiling widely as he approached me and my motorcycle. ⁣ ⁣ “Where did you ride from?” he asked me in English.⁣ ⁣ I explained I had ridden from Washington, DC, and was headed to Argentina. ⁣ ⁣ “You are brave.” ⁣ ⁣ “Yeah I guess so,” I said. “I hear that a lot, but it’s not that big of a deal.”⁣ ⁣ “No, I mean your spirit,” he said, “It’s your spirit that is brave.”⁣ ⁣ He smiled at me, and continued walking down the dirt street onto the sand with his friend. ⁣ ⁣ It was months and months ago now, but I think about his words often. I remember watching him slowly disappear on the beach in the fading light, how he became smaller and smaller until he disappeared into the horizon, absorbed into the smudged line where the sea met the sky. Like he was never there at all.  “I shall strip away layer after layer of grime— the toffee-colored varnish and caked soot left by a lifetime of dissembling— until I come to the very thing itself and know it for what it is. My soul. My self.” ⁣ ― John Banville⁣ ⁣ Marshmallows. Gear strewn everywhere. Motorcycle in the distance. It got so chilly at night here, but I could see all the stars with the fly off.  “I will be myself.” ⁣ ― Charlotte Brontë⁣ ⁣ The light is pale— a warbling, soft pink above the horizon that delicately touches the sand. I’m waiting on a big expanse of beach, in the early morning or just before sunset— the light is also waiting. I watch the birds and the waves, the sound of the water a kind of metronome, as people walking by speed up to a rhythm I can’t quite follow, their voices high pitched notes in the wind. ⁣ ⁣ “What was that?” I say, but they’re already gone.  “Those who don't belong to any specific place can't, in fact, return anywhere.” ―Jhumpa Lahiri  “Most of the time, our fight is all about saving us from ourselves.”-Ashkay Vasu  “So many … risk so little, they spend their lives avoiding danger. I’d risk everything to get what I want.”⁣ —Game of Thrones⁣ ⁣ For all the women who’ve had to endure ‘go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich’ jokes. For all the women who’ve ever had a man crawl into their bed in the middle of the night in a hostel dormitory. For all the women riding motorcycles who’ve had to endure monologues from men with less experience who’ve decided to place themselves in the role of instructor. For all of the women who’ve been told it’s not safe to sleep outside alone— for all the women who’ve been told ‘it’s not safe’ by people who continue to prop up misogynist cultural norms and men that continue to make it so. For all the women who have been followed home, trolled online, and shouted at walking down the street. For all the women who’ve been told ‘he’s harmless’ to invalidate their experiences. For all the girls who have been told to stay silent, and haven’t been protected by older women. For all the women with male family members and male friends who couldn’t be bothered with the Women’s March, or the Kavanaugh hearings, because it doesn’t directly affect them. ⁣ ⁣ For all the women— I stand with you. ⁣ #KavanuaghHearings #YesAllWomen #BelieveWomen #MeToo #TimesUp
 “A very small woman can cast a very large shadow.” ― George R.R. Martin  "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."⁣ —JK Rowling ⁣ ⁣ Thanks to @odysseycolombia for this beauty yesterday- tearing around the mountains in Medellin on this machine made for the best Sunday.  “The city was radiant and I felt untouchable.” ―Stephanie Danler  “I never want you to deny anything about yourself because you have grown up thinking it’s unacceptable or inconvenient for the people around you.” ⁣ ―Jennifer Elisabeth⁣ ⁣ Peruvian desert. It looks warm but it was cold on the bike— I was wearing three jackets but still managed to get a thin line of dark red sunburn on my lower back. #desertmagic  “The spirit within is untouchable.” ⁣ ―Lailah Gifty Akita⁣ ⁣ Pretty much the perfect camping spot (though that stream was cold carrying all my gear across).  “Once you figure out what respect tastes like, it tastes better than attention.” ⁣ –Pink⁣ ⁣ I live for these moments of quiet intensity, working on my bicycle— the sound of the chain and the gears whirring. Being able to take apart and reassemble in the quiet, listening to good music— oil, tube, rag, multitool. Nothing to misunderstand, no small talk to fill silences, just perfect A + B = C. There’s only one right way to change a tube.  “We rise again in the grass,” Anthony Doerr wrote, “In the flowers. In songs.”⁣ ⁣ I was excited to get an email from my editor last night letting me know my latest piece for @hellogiggles was just published. Link to the essay in my bio. I wrote this piece about how words help us overcome pain, and hardship, and trauma.  “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi⁣ ⁣ I wasn’t going to make note of today, but successes deserve a little note (and Star Wars quotes, obviously). One year ago today I left this wheelchair behind and started toward a new life, built a new business, and moved to Colombia. Life is full of such incredible transformations and sometimes desperate luck. Surviving a 65 mph crash last year in Honduras feels like a lifetime ago now, like it happened to someone else, even though every day I’m reminded of it in some way. I don’t have a lot of photos from that time, and the ones I do have are pretty tame, but here are a few visuals as a cheers and note to the things we overcome, whatever they may be.  “Yes, often, I am reminded of her, and in one of my vast array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt— an immense leap of an attempt— to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.⁣ ⁣ Here it is. One of a handful.⁣ ⁣ If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story.⁣ ⁣ I’ll show you something.”⁣ —Markus Zusak⁣ ⁣ I ran out of gas yesterday in the desert, a stretch of highway so vast, distant oncoming vehicles looked like mirages in the afternoon heat, their headlights shimmering and flickering like flames. So many of the small towns along the way in Peru weren’t marked on my map, so I assumed this 3 hour stretch would be the same. Over an hour and a half from the nearest town in either direction, my gas light came on, and there was nothing but desert. I estimated I had about 30 kilometers to go before stalling out, and scanned the horizon hoping for something. Sparse trees and pale yellow sand stretched in every direction so far it almost looked like I was nearing the sea, the sand blurring to a pale blue as it met the sky in the distance— just another mirage. ⁣20 kilometers to go. 10. ⁣ All of a sudden, a tiny house came into view, almost hidden in the dusty sand. I quickly slowed and pulled onto the flat space in front where a group of five men were just sitting down to lunch. Just a second, they told me in Spanish, yes we have gasoline. I did a little dance while a woman came out of the house with a large funnel and huge plastic jug of yellow gas.  “I'm a seeker too. But my dreams aren't like yours. I can't help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better... Has to be.” ⁣ —Planet of the Apes⁣
©2017 Lone Rucksack