Woman of the Week: Holly

wow Holly standing on a crowded street in Vietnam

Meet our latest WOW: Holly, a British native who has found her way to Asia where she now works, lives, and travels. I’m excited for you all to read her story as there was so much I related to in her answers! From the challenges and rewards of traveling as an introvert, the reality that awkward situations won’t actually kill you, the advice to accept your feelings toward a place when it isn’t what you expected for better or worse…I’m sure you’ll find Holly’s story a bit relatable, but I hope you also find it as inspirational as I did. She shares some great examples of how to get out there and explore the world, beyond our ever-limited vacations, perfect for women interested in working and traveling at the same time. (Yes, I’m talking work!) As always, happy reading and happy travels


Connect with Holly:

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  1. Tell us about yourself?

Hey, I’m Holly, a British expat living in Vietnam. After graduating a three years ago I tried a few things and ended up getting a full-time job, but ultimately it did not make me happy or give me the freedom I wanted, so I decided to make a drastic change and move to Vietnam to work as an English teacher. I’m currently enjoying the freedom it’s giving me – I work just 18 hours so I have time to travel and explore different hobbies (which includes writing this blog www.globalgoodyear.com – it’s a work in progress!).

  1. Why do you travel?

I caught the travel bug after a trip to South Africa when I was 18; moving on to volunteer in Sri Lanka, study for a month in China, volunteer in Tanzania and travel for leisure in between!

I love the personal growth; as a naturally introverted person, travel really forces me out of my comfort zone by making me socialise with people I don’t know and do things I’m unsure of, which is extremely challenging but rewarding.

Then there’s the usual learning new things, exploring new places, learning about different cultures… I love it all! I especially love how we as humans are all from different backgrounds and speak different languages but can all make connections with each other and are more similar than we think. 

  1. How do you balance work and travel?

Admittedly it’s a lot easier to travel now I’m living and working in Vietnam but I’ve never let work slow me down too much. I take shorter holidays and go away somewhere for a few days, rather than a few weeks, and take advantage of national holidays and annual leave. It means being prepared and doing my admin work ahead of time so I don’t have to worry for those few days, and it’s tiring going from work to holiday and straight back to the office again, but it’s worth it!
  1. What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your travels?

I’ve learned to manage my expectations. Sometimes you think you will love a place and you don’t, but that’s okay! Equally you may think that a place isn’t for you and then love it so it works both ways. It’s all about going with the flow. Also things are never as scary or awkward as you think, and if they are, you still get through them. The confidence and independence you gain is amazing.

  1. Share one of your favorite travel memories.

This is such a hard one as all travel memories are favourites for one reason or another. One of my favourites has got to be travelling to Pakistan as an Active Citizen with the British Council, as it’s something I never thought I’d get to do and I’m so glad I did. Countries like that are demonised in the media so it was nice to see it in a different light and get some insight into a country that is not so popular with travellers.
  1. If you could share one travel tip with other women, what would it be?

Don’t wait around until you have someone to go with, not everyone wants to travel. I used to constantly get asked why I wasn’t going travelling with a friend, but none of my friends wanted to go with me and I still wanted to go so I had to do it for myself. Even if you only go for a short holiday, for example in Europe there are so many cheap flights, it will be liberating! Also if you want to travel you have to make it your priority, which sadly means less shopping and going out, but trust me it’s worth it.
 Photo of Holly posing in front - wow: Holly


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.

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