The Girl & Globe is a travel journal written by Becky, a 27-year old Richmond, Virginia native who has spent the past several years hopping across the globe. Thus far, Becky has visited 44 US states, 20 countries and four continents. Her trip reports cover the places she’s been and what she’s discovered along the way in detail.
She recently quit her job to head for South America, where she’s improving her Spanish and connecting with new cultures. Becky was kind enough to share some of her story with us in today’s PointsAway Q&A:
What led you to start your site?
I started The Girl and Globe because I saw a big blank spot in travel blogs detailing what to do at your destination for people who don’t have unlimited time.
A lot of travel blogs are written by full-time bloggers who can travel for months at a time, but prioritizing an itinerary to fit into two weeks or less can be an entirely different ball-game.
I try to share tips and advice for how to make the most of your visit, keep things affordable, and how to include unique experiences so you have a memorable vacation.
Was there a certain trip that inspired you to see more of the world?
In 2004, I traveled to Ecuador, which really opened up my travel horizons. I quickly learned that not all the world is like home, and I immediately knew that I wanted to understand how the rest of the world lived.
Since then, I’ve experienced a lot of different cultures, but there are still hundreds more, even within the USA. Every trip makes me want to travel even more!
What was the first trip you were able to book using miles?
My first trip using miles was a train trip from
Pennsylvania to Boston on Amtrak — and I even splurged on business class seating. There was absolutely nothing exotic about that trip, but as a college student, free travel in and of itself was exciting! That hooked me, and since then I’ve traveled to far more interesting places and at far greater value. The better question is…where will the next free trip be to?
What’s the most outrageous value you’ve received by redeeming miles and points?
None of my free trips have been about maximizing monetary value; I spend far more energy trying to save money on trips I would have taken anyway so I can travel more often.
Regardless, I was really excited to fly to Slovenia using miles. Tickets during high-season were running at the ridiculous cost of $1,700 per person, and I flew in business class for free and also tacked on a free one-way flight to Nicaragua for a trip I took a few months later. If that’s not value, I’m not sure what is!
Tell us more about your adventure to Guatemala.
Right now, I’m traveling through Central America (primarily Guatemala) with a primary objective of improving my Spanish language skills. I spend my weekdays in class and studying on my own, and my weekends touring and exploring. It was a crazy, bold move to quit my job to get enough time off to do this, but it’s been the adventure of a lifetime. Highlights of the trip so far have been experiencing Semana Santa (Easter Week) in Antigua, seeing dozens of monkeys at the Mayan ruins of Tikal, and spelunking in Kan’Ba Caves near Semuc Champey.
What advice would you give to people who think seeing more of the world is simply too expensive?
Traveling is surprisingly inexpensive, if you think outside the box a little. Frequent flyer miles can get you to your destination for near-free prices and there’s a lot of the world that costs very little to visit: for example, a week in Central America can easily cost under $500 per person even if you participate in a lot of activities.
Jumping into the deep end is difficult, but start by going somewhere easily accessible and somewhere you know you can budget for and then once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that traveling anywhere in the world can be affordable with some tips and tricks. No one starts at the advanced level, but it’s easy to work your way up to cheap trips in luxury to exotic locations.
Thanks to Becky for taking the time to share her story with us!