Stories from the road is an interview series with inspiring people all over the world. Meet backpackers, expats, nomads and full-time travellers, and learn how you can do it too.
Alyssa is a self-made, full-time travel blogger of the site MyLifesAMovie.com who’s best known for being a fearless femme solo traveller, and her insane GoPro solo-photography on Instagram. She started her blog from scratch two years ago and aims to show people that “Dreams don’t work unless you do” by posting honest and useful travel tips and insights, and showing what it’s really like to live life as a full-time travel blogger on Snapchat (@mylifesamovie.c).
How did you get travel bug, when/why did you start travelling?
About two years ago I felt like there was just more to life than what I was currently doing (hanging out in the social scene of Hollywood), so I had the idea to go volunteer in South Africa. I tried to get friends to come with me, but every time I waited, I missed out on the opportunity to go, so eventually, I said screw it, and just went on my own.
Best advice for people who dream about travelling
My best advice is that dreams don’t work unless you do. Stop dreaming, and start doing. Stop making excuses, and start figuring out solutions. I’ve been functionally broke for 2 years now, but the reason why I’ve traveled so much is because I put in a ton of extra effort to work endlessly, save, not spend any money on common luxuries like Starbucks, handbags, expensive makeup etc., and most importantly, to just go instead of worrying about not having a ton of money when you get back.
Tell me about your craziest travel memory
Probably climbing the Stairway to Heaven. I was on a press trip with Hilton in Oahu, Hawaii for the grand opening of a new hotel that started at 9am, but the morning of was my only chance to climb the Stairway to Heaven…which…is also an illegal hike. So, I found someone on Instagram who wanted to do it too, and she found a local to guide, at 2am (when you have to go to “sneak past the guard”), and I Ubered an hour to meet them, then we started hiking in the dark and rain, and up the 3000 rickety metal stairs.
It was probably one of the most epic views and experiences I’ve ever had, BUT, we definitely got caught when we climbed back down, and I definitely thought when the cops came that I was going to go to jail. We got citations instead for trespassing (a nice little $1k set back out of my travel piggy bank), and I was also super late for the grand opening, but to make matters worse, I showed up in the brand new lobby, covered in mud, and hadn’t slept from the night before.
The PR representatives that sent me on the press trip were definitely giving me the evil eye at first, but when the new hotel’s GM asked which hike I did and I said, “Haiku Stairs”, she literally stood up and gave me a high-five, which immediately regained and boosted my credentials!
I’ve also camped alone on a deserted island, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, rode a bike down Death Road in Bolivia, and got accidentally locked in the Sydney Aquarium at night.
What do you do when you’re not travelling?
Work. I try to at least break away for happy hour with my friends, but in all honesty, it’s non-stop grind time when I’m “home”.
What’s on your bucket list?
At the top of my bucket list is travelling solo to Antarctica. Next is going to my last two World Wonders, Petra and Christ the Redeemer (and the pyramids in Egypt although they’re listed on the “old” list), followed by a waterfall chasing bucket list that includes Iguazu Falls and Victoria Falls!
What’s your best tip to dare getting out of your comfort zone?
Don’t think about it and don’t listen to anyone. You’ll only freak yourself out and get anxiety. The best feeling is just doing it and afterwards surprising yourself and everyone else with how brave and spontaneous you are!
36 countries and counting, which are your favorites and why?
I’m currently in country number 44, the Maldives, and of course, I absolutely love it, but I have a few others that are at the top of my favorites list.. Iceland is still one of my all-time favorites because of the insanely incredible scenery, and how easy it is to adventure there, especially if you’re solo. Svalbard is another favorite just because it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before (it’s the northernmost inhabited place in the world!). I was really impressed with Japan, and highly recommend it for solo female travellers. I also really loved how much I learned about culture in India!
You travel solo, does it ever get lonely, if so, how do you deal with it?
Not really, I do so much while I travel, and when I’m not doing something I’m working or entertaining myself with social media. Actually, it’s because of social media that I never really feel lonely…I love responding to comments and messages, and if I ever feel the need to chat with my friends, they’re all right there on my Facebook chat lol.
What’s your best tips for other women travelling solo, or dreaming about doing so?
Just be smart and prepared, and always act confident, even if you’re shy or scared. Also, keep in mind that other countries aren’t as drastically different than your own as you think…It’s really not that hard to figure out how to get money out of an ATM, where to stay, where to go, etc., even if not a single person speaks English! Actually, you don’t even have to figure it out, because my blog and many others have all of the information written out already for you 🙂
One crazy thing to do once in your life?
Buy a one-way ticket. 🙂
All images are from Alyssa’s Instagram! For more crazy adventures, inspiring pictures, and travel tips, check out Alyssa’s blog My Life’s A Movie. And follow her on Snapchat (@mylifesamovie.c), Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.