Carolin Started Her Travel Blog Two Years Ago And Has Been Broadening Her Horizons Learning About New Continents, Countries, Languages, & Cultures
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

GAFFL
9th Dec | 7 min read

Table of Contents

    At GAFFL, we love to publish inspiring travel stories from adventurers around the world. You can connect with travelers from 190+ countries on GAFFL, meet up, and explore destinations together.

    Carolin is a 24-year-old Marketing student based in Germany. She only started her travel blog Happy When Abroad and her Instagram in 2020, but travel has been an important part of her life for some years! Exploring new locations throughout the world, collecting photography, and learning about different cultures have always been her biggest hobbies, whether it was helping in South Africa, working in Paris, or traveling in Thailand.

    Carolin Happy When Abroad

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    My Motivation To Start Traveling

    During my school years, I was already very interested in other countries and cultures. That has not changed until today. When I was 18, I traveled alone for the first time - to South Africa. The experiences with the people in this country inspired me to get to know many other continents, countries, languages, and cultures and to broaden my horizons.

    Gaining new experiences, meeting other people, and learning new things every day is what I like most about traveling and what keeps me continuing to do so.

    Carolin Happy When Abroad

    How I Decide My Next Destination

    Of course, I would first have to consider how much time and budget I have available, whether I stay in Europe or travel further afield. Then I would make a shortlist with the countries and places that interest me the most and that fit my travel plans season wise.

    Next, I would compare airfares and think about possible excursions and local transportation costs. If several countries would come into question, I mostly rely on my gut feeling.

    Duration Of My Trips

    Most of my vacations are about 3 weeks long. In my opinion, this is a good time to get a first impression of a destination.

    Once I have decided on a location, the first thing I do is book the plane tickets. Then I think about the itinerary and the things I want to experience and see.

    I book the accommodations only at the very end. If I still want to adjust my route while traveling, I even book them at the last minute at the destination.

    Carolin Happy When Abroad

    How Volunteering In South Africa Helped Me Get Into Traveling

    I decided to go to South Africa because I wanted to gain an insight into the culture and life of children in this country. I wanted to become a more open-minded person and to learn about other people’s lives.

    During this time, I helped at a local school in a township during the week and on the weekends, I had time to explore the beautiful region around Cape Town with other volunteers.

    My time in South Africa has definitely taught me that it doesn't take much to live a happy life and that it makes you happy when you can make other people happy.

    By volunteering in South Africa, I developed the desire to get to know other cultures, countries, and people better as well. Looking back, I would say that since then I have been bitten by the travel bug.

    Carolin Happy When Abroad

    Favorite Memories Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Locals

    When I traveled through Thailand for two months, I met so many amazing people along the way – both locals and foreign travelers like me.

    I still remember my first day arriving at the hostel. Never been backpacking before, I was not sure how my time in Thailand will turn out and if I would make any friends.

    Luckily, I was soon convinced of the opposite. In my first week, I have already made a bunch of new friends and we were having the best time together. From exploring new cities to trying local food and partying all night long – I was so grateful for each moment and for every single person I have met.

    I can totally recommend Thailand to any solo travelers who would like to travel on a budget while meeting like-minded people. Also, it’s not only the other travelers but also the locals who made my stay so pleasant. Thais are one of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world!

    Worth Reading: Derk Spent His Thailand Adventure Living With Locals, Eating Very Traditional Food, And Getting A Tattoo From A Monk

    Why I Started My Blog

    I initially created my travel blog for two reasons. First, to have a place where I can store all my memories and indulge in reminiscences. And second, to share all of my experiences and travel tips with others and encourage them to explore more of our beautiful world.

    My blog’s mission is not only to show others which beautiful places exist but also to help them plan their own journey. Therefore, I provide detailed itineraries, travel tips, and bucket lists for several destinations around the world.

    My blog’s content is only original content, meaning I would only write about the places I have visited myself. It makes me the happiest when people tell me they decided to go on a certain trip because I have inspired them and that they are happy to use my tips.

    Carolin Happy When Abroad

    Countries I Have Visited & My Bucket List

    So far, I have traveled to 27 countries. It’s hard to say which countries and places I liked best because there are just too many!

    But if I had to choose my best travel experiences, I would say nothing really beats sleeping in the desert in Jordan, going on a Safari in South Africa, swimming with whale sharks in Mexico, and hiking in the mountains of Norway.

    My list of the places I still want to see is very long. Traveling through South America is a huge dream of mine as well as visiting more African countries such as Tanzania, Namibia, and Kenya.

    Things I Believe A Full-Time Traveler Should Have In Order To Sustain Their Travels

    I believe it takes a lot of self-determination and ambition to sustain a full-time travel lifestyle. You have to be certain of your goals and have the courage to work hard for your dreams.

    Although it might look like 365 days of vacation on the social media accounts of many digital nomads and travel influencers, I’m sure there’s hard work behind it!

    Carolin Happy When Abroad

    One Of My Best Travel Experiences

    One of my best travel experiences was a one-week trip to Jordan.

    I haven’t known much about the small Arabic country before except that it is home to the famous world heritage site Petra. Even though it was just a 7-days trip, I have made so many amazing experiences. From watching the sunrise over the ancient ruins of Petra to stargazing in the Wadi Rum desert and swimming in the Red Sea – it was a week full of breathtaking moments!

    How I Manage My Travel Costs

    Usually, I have most of my accommodation and transportation costs already booked before my vacation. Therefore, I do not worry about spending too much money at the destination itself.

    When it’s a longer trip, I would try to come up with a monthly budget beforehand to make sure I’m not spending too much money.

    Staying in one place for a longer time instead of taking 3 flights in 3 weeks will also positively affect your budget.

    When my budget is very tight, I would also think about taking a trip in my own country and exploring some places in my backyard I have never seen before. A short trip in your own country is still better than no trip, right?

    Carolin Happy When Abroad

    How GAFFL Can Help Travelers

    GAFFL plays a huge role in the lives of travelers who want to experience as much as possible while keeping their budget in mind. Being able to meet other people while traveling can really make a difference whether you feel comfortable at a destination or not.

    GAFFL really combines two big things: making friends and sharing costs – what else do you need for a perfect getaway? Other apps I use on my travels are Google Maps, Airbnb, Pinterest, and SimplyCards.

    What I Wish I Had Known When I First Started Traveling

    When it comes to traveling, I have noticed how much people like to pack for their vacations. I was not better in the beginning. Since I traveled through Southeast Asia with only my backpack, I realized how little you actually need. Another lesson I have learned through my travels is that you should not be scared to go alone.

    Traveling solo is one of the best experiences you can make! Saying that, I want to conclude with one of my favorite quotes: “Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it” (John Mayer).

    Tired of traveling alone? Connect with users from over 190 countries to plan trips and travel together!
    Try GAFFL