Meet our latest Woman of the Week: Frances! At the time of the interview, Frances was in Asia, but wasn’t sure how long she’d be there. This traveling woman has caught the travel bug and is always on the move, which she documents at “So the Adventure Begins” (links below). We’re both self-proclaimed foodies, so I loved her advice about scouting out the best restaurants before a visit to a new place. Check out her other tips and see how she balances her work and travel in her interview!
Connect with Frances:
Tell us about yourself?
Hello, I am Frances, a twenty-something girl living in Vietnam as a TEFL teacher. While at university I caught the travel bug but was frustrated by having to limit travels according to my budget and the time I could afford from away University and working part-time. So it made sense that come graduation I would make changes so that I could travel more freely. And here we are over a year into teaching English in Vietnam! Teaching English was on my radar all through high school, and something I always wanted to try. Now that I am a teacher, I can safely say I love it – which puts me into the rare bracket of loving my job!
Why do you travel?
I wish I could say something special and inspirational about why I travel but, being truthful, most of my reasons are selfish ones. I enjoy exploring new places – the feeling of being lost, of not having any time restraints, of being uncomfortable and having to think on my feet to figure things out. I am very much a “memories over material” person. For example I prefer to give someone a gift of memories, like the opportunity to learn something new or visit somewhere cool than a physical gift that might sit on a shelf. So, I guess my love for travel falls in line with this part of my personality. I hope to change the way I travel over time in order to give back more than I take, by doing work-aways and relief work.
How do you balance work and travel?
Balancing work and travel has been much easier since moving to Vietnam, as I am within easy (and affordable) reach of many tropical destinations I have longed to see. At my language centre I get two days off a week and don’t work until the evenings, making a two and a half day long trip somewhere exotic relatively simple. I have also been able to save money easily as the costs of living in Vietnam can be kept low, which makes taking last minute trips possible.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your travels?
Stop focusing on ticking off countries. Travel isn’t a competition or a numbers game – it’s about growing, making mistakes and gaining experiences and memories. Slowing down how we travel has allowed us to really experience places. Instead of trying to cram in countries we look to see the variation within one country (outside just a few cities), sample the local cuisine and attempt to practice the local language with bemused locals. It really changes your perception of a trip!
Oh, do I have to pick one? I have had so many amazing experiences! Washing and feeding the Ellies at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand (a place which sparked a desire to see more of SE Asia and ultimately move here), speed walking through Hanoi with my mum to make sure we got to the train street in time to watch the train whizz past, and reinventing a white Christmas by spending it on the heavenly beach of Koh Rong Samloem. These have been some of the highlights that spring to mind. Some of my other travel memories are slightly less glamorous but involve road trips with my parents and sisters around Scotland to visit family, having bonfires on beaches and camping among swarms of vicious mozzies.
Ooh my number one travel tip is to not only research things to do but also include research on what and where to EAT. Food can make or break a trip (in my opinion) and doing a little bit of research into finding out what the local delicacies are and where to try them can help make a trip truly memorable.
Also, turn that bucketlist into an experience list – change having “Vietnam” on your list to “slurping Pho from a street vendor in Saigon”. By doing this you will hone in on why you want to visit somewhere and it helps you to organise your plans for trips!
THANKS FOR READING FRANCES’S STORY!
Looking for more interviews? Head to our Woman of the Week archives for the full library.
I’ve also created three freebies to help you plan your next adventure:
- 50 Practical Travel Tips from Solo Lady Backpackers (a 6-page PDF)
- 20 Tips for Sustainable Travel (a checklist)
- and 30 Jobs to See the World.
After you join the mailing list up, you’ll have access to all the freebies, AND get the password to the Global Directory! The directory will connect you to my recommended resources for each country and tons of travel topics. All blog posts I recommend are written by traveling ladies. From logistics to inspiration, the Global Directory will help you find the info you need no matter where you’re going.
After you sign up, you’ll start receiving the following freebies: 50 Practical Travel Tips from Solo Lady Backpackers (a 6-page PDF), 20 Tips for Sustainable Travel (a checklist), and 30 Jobs to See the World.
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