Name:  Marisa Vogiatzi
Age: 22
Nationality: Scottish/Greek

IG: @marisa.vogiatzi
Youtube channel

Blog/photo portfolio

First trip: 20, San Francisco

Type of accommodation: Hostel

What is your favorite type of traveling? How do you like to travel?

I’m a solo budget traveler. I love hiking but I also like to explore cities too. I like backpacking around a few different destinations/countries on public transport or hitchhiking and I usually stay in hostel or couchsurf.

Are you a planner or you do everything as you go while traveling?

I’m not a huge planner but i do like planning some trips especially the long ones, e.g. I planned a 30-day solo trip in the US around 11 states without a car so that required me to book some things in advance and plan my route as well as make list of things i wanted to see and do. But once I actually got to each place, I ended up meeting people and being spontaneous and going on new unplanned adventures.

As a woman, being a solo traveler, are you not scared?

No. I feel empowered and confident when I travel on my own. A lot of people tell me that I inspire them to travel on their won and that makes me feel super happy! However, the first time i went on my own, I felt like I was being watched especially when in restaurants but now I don’t care and just enjoy my food 😂 Unfortunately, nowadays there is still a stigma about solitude and traveling alone, and people are seen as lonely and are being judged. To be honest, I was more afraid of being judged rather than actual dangers. However now I don’t even think about and just love traveling and eating out on my own.

Have you ever felt in danger while traveling?

I haven’t really felt any danger when traveling alone. It is important to mention though that I do take care when out and about, and I never drink alcohol so I can be able to focus 100%. I also don’t go out late at night in quiet streets or neighborhoods.

Do you believe that travel as a woman is harder? Is it different for man traveling solo?

Unfortunately, female solo travel is a little harder sometimes. As I mentioned before, there is this stigma around solo travel and people especially women can be regarded by others as lonely and in many cases sexually available. However, men can also experience this and it is very important for all types of travelers to take care, do their research on the destination and make sure they respect the host culture and rules.

Why did you start traveling? What inspired you?

Growing up in Greece, we never had money or time to travel. I only went to Scotland every few years (that’s where my mum is from) to visit family. When I moved to Scotland when I was18 for university, I had the chance to go to Finland for a semester and I was terrified. I almost didn’t go. It turned out one the best experiences of my life. Saw the Northern lights, met incredible people from all over the world, learned to ski, visited Santa Claus village in Lapland and it just made me step outside my comfort zone in so many ways. This then helped me find the courage to go to California for my internship for a whole year.  And that’s when I started traveling solo. When I was in California I had no one to go to San Francisco with so I decided to go on my own and despite being nervous at first, I absolutely loved it. And since then I have traveled to 11 states, and around Europe on my own and I prefer it than going with friends.
I think it is important to be mentioned that because I chose to study in Scotland and leave the small town I grew up on in Crete, and then went to study abroad in Finland, this then made it a lot easier to find courage to travel even further and realize that it’s not that scary.

How do you choose your next destination?

It all depends on the price of the flights or the bus/train as I do travel on a very tight budget. But if I see that there’s a cheap way to get to that destination then I’’ll just book it and go. Because I stay in hostels or I do couchsurfing, I don’t really care if the actual destination is expensive since I’m saving so much on accommodation. And most things are free to do in most places anyway, e.g. I did New York City for 5 days and only spent $550 including flights, accommodation, food and attractions.

What was your best trip so far, why?

Ahh so many amazing trips. But one of my all time favorites was Maui, Hawaii. I went for my 21st birthday for a week and stayed in a hostel called Banana Bungalow.
So many people questioned the fact that I’m going alone to celebrate my birthday for a week. But wow…it was incredible! I met people from all over the world at the hostel (100% recommend this hostel), jumped off cliffs and waterfalls, hiked the Haleakala Volcano, swam with turtles, went on road trips, saw the island from a helicopter, and just had one the best weeks of my life. So grateful to have experienced these adventures with some amazing people. Maui definitely exceeded my expectations. I can’t drive so I was quite worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to explore the island but the hostel offered free tours daily and even took us to non-touristy spots and got to really experience the local culture of Hawaii.

What was your worst trip so far, why? I don’t really have bad trip 🙂

What is your best story, best moment or someone who marked your life while travelling?

There are so many people that have changed my life while traveling. Every person I meet on the road has changed my perspective about the world and has left me with great memories.
One of my favourite moments, is when I hiked Haleakala in Maui. It was definitely the most hard hike I’ve done but holy $h!T! The view was one the best thing I’ve ever witnessed. We were above the clouds with the most breathtaking sunset, it was my 21st birthday, and I was surrounded by people I had just met that week and has become so close with them. I actually cried when I left as I never knew I could feel like that about a place or people.

Has traveling changed your life or you as a person?

Yes definitely! I actually wrote my university dissertation on this topic hahah: “how stepping outside one’s comfort zone by being a solo tourist and the positive impacts on confidence and personal growth”. I truly believe that solo travel and travel in general has changed me completely. I am way more confident, it has expanded my knowledge and has made me more open minded and has also made me addicted to traveling and I can’t wait to explore more!

Do you have any tips that you would like to share with other travellers?

I would definitely recommend staying in a hostel! It’s a great way to meet people very easily, it’s super cheap and they usually have some kind of tours that you could join to explore the destination.

Any advice for other women who wants to travel?

Just do it! It may be scary at first but once you arrive, you will have the best time and realize that being on your own has countless benefits. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want and you really get to know yourself. Plus, traveling solo does not mean you’ll be lonely or alone because there are so many other solo travelers that you may meet on the road.
I’d say, start small, maybe go to a nearby city or town and then go on longer trips. It doesn’t even need to be overnight, you can take plenty of day trips on your own .

As a solo traveler and woman, my main goal is to inspire other women and to let people know about our power around the world. Sharing experiences and adventures.
Hope you liked this interview, and many thanks to Hannah for sharing with all of us her adventures and her life 🙂
What about you? Do you have any stories to share?
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