In honour of Valentine’s Day, today we talk with a travel blogger who left love behind to follow her heart.
At 31, Canadian east coast native Ayngelina Brogan left her boyfriend, career, apartment and friends behind to travel Central and South America and fulfill a decade-long dream. She started her blog, Bacon is Magic, in 2010 to document her travels and the transformational effect it had on her life.
Now in Toronto, Ayngelina writes about balancing work with global travel. She’s looking forward to a number of North American trips in 2012, beginning with a month in Maui.
Some people think it’s too late to pack up and travel the world once they’re beyond their twenties. But you did it in your thirties; how and why did you decide to pack up and go?
At 31 I finished paying off my student loan, I took the money I had been paying on that and put it towards travel. I had no other debt but I knew if I wanted children this was the last opportunity for me to go on a solo travel adventure. It wasn’t so much a fertility clock ticking but a travel clock.
What advice or insight do you have for daydreamers who want to quit their job and travel but feel it’s only an option for 21-year-old backpackers with trust funds?
Most people are afraid if they put their career on hold they won’t be able to return to it. But once you get on the road you meet so many others who have done the same thing. Since I have returned, not only have I been able to find work, but new and better opportunities.
What has been one of your funniest or craziest moments while travelling?
It was actually in Canada while in Churchill, Manitoba: I snorkeled with beluga whales. It was incredible.
What are a few essential items for going on an extended trip?
I travel light but would find it difficult to travel without an iPod and netbook. When you are feeling down music and movies from home can really raise your spirits. [Editor’s note: On her blog, Ayngelina also touts the merits of packing cubes. We concur!]
What did you take (or someone you know take) on the road that was completely unnecessary?
Specialty travel gear. I bought lots of expensive travel clothing and gadgets—I lost most of it and it wasn’t needed. In fact I wrote this post to warn others.
Next time you travel for months (or years) at a time, what will you do differently?
I spent the last 18 months backpacking and I think I’m ready to upgrade from hostels to budget hotels. I like the social aspect of hostels—it makes traveling solo so much easier, but I need my own room now.
What is the hardest part of travelling solo (and solo as a woman, in particular) and what tips do you have to make it better?
Many people would think safety, but that isn’t true at all. People often look out for a solo woman in a way they wouldn’t for a couple. The only downside is loneliness, which is why I stayed in hostels and CouchSurfed often.
What’s the best thing that has happened as a result of starting your blog?
The people I have met. The blogging community is so amazing. I have met some incredible people on the road and some of my closest friends I have never met in person. Readers have been so generous and when they know I’m in their city they invite me out to show me around.