I am a woman, and I have solo hitchhiked at least 7,000 kilometers over several years of travel adventures.
I have crossed France in a day, discussed philosophy with a Dutch man in Croatia, offered free career counseling to a woman in South Africa, crossed Costa Rica for a festival, and become a sympathetic ear to countless stories of loss, triumph, and heartbreak. Over a dozen countries in four continents have borne witness to my journey and my thumbs.
Hitchwiki and Tom Robbins have guided me, while the rest of the world has told me I’m taking stupid risks.
Love lives here.
We built a dwelling for her
On a shaky foundation,
Love flipped her fire-engine hair
over her shoulder
And stepped right on in,
Suitcase in hand —
Paid the cab for just
a one-way fare.
And now there are cracks
in the walls
And the ceiling caves in
in that one spot over there,
She just sits back
in her easy chair,
Watching the rain
leak through the window panes.
We should have put
a warning on the door:
Two Young Contractors
On The Job;
Enter At Your Own Risk.
But we just left the…
“Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; be curious; see what you see; hear what you hear; and then act upon what you know to be true. These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés
They say that our brains only consciously process a tiny percentage of the information we receive through our senses — sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. What happens to the rest of that incoming information? …
I’ve realized I’m not a huge fan of special months or days to honor things that we should be honoring every day of the year.
Day of Love. Day of Friendship. Mother’s Day. Black History Month. And my personal favorite, yesterday, Women’s Day. (For the actual history behind Women’s Day you can check out Vox, the BBC, or Vanguardia. Hint: It started with radical protests. However, in my experience, the day has mostly turned into an opportunity for brands to market literally anything and for men to slide into my DMs with a “Feliz día,” so here we are.)
This is a good thing.
It shouldn’t be easy. (I strongly believe that it is through challenge, discomfort, dis-ease that we grow best.)
There are no bathroom breaks, no question and answer sessions, and no weeks off for study or review.
We jump in, and there we are. We learn on the fly, or we fall on our face. Or, we fall, and then we learn to fly.
Whatever the order of events, we learn, and we learn fast when we get out there. These are a few of the life lessons I’ve found travel teaches fastest:
That time you think you bought an apple pastry at the Finnish supermarket, but when you bite into it the orange mush inside is anything but…
Once, there was a cat who loved a bird; and the bird, she loved him too.
Every day they would find each other at the point where the earth meets the sky, and there their attachment grew.
Their love was made of soft down and amber, and it glowed in the moonlight like a candle in a desolate world.
The cat trimmed his claws and filed his teeth to protect his love, and he taught her to move like liquid fire between the tall stalks of grass — silent, sinewy, sonorous. …
I remember the first time I danced with boys. A middle school social event. I think I was 12. Nearly frozen with a self-conscious fear of “doing it wrong,” I managed to sway my hips in time to the music for the momentous 15 seconds he was behind me. A year later, I was confidently winding along to Sean Paul like I’d been doing it my whole life.
I remember hiding — so much hiding — throughout my childhood. Hiding in my room to practice dancing in front of the mirror. Hiding under the covers to explore my own body…
Skye Mallac is a South African writer, herbalist and traveler. She took on South America alone on a minuscule budget, and then traveled almost a year from Brazil to Costa Rica. She is happiest with her feet on the move and the wind in her hair.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Skye about her experiences as a solo traveler, freelancer, and herbalist, and I hope her story may serve as inspiration for the aspiring travelers out there!
“As humans, we’re designed to adapt so quickly…