Introduce yourself! Who are you? and which country do you come from/ call home?
Hello, My name is Claudia Cejas. I’m a 36 young woman who was born and raised in Argentina and I can call myself a traveller, not a tourist and even though my roots lay in Argentina. I feel the world is my home nowadays. But obviously, I have a special appreciation for the countries I lived in.
Where have you been?
I lived in many countries and also travelled throughout others, and in most of them, I just arrived by myself. I lived in Andorra, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Argentina (of course) and travelled in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Greece, England, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Czech Rep, Hungary, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
What has inspired you to start travelling solo?
Well… Since I was very young and as Argentina is a huge country I did some “short trips” to some provinces. The reality was I was so afraid to be alone somewhere far from my comfort zone. But also I really loved and enjoyed the cultural exchange, that I thought, that my fears shouldn’t stop me. And not having a companion shouldn’t be a show stopper. I wouldn’t want that to be a wall for following my dreams. Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to see and experience a different society. A society where strong and independent women aren’t afraid to do things on there own and are empowered by looking for solutions instead of relying on others.
What was your family’s reaction to your travelling idea?
My mum is my inspiration and role model, I look up to her so much. She came to the “big city: Buenos Aires” when she was 15 years old to work as a housekeeper for supporting her mum and 6 siblings because her dad abandoned them. I think she worries many times and wonders how I am. (actually, she is very often pending on the phone) but she always supports all my dreams “as long as it makes me happy” She never transmits my fears and trusts me and often tells me she is always there if I wanna come back and I have to enjoy every moment on my trips. If she had fears… maybe, but since the beginning, she knew that if she transfers me those fear feelings that it would stop me in every new challenge I would want to face. Her way is encouraging me on my crazy new ideas and enjoy my stories when I’m back home. Also, she travels with my pictures through my eyes (as she was never able to do it)
Many people are reluctant to travel solo because they feel like they’ll be alone and won’t meet anyone. What’s your experience?
I have days where I feel desperately alone, sitting in front of landscapes and wishing to share that view with somebody. The people that say you will never feel lonely in my opinion are lying. It’s part to become mature and learn to accept that feeling. At the same time, even though I was always super social, I’m 10 times more open, friendly and social when I travel alone. That positive vibe makes people approach me and almost never am I alone. There are so many people in the same situation, who are willing to spend time with you! Think about it, when you travel with someone most of the time you don’t “have time” to meet new fellow travellers and you miss the most important part of the trip: know people and know yourself deeply and better.
In how far do you think travelling has changed you and your view of the world?
It changed me 90% which is a lot but I wouldn’t say 100% because I always was a curious girl, who promised herself to not be close-minded and to learn as much as I could.
My view from the world everyday change in a good way. I mean I have a theory at the beginning that was confirmed and still on every trip. “Everybody need, want and is moved by LOVE”. Good and “bad” people are everywhere. Wherever you are you will always find someone who gives you a hand, hears you or helps you in many ways. On the other hand, it could be possible to find people with bad intentions. Unfortunately, they are everywhere! My big learning is, don’t believe the media (and I worked for 6 years on a movie channel that belongs to a huge well-known multimedia company), experience the world in first as a person. Unsafety could be there but is not an attribute properly for ONLY 3rd world countries. Another learning was that sometimes the ones who have less are the most generous. But generalizations also are not good. These are simple examples that of course also have exceptions. And last but not least, doesn’t matter where the people come from is incredible to discover how similar we could be when feelings are involved.
The biggest concern for travelling solo as a female is safety. What would you tell women who want to travel solo but worry about their safety?
First I would like to change the idea of being a woman solo traveller is more unsafe. I mean probably it is, but I’ve been thinking on that and if we could try to stop that set collective consciousness, and try to educate men (many of us will be or are mothers, right?) about the respect beyond the sex, the world will be more equal and we will have more freedom as woman travellers. But I know now that is a dream…. Regarding the question I would say: always follow your instincts, love yourself and don’t be afraid to leave a place or a step away from a person who makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable. Be strong, say no when you want to. Be aware but don’t live with fears.
What should every solo female traveller pack?
Not too many clothes, we always pack more than we need hahaha. The important paperwork, your cell phone and contacts, some basic medicine if you need it and condoms if you wanna have fun 😉 Everything else you can buy it on the road.
How do you afford your travels, and what tips can you share for keeping costs down while on the road?
Well, this is an important topic I would like to elaborate in detail.
I came from a country where 1 Euro is 30 pesos, where inflation is one of the highest, the economy collapses every 4 years and we are located at the bottom of the world. Many local people think we are not able to travel as we don’t have many possibilities and is hard to afford travelling. I come from a low medium class that everything that reached was by my own effort. I prepared myself for this kind of lifestyle and I started to discover the world being mostly an adult. You need to give first to receive then. I host on Couchsurfing, I help my expat friends or new people in my country. I have studied a lot to learn English and now, for the first time I’m doing this current trip as a digital nomad. I’m on that path now but I worked very hard to achieve that goal.
Tips: Couchsurfing (host first and you will have an irresistible profile where it would be almost impossible for anybody to deny your request)
Volunteers jobs: Helpex, Workaway: work happily in simple jobs for food and accommodation; If you have the chance, apply to work holiday visas, therefore, you can save some money. Be aware you will probably be working in low-quality jobs at the beginning, or maybe not; but keep in mind that money is to keep travelling going. Be in traveller’s groups, connect with other travellers, help them and you will be helped and invited for free many times. Low-cost flight and buses are common in some continents, take your bike, do carpooling. There is a whole traveller world outside there…
What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?
I wish I would have known that if I was going to fell in love with guys from so many different countries I should be ready for being heartbroken hahaha … Just kidding: never stop to believe in love
Do you ever think to yourself, “Shit, what am I doing? Shouldn’t I be back home now and own an apartment or house or something?”
Yes, almost every day when I got lost when I am not able to find a job when I am having personal problems and you are far away or when you had a not so nice experience with somebody but then… when you see the beauty of every country and the soul of every human being and I found myself having so many friends who show me their love I changed my thoughts and I’m still choosing this life… as my tattoo says “One love, One world, Traveller life”