I've been feeling like time has been flying by super fast lately. All of a sudden, there's only 3 months left in the year! It was no wonder that our blog anniversary has come and gone unnoticed. On September 10, 2010 we had written our first blog post.

I could not believe that We Are Sole Sisters is now 5 years old! That's longer than any job I've ever had! I've taken a long break to think about what's next and refocus on the things that really matter. And I realized that although a blog is just a blog, this one has enriched and empowered my life in more ways than I could have imagined since starting it.

Here are 5 Life Lessons I've Learned From 5 Years of Travel Blogging:


1 Telling my story is a great way to empower others. 

When I first started, the blog was based on a lot of personal (and often self-deprecating) stories that I've experienced while traveling. I've shared about the time when I had to tell my dad I was quitting my job to travel the world. I've talked endlessly about Southeast Asia and how I emerged transformed from that 6 month trip. I've cried when my Spain Dreams came crashing down. I've talked about falling in love on the road. I've even shared about my journey of motherhood and finding home.

Although these stories have happened only to me, I realized that all our stories are entangled and strangely similar. I've received countless emails sharing their own stories of visa denials, solo travel, love on the road, and that unscratchable itch to see the world.

Although this blog was started simply as an outlet to share stories and bits and pieces of what I've learned while traveling, I realized that more of you have gained the confidence to make travel happen- no matter what.

2 Nobody really knows exactly what they're doing. 

After being featured on several magazines and TV interviews, many people see me as a travel expert. Or a blog expert. Or both. But the truth is that I'm just as clueless as everyone else. When I first started travel blogging, I had never traveled long term or backpacked before. I simply did it. Then I just figured things out along the way.


3 It's never just about blogging or just about travel. 

Travel Blogging for 5 years seems like a long time for such a new "career path". I've mentioned that it has started to feel like a job. It's not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is when people say "You're so lucky, you get paid to travel!"

But I'm still doing it. I'm still in love. Because I never saw it as being just about blogging or just about travel.

What I love about it is being able to connect people and ideas.

Lois With Baby Lighthouse Spain

4 Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around. 

I'm quoting Stephen King on this because it's just a great reminder for all of us. Whether you're a writer, or a designer, or someone who simply creates things (who doesn't anyway).

I've had a lot of sleepless nights when I'm typing madly on a keyboard and my husband whispers "Try to get some sleep." I've been guilty of snapping an instagram photo of amazing landscape while ignoring the baby beside me who needs attention. I have to stop myself from wanting to document every place and scenery that we chance upon when my husband says "Let's just keep some things for ourselves."

We have to remember that our work is important. But we also need to see the people we love, the people right in front of us and remember who and what really matters.

Sole Sister Adi

5 It's always more fun to do things with others.

I sometimes like doing things alone but I find it more fun to collaborate with others. Whether it's traveling, doing random projects or simply starting a new life.

Which brings me to you. I'm glad you're here. I'm happy you've found this place, a place I've inhabited for 5 years. Where I share the joys of travel, that maddening desire to experience places that stay in my heart forever. Where I've inscribed all those disappointments, heartaches, longing. Where I dream little travel dreams with my Sole Sisters and we conspire for our next escape. Where we put together bits and pieces of our adventures.

Though I can't always inspire you to travel, or cry you through that visa denial, or whisper the right words in your ear when you finally meet that person of your dreams only to have to jump on a flight the next day. I can't always convince you to follow your heart because I also didn't know when was the right time to follow mine. I can never get you ready enough for that trip of a lifetime, because nobody ever is.

But if through a single photograph, or a story, or a string of words, I can encourage you to take that small leap of faith- that little step to making your travel dreams come true, then I would think that you and I have both done well.

Forever in love with travel and words,
Sole Sister Lois
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Malta is a melting pot of customs and traditions, with Roman, Arabic, and British influences which make it a fascinating destination for your next holiday . How can we convince you? Then here are our top 7 reasons you should visit.

La Valletta


As you approach Valletta’s imposing perimeter of walls and moats you’ll understand why this veritable fort and Malta’s capital city is soon to be the European Capital of Culture. A UNESCO world heritage site boasting a varied history, fabulous baroque architecture, museums and churches. However, Valletta has a troubled past, during WWII Valletta was the most heavily bombed city in Europe, meaning for anyone interested in history exploring the underground tunnels is a must, Lascaris War Rooms are open to the public where you can experience Malta’s underground military command center first hand.

blue hole

2. Diving

Last year Malta and Gozo were voted the 2nd best destination for diving in the world beating out the likes of Thailand and Indonesia. Crystal clear waters and a huge variety of marine life and shipwrecks makes this a fascinating scuba diving location, whether you are an experienced diver or a beginner you must make time for this once in a lifetime opportunity.


3. Food

Traditional Maltese food is very rustic, think hearty stews, fresh fish, good soups, and pastries. Eat like a local and try a pastizzi, flaky pastry parcel filled with ricotta or mushy peas, followed by a rich rabbit stew and a warm pastry filled with dates for dessert, normally served with cream or ice cream making it similar to an apple pie.
St. Pauls Cathedral

4. Mdina

If you fancy a change from the hustle and bustle then head to Mdina and spend an afternoon wandering the ancient streets, visiting the world famous sites like St Paul’s Cathedral Museum and enjoy the mosaic, marble and the beautiful paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings. Stick around until the evening and have dinner when the old town is illuminated — a truly magical experience.

Malta: Gozo, Azure Window

5. Boating to Gozo

There are many companies offering great value tours which will take you from Buggiba to Comino island, Blue Lagoon, Caves and then Gozo where you can spend a few hours taking in the sights, like some of its 46 churches, a huge amount for an island measuring 8 miles.

Grand Harbour and Salute Battery

6. Upper Barrakka Gardens

For those interested in photography then Upper Barrakka Gardens is not to be missed, with its panoramic views across Valletta’s harbour it is the perfect place to get some holiday snaps. Head at lunchtime to cool off from the midday sun in these shady gardens, head to the little cafe for a refreshing drink and a spot of people watching.

7. Malta Falconry Centre

It may seem like a slightly odd suggestion for a holiday activity, but the Malta Falconry Centre is outstanding. For a large selection of birds, great show and a hands-on experience then head there for an unforgettable addition to your trip.

Malta is a Mediterranean archipelago full of surprises; these are only 7 sights you might want to explore on your next trip, you’re sure to find many more along the way in this unique destination.

Images by Shadowgate , Charles Haynes, Martin Lopatka, Berit Watkin, Andrew and Annemarie, Shepard4711 and Beta-J used under the Creative Commons License.

About the Author:

Ellen Harty studied leisure and tourism and has lived in 10 different countries, funding her travels with work as a tour guide. She speaks four languages.
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I wasn’t going to Bali for any other reason that just because I wanted to. I didn’t want to ‘find myself’ ‘start a journey’ or ‘get away’ from something. In fact, I was slightly sad to leave my new home Hong Kong, even if it was just for 2 short weeks. You see, I was completely and utterly happy in my current situation. So I wasn’t going to Bali in search of anything. 

But it seemed Bali was searching for something in me.

I guess I should have seen it coming, after 4 1/2 years of constant travel I now travelled with an open heart. I fell in love with places so quickly, yet I honestly never expect to.

But this trip to Bali was different, I not only fell in love with the place, but I fell in love with a feeling. The feeling of being an independent female traveller.

And seeing so many other women doing the same.

Here’s where the hippy part comes out; I never felt so empowered.

Pineapple house Bali4

Bali has a community of young women from all around the world that either live there or are brought back there time and time again to visit. They practise yoga, surf, open cafes, design clothes, make jewelry, paint, and everything in between. 

They are all creative inspiring women.

And I was lucky enough to spend my time with one of them: Rachel Fearnley. Rachel is originally from the U.K but has led a life exploring this planet since the age of 18. She now lives in Bali and runs The Pineapple House Yoga and Surf Retreat in Canggu where I stayed with her for a few days.

Rachel Fearnley

She has a simple mission with the retreat: To empower women (and men) to find the best in them self through the purest form; exercise, freedom and friendship. However she lets you do that in your own way, she is just there to guide you.

Rachel Yoga

As a yoga teacher, she practises most days and invites you along to go with her. When you arrive at the retreat she gives you a local phone with credit on and encourages you to use to it call your own taxis, call restaurants or arrange local trips. She will give you all the best advice of where to go and what to do, but she helps you step outside your comfort zone and do it all yourself. She doesn't live in the Pineapple House and she has her own work schedule so she leaves you to your own resources most of the day.

Rachel Yoga at Pineapple House

Now maybe this all sounds simple. We can all call our own taxi right? But the thing is, a lot of people come to Bali and get everything done for them, they will stay in all inclusive resorts and eat at the nearest restaurants. Rachel wants you to fall in love with Bali like she did and believes there is no other way than discovering it for yourself.

Still sound too easy? Well, let it be. Solo travel is easy.

sarah @ PH pool

Let yourself feel empowered, recognise being part of a community of independent women, all riding their scooters to yoga every morning, or sitting in cafes typing away at their latest book. Rachel has created the perfect atmosphere. Come and go as you please, get as involved as you want.

But let Bali affect you in your own way. Make your own story.

I chose to go to yoga every day, most of the time with Rachel, but also alone. As a fairly novice yoga practiser, I felt inspired by all these women that turned up every morning and was motivated to do it myself. But I realise Rachel didn’t influence that, I did that myself, she just made herself available and kept me informed of the classes. I chose to go every day because I really wanted to. Some other women who were also staying chose to wake up early and go surfing. We all did our own thing, then came back together at the Pineapple house and shared our stories.

Pineapple house living area(2)

I have been travelling solo for a few years now. I feel completely comfortable this way. In fact, it is my preferred way of travel. But until I spent time at the Pineapple house I didn't quite realise exactly why it was my favourite way. Getting to meet so many incredible women fulfilling their dreams and travelling the world really makes you aim higher, and really makes you realise that things you want are possible too.

Pineapple house Bali1

For women looking to take on their first solo trip, I couldn't think of a more perfect way to start. Just having Rachel's friendship (which you will get within the first few hours) will help you realise the sky's the limit. If you want her to, she will teach you how to ride a scooter, tell you where you should head next, relate stories of times she worked on a boat or became a yoga teacher in India. Her retreat offers the simplest of pleasures, friendship, exercise and empowerment.

Pineapple house Bali5

As a Sole Sister, when I come across places and people like this, you are the ones I want to share it with first.

So I never looked for anything from Bali, but it didn’t mind, It gave me so much.. and now I get to share it with you. Go out there and take on the world. And say Hi to Rachel for me..

The Pineapple House offers a Surf & Yoga package which includes:

- 3 nights villa accommodation in a private bedroom with en-suite bathroom
- Breakfast every morning
- 1 group yoga classes led by world class instructors
- 2 surf sessions (lessons, coaching or guiding)
- 1 in-house massage
- Mineral water, tea & coffee
- Complimentary high speed wifi
- Airport transfers

Pineapple house Bali2

Simply Yoga package

- 3 nights villa accommodation in a private bedroom with en-suite bathroom
- Breakfast every morning
- 3 group yoga classes led by world class instructors
- 1 in-house massage
- Mineral water, tea & coffee
- Complimentary high speed wifi
-Airport Transfers

Both packages are for $499 (USD) per person. Check them out online and on facebook

Special thanks to Rachel for my wonderful complimentary stay with Pineapple House!

What do you think is the most empowering destination for Solo Female Travel? Share in the comments below!

Sarah of Coffee with A Slice of Life is a 26 year old professional world wanderer who has been travelling the globe for the last 4 years, one cup of coffee a time. She is in love with the open road, and writing about it, and will do almost anything to keep living her dream... Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil is a great place for a family holiday. The Brazilian people are nuts about children and there are stacks of child-friendly activities to entertain your little ones. From wetlands teaming with wildlife, the Amazon Rainforest, stunning beaches, spectacular waterfalls and adventure trips, young travellers will be spoilt for choice.

View from Sugarloaf Mountain
Photo Credit: Frank Wulfers

1. Sugarloaf Mountain

This 600 million-year-old peak has stunning views of Rio de Janeiro. Giant cable cars take you to the top with a stop on the way up at Morro de Urca, a smaller mountain. Another option is to take a helicopter ride from Morro da Urca and circle the famous peak.
DSC00030/Brazil/Rio De Janeiro/Corcovado Peak/ Christ Rédempteur/O Cristo Rédentor/
Photo Credit: dany13

2. Christ the Redeemer

The 130 ft-high statue sits on top of Corvacado Mountain, Rio’s highest peak. You can get to the top of the 2,300 ft landmark on a minibus tour or kids will love riding the electric train that winds through the heart of the Atlantic Rainforest.

Morro da Urca, Rio de Janeiro
Photo Credit: nfalsey

3. Morra Da Urca

A 30-minute hike to the top of Morra Da Urca is one activity you can do for free. On the way up, look out for the local wildlife including marmoset monkeys. You can rest at the top on the large patio before heading back down.
Wait for me...!
Photo Credit: Mario Lapid
4. The Tamar Project for Endangered Sea Turtles

This conservation project in the fishing village of Praia do Forte near Salvador is a big visitor attraction where children can interact with these fascinating creatures.

Lagoa Rodrigo Freitas
Photo Credit: Rodrigo Soldon
5. Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, Rio de Janiero

Ringed by a seven-kilometre path, this is a great place to relax with the family. Rent a bike and pedal around the shore or hire a pedal boat and explore the lake. There are several cafes and playgrounds to keep youngsters entertained.

Photo Credit: Roberto Hungria
6. Pantanal

Lying in Western Brazil, this is the world’s largest wetland. Kids will love wildlife spotting, which can be done by walking, boat or horseback. If you’re travelling by car, don’t forget to take out direct car excess insurance to avoid paying the excess in the event of a claim.
Iguazu Falls
Photo Credit: mark goble
7. Iguassu Falls

On the Argentine border, these thundering waterfalls are bound to fascinate youngsters. There are many walkways through the park and you can take a boat ride under the falls and get soaked.
Parque das Aves - Foz do Iguaçu
Photo Credit: Higor de Padua Vieira Neto
8. Parque das Aves

Close to the falls, this park is home to over 800 species of birds, also butterflies, snakes and other reptiles. If they've seen the movie Rio, your kids will love a visit to this feathered sanctuary.

Amazon Rainforest
Photo Credit: CIFOR
9. Amazon Rainforest

Most trips start from the historic city of Manaus. A visit will give kids a fun and educational experience. Stay in a jungle lodge or go on a tour to learn how to survive in the jungle.

Galheta Beach - SC - Brazil [Explore}
Photo Credit: Aureliano Nóbrega

10. Beaches

With a 4,600-mile long coastline, Brazil has plenty of beaches to choose from. Some of the best are around Rio and Sao Paulo. Rio’s Leblon Beach has a baby area as well as organised activities for older kids.

Where are your favorite family destinations? Share in the comments below!

Sarah Geller is a travel enthusiast, with specific interest in countries situated in the South American Continent. Leaving her home in America, she has now resided in Argentina, Chile and Brazil where she has spent the last 3 years relishing the thriving lifestyle and documenting her travels.

Main photo credit: sandeepachetan.com travel
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It can be tough planning a holiday, trying to make sure you’ve got enough activities to keep you entertained. However, this is not an issue you will have in Prague. This charming and eclectic city has everything you could want, a huge art and culture scene, historical sights and bars and restaurants lining every street. Whether you’re booking a full-blown holiday, a stop on your inter-railing tour or simply a Prague city break here are some picks of five things to keep you busy while you’re in Prague.

Finding Time
Photo Credit: Howard Ignatius

The Astronomical clock

It might be a cliché, but the Orloj Astronomical clock is still a sight worth seeing in Prague. Not only a unique and impressive structure it has a fascinating history surrounded by legend. It is said that the clockmaker Hanus had his eyes burned out with hot pokers so he could not replicate his masterpiece elsewhere. As revenge, legend has it that Hanus then destroyed his creation which no one was able to repair for more than 400 years. A fascinating tale of beauty, betrayal and above all determination and triumph the Orloj should still be at the top of any tourist's list.
The Pub
Photo Credit: sikeri

The Pub

Despite its very uninspiring name The Pub provides drinkers with a completely new experience. A self-service bar, tables have their very own beer taps attached to them with a touchscreen interface allows them to track their intake against their friends and even compete with customers The Pub’s other establishments. Not only do the touchscreen’s allow you to play the ultimate drinking game they also allow you to call waitresses or order food directly. Not something you’re likely to find in the pubs back home.

Photo Credit: Polly Allen


Step back in time with AghaRTA, an old school underground jazz bar has an authentic feel. The small venue, while providing outstanding acoustics retains an intimate feel, packed with small tables, and much more reasonable drinks prices than you’d imagine from the middle of Prague’s old town. Fallen in love with the artists playing? AghaRTA even has a small store to allow you to purchase CD’s by the performers.

Tanz der Schiffe auf der Moldau
Photo Credit: helst1

Letna Park

A favourite amongst locals, Letna Park has been largely undiscovered by tourists there is no better place to sit in the sun and watch the world go by, or track down one of the beer gardens dotted around and have a cold refreshing beer. Visiting at sunset will provide you with the most spectacular panoramic views across Prague. The perfect way to immortalise your trip without wasting money on souvenirs.
Photo Credit: eta 4ever

Prague Zoo

Finally, zoos can sometimes be a controversial sight to recommend, however, no one that visits Prague Zoo could claim that the animals aren’t given the utmost care. With a large selection of animals ranging from polar bears and penguins to tigers and giraffes, Prague Zoo has it all. Entry costs are also very reasonable, set aside a whole day to see the zoo, though, it is very spread out and you wouldn’t want to miss anything!

So that's our top five sights to see on your next visit to Prague. No matter what your interests are, add these to your list and you will not be disappointed!

Joanne Travis left her job in the financial sector to go adventuring and volunteering across the world. Her favorite country so far has been Thailand.

All images used under the Creative Commons License
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We have a lot of respect and admiration for one of our newest Sole Sisters, Emma of Active Travlr. The only thing that can match this adventure-seeker’s guts is her heart: at the moment Emma is in Nepal putting in full effort to rebuild remote villages affected by the earthquake under her self-started independent project The Travelling Movement (TTM). She talks to us about taking personal responsibility for the disaster, as well as her extreme moments as a high-adrenaline wanderer. 

We often hear crazy travel stories from our many contributors, but at the back of our minds say “yeah I could probably hack that if push came to shove…” But with Emma we can honestly say “I don’t know if I would have made it out of that alive!”

Before becoming a “professional traveller”, how did you originally envision your future? What did you want to be when you were a kid?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a surgeon. Being brought up in Canada with Filipino parents, I was always influenced to take the medical route in my studies, but I had an interest in fashion during high school and dreamed of going to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City. I got accepted amongst thousands of applicants but I had to choose to either work hard all summer to save up for school in New York or save up for my first trip outside Canada. I chose to travel, which was the best decision of my life. I also decided to chose business school over fashion school because I knew it would open more doors. After graduating Uni and obtaining a commerce degree majoring in Marketing, I was still interested in fashion and wanted to pursue becoming a professional fashion buyer, work as a PR in a firm, or in the creative department in Marketing.

Sole Sister Emma  sisters-travel

You got bitten by the travel bug on a trip with your sister(s). Were they bitten too? Or did they choose a different lifestyle?

My older sister was the one who inspired me to travel. She was always independent and had gone on many trips on her own. Though she is an accountant back home and a yoga instructor on the side, she isn’t pursuing a lifestyle of constant travel. She finds comfort in being settled somewhere and taking shorter trips to satisfy her wanderlust.

My younger sister has travelled around with me the most. She however wanted to begin creating a path for her career and is focused on working at the moment. She does still have dreams of travelling and will pursue them once her career has stabilized.

Sole Sister Emma of the-travelling-movement

Let’s talk about your biggest project at the moment. We hear you’re currently in Nepal rebuilding remote villages for “The Travelling Movement” (which by the way we cannot commend you enough for personally taking action and responsibility!) Can you tell us what it’s all about? 

The Travelling Movement is an independent project that I created in support of the earthquake in Nepal. It’s aim is to raise money to help rebuild the remote villages that were affected by the disaster. The goal was to raise $10,000 CAD to buy building materials for the remote villages. The plan was to raise the money and bring it to Nepal (I would fly to Nepal under my personal expense). I first conceptualized this project after hearing about the tragic incident that left many homeless. Nepal had my heart ever since my last trip, and to see it go through such a tragedy made me feel the need to do something to help.

Sole Sister Emma building-homes- nepal

Can you shed a little light on the timeline of the project? The what’s and when’s leading up to finally raising over $12,000 CAD for Nepal?

The goal for the project was to raise $10,000 in 30 days. The first couple weeks, I focused on creating awareness for my campaign. The first two weeks I managed to raise half of that goal with the help of my friend who contributed a large sum of money. I however was getting a little worried about the slow pace it was going. The third week, I started actively asking for donations through Facebook. Still, it was going slow and I was getting discouraged. I pushed hard by posting loads of social media content, in order to constantly show my presence. Finally, on the fourth week, I personally messaged almost everyone on my list of contacts on Facebook. With the help of my boyfriend, much persistence and the little time left, the donations started coming in. I was raising almost $1,000 per day and ended up surpassing my goal by 18%. I extended the campaign by a couple days in order to give people a bit more time to send in their last minute donations. On the last day of the campaign I finally raised a total of $11,754 CAD. Another $300 CAD came from donations that I collected at a fundraising event in Melbourne, making it a total of over $12,000 CAD for Nepal.

Sole Sister Emma school-teacher-nepal

Why did you decide to embark on an independent project rather than teaming up with other NGOs/charities/aid groups? What sets “The Travelling Movement” apart?

When I decided I wanted to become involved in helping Nepal, I noticed that there were hundreds of organizations, big and small, as well as independent charities running that I didn’t know who to support. I also didn’t want to just make a personal contribution, I wanted to reach my family and peers and raise money on a bigger scale. I knew that if not even I knew which charity to support, there was no way others like me would either.

That’s when I decided to just launch my own project and it kind of snowballed from there. I conceptualized a project name that people could associate with, launched a crowdfunding site in which the funds would come in, created a Facebook page and other social media accounts. The next thing you know, I was coming up with a marketing plan and contacting people who could help support my project.

What sets The Travelling Movement apart is the fact that it is an independent project. I wanted to make sure that supporters knew exactly where the money was going and had to gain their trust by making sure that the money was going directly to the villagers affected by the quake. I also emphasized on the fact that I would personally fly there under my own expense, which brought more validity to the cause.

When the final number of donations raised of $11,754 came up, I cried tears of joy.

What were the biggest challenges you faced thus far carrying out “The Travelling Movement”?

The biggest challenge was definitely the part where I had to approach people to donate. I felt bad asking people for money, even if it was for a good cause. I realized that people will not give anything if they are not asked to, so I had to figure out an approach that would get people to donate.

What about your greatest moments? What did you feel when you broke past the original $10,000 CAD target?

The moment I reached my $10,000 target, I was extremely tired, overworked, but so touched by how much people cared about my cause. I really could not believe it. I knew that I could reach a target of $5,000 and that was why I decided to aim high, but halfway through my campaign I was losing a bit of hope and pretty much accepted the fact that I might not reach my goal. I raised over $5,000 in the last week of my campaign, and the day I reached my target I knew I would surpass it. It was the greatest feeling in the world, knowing that that much money would be helping the people of Nepal. I couldn’t believe that my goal and dream had come true, and felt that all of my hard work was so worth it. When the final number of donations raised of $11,754 came up, I cried tears of joy.

Sole Sister Emma teaching-nepal

Now that you’re in Nepal, how has the progress been so far? How long are you planning to stay there? And what do you aim to get done before you leave?

The progress here has been amazing! The first week, we worked in a remote village called Ghusel in the Lalitpur district. We’ve been building semi-permanent bamboo shelters that will last 3-5 years. In 5 days’ time we managed to build 11 houses total and plan to go back again to continue on with the project. At the moment, due to governmental restrictions, we are working with a small, reliable non-profit organization called CASD-Nepal whose project falls perfectly in line with our goal for The Travelling Movement.

We aim to help complete the construction of 40 more bamboo shelters, through our labor work, as well as with funding. We would also like to contribute some funds to help rebuild two schools in that village, both affected by the earthquake as well.

Have you thought about “what’s next” after Nepal?

After Nepal, I plan to visit Montreal, Canada, where I am originally from. I plan to travel around the province of Quebec and rock climb in America as well. It’s crazy to say that I have been on the road for 2 years now. I haven’t been home since, so it will be really nice to see my family again for a little bit, and catch up with my blog! After that, I plan to move to New Zealand for a while and get lost in the mountains for as long as I can. I am also planning a side trip early next year for Nepal to continue with some volunteer work and get a good dose of trekking and ice climbing!

Sole Sister Emma  long-term-travel

Do you still keep a home base? If yes, why did you choose this place?

My home base for the past 2 years has been Melbourne, Australia because of its high wages. Though the cost of living is relative to how much you earn over there, Melbourne has been my home away from home because there is just so much to do. There’s a reason why it’s considered the most livable city in the world! They have amazing coffee, great food, an interesting laid-back artistic vibe and friendly people. There is also loads of climbing to do around the city.

Sole Sister Emma with lourie

As a female traveler, what was the most challenging country you've been to?

Among the countries I’ve travelled to, I have always generally felt safe. The only time I didn’t feel safe as a female traveller was when my sister and I decided to do a solo trek in the remote area of Langtang, Nepal. 

Little did we know, (we found this out after finishing the trek) there were several cases of disappearances in that region, mostly of females that have not been found since. 

There was something about that area I felt uneasy about at the time. I wasn’t sure what it was but one thing was certain, I did not want to give off any sign of vulnerability while we were trekking. My sister and I were determined to complete the hike successfully, even summiting the peaks that revealed one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I’ve ever seen. After quickly coming out of that trek well and alive, we were extremely grateful that the Universe was on our side.

Sole Sister Emma langtang-trekking

You mentioned getting lost in a rain forest thrice (!) while chasing sun down. That sounds dangerous! How did you find your way out of that?

My sister and I were trekking in the remote area of Langtang in Nepal. Not many trekkers go there but we heard that the mountain ranges were spectacular. We decided to do this trek without a guide (though not always recommended), but purchased a map we believed was enough to guide us in the right direction.

The trek began at Syabrubesi, 120km from Kathmandu, which you reach by bus. People recommend to take the bus in the morning and stay the night at Syabrubesi before commencing the trek. We arrived at around 4pm that day but wanted to complete the trek as fast as we can so we decided to trek straight away that afternoon and reach the 3rd nearest village.

At the beginning of the trek we came across an army guard who seemed a bit dodgy with all of the questions he was asking. He wanted to know if we were with a guide, and was surprised we were trekking the mountains by ourselves. He was intrigued that we both looked Nepali as well, and tried to make conversation. I was feeling a bit uneasy so I hurriedly told my sister that we should keep going.

Sole Sister Emma langtang-summit

There was a certain point where the trail led to a faint path veering off on the left. We didn’t think it was the right way so we proceeded to the trail ahead of us instead: a steep uphill walk that took over an hour. As time was precious for us at this point, we asked a local to confirm that we were heading in the right direction. I was reluctant to ask for help because it would prove as a sign of weakness and uncertainty. Despite this, we asked if we were in the right direction, and it turns out that we weren’t. The local told us to follow a very small path into the rain forest, a shortcut he claimed would bring us back on the right track. We walked through the forest (though this way pointed in no apparent direction) as we were surrounded by tall grass, broken branches and thick layers of leaves. My sister was in doubt of the direction we were going, so we needed to make a decision to either bail and head back to where we left off or continue going deeper into the forest.

With the sun setting ahead of us, we needed to think fast and start walking. We decided to take the route we were sure about and started retracing our steps. We were back at the beginning of the shortcut and decided to walk back and find the point at which we took a wrong turn. The sun had already set at this point so we rushed to the first village we could find.

We ran through the forest and scrambled on rocky steep paths in order to make it before complete darkness. Out of all 3 times of getting lost in the forest, that time was the most dangerous because we feared that we would somehow have to find our way in the dark. But we were thankful that the Universe put us in the right place at the right time, and were grateful to have successfully completed the trek after much determination.

Sole Sister Emma bangladesh-family

What did you learn from living with a family in Bangladesh and experiencing their traditions?

The Bengali are extremely hospitable and family oriented. They take good care of their guests and feed them enough for a family of five! When my sister and I arrived at my friend’s family home, they had stayed up until 2 in the morning for us to arrive, making sure we were fed properly before bed. I had been vegetarian for 8 months until then, though when the father offered me chicked that they had killed that day in event of our arrival, I could not refuse the piece of meat. I told myself that my vegetarian streak was over when that was served on my plate.

Besides their strong appreciation for food, the Bengali enjoy spending time with their family. They would gather up in a room, on one of the daughter’s beds and just talk, have tea and desserts and laugh together. There is no rush for anything else there.

The family took myself and my sister in like we were a part of theirs, buying us traditional outfits called “saris” and continuously spoiling us with food and desserts. We felt like queens. They always made sure we were safe, no matter where we travelled to around the country. They also were very appreciative of the fact that we even considered visiting their country. They were extremely grateful of our presence, as we quickly formed a bond that i will never forget to this day.

Sole Sister Emma railay-beach-climbing

If you could do anything over again from the last few years of travelling, what would it be and why?

If I could do anything over again, it would be to go back to Railay Beach in Thailand and spend a month or two just climbing. Railay beach is climbers central. It’s a great place to develop your climbing skills, meet travellers that are alike and just soak up the sun, the waves and the infinite possibilities of limestone.

What would you advise people NOT to do while travelling?

I would advise people to not follow others in fear of being alone. 

It’s very easy to find yourself stuck in the plans of someone else just because you don’t want to travel alone. Oftentimes, it doesn’t work out because you are not doing what you want to do. Follow your heart and go to places that you want to go rather than following others’ footsteps.

Sole Sister Emma  solo-travelling

What kind of skills or know how would you consider necessary for someone who is thinking of long term travel?

I think to be able to stay on the road you must not only have a passion for travelling but you must be persistent. Long term travel means moving around constantly, finding jobs and quitting them, making ends meet with only $15 to survive a day, meeting people and saying goodbye within a month, a week or even a day’s time, and being comfortable with your own company in a foreign country. It would be easy for anyone to give in and go home to their place of comfort but it takes a strong will to want to keep living the lifestyle of travelling long-term.

Sole Sister Emma of The Active Travlr is an adventure traveller from Canada, backpacking around the world. With the love for nature, an obsession for rock climbing, and a passion for travelling, she packed her bags and decided to explore the world, with no return date. The travel bug bit, and her year-long travel plan fell through. Two years later, she’s still on the road for the unknown, to a destination off the beaten path. She also just recently raised 11,754 CAD to help rebuild remote villages affected by the quake in Nepal through her independent project The Travelling Movement. She is currently in Nepal.

Want to read more about women empowering women to travel? Check out more at Sole Sister Spotlight. Do you know of travelers who conquer the world one country at a time? We would love to interview them for Sole Sister Spotlight. Please send us an email at solesisters.weare@gmail.com. We look forward to your suggestions!

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