This week we would like to introduce Stephanie Yoder of Twenty-Something Travel. Stephanie is a girl who can’t sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She’s lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Twenty-Something Travel. Recently, Stephanie has also become an author with the release of her eBook A Year Without Makeup. (Read my review on the book here!)
1. What inspires you to travel, and how has travel changed you?
I’m in love with the thrill of discovery. There’s no magic quite like discovering a new place’s history, culture, people and food. I’m a big reader as well but nothing quite matches up to the experience of learning things first hand.
I think travel has made me more open and accepting of the world around me. I’m better informed and a bit wiser when it comes to looking at alternate perspectives.
2. What has been your most memorable travel experience so far?
Not sure I can pick just one! I think my backpacking trip through the Balkans, which I did back in 2008 way before I even started blogging, has stuck with me as one of the most vivid and interesting travel experiences I’ve had. It was an area I didn’t know a lot about and the deep painful history coupled with the vibrant present just made it so vivid and alivel
3. What’s the funniest, weirdest cultural norm/tradition you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
I spent three months in China and one of my favorite things was watching the Chinese babies wander around with their cute little butts hanging out. In China most women don’t use diapers and instead clothe their babies in these split pants that have a big gap over the butt. When the kid has to go it just sort of squats down. That part was less cute.
4. What souvenir do you have to buy at all your destinations?
I buy a lot of jewerly. It’s easy to carry and is an everyday reminder of exotic locations.
5. How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
A good book, or more recently, my kindle. I’m a prolific reader, probably about a book a week and I can’t imagine traveling without some sort of in depth reading material.
6. Do you have favorite travel blogs that you read regularly?
7. You just published your first eBook, what inspired you to write it? How did you go about picking the posts you wanted to include?
I’ve always wanted to write a book, so hopefully this will be a stepping stone to a longer, more in depth one! When I decided to write A Year Without Make-Up I wanted to pick posts that would tell a story, specifically the story of that first year when I quit my job and decided to travel. It was tough to pick which posts to include, I made a huge list and then just sort of chopped the less relevant ones away.
8. In your book, you talk a lot about making life changes and how anyone can do what you did if they really want to. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything? Were there any big mistakes you made?
I don’t have any major regrets at all, except maybe wishing I’d got started sooner.
9. You seem like you’ve had your fair share of travel mishaps (especially in Phuket!) What has been your worst experience traveling so far?
My most demoralizing experience was probably the two months I spent in a camper van driving through Australia. It rained every day for literally the entire trip. Australia is beautiful but there’s not much to see or do when it’s thunderstorming everyday. It was very dissapointing. This actually happened in the middle of my Asia trip but didn’t make it into the book because it was simultaneously depressing and not very interesting.
10. Despite having such a bad day traveling, you and Mike survived your first trip together without strangling one another, and now years later you’re getting married! Do you have any travel advice for couples? How did you deal with having a long distance relationship?
I think that traveling together is a really difficult test for most relationships- you see each other at your worst and there’s really not much alone time. One thing that has helped me is learning how to separate environmental factors (i.e. being hungry, hot, tired, annoyed) from emotional fighting. Also carving out alone time by taking a day on my own now and then or even just burying myself in a book.
11. Do you have any tips for people who want to try their hand at writing an eBook? What do you think you need to make them successful?
Like so many things in life the hardest part of writing the ebook was summoning the courage to get started. Once I actually started writing things flowed quite easily, but each day it was a struggle to sit down and do it.
12. Are there plans to write another eBook in the future?
I’d really like to write a longer, more original book- when I can find the time!
Backpack or suitcase? Backpack, unless it’s a very short trip.
Window or aisle? Window
Solo or group? Solo
Tapas or sushi? Sushi
Beach or mountains? Beach
Want more of Stephanie? Follow along in her adventures below!