Wander logo

How to Travel the World

(with no idea what you’re doing)

By Iris KohlPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

As the title suggests, this may not be the most clear cut guide. Honestly, it might be easier to consider this a list: all the terrible decisions I’ve made over the course of five months. But bear with me. It’s important.

Once, a stranger came up to me and started telling me about calculations. He said that if you stop thinking about the calculations - basically, if you can completely cast away all notions of what is possible - your entire future will change. I was fifteen at the time. In those days, my future seemed to be set in stone: school, then university, then work. We all know this story. But when I heard those five little words, ‘your entire future will change’, it reminded me I still had a choice in all of this. And so three years later, I find myself eighteen, on my own, and about to cross my country’s borders for the first time.

Thus, I humbly present: my guide to travelling the world with absolutely no idea what you’re doing. Sometimes unconventionality works. Sometimes it doesn’t - if that’s the case, learn from my mistakes. But don’t let my mistakes scare you. The one thing I know for certain is that the clichés make sense when it comes to pursuing dreams. We don’t have time to wait for a better moment.

Now, as a young woman, travelling solo for five months is clearly an impossibly naive decision. I know it. My family knows it. Complete strangers know it when they ask what I’m studying at university and I tell them I’m foregoing all intentions of studying and running away to Greenland. Solo female travel is possible. But if I were smart, I would recognise that all those solo female travellers on Instagram have years of experience. Not to mention, they probably eased themselves into travel, rather than metaphorically jumping off a cliff like myself. At least be assured that I am aware of almost every single thing that could happen to me. Overthinking these next few months has been both an ally and an enemy. And yes, I am terrified. But I can’t give into that fear, even if it would probably keep me safe. Safety seems to mark the line between surving and living. I survived high school. Now that I get to choose what my life becomes, I’ve decided I will never merely survive anything ever again. I want to breathe life in everything that I do.

My ‘calculations’ philosophy doesn’t pass well with most people. I don’t blame them at all. Personally, I frequently lie awake at night wondering what the hell I’m doing. The finances, safety, legalities, even the idea of being alone so long - they all get to me. Needless to say, I frequently think I am insane. And people agree with me. They also tell me I am very naive. I agree with them.

But I’m doing this all anyway. I have to. No one seems to understand just how badly my soul needs this.

Which brings me to my next point. As you have probably figured out by now, I am no gifted writer. I lack experience. I lack sense, really. I am not nearly as afraid as I should be. I do, however, love this. If you stay with me long enough, you’ll watch all these places I go unfold as stories. It’s my way of immortalising the feeling of being here. Sometimes non-fiction falls short, you know?

One more thing. The whole purpose of this very unhelpful guide is more to help me than you. Sorry. I’ve been asked to create an 'I'm still alive' blog for the people I leave behind, so I guess this is as close as it gets. Also, I need accountability. So you are my accountability partners. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything. Just the idea that some strangers on the internet know my intentions might be the push I need to follow through with my plans. Feel free to watch said plans unravel on Instagram too.

And yes, maybe the whole thing will fall apart. So what? No matter where I fail on this journey, I’m still further ahead than I have ever been in my life.

So this is it. Wish me luck.

- Iris

travel tipssolo travelhumanityfemale traveleurope

About the Creator

Iris Kohl


🌊Sometimes I rant about my terrible decisions.

🪷Other times I attempt to translate the things I’ve seen into stories.

🏔️Knowing strangers hear my story holds me accountable to keeping this journey going.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.