Interview with Meleena Bowers

Learn more about Meleena Bowers, Senior Editor, who traveled to over 100 countries. Read her bio HERE

1. Why do you travel?

Travel unleashes the adventurist in me and I feel most alive when I travel.  For me, it is the ultimate getaway to new experiences and friendships. Travel restores my soul and brings out the carefree me I wish I could always be.

 

2. What do you think of when you think of a woman traveler?

I think solo female travelers are adventurists willing to experience a culture fully.  As a solo female traveler, people are often more curious about me and interested in engaging me in conversation than they might be if I were a man or traveling with a friend.  I’ve found people to be more hospitable and helpful when I’m traveling on my own.  There seems to be a natural instinct to protect female travelers.  People I meet, in particular, outside of the United States, are often concerned when they learn I’m traveling on my own.  They want to “adopt me” to protect me from danger and loneliness.  Their genuine concern endears me to them, but I can’t help but wonder if the very reason that they’re worried about me is because they’re projecting their own anxiety about solo travel onto me.

 

3. What was your favorite travel experience?

Nowhere else on earth has spoken to me like Antarctica!  Prior to booking my trip there, I met with a family friend who had been to Antarctica almost a dozen times.  She told me that she had been bitten by the Antarctica travel bug and she hoped I would be too.  I should’ve asked if there was a travel vaccine because my dream of returning to Antarctica haunts me. Kayaking through sea ice, weaving in and out of the path of icebergs, watching penguins porpoise while being surrounded by towering glaciers and virgin snow was simply glorious.

 

4. Which place do you want to go next and why?

The Skeleton coast and the picturesque sand dunes of Namibia have been calling to me recently.

 

5. When did you start traveling?

My family is comprised of closest gypsies.  I’ve been traveling almost since birth! I’ve been hooked on travel ever since a pilot pinned my first set of metal airline wings on my dress, which I wore proudly like an aviator’s badge of honor. Our family trips were primarily domestic in nature until I turned twelve and we began traveling internationally. As a teenager I spent summers in Europe and after graduating high school I backpacked across Europe. I travel every chance I get!

 

6. Who do you prefer traveling with?

I’ve unintentionally crafted a travel identity as a solo traveler.  I began to dip my toes in solo travel over a decade ago when friends either could not or would not venture to more exotic locales. Rather than wait for someone to join me, I forced myself to overcome my fears and traveled alone.  I quickly fell in love with solo travel and it has become so second nature to me that often I don’t think to ask anyone join me.  When I travel with friends it’s usually when we realize that our travels to a particular destination will overlap. 

 

7. Why do you enjoy photographing/writing about travel?

I write about my travels to memorialize my own journey and to inspire others to travel.    I write to allay people’s fears about traveling alone or venturing to exotic destinations.  I want to encourage people to take risks, connect with strangers, experiment with likes and dislikes, and step outside of their norms.  I hope to demonstrate to the travel curious that travel is not something to fear, but rather it is to be embraced as it can lead to life changing, transformative events.  Although my specialty is solo adventure travel, I hope my writing encourages anyone with a restless spirit to buy the ticket and take the ride!

 

8. What is your favorite travel souvenir? 

Collecting Christmas ornaments from around the world has become a minor obsession. A return trip to Budapest solidified my status as a collector.  I had visited Budapest during Christmas when I became fixated on two brightly painted, rather flamboyant, wood carved reindeers.  After double checking the conversion rate, I realized there was an extra zero on the price so I didn’t buy them and opted to take a picture of them instead.  For months I regretted not buying them.  When I returned in the summer the following year, I went back to the store and showed the clerk the picture of them.  As luck would have it, even though it was a blazing hot summer day, they had two in the attic because they had been featured in a magazine photo shoot.

 

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