Certified Solo Series With Sam: Interview With Solo Traveler Stephanie Spirk
Here is our monthly 'Certified Solo with Sam' a new series of interviews with women from all walks of life, who dare to travel alone.
It's important we keep inspiring one another to be chasing our travel dreams! This is our third interview in a series from fierce, lady travelers who have been amazing enough to share their advice and lovely stories with me. We want to express that taking the trip you've always wanted is possible. I've interviewed women from all walks of life who made travel a priority and never looked back. This one is with a fellow travel fiend and long time friend, Stephanie Spirk.
Stephanie is a beautiful, independent woman native to Colorado who caught the travel bug back in 2011. I've known Stephanie for roughly ten years, and she was one of the first to inspire my solo travels. She's traveled a fair amount within the U.S. and has taken two solo trips abroad. She currently resides in Colorado Springs where she owns her own home and spends time with her beloved dog, Augustus - an english bull dog with personality. She grooms dogs for a living and is always planning for her next adventure abroad, she hopes to see it all. She is currently looking into getting certified to teach English overseas as a new career opportunity.
Sam Hancock: What was your travel experience before "daring to go solo?"
Stephanie Spirk: I'd only traveled stateside just to visit with friends and family.
SH: What made you decide you had/needed to travel alone and why?
SS: I briefly met a guy in 2011 who lived in Italy. He encouraged me to come out for a week, so I said what the hell and went for it. After that trip there was no looking back, I needed to see so much more of the world. But really, you have to make things happen for yourself, you can’t wait on other people or let them hold you back.
SH: How long did you travel for and where did you go? How did you decide on that/those destination(s)?
SS: The trip to Italy was a week long. I ended up staying with the friend who lived there after some convincing, I didn't know him super well but it was a free place to stay in Italy! It ended up being awesome and I'm glad I did it, we keep in touch to this day. My last trip was in October of 2015 to Ireland. I toured pretty much the whole island over the course of ten days. Ireland has always appealed to me, I feel connected to it.
SH: How did you plan?
SS: I basically just bought a round trip ticket for both trips. The trip to Italy I already had the place to stay so that was easy. My trip to Ireland I flew into Dublin so I booked my first hostel and the rest I just figured out as I went. Plans are always subject to change depending on who you meet so it's fun to leave things open ended.
SH: How much did it cost you?
SS: Italy was roughly $1,500, but thankfully my friend paid for a lot while I was there. Ireland was roughly $2,200-2,400 for 10 days with the tickets included. Having a place to stay and sleeping in hostels is the way to go if you're on a budget.
SH: How was the support around your trip from friends, family, or colleagues?
SS: My work was okay with me going. Most of my family was too. I have a few travelers in my family who were very proud of me for going alone.
SH: Do you speak any other languages?
SH: What issues did you run into as a solo female traveler?
SS: None at all. I found most people really wanted to help and even look out for me when they found out I was traveling alone.
SH: What empowered you as a solo female traveler?
SS: During my solo trip in Ireland, at one point truly being alone turned into a slight sadness, but the next day I made it to the Cliff’s of Moher and realized this is what it’s all about. Seeing and experiencing life even when you have to go alone makes you realize you are the one making your dreams come true. It also makes missing people (and animals) back home a little easier to deal with.
SH: What was your favorite part about traveling solo?
SS: Not following anyone else’s itinerary. It actually forces you to go talk to people and get outside of your comfort zone.
SH: How has your life changed since traveling?
SS: I realized it's all about taking risks, and to actually make the changes you say you are going to. I will never settle for less and am on a quest for my personal happiness first and foremost. I will continue asking for what I want from life and accomplishing my goals, scary as they may be.
SH: Do you plan to travel alone again?
SH: Any advice for the solo female traveler?
CS: You need to be cautious but don’t be afraid. Stay open minded and have experiences. Sadness may hit you at moments, but take it with a grain of salt because it will pass. What is meant to be will be.
SH: What advice would you give to your old self before you travelled solo?
SS: Book hostels for the weekend in advance! I ran into issues with all the hostels being booked so I had to pay extra for hotels.
SH: What advice do you have now that you've travelled solo?
SS: Never wait on anyone. Never sacrifice your happiness or your dreams for what someone else wants or asks from you.
SH: In one word, what would be biggest character trait you gained from solo travel?
SH: What are your favorite travel websites, bloggers or magazines?
SS: I follow travel people on Instagram, but no one in particular.
SH: What are you favorite travel products, accessories and/or wardrobe?
SS: Flat boots that are good for walking in but still look cute.
SH: How do you use technology when you travel?
SS: I had a plan before leaving with unlimited texting, but otherwise I used my phone on wi-fi. You can usually find it most anywhere and all of the hostels had it.
SH: Any must-have apps when you travel?
SS: Hostelworld, Google Maps, and Snapchat. ♦
Thank you, Stephanie! Be sure to keep up with her on social media.
Instagram: // @moongoddess.23
If you or anyone you know would like to be a part of our interview series please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org