Feature Friday | Jessica from Beck! What the Heck?!
Feature Friday with Future Friends
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?
Hi! I’m Jessica Beck, the girl behind Beck! What the Heck?! and I am based out of the East Coast of Central Florida near the beach. I was fortunate enough to start traveling at the young age of 10 on mission teams. I left the country for the first time as an 11-year-old, traveling to Peru and Australia in one summer. I spent about a month and a half that summer in Queensland, Australia with a team of people I didn’t know until we met up to go to Australia. That was when this independent spirit began to grow inside of me.
Describe the moment you fell in love with travel in as much detail as possible. Where were you? Who were you with? What did you see, smell, hear? Transport us to that moment.
I think I fall in love with a different aspect of travel every time I take a trip, but I can specifically remember the moment I fell in love with solo travel. I was in San Diego, California in July 2012 , and had gone to visit a friend without realizing I would be spending my last day there by myself. I woke up unsure of what to do, spent my morning scrolling through googling from Starbucks where the best place to go would be. I finally decided on Ocean Beach. That afternoon I was sitting on the boardwalk, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, eating a lobster taco and I had a feeling I had never experienced before. With the sun shining on my face, the breeze blowing through my hair, and the sight of the ocean crashing into the nearby cliffs I was overwhelmed with serenity. It dawned on me that I was perfectly happy. I didn’t need another person there with me, in fact I didn’t want another person there with me. I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely, I was perfectly content and embracing the beauty around me. I spent the rest of the day taking long walks, sitting on the beach, and was totally amazed in the fulfillment of solo traveling.
Where is your favorite place in the world? What stands out about this place that makes it your favorite?
It’s hard for me to pinpoint a favorite place in the world, the reasons for my visits around the globe have been so wildly different. I feel like I can’t compare really them. Also, there is SO MUCH of the world I haven’t seen, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to accurately answer this question! I’ll always be in search of my new favorite place, I guess. I will say, my go-to place when I need an escape is a magical place in the middle of nowhere, in Brunswick, Georgia. It’s called The Hostel In The Forest. It’s a four-hour drive from where I live in Florida, so it’s far enough to get away, but close enough to be an easy weekend trip. It’s the perfect place to totally seclude myself from home and immerse myself in nature and experiences with people I have never met before. Isn’t that why we travel anyways?
What is the most important lesson you have learned from traveling? How has learning this lesson helped you in your life?
Just go with the flow, be flexible in all things. Keep an open mind, accept kindness from strangers, and understand that everyone was raised differently. Just because you think differently than someone else doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either of you. I’ve learned to accept people’s differences, even when it’s something I feel strongly about. Everyone feels strongly about something, and depending on how and where you were raised perspectives will vary, and that’s okay.
Have you ever traveled solo? If so, what was the best part of the experience? If you haven’t, why not?
Solo travel has quickly become one of my favorite things! I spoke about how I fell in love with solo travel earlier, but I have also traveled solo in New Orleans (during Mardi Gras, no less), various places throughout Pensacola, Florida and Orange Beach, Alabama, Savannah, Georgia, and I recently returned from a solo backpacking trip in Costa Rica and Panama. The best part of solo travel is the freedom it gives you, and the opportunities to meet new people and do everything with an open mind. When you travel with other people there is a certain level of compromise that is involved, but with solo travel you are free to do whatever you please, however you please.
If you could give one piece of advice, about anything, to a large group of people, what would it be?
Don’t stop yourself from doing the things you want to do simply because you don’t have anyone to do them with you. You are totally capable of doing it yourself! It’s great to experience things with your friends, but doing it alone helps you make new friends. You really learn a lot about yourself and what you are capable of.
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: [email protected]