Feature Friday | Danielle from Like Riding a Bicycle
Meet Danielle from Like Riding a Bicycle.
I strongly believe that people who love to travel are the best kind of people. This series will introduce you to some of the amazing women travelers with whom I have been fortune enough to connect. Women travelers who are overcoming adversity and crushing societal norms are a huge source of inspiration for me and I believe their stories will inspire you as well.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? Where are you based? When and how did you start traveling?
My name’s Danie, creator of Like Riding a Bicycle, and I’m pretty much just a crazy nomad who has no idea what she’s doing, but does it anyways. My first backpacking trip was six years ago to Peru; it was supposed to be a trip with my long term boyfriend at the time, but – surprise! – we broke up a week and a half before the trip was planned. After a week or so, I felt back on my feet due to the amazing people and scenery surrounding me. After three months I returned home, and the travel bug never left me. I’ve now been on the road for three years straight, and I have no intention of settling down any time soon!
Describe something you have done while traveling that has pushed you outside your comfort zone. What did you learn from that experience?
I hitchhike and wild camp most of the time while I’m traveling, but I usually make sure I’m not in a city by the time it’s dusk and I’m setting up my tent. I once got stuck in a city at midnight with nowhere to camp, no money for a hostel, and many drunk hobos around making me think today is probably not the day I should try city sleeping with all my stuff. That day my feet were filled with blisters, and I could barely even walk, so it was an extremely painful endeavor to find myself a place to rest my weary bones. I felt absolutely desperate as I searched, but when I finally found some bushes tucked up against an apartment building, I felt this sense of accomplishment; I had been faced with the impossible mission of finding a place to camp in a city while my feet weren’t even working properly, and I succeeded.
Do you suffer from pre-travel anxiety? Any tips or tricks on how to calm your pre-travel nerves?
Nah, I’ve been on the go so long I don’t really get anxious because of travelling. I do often feel some sort of combo of excitement for where I’m going and mourning for the place I’m leaving, but travelling doesn’t make me nervous.
Where is the most unique place you have traveled? Tell us about a place we may not have heard of before.
One of the coolest, most unique places I’ve visited was Rummu Karjaar in Estonia. I hitchhiked there to check out this abandoned Soviet era prison. The thing about this prison is that it’s sunken, so many people actually go diving there to explore (I definitely had neither the gear nor the guts to dive there, but it did sound pretty damn cool!) I spent an hour or so sitting on the shore, listening to music, resting my back on my backpack (which I often use as a chair), and gazing out at this mesmerizing sight. I wondered who had been within those walls; were they truly evil people? Or were they people wrongfully imprisoned during the Soviet era? The sensations I got from gazing out at this sight were amazing.
What made you decide to travel solo for the first time?
As mentioned earlier, my first backpacking trip was supposed to be with my ex-boyfriend, but that went out the window when we broke up. Still determined to travel, I hopped on a plane to Peru all by myself. I was terrified! I didn’t think in a million years I could pull it off, and I wanted to run back home as soon as I arrived. Slowly but surely, however, I found the freedom in solo travel. It gets lonely at times, sure, but the freedom makes it worth it. Even after being robbed at gunpoint halfway through the trip, there was no way of going back; I was already in love with travel, even if it meant sacrificing a few iPods here and there (seriously, why does everyone rob my iPod? Can’t they rob something else? It’s happened three times to date…)
Travel is not all sunshine and roses. Tell us about a negative experience you have had on the road or about a destination that disappointed you.
I hitchhike a lot, and usually people really go above and beyond – they’ll buy me a meal, drive me out of their way, give me a place to sleep, and everything in between! But occasionally I do get some sour people. I was hitchhiking in England last summer, and a guy picked me up. He immediately said, “So what do I get for giving you a lift?” I responded in an off putting tone, “Um… good karma?” He said that no, he was not giving me a ride for nothing, so I told him to let me off at the next highway turn off – which was a two minute drive away, and a far safer place to catch my next ride than on the motorway. But no, he dropped me on the side of the motorway, proving himself to be both a pervert and have zero care for the well-being of others. That sucked. My next lift, however, was the normal – he drove out of his way for me, and we swapped glorious stories. There’s always the good and the bad, it’s just a matter of listening to your instincts and getting out of the bad experiences right away.
If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, travel related or not, what would it be?
Okay, it’s cliche as hell, but follow your damn dreams! Too many people sit at home wishing for a better life, and they don’t seem to realize they can have that life. Sure, it will take struggles and compromises, and it will be difficult. But wouldn’t you rather overcome adversity to have the life you dream of than sit complacently hating your life? Not everyone dreams to travel, but everyone has dreams; reach our for yours already!
Make sure you follow Danielle on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat @danie_ditz to stay up to date on her adventures.
Be sure to check in every Friday to meet other awesome women travel bloggers and future friends! If you follow a female travel blogger that you love, please send suggestions my way so that I can reach out to her! If you are interested in being featured yourself, please shoot me an email: hello[at]btravelsbetter.com.