Have you met Hannah yet? Cake decorator by day, intrepid adventurer by night, she’s a dedicated female solo traveler who throws caution to the wind. She’s been stalked, chased by whip wielding locals, and was left for dead by Asian tourists! A self-proclaimed travel addict, and lover of ketchup, Hannah will risk it all for that perfect Panda photo op. She has made it her personal mission to travel the world and leave no stone unturned in the process. Follow her and get to know her at Eat Sleep Breathe Travel, I promise you will be entertained…
Tell me us about Eat Sleep Breathe Travel. Who are you, what are you all about, number of countries you’ve visited, and your first introduction to traveling?
Eat Sleep Breathe Travel started in 2012 as a journal of sorts. It had been nearly a year since my first trip abroad to live in Ireland and travel through Europe. I had all these stories and adventure but no one to tell them too. Like every other travel addict out there, I think we can all agree that non-travel inclined friends just don’t care as much as we want them to. So I created a free blog, wrote about my adventures and hoped that maybe someone would find them and read them.
It was only last April/early May that I decided to take the leap and create Eat Sleep Breathe Travel as a resource and a brand. I was just home from a two month trip in Europe that allowed me to complete and exceed my 25 by 25 goal (27 now) and after so much positive feedback from readers and fellow travelers I decided to take the plunge. Nearly a year later I’m happy to say my website still has plenty of the funny stories and confessions I started with, but also a lot of travel tips, destination advice, and inspiration for other solo and female travelers.
What inspired you to forgo the University Degree unlike so many others, and pursue to live a life of travel? (I love Indiana Jones too!)
INDIANA JONES FANS UNITE! Haha! Honestly, I loved my time at university but as cool as studying psychopaths and serial killers was (my degree is in Criminology) it was never my dream. I tried it, I worked with in the victim’s field for a little over two years, but I wear my heart on my sleeve and dealing with those stories in real life isn’t quite as bad** as it seems on T.V. Basically, I burnt out. In fairness, it’s never what I really wanted anyway. I gave it a shot, it was good while it lasted and I loved that I did make a difference, but I can pretty much guarantee I’ll never go back.
So you’ve left the regular 9-5 grind, how do you fund your yearly adventures?
I did a complete 360 and put aside the text books and literature to embrace my creative side. For the past three years I’ve worked as a professional cake decorator in a specialty shop here in Ottawa (my hometown). Not only is it fun, but it’s pretty flexible in allowing me to travel, even for a couple months at a time.
I’ve also been working on my freelance portfolio. I’ve always wanted to write and pairing that with my passion for travel is the ultimate goal right now. It’s a lot of work, and definitely not easy but I’m stubborn and will keep at it in the hopes that it pans out for me in the long run. Wish me luck!
What was the most creative or weird thing you had to do for some travel money?
I ate a packet of ketchup at a pub in Ireland for about $10 Canadian. It was a dare from a group from Northern Ireland, and they were both amazed and disgusted that I did it. One of them even took a video. I have no idea why they were so grossed out. I love ketchup so it didn’t bother me in the least, and talk about easy money!
There are a lot of scary stories about females traveling solo. Are these warranted, and what motivated you to give solo travel a shot?
I do think that caution is warranted, but I don’t think that travel as a solo female is as dangerous as everyone makes it out to be. I’ve been in a couple scary situations while travelling solo, but nothing that couldn’t happen to me here in Canada either. The good situations; the kindness of people I’ve met along the way, and the friends I’ve made, those far outweigh any negatives. I started travelling solo because I didn’t have anyone to go with, but with so many positive experiences, I now prefer it.
I can imagine solo female travel can put you in some dangerous situations. What is one of the most intense situations you’ve ever gotten yourself in to and how did you get yourself out of it?
As mentioned above I’ve had a couple sketchy incidents, bar far the scariest was in 2011 in Belfast. I was out at the pub with a group of Scottish guys from my hostel who were in town for a work party. I spent most of the evening dancing and talking to the younger ones who were my age but when I left, their boss (probably twice my age) followed me back. He was drunk and incredibly inappropriate; he wouldn’t stop grabbing at me. For a little while I was actually afraid that he would try to sexually assault me. I ended up being able to get far ahead of him, but of course we were staying in the same hostel. Thankfully I was in a female only dorm which I had to myself. I actually barricaded myself in my room that night. Nothing happened- he passed out downstairs on the table, but thankfully they had to leave really early and I didn’t have to see him again.
Traveling solo for some people can be really intimidating, especially for those who are shy. How do you go about breaking the ice, and make meaningful connections with others?
I am super outgoing and social. I have no problem plunking down at a table in a hostel and introducing myself, or joining in a conversation I hear and can participate in. One of my favourite go-to’s when I get somewhere new is to ask for advice on the area, it’s an easy way to start up a conversation. And, if I’m going out in search of dinner I’ll always ask my roommates, or whoever I’m with in the common room, if they want to come with me. In my experience, grabbing a meal with someone is one of the easiest ways to make friends.
If you could offer only one survival/safety tip for female solo travelers, what would it be?
It sounds cliché but women seriously have some type of inner alarm. I had a bad feeling when the guy in Belfast picked up his coat and walked over to me as I was saying goodbye. I should have asked one of the others to walk me back, or ducked out sooner. Women need to trust their intuition and, not be afraid to ask for help. Although there are a few jerks out there, everyone has wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and girlfriends too- no one likes to see a girl scared and I’ve discovered many times that people are quick and willing, to help.
I know you have a lot more adventuring left to do, but up until now, what is the most memorable experience/trip?
My first ever trip in 2011, when I lived in Ireland and travelled around Europe, will probably always be my most memorable. It sounds cliché but I learned a lot about myself; I was capable of taking care of myself and being independent. I made a lot of mistakes, missed planes and took the wrong trains, but it made me realized how strong I was and it made me braver. The coolest experience I had during that trip was just outside of Salzburg, when I inadvertently took part in an Austrian Christmas tradition telling the story of Krampus, a Christmas demon. I was the only foreigner there and quickly became targeted by the locals dressed as Krampus who chased me with their thick whips while I tried to take their picture. It was a bit startling because I had no idea what was going on, but I laughed the whole time. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I was lucky to have stumbled into.
Your one essential piece of travel gear you can’t live without?
That’s a massive toss-up between a journal and my camera. I guess if I had to pick, it would be a journal. I write in them religiously after every day while I’m travelling so later down the line I can look back and remember it all, it helps for my writing too. I also love the idea of being able to pass them on down the line, so when I’m old and senile my grandchildren (assuming I have a family) can know I was kind of a cool person.
You’re obviously no longer a “travel virgin”. So, how have you evolved as a traveler from when you first started to how you are now?
I have learned a lot of things since I took my first trip from budgeting to something as silly as how to read a map. I really was completely clueless when I started. One of the biggest things I learned was what actually counts as a cheap flight. Being from Canada, flights are ridiculously expensive. So when I saw a roundtrip fare from Ireland to Scotland for $350CDN I jumped on it. HUGE mistake, I should have paid max a third of that. I spent a lot of unnecessary money those three months in Europe, just from not knowing any better.
I’ve also learned to slow down a bit. One of my travel friends told me I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and he’s right. I tend to be somewhere new every couple of days; I want to see it all! Last year I spent an entire week in Nice and just did a few day trips, it was actually really nice to take it easy for a few days so I think I learned a bit from that and will slow down in the future. At least a little bit, but no promises!
Do you have any final advice for women who plan on solo female travel like yourself?
I think the hardest thing being a solo female traveller is the negativity attached with it. So many people warn me against going everywhere I look at, whether it’s for culture differences, stereotypes, or a variety of silly reasons. It’s amazing how many people think they know best just from reading a story in the news, when they have little or no actual travel experience to fall back on. My biggest piece of advice would be to block those people out and do your own research. You know your comfort levels and if you feel safe and ready to go- do it. Don’t let anyone tell you where you should and shouldn’t go.
Where will the road take you next?
Well isn’t that the million dollar question! I will be back in Ireland (where it all started!) in September; my old roommate is getting married so that will be one hell of a party. As for the rest… I’m not quite ready to share those plans as they are still in the works. What I will point out is that it has now been a year since I’ve been outside of North America, the longest stretch yet, so you can bet I’ve been saving for something…. Stay tuned!
About Hannah Logan
Hi! I’m Hannah, a Canadian travel addict who has been dreaming of adventure since I first watched Indiana Jones. Travelling on and off since 2011, I’m on a mission to see the world. Will you join my (mis)adventures?
Hannah blogs over at Eat, Sleep, Breathe Travel. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter and even on Instagram!
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Hannah’s really lived the life Carey! Neat stuff. As for the ketchup thing I do that for free, MANY TIMES lol….although it disgusts my wife Kelli out of her mind. I love the stuff and drink it sometimes if my meals overseas are lacking in flavor hahaha…..overall though she’s lived quite a life. So many fun, intriguing travelers out there who’ve seen the world and who are happy to share their stories. Loved this interview, thanks guys!
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Great interview, Hannah! It was great to read more about you. I’m sure we will have to meet up one of these days….after all, you’re not THAT far away!
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