Name: Shilpi G.
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Current Country Count: 50
Favorite Song: Give it up by KnifeParty. “This is the song I would listen to when I think I couldn’t go on in my treks”.
Shilpi joined the tour for the Tajikistan portion. She had an energy about her that was refreshing. She was outgoing, yet knew how to relax as well. And especially for being 22, she is well-traveled. While rooming with her for a few nights, I was able to ask her a few questions…
And the spotlight begins….
When Did you Start Traveling and Why: I have been traveling with my family for my whole life. I started solo travel in high school because I think every country is special and I want to see them all. There is so much more out there than America. I went with my family when I was super young. When I was old enough I transitioned to traveling on my own. Me and my family have lived in different places across the world.
What is Your Most Memorable Country and Why: History wise – Egypt was phenomenal. History and the culture are really rich. The best falafel I have ever had. I would say youthful party-wise – Thailand. There are all so different, how do you pick.
What Is Your Inspiration To Travel: There has only been one other woman that has ever visited every country in the world and I think there should be more. I want to be one of them.
Do You Buy Any Souvenirs: I don’t like collecting anything. I like taking my pictures and making them into my own postcards. I wish I would have collected something, but it is too late now. I have a photo album: My favorite picture of myself, my favorite scenic picture, and some currency.
How Often Do You Travel: Well… so my goal is to go to 2 new countries every year. So far this has happened. But I will start 6 years of school coming up so we will see. I will try to travel on breaks.
How Long Do You Normally Travel: It varies. I have gone on weekend trips and 2 months trips. I have never traveled for more than 2 months, I have lived in a place for three months but that is about it.
How Do You Afford to Travel: I work. I research at a Cancer Research Center. And my parents are generous enough to fund some of my adventures.
How Do You Plan Your Travels: Internet. I like to look at googlemaps and googling trips.
How Much Time Do You Take Off Per Year: I am a student. I work until the end of my studies. Whenever I have breaks I travel.
1) Never exchange money. Take it from the atm. Because you will get the best exchange rate. And then you don’t have to wait in line.
2) Check out world travelers club for the officially recognized countries and territories in the world. And you can see if you qualify for membership – go to meetings around the world.
3) Do You: Even if you are with people do what makes you happy while in another country. Especially in a group – it is especially hard to please everybody.
4) Keep a close eye on your i-phone. I know probably 50 – 60 people who have had their phone stolen abroad, including me.
5) Be wary, but not at the same time. Be careful, but don’t be dumb.
6) Make sure you get a SIM card, it will save you lots of money. Instead of getting an international card.
Preferred form of travel: I enjoy all of them.
Traveling by Yourself: I think you gain the most personally by traveling by yourself especially if you are shy person. You are forced to meet people. You can meet and make friends around the world. Drawback: sometimes you are by yourself, especially as a woman it can be difficult you have no one else to rely on. You have to rely on yourself. But you realize how nice people are! People walked me back to the hotel and made sure I was safe. People escorted me all over the town. People are so nice.
Traveling with a Significant Other: Traveling with a significant other is great. Pro: Traveling with a significant other is on a lot of people’s bucket lists. You can grow together, experience things together. It is comforting.
Tours: I really only do tours when I am going to countries off the beaten path.
Highlight of Travel: When I reached Everest Base Camp I cried like a baby. I didn’t think I could do it and I did it.
Lowlight of Travel: When I thought I was going to die while trekking. It was rainy and freezing and cold and two people were sick from the altitude. The attitude was low. I missed my toilet and my bed. You are tired of the food and you miss home. But in the end it was worth it. I found out I was a slow walker – I didn’t know that. That is all part of “do you”. Go at my own pace. I did and I still got there. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
Four day later and Shilpi was off on another adventure. As Shilpi said “It has been real”. I look forward to reading about how Shilpi becomes another woman who has traveled to all of the countries in the world!