Name: Brittany from Boston
Website: Brittany from Boston
Current Location: New York City, NY, USA
Next Destination: Toronto, ON, Canada
This a new series of travel interviews I'm doing called Behind The Postcards with nomadic souls from around the world. Today we are talking to world wanderer Brittany from Boston...
N+C: Hola Brittany from Boston! Thanks for doing this interview. Can you share with readers who you are?
BFB: Hello travel enthusiasts! I’m Brittany from Boston, and I’m a travel blogger. I travel around the world, checking out awesome destinations, and sharing it all with you at brittanyfromboston.com. Travel is my love and my passion, but what I enjoy even more is sharing the world with my readers, to inspire them to travel more and teach them how to be better travelers.
N+C: What was your first solo trip abroad and what inspired you to go solo?
BFB: I never thought I would be an advocate for solo travel. I had always enjoyed travel but only went with family or friends or school, etc. But then a couple of years ago I heard that the Taj Mahal was being closed to the public, and I suddenly felt an urgency to go see it before that happened. Not being able to find anyone that wanted to go with me to India (weird, right? Because India is super safe and clean and posh…), I went for it on my own. I also looped Dubai into that trip. And I came back a changed traveler. I’ve since done the majority of my travels solo and I absolutely love it!
N+C: When you departed Boston initially and started your travels, what did you pack that you’re now like “why did I bring that? It just wastes valuable space.” So the rest of us don’t pack that either!
BFB: Flimsy shoes. If you’re going to be traveling, you’re going to be exploring and walking a lot and probably going through unpaved areas, etc. This is not the time for those cute little flats that you used to wear to your cubicle job (where you never had to walk anywhere!). Sneakers are your best friend, and there are lots of fashionable options, but please just promise me that you’ll pack sturdy shoes for your next trip!
N+C: What is your travelosophy?
BFB: Be open-minded, always. You’ll never fully experience and appreciate a place if you come in with stereotypes and agendas and preconceived notions in your head. When you arrive somewhere, let the place and its culture and its people overwhelm you with how different they are. And then you can experience why it’s so beautiful. It’s because of this approach that I have (no joke) LOVED every single place I’ve ever traveled, and would happily go back!
N+C: Walking into a hostel dorm room is similar to walking into a classroom as a new kid on the first day of school (even though it probably smells more like a locker room). Anyway, what advice do you have for someone who has never stayed at a hostel?
BFB: Not all hostels are created equal. I’ve stayed in hostels that felt like fancy hotels, and others that hadn’t been cleaned in months where I actually got bed bugs (eek!). Hostels are always my top choice when traveling because they’re cheap and they’re the best way to meet other travelers on the road. But you have to do your research, which means reading the reviews on the hostel booking website. You can ignore the ones that are emotional responses, and anything more from than a year ago. But if someone wrote a review a week ago saying ‘Bed bugs. Avoid.’ then you probably shouldn’t stay there.
N+C: Let’s be honest, trying new food is a major reason to travel in itself. Is there one dish that you’ve tried on the road that you’ll never forget?
BFB: Pizza in Naples, Italy. I think we can all agree that pizza ranks pretty high on our lists of favorite foods, and the pizza in Naples is seriously the best of the best. It’s where pizza was invented and perfected. Just go into any random restaurant there (the less English they speak the better!) and get yourself the margherita pizza and house wine. It’s simple and cheap, but so delicious that it’s still (4 years later) the meal against which all others are compared!
N+C: You recently celebrated your first blog-iversary. Congratulations! And you already have over 2,000 followers on Instagram. What advice do you have for other twenty-something travel bloggers that want to build a presence on Instagram? (Cough… like me!)
BFB: Instagram is my favorite social media platform! As with any endeavor, there’s no shortcut to success, but my suggestions for improving your Instagram presence are three-fold: quality, accessibility, and sociability. First, make sure you’re uploading good quality photos that are straight, sharp, colorful, etc. This is obvious, but no one will follow you unless you have good visual content. Next, make sure your photos and your account are accessible. Ignore what your mother told you in middle school about making everything private on the internet…that’s not how businesses grow. Make your account public, use hashtags (max 30, use them all), use geotags, & tag relevant accounts for brands shown in the photos and big accounts that could repost your photo. And finally, be an active and social user. If you want people to come look at your page, follow you, like your photos, and leave comments, then you should be doing the same for them. Instagram will cut you off if they think you’re being spammy (i.e. writing “great shot” on 57 photos in a row), but if you’re genuinely engaging with the content that’s out there, you’ll have more success driving traffic to your account. At the end of the day, don’t worry too much, Instagram is meant to be fun!
N+C: Is there a city or country that you’ve been to that was totally different than you’d thought it would be?
BFB: Absolutely! What recently blew me away was Panama City. After three months of traveling through Central America, I expected Panama to be similarly situated. But no! Panama City is this booming metropolis, with more skyscrapers than nearly any other city in all of the Americas! I spent my first evening there sipping a cocktail on the rooftop of the Trump Tower, watching the sunset beside the infinity pool (what!?). This was a far cry from the dilapidated third-world accommodations I had grown accustomed to in Guatemala! Panama has money from the canal taxes imposed on ships passing through, but I really didn’t expect to see such a modern city there!
N+C: Finally, what advice do you have for females that are considering traveling solo for the first time?
BFB: Don’t be afraid, just go. It’s not as scary as it seems, and the world is not an evil place. Of course you have to be smart, do your research about which destinations are safer, trust your instincts, and take reasonable precautions. But even when I went on my first solo trip to India and UAE, which aren’t necessarily female-friendly, I was still totally fine. In fact, in all my years of travel, to 27 countries on 5 continents, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve felt unsafe. And those times were when I did something stupid, like walking around at night by myself. So be smart, and just go! You won’t know how capable you are until you give yourself the chance!
N+C: Wow! Our country/continent count is almost identical. It’s on Brit! Just kidding, but not really… So glad our paths randomly crossed on the streets of Santiago! Thanks for doing this interview. Readers, you can follow her adventures, epic travel pics and more at brittanyfromboston.com or on Instagram/Twitter.
All photos courtesy of Brittany from Boston.