Posted by The SoleSisters on -
We get up close and personal with one of our newest Sole Sisters, Sarah from the UK. Welcome to the sisterhood!
Last month we announced the three newest additions to the Sole Sisterhood after a two-week search covering more than 50 applications from all around the world. We thought it was about time to shine the spotlight on our three newest sisters to get to know them better, starting with self-proclaimed global gypsy Sarah Richard from the UK.
“I had two choices – to either give up or to go out and live my life like it could also end tomorrow.”
Sarah is a Scuba Diving fanatic who at one point of her life decided to make a career out of her marine passion. She has been on the road for four years since quitting her job at 22, most recently relocating herself to Hong Kong with a working holiday visa. Her love for the open road and thirst for adventure is evident in her narrative, and we get a little taste of that in our interview:
Unfortunately, it was my Mum’s passing away suddenly that changed it all for me. I had two choices – to either give up or to go out and live my life like it could also end tomorrow. Four years later I still live every day as a blessing. It is awful that it had to be those circumstances that gave me the motivation to see the world, but I am so grateful for the opportunity it gave me. I now know not to wait around to do the things I really want, I do them straight away.
What did you need to kickstart the adventure?
Belief, hope and an extra measure of courage. There aren't really any material possessions that can kickstart the adventure. It has to start with you believing in yourself.
By far that is the most popular question I get. Nearly on a daily basis I get emails from like-minded budding travelers wanting to embark on a solo journey, but find themselves naturally wondering if it’s the right thing to do.
It’s easy for me to answer this question with a straight forward NO - it is not dangerous or scary and I hardly ever get lonely. But then I put myself back into that position and can totally relate to the worry. Anything you are worrying about in your head is always amplified. Fear is what keeps us moving: it is a natural feeling. Without fear we would never progress and never know how it feels to be truly happy. And the feeling you get once you have overcome the fear makes it all worthwhile.
I believe being out of your comfort zone is one of the best feelings - but only after. After you realize what an achievement it was, you are so much more confident to continue doing what it is YOU really want.
I say let yourself be scared, let yourself be lonely. Understand these feelings, and then you will understand what it is you really want.
And finally: NO, it really isn't scary, dangerous or lonely. It's thrilling, exciting and amazing. You make friends before you even realize you are alone, and if you keep your wits about you, you are in no more danger than you are in your everyday normal life.
I never had any intent on coming to Hong Kong. In fact, it was always up there in one of the places I was never too bothered about seeing. Maybe that's why I love it so much; it completely surprised me. It is hands down the most exciting and vibrant place I have ever visited. It honestly gives me goosebumps every day. It's hard to explain why I love it so much, but I definitely think it is a personal reaction. I don’t expect every single person to come here and fall for it like I did. But for me it is everything I am looking for right now - fast paced, full of opportunity and accessible to the rest of the world to keep travelling.
“This is the dream; to earn enough money to fund my travels. I work extremely hard for it, there are no ‘work hours’ or days off.”
I have always been in love with the ocean, I was brought up in a seaside town and loved swimming. As soon as I got an opportunity to scuba dive at the age of 19 it was one of the first times I experienced a feeling of ‘I know I want to do this forever.’ It was a great emotion to have during that age of not having a clue where life would lead. Every time I dive I remember the first time I did it and how it made me feel and I can honestly say seven years on it is still the best feeling in the world. On par with travel, it is my number one passion.
I’m spontaneous, I don’t like to plan or have any expectations. I much prefer going somewhere blind and going with the flow. When it comes to experiences again I much prefer not to seek them. My first day somewhere I usually grab my camera and wander around, get a coffee and watch the way the country works. I talk to people, a lot of people, I ask locally for their recommendations. I am very relaxed about travel, I fall in love with countries very quickly because I really go in with no expectations.
Do you think you’ll ever want to settle down somewhere?
I am really going to discover Asia now that I am based in Hong Kong. I am off to Bali in a few weeks and then I hope to explore Borneo (Diving in Sipadan is very high on my bucket list)!
“I have met some incredible people, some that if I wasn’t bitten by the travel bug, I would have loved to commit longer to.”
Travel has definitely toughened me up. I feel like it makes you deal with situations a lot more rationally. Only last week I had my bag stolen with everything inside: phone, purse, all I.Ds, money, apartment keys, etc. I couldn't get into my apartment, call anyone or get a taxi anywhere. I think it was one of the scariest times as I realised I was totally vulnerable and all I could do was rely on the help of strangers. Survival traveller mode kicked in and I dealt with the situation one step at a time and eventually managed to get back into my apartment, grab my passport, and get a bit of money from the bank. I was emotionally all over the place as I knew how much money it would cost me to replace everything.
That night I went for dinner with my friends. I laughed and smiled and looked around and realised how lucky I was, even with nothing. The next day I got a call from the police saying my bag had been handed in with everything still inside. I was stunned and totally taken aback by the honesty and kindness of the stranger that went out of his/her way to hand it in. Travel truly is a continuing rollercoaster of lessons.
I have met some incredible people, some that if I wasn’t bitten by the travel bug, I would have loved to commit longer to, but at this time in my life the desire to travel keeps me moving. However, I believe in the ‘right time’. If something is meant to be it will find its way at the right time. There is definitely someone I hope that time comes again with.
(Oooh, sounds juicy!)
Before Hong Kong I worked as a Dive Master, I have also worked as an English teacher, worked in bars and hostels and quite a lot in between. I am not too proud to work a job someone thinks isn't a ‘proper job’.
Since coming to Hong Kong I have been fortunate enough to start the journey of becoming a full-time digital nomad through my travel blog and freelance writing. This is the dream; to earn enough money to fund my travels. I work extremely hard for it, there are no ‘work hours’ or days off. But I love it so much, I have never felt so fulfilled in a job as I have now being a writer.
How has travelling changed you as a person?
Travelling is the essence of life, it’s what keeps my heart pumping so fast and a smile stuck permanently on my face. I know I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am now if I hadn’t seen this beautiful world we live in. I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to travel. Rather than changing me I feel like it has given me the opportunity to be myself, to be who I want to be.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your suggestions!