|Name: Rhyll de Teliga |
(technically 30 but this year doesn’t count towards my age!)
When I was 18, I took a gap year from school before university started and set off on a four month solo backpacking trip around Europe. I had no idea what to expect out of this trip but I think it had a lasting impact on me, and it awoke the adventure seeker and traveller within me! From then I went on to do a university exchange in England a few years later and that really cemented my love of travel.
Type of accommodation
Depending on the type of travel I’m embarking on, whether it’s a backpacking trip or a roadtrip, there’s a few types of accommodation that I go for, but it’s always budget conscious.
When I’ve done my big road trips, I always had a van with a bed in the back so I would just sleep for free at rest stops or on free land.
Whenever I’ve backpacked I have used a combination of hostels and couchsurfing. In the cheaper countries, it’s always easy to use hostels because of the flexibility but when in more expensive places, I have found couchsurfing to be an amazing way to meet locals and save some money.
What is your favorite type of traveling? How do you like to travel?
I have two favourite ways of travelling – backpacking and living out of a van on the road. Both kinds come with their own pros and cons and are quite different to each other but equally as rewarding. I’ve never been someone who likes to splurge when I travel, I’m not into shopping or fancy hotels. I love the spontaneous, the rough, the adventure, and the unknown of travelling.
Whether I’m travelling in solitude, in my van, driving from one beautiful place to another, or on the opposite spectrum, bouncing from hostel to hostel while backpacking,
I find these two styles best suit my personality and allow me the freedom I crave when I travel.
Are you a planner or you do everything as you go while traveling?
I used to be a planner! When I got really excited about my first road trip, I planned it for months – mapping out every detail! However now, I definitely just get a basic idea of some of the main places I want to visit and take a back seat approach, allowing for a lot of flexibility, especially when backpacking because those plans always change! I think having a balance is good so you don’t miss out on some of the amazing experiences in a country, because you weren’t prepared or hadn’t done enough research, but being too rigid means you may miss out on some of the crazy good things that can happen when you allow for flexibility!
As a woman, being a solo traveler, are you not scared?
I get asked this question a lot! The short answer is no. I think the idea of things is often more scary than the actual act of doing them. I was scared before I left Australia to work in Canada, I was scared before I drove to the USA by myself, and I was scared before I embarked on a backpacking trip to South and Central America. But you know what, once I went through the motions and started these journeys I loved every minute of it. Even with language barriers, unfamiliar places and challenges, my experiences of travelling solo have been so positive and empowering.
Have you ever felt in danger while traveling?
The only time I can remember feeling unsafe was when I left a bar in Mexico City late at night by myself. I had met up with a group of friends to go and watch a Lucha Libra wrestling match and we had gone for some drinks afterwards. By the time we all left the bar it was at least 1am and, while I’m usually very mindful at not putting myself in risky situations, I found myself on this night walking home alone through some really rough areas. Luckily nothing bad came of this situation and I think I owe a lot of that to a random act of kindness. While I was walking I was approached by a guy who asked me if I was lost, I said no and that I was walking to my hostel. He said it wasn’t a safe area and insisted on walking me back to the hostel. I was very wary to begin with, because at 1am in a strange city, everyone looks a bit scary, but we got talking and by the end of the walk I was so glad he had been there. I got safely back to the hostel and to this day, am so grateful for this act of kindness, and although I put myself in a sketchy situation it turned into a really positive experience.
Do you believe that travel as a woman is harder? Is it different for man traveling solo?
I’d say it really depends on the country you’re in. Of course there are going to be some countries where being a woman will make everything harder because of cultural or religious beliefs. In my experience I’ve definitely received a lot of unwanted attention in Latin American countries from men because, being blonde and obviously a tourist, I stood out. It was never anything I couldn’t handle but there was always a sense of being looked at and on show, which in time, I just got used to. Having talked to other male travellers, I learned that they never experienced nearly as much attention as the females, so I think in those particular countries, it’s just a cultural barrier you have to deal with as a woman.
Why did you start traveling? What inspired you?
I started travelling in a serious way when I moved to Canada on a work visa. Being in North America, I was suddenly so close to all these beautiful places and the rest of the world was just a cheap plane ticket away. Coming from Australia, I’m used to being quite isolated in terms of travel options and every country that I was really interested in visiting, was thousands of kilometres away and sooo expensive to reach! So I think it was through this opportunity that really made me realise just how much I loved life the most when I was exploring unchartered territory, when I was hiking a mountain, driving on a long deserted road, partying in a hostel with people I’d only met that morning, learning about a new culture, trying to speak Spanish, or falling in love with a new and unexpected place.
How do you choose your next destination?
I usually choose a destination based on a combination of wherever has my curiosity, wherever makes the most sense geographically and also wherever I can afford at the time. When I moved to Canada I did a lot of exploring there and also in America. Then because of the affordability and proximity of Mexico and Central America, I started branching out to these countries. It also worked out that I could make Europe happen last summer, so I really just try to go wherever is possible at the time and usually don’t plan too far ahead!
What was your best trip so far, why?
Damn this is a hard question and I don’t think I can give an answer because in all seriousness I have loved every single country I’ve had the pleasure of visiting! Sorry! From Canada, which feels like home now, to the States, to Latin America, to the places in Europe, I have just had the best time. I would say America, Canada Mexico and Central America have had the biggest impact on me and between these countries, that’s where I’ve spent most of my time and I feel a deep love for these places.
What was your worst trip so far, why?
Hmmm, I think it would be when I visited Rome as part of my first backpacking trip when I was 18. I was visiting the Colosseum and I placed my camera on the ticket desk and bent down to get my wallet out of my bag. When I stood up my camera and 2.5 months of photos on the SD card were gone – somebody had grabbed it. Back then there was no cloud to back up photos, so within the 30 seconds it took me to get out my wallet, they were all gone. I was heartbroken and so angry and found it very hard to enjoy myself for the rest of that trip. So safe to say I’m a lot more careful now!
What is your best story, best moment or someone who marked your life while travelling?
Wow there are so many! I’d need pages and pages! But someone who’s had the biggest impact on my life while travelling, is my partner. I met him in a hostel in Canada four years ago and he has been a part of my life, whether we’re in the same country or not, ever since. We’re both from different countries and have had some of the best adventures together. He’s always down for a roadtrip, a back country hiking trip or anything else that I throw at him! At the moment, he’s in Canada and I’m in Australia since covid showed up uninvited. So really hoping a reunion isn’t too far off!
I’ll also never forget travelling to my first country in Latin America. I was visiting Colombia for a month and it had been a total last minute split decision! I had booked a plane ticket without doing any research and basically just landed in Cartagena not having a plan and not knowing anybody.
I organised a beach trip through the hostel I was staying at and got talking to a guy from Germany and a girl from England.
All three of us were travelling Colombia solo and had all just arrived. We spent the day at the beach together and really hit it off. Instant friendship was born!
All three of us decided we had to do a four day hike to “Ciudad Perdida”! And it’s still one of the most memorable adventures I’ve ever had. For two days, we hiked through the jungle, swam in rivers, stayed in jungle huts and made our way closer to Ciudad Perdida.
For the next month, me and my two new friends travelled around the incredible country of Colombia together, and although we live in different parts of the world, we’ve managed to see each one another again (although not all together at the same time yet!)
I know it sounds like a cliche, but it truly is the people you meet while travelling that get to your heart. None of my adventures would have been the same without meeting the people on them that I did.
Has traveling changed your life or you as a person?
Yes, 100%. The past four years of my life, since moving to Canada have changed everything and in the best way possible. From my self growth, to my independence, to my relationship, I feel like almost every aspect of my life changed. I know that travelling isn’t for everybody, and there are so many methods of travel, but for me, I couldn’t imagine a life without it. I think the world, outside of what we know, is such a vibrant and extraordinary place and I don’t want to miss out on that!
Do you have any tips that you would like to share with other travellers?
One tip I’d give to any traveller is download the Maps.me app – seriously a lifesaver! Super handy as it can be used offline when downloaded and it’s very similar to Google maps, except other travellers have added their own notes about transport, food and points of interest – crazy useful! Your’e welcome.
Any advice for other women who wants to travel?
I’d say, don’t let other people’s opinions about your travel plans or destinations make you afraid or worried, unless they have actually experienced it first hand themself. If I had listened to every person who thought my plans were a bad idea (including my mum for some of them) I would have never gone and would have missed out on some of the greatest experiences of my life!
|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 Rhyll 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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