Travel Betty is a modern-day vagabond, a flashy, brash non-conformist (although she did marry Travel Boyfriend). An independent traveler - no organized tours for TB - she finally snagged the job of her life - plenty of travel on someone else's dime. Bliss. Unfortunately for us, she doesn't keep up her Travel Betty blog anymore but her back issues are packed with fun.
While she was still traveling Travel Betty took the time to answer a few questions for Women on the Road.
I call myself Travel Betty, but anyone can be a Travel Betty. It's simply someone who feels a passion for travel and who actually makes it a priority to get out there and do it. A lot of people, women especially, tend to create barriers for themselves instead of living out their dreams. "It's too hard." "I don't have enough money or time." "What will other people think of me?" These are all just convenient excuses to mask fear. A Travel Betty says, "Forget that, I'm hitting the road!"
Thanks! I wanted to come up with something that expressed independence and felt a bit sassy. I borrowed from the phrases "Skateboard Betty" and "Surf Betty." Both sports are typically male dominated, but then these badass ladies showed up and wanted to be taken seriously too. I think it's very similar with travel. When a man decides to travel around the world, people are like, "Wow, what an adventurer." When a woman decides to do it, everyone says, "Ooh, aren't you scared? Women aren't safe. Men will assume you're easy." Or whatever. I wanted to draw the correlation and let other women know that your gender shouldn't dictate your dreams.
I like to mix things up. I love getting to know the people who live in the countries I'm visiting. The travel industry can make experiences so easy and sanitized that you might as well be on a ride at Disney World. But if you're willing to put yourself out there and take a few chances while you're on the road, you'll more than likely end up pleasantly surprised.
In Bali, a trusted driver I'd befriended had a family emergency and couldn't take me and a friend to the other side of the island to go snorkeling. He recommended that two young Balinese surfer dudes take us instead. We had a great trip and ended up at the one guy's childhood home where we met his mom. We also stopped along the side of the road for my first taste of durian. It was such a blast. If I'd decided to take the tourist bus to get there instead, I never would have had the opportunity to meet these great locals or get insight into how everyday families live in rural Bali.
That's not to say you shouldn't take advantage of conveniences when they're available. If that's what makes you feel more comfortable traveling, then by all means do it. Travel Betties aren't here to judge!
It's a sense of adventure versus a sense of just relaxation. For some people, all they want after a year of hard work is a week on the beach and an all-you-can-eat crab leg station at the chain hotel buffet. But with independent travel there are no guarantees. You do your own research and try to find experiences you think will fit your interests and expectations. Sometimes it works out great and sometimes it falls flat, but there's always that sense of excitement about the unknown. I can't get enough of that.
Travel Boyfriend is an amazing companion on trips. We have vastly different planning styles though, so the pre-trip is always a challenge. He likes to plan to the nth degree and although I don't like to just show up places blind, I prefer to leave room for a bit of spontaneity. Once we're on the road though, we tend to gravitate towards similar activities.
I feel so blessed to have had so many travel adventures, it's hard to pick the best. One that stands out was the time TB and I were climbing the sand dunes around Deadvlei in Namibia. We were totally out of shape and finding it hard to climb to the top to catch the great views. We totally had to work together to accomplish our goal, which we eventually did. That's when I knew he was probably marriage material.
Afterwards, we slid down the dunes on our butts and started walking in opposite directions across the featureless brown desert sand. I turned and asked him where he was going and he said, "Back to the road." "No, the road is this way," I said. It was high noon, we were completely out of water and we hadn't seen a person or a vehicle for a frighteningly long time. It was just one of those moments where you think, "We're f*#cked."
We just stared at each other for a while in silence and finally for whatever reason he agreed to follow me. Not long afterwards, I saw a car off in the distance and we ran towards it to hitch a ride. Luckily we did, it was the last one back to civilization for hours. Nobody else was dumb enough to be out in that blistering heat like that.
Right now, we're planning our belated honeymoon. We're going to Argentina and Uruguay in November. I also just started a fantastic new job where there is reportedly an obscene amount of travel potential, so I'm hoping to start seeing the world on someone else's dime for a change. I've been able to take a lot of weekend trips lately, so I'm really hoping to find some free time to be able to write about them all for my blog: Austin, Vancouver, Albuquerque, Seattle, New York. I am so behind, it's silly. But really, I can't complain. Life is good when you're a Travel Betty.
Still DREAMING of traveling the world after all these years?
What's stopping you from DOING it?
If you think it's too late, if you're holding back because you have no one to travel with, if there are a million reasons why you're alone or too inexperienced or too scared…
Then you really NEED Women on the Road: the essential guide for baby boomer travel ! This book is made for you. Whatever is holding you back, Women on the Road eliminates the obstacles, relieves your fears and insecurities, and gets you out of the house and onto the road!