How This Poverty Jetsetter Traveled to 30% Of the World in Style & Luxury on a Budget
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21st Jun | 8 min read

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    Renata is a solo traveler and travel blogger who is fluent in seven languages and her goal is to speak at least ten.  She has traveled to about 30% of the world so far. You can check out her blog here or follow her Instagram @byemyself_ and connect with her on GAFFL

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    A Little Introduction About Myself

    I’m Renata, who you would politely call a ‘mature’ solo traveler and a poverty-jetsetter. Perhaps my desire - or should I say greed? - to see as much of the world as possible was fueled by the fact that, after being born in former Czechoslovakia, my parents moved to Germany, where I completed my schooling. Growing up bi-lingual made it easy to add a handful of other languages. Today, I’m fluent in seven languages - and I’d like to speak ten by the time I die. I can assure you, traveling helps a lot - with languages, not with the dying part.

    Since I have a way with words and have worked in journalism and the media practically all my life, starting a travel blog was the only logical way of combining my talents and passions.

    What Inspired Me To Start Traveling Solo And Why I Continue To Do It

    It wasn't anything spectacular - it was a wish to go on a trip that no one else had the time or money for. Hence, I packed my bag, and off I went for the first time by myself and for the first time to the US.

    This was before the internet, so I planned my trip through the so-called Bible belt as well as I could, with the help of books’n’brochures.

    I had no clue what to expect. I wasn’t aware of the distance. I had no idea you couldn't just walk as you would in Europe or take a public bus everywhere. I had the time of my life mindlessly meandering on a Greyhound bus from a forlorn place to a forlorn place.

    After that, I didn’t even bother to look for fellow travelers. I knew I could do it on my own without getting lost or lonely.

    Oh, wait, for about a decade, I did have a travel companion: my daughter. She was almost two years old when I found us a beach house in Belize for five months. When we returned to Germany, she almost entirely spoke in Patois, the Belizean English. We kept wintering in Central America - Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica - until she reached school age.

    As she became a teenager and preferred not to travel with her elderly mother, I remembered that solo travel was a valid option, and here I am, on the road again by myself.

    How Often I Travel and Activities I Enjoy

    I can normally afford two to three trips for about three weeks per year because I still have a day job at a journalist's federation. In addition, I’m obviously taking advantage of all those holidays, bridge days and, of course, weekends. Europe is really great for short trips. Visiting two capitals during one single Easter weekend? No problem!

    As I’m a culture vulture, visiting museums and galleries is a very important part of my trips. But I'm also a sucker for anything genuine and unique: How do people live? What is it that makes them tick?  Apart from colorful farmers’ markets, I love to browse in supermarkets and even in drugstores. I want to rub shoulders with the locals.

    The older I get, the more I get a hang of landscapes and scenery. It's ironic because hiking would have been much easier twenty years ago, I guess. Yes, so that’s a new addition to my itinerary.

    I Travel in Style With a Little Luxury at a Low Price

    Most of the time, I decide at the beginning of each year what I want to see.

    Often, I choose places that someone has told me about recently. Obviously, I try to stay as long as I can, but since that time is limited, I plan a very detailed itinerary before I leave. I double-check the opening hours and routes ahead of time.

    Given that I don't drive, a good public transportation network is essential, as is keeping track of schedules.

    Because I only have a limited amount of time, I can easily predict how many days I'll spend in one location.  Sometimes I do adjust my itinerary a little bit - but most of the time, I stick to my plans.

    Therefore, I can book all the accommodations and tickets beforehand. This way, I save a huge amount of money - remember: I’m a poverty-jetsetter. Hence, I travel in style with a little luxury at a low price.

     I Pack Light, Practical, and Thoroughly

    I try to pack as light as possible, mainly because I have itchy feet and don't stay in one place for long.  It's already a lot if I stay for three or four nights.

    As a result, I pack light, practical, and thorough. I'm quite vain, and I think dresses are ideal: they're light and don't require much styling, but you always look dressy.

    I always make sure that the colors in my wardrobe match. I can easily combine them this way. I walk from the break of day until the sun sets, whether I'm on a city break or meandering through an Asian country.

    As a result, good shoes are essential. Yes, I bit the bullet and purchased my first pair of Birkenstocks about two years ago. You wouldn't have been caught dead in those cork-boats at the age of twenty. But, let's face it, I'm not twenty anymore.  

    In general, I'm a very relaxed packer because I don't mind buying things I forget or suddenly need while abroad.

    Safety Precautions I Take When I Travel Solo

    Since I’ve left the heavy-party age group, I hardly ever go out after dark. Therefore, I don’t really need to take precautions. I’m not very fearful when traveling because I don’t tend to do stupid things. 

    I’ve Seen About 30% Of the World

    I don’t know what qualifies as ‘visiting a country’. I’ve spent a year in Honduras and two days in Latvia. Do they both count?

    A couple of weeks ago, I did some kind of ‘test’ on a website and according to that, I’ve seen about 30% of the world. But as I pointed out, I don’t think this tells you much about the experience.

    I definitely love to explore hidden gems and rub shoulders with locals. But let’s face it, many of the so-called tourist spots are tourist spots for a reason, and the reason is that they are gorgeous and not to be missed.

    I crossed the Bridge of Sighs, I climbed Machu Picchu, and I snorkeled the Red Sea. And yes, I meet all those lovely locals and inspiring fellow travelers and have a great time!

    My Favorite Travel App

    My most important site is actually Google maps. As I said, I don't drive, so I look up all the places and check distances and schedules.  I'm not sure how I ever planned trips before Google Maps, but I did.

    What Inspired Me To Start My Blog 

    It felt so natural to me to become a solo traveler. Despite the fact that I get nervous before every trip, I've never had any anxiety that prevented me from going. By the way, the title of my blog is not a typo; it refers to my saying goodbye to the usual side of myself as I travel to find the other me. 

    Only when people asked if I was scared, if I got lonely, and a slew of other questions did I realize that traveling alone - especially as a woman - wasn't as 'normal' as I had assumed.

    In addition, I got asked a gazillion questions about how I chose a destination, how I planned my itineraries, where I booked them, and so on.

    So, rather than answering each and every question individually, I created a place where people who want to follow in my footsteps can find all the inspiration and information they require.

    What Prevents Me From Traveling More

    If I didn't have to work during the day, I'd definitely be a nomad. As a result, I can't wait to get older and spend my entire pension on month-long trips to all the amazing places I haven't seen yet. 

    There are no challenges for me when traveling alone. The only real disadvantage is that I am unable to share the costs. Aside from that, I'm a very happy solo traveler.

    My Advice to New Solo Female Travelers

    I’d try out a long weekend by myself. And I wouldn’t overthink it. Although I travel alone the majority of the time, it's just a way of life for me. I'm not interested in it becoming a philosophy or a religion.

    As soon as you constantly think about it, it becomes a far bigger deal than it is, and it gets scary. If you want to go, just do it - I know I’ve heard this motto before.

    New to our blog? Here are some of our inspiring solo female traveler's stories worth checking! 

    Other cool travel stories you might enjoy!

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