Written By Nyssa L. / Interview by Cassandra S.
Travel Italian Style is a huge supporter of women's empowerment and solo travel. To show our on going support for this community we have created Women Travel Talks! Now we will be introducing you to inspiring women all around the world to tell their story right here!
Today it is our absolute pleasure to kick off the series with digital nomad and inspirational solo traveler, Marta from A Girl Who Travels. From India to Italy, Marta has been sharing her stories, insight and passion for the road less traveled on her blog. Today we are sharing her story here in hopes that you too may be inspired to take this path!
“Just do it. You have one life, and if you have this burning desire that has been there for a long time…you can do it—there’s literally nothing in the world that can stop you”
-Marta, A Girl Who Travels
Living in the twenty-first century frequently has many benefits; incredible advances in technology, a comparatively progressive society, and an ever more globally connected and interactive world.
However, one of the draw backs of this time period is that the ability for the average Jane to wake up one morning and decide: “I’m going to explore Tuscany for a month!” is frequently considered an impossible task.
There are too many insecurities: how would Jane pay for traveling for a month? Would she be able to come back to her job when she finished traveling? How does “traveling the world for x months” actually look on a resume, if she would need to find a new job? And what if Jane decides to travel alone? Wouldn’t that be incredibly dangerous and lonely?
Questions like these frequently discourage women with a burning desire to explore the world from actually packing up their belongings and embarking on the adventures of their dreams.
Thankfully, the world has women like Marta , the genius behind the blog A Girl Who Travels, who a few years ago decided to take the leap, leave her job, and travel throughout the world, starting in India—and yes, she did it alone, lads and gentlewomen. While the fact that Marta did this successfully on her own is remarkable in itself, her story is even more inspiring because she didn’t let her travels come to an end—she transformed her adventures into a sustainable career.
Marta, a native of Poland, has always had a zest for global and cultural exploration; she has a thirst for knowledge and new things, and admittedly gets bored easily in one place—she simply needs to roam. So, following the completion of her master’s degree, she decided to take a five-month solo trip to India,Malaysia, Laos and Sri Lanka.
For Marta, deciding to travel alone truly seemed to be the right choice from the beginning of her plan: “Well, first of all, not many people would be able to take five months off of their lives and travel with me. And second of all, I was set on what I wanted to see. I used to read a lot about India, and I had an idea of what places I wanted to see and what I wanted to do—and I didn’t want anyone interfering with that.”
Where many would still be a tad apprehensive about traveling alone, Marta was simply excited about her trip coming to fruition.
However, that is not to say her adventure went off without a hitch; there were a few hiccups during her initial travels, such as making an unfortunate hotel booking in an odd location. “[Against the advice of friends] I wanted to go for the culture shock and the whole experience…I ended up in this really random area…at this dingy little hotel that was completely different than the photos…I ended up escaping at five in the morning.”
Yet despite this mildly traumatic situation, Marta continued her travels. And even with having the occasional desire to more easily connect with her friends from home, she also considers the traveler’s lifestyle easy to lose yourself in: “It’s actually really surprising and crazy how fast you can develop as a person in a very short period of time.”
Eventually on her travels, Marta made friends with a few New York natives, and decided to visit them. Her trip to the Big Apple, which was initially planned for a little over a week, turned into a three month duration where she fell in love with the city, and also came to a stunning realization. “[Back in England] I remember just sitting at home in Newcastle thinking ‘Ugh, if I start looking for a job in London, I will never be able to go back to New York for as long as I want—what do I do? What do I do?’”
Not having that option was unacceptable to her, and somewhat serendipitously, Marta soon learned of freelance work available in other countries which would allow her to continue her global exploration. And just like that, Marta was off traveling the world again.
For the past year or so, Marta has been stationed in Florence—which, obviously, our team at Travel Italian Style was dying to hear about. Florence’s bright and sunny weather was in stark contrast to Newcastle’s typically overcast climate, and Marta soon fell in love with the Italian culture, which she considers much more relaxed.
“I ended up in Florence, and I fell in love with it. I really liked it, I loved their lifestyle, I loved the weather…it was nice and sunny. I mean their lifestyle is just amazing…in most Western countries, you kind of work to live—work comes first. But here it’s about friends and family.”
She also considers having Florence as a home base to be really convenient; as it is a pretty central location between several countries, it’s incredibly easy to travel. Another beneficial aspect of making Florence her landing zone is that there are currently several other travel-blogging women based there as well; these other women, such as A Girl In Florence’s Georgette Jupe, have fostered a sense of community and a support system for each other, scheduling frequent events such as arts and crafts in Florence.
With having Florence as her home base, Marta has been able to travel extensively throughout Italy. She has been able to experience the beauty of Cinque Terre (thankfully during the off-season), wander through the rolling hills of Tuscany, learn about the black and white magic of Turin (which is a fascinating story—click here for a link to her blog post!), and experience the energy and excitement of Venice during the height of Carnevale, a winter holiday consisting of balls, costumes, and infamous Venetian masks.
While writing about her own experiences throughout Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and several other countries has been her primary focus as a travel blogger, recently Marta has branched out to dedicate a section of her site, titled “A Day in the Life” to other female nomads and bloggers.
Here, every so often she includes a feature of a different female travel writer to continue the cycle of inspiring other women to travel. “So basically the idea behind my blog right from the start was to inspire other women to travel. And while I tried to do that the best I can by telling my own stories…[I thought] it would be a nice thing to reach out to other women…It’s not just me, it’s other women as well! It’s actually true what I’m saying about solo-travel independence.”
Which, we were delighted to hear, is one of the reasons Marta felt our upcoming Women’s Empowerment Tour through Tuscany was such a wonderful idea! We were ecstatic here at Travel Italian Style when Marta initially responded to one of our Tweets about the tour, and we were so excited to talk to her about it a little more in depth.
Marta feels developing a tour only open to women will allow conversation to thrive, deepen, and allow for an overall more empowering experience than would perhaps be possible in a different setting.
Despite the beauty and majesty of Florence, Marta is now ready to move on from her Italian base. She is ready for a change of pace, and will soon be moving to Bali in the next few months to begin a new adventure.
And with her move, she has a reminder for women at large—to also move on in their own lives if that is what they feel a passion for:
“Just do it. You have one life, and if you have this burning desire that has been there for a long time…you can do it—there’s literally nothing in the world that can stop you…In today’s society, it’s working nine to five, getting married…these are still the kinds of steps that people are required to take…it does not actually work for everyone.”
And with this wise advice in hand, our own founder and CEO Cassandra shall be returning to Italy next month to continue on her own trek through the Italian landscape, and we can’t help but be inspired by these two women who have been able to turn their passions for travel into remarkable careers.
To continue to follow Marta on her travels through Bali be sure to check out her website A Girl Who Travels. PS ladies who are committed, Marta also shares advice on why & how you can travel solo even when you re in a relationship (so no excuses)! ;)
Do you dream of traveling the world as a digital nomad? Tell us your story below!
For Those interested in getting a taste of solo travel join our Women's Tuscany Tour in October 2015--Only 2 Spots remaining!
A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature combined with minors in Global Studies and French. She loves to write, but also really loves editing and making any form of written work the best it can possibly be. She has an absolute love for exploring the world—its places, people, and cultures. She had always known she had a thirst for traveling, but after studying abroad in Grantham, England, realized it would never be quenched; exploring as much of the world as possible is really her only serious goal in life, and she can’t wait to see where her future adventures will lead her.