Spotlights 2024 - January
I'm Lucy, a solo female travel blogger with a taste for adventure. I've spent almost a decade travelling the world solo to 40+ countries, and now I'm passionate about empowering women to feel confident to try solo travel. Over the years I've shared the real, raw backpacking experience and travelled to destinations that have challenged and changed me. From climbing volcanoes in Guatemala to hiking through jungles to hidden temples in Thailand and Belize, to road tripping 3,000km across outback Australia. Between the adventures, I'm also a part-time van lifer and digital nomad who cant resist a music festival, hike or a wild swim.
What/Who Inspired You To Become a Travel Creator?
Before I was a travel creator, I was actually a journalist and the editor of an online festivals magazine. It was long before blogs or "creating" became a thing. While I did follow blogs – they were far more focused on fashion than travel and it was actually only later on after I had already started that I discovered this amazing community of travel creators. I've always felt this pull to document life – I've always loved to take photos and video, but I'm a writer at heart so blogging was a way to have this online space that was entirely my own. Where I could actually write in my own voice, not that of a newspaper or magazine... I started my blog over 6 months before I went travelling so it was later on when I transitioned to a travel blog but the moment I did, I realised I was always supposed to be writing a travel blog. Ever since then, I've been continuously inspired by the amazing creators in the travel space.
Solo travel or with company?
I'm a solo female traveller at heart – my best adventures have happened as a solo traveller and I think those adventures have truly shaped who I am as a person. It's challenging in a totally different way and you really immerse yourself in the trip in a way that I never have when travelling with friends or a partner. I think that often when you travel with people, although an amazing experience, you go for different reasons and often they're more social – you have different priorities. However, that doesn't mean I always travel solo and I also love travelling with my partner or friends. I've had some amazing trips with some of my best friends who I met while travelling – the bonus of having travelling friends is that they're always up for meeting up around the world! I've got friends who I met in Australia who I've now met up with on 4-5 continents – how epic is that?! I think that the person you travel with can really shape the trip and experience you have so I think it's important to mix things up, and one thing I've loved is actually revisiting places I've previously travelled solo but with a partner and experiencing that destination together.
What is Your Biggest Travel ICK?
Oh there's so many! But I think one of my biggest has to be the people who go on holiday to the same place every year but completely whitewash their experience and never step outside a hotel or resort. The ones who never expose themselves to the local culture, don't eat the local food or just speak louder at the locals instead of learning a few words of another language. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with going somewhere familiar or just going away to relax. But the impact this kind of tourism has on a place is huge and it can be really sad to see the difference it makes over the years with certain areas simply becoming a Brits Abroad type destination (it's not only Brits – I noticed a lot of this from America tourists when travelling through Central America as well.) Another one that drives me nuts is people who can never cope with going through security in an airport and slow everyone down! It could be such a faster process if people thought ahead, stopped flapping and got things out ready ahead of time.
What is the Best Bit of Travel Gear You Own?
My three most used items are definitely my Osprey 70l backpack and CabinZero backpack – both amazing, super roomy and have survived multiple backpacking trips worldwide – they're really well-made and brands that I definitely trust. My tripod has also been one of my most well-loved travel items. As a content creator it's used every single day and as a solo female traveller – it's a must for capturing those amazing travel moments in just the way you want. You don't need to spend much at all to get a great one, I have a Zomei one from Amazon and it's perfect for my camera or phone, there's also lots of really tiny ones suitable for phones that will help you capture the pics you want.
What are the best/worst places you've been?
The best place I've ever been was definitely Guatemala but it only slightly scrapes above Australia and Thailand. There was something about Guatemala that just called to me before I ever went, and the second I arrived I just felt so at peace. It was also one of the best adventure travel destinations I have experienced. I was hiking through jungles to hidden Mayan temples at sunrise and climbing active volcanoes and toasting marshmallows at the top. It was one of the first places I went without expectations and it honestly blew me away. The worst place has to be Cambodia but mostly due to a very unfortunate series of events including a near-fatal bus crash, attempted mugging and a general feeling of unease. It was one of the few places worldwide where I've felt vulnerable as a woman travelling solo. I would definitely go back and hope to reframe my experience but sadly this was not a trip I like to remember.
What is one place you will never get bored of visiting?
Thailand, Australia and Guatemala – all countries I love so much and they hold so many memories for me. I've been lucky enough to revisit the first two already and each time has been so special. I think there's always so much more to discover in a place and I look forward to revisiting again in the future.
Any Travel Horror Stories?
Hahaha ohh so many! I think my worst has to be having two serious bus crashes within just a few weeks of each other and being entirely alone during these. One took place on a highway between Laos and Vietnam courtesy of our drunk bus driver who also tried to abandon the passengers on the side of the dark highway and take our bags to escape the police – luckily we caught him and saved the day. The other was when my minibus was run off the road by a lorry into a ditch – this one was a near fatal and was terrifying. Luckily everyone was okay, but it was close. I've had some real horrors while travelling and while I think it's important to talk about them and raise awareness that travel isn't all sunshine and roses. It's also important to know that not a single bad experience has ever been enough to make me stop travelling – it's merely a learning curve.
How Has Travel Impacted You?
Travel has honestly shaped every part of my adult life. I've spent most of my twenties living nomadically, working as a digital nomad and have both found and ended relationships due to travel. Solo female travel gave me the confidence and self-assurance to live a little differently to the norm. It's helped frame how I want to live my life, from the work that I do, to the partners I have, to the home base I want. I now have friends all over the world and feel so privileged to have lived the life and experiences that I have. Not everything about travel has been great, but even the low moments have truly changed me as a person. I genuinely can't imagine what my life would look like without travel, or what I would be like had I never stepped on that first plane.
I'm a total mixture! I always have a selection of locations I want to visit in mind, but always keep some flexibility if there's a more budget-friendly option or I have partnerships with brands. Lately, I'm much more planned about my travels and will usually book a month in advance (for me that's wayyy ahead of time) but this is a lot easier when travelling within Europe. I tend to find for bigger backpacking trips, I will often just book the first flight, hotel and transport so I know that is sorted, but then I love to leave everything wide open so I can change my plans at the drop of a hat. I find the best experiences happen that way. I do find that I tend to be more planned and organised when travelling with others, but when I travel alone I'm wayyy more flexible and spontaneous. Interestingly, I also find that when I travel solo, I find it wayyy easier to budget and plan – and actually stick to it but when I travel with others that goes out the window!
How Do You Plan/Choose Your Next Destination
This year is going to be a big year for Absolutely Lucy – I've just launched my brand new website and I have a lot of exciting plans for it this year. A lot of exciting trips in the works, I'll be speaking at events about solo female travel and vanlife, and lots more. Check out my free eBook: 50+ Ways to Save Up to £10k for Travel – https://absolutelylucy.com/start-here/
I have my first trip of 2024 booked and I will be heading to Copenhagen in mid-January. I'm super excited – it's a new country and a brand new city for me. It's also my first foray into the Scandinavian countries so I can't wait. I also think this is such a great way to start a new year, I'm keen to tick off some really exciting destinations from my bucket list this year!
There are so many but a few that really stand out for their beautiful but adventurous content are Chelsea Kauai and Sorelle Amore – these two always light up my Instagram feed with their unique style of content. I also love DaisysTravelDiaries for a more raw, uncut digital nomad view of the world, Gabby of PacksLight for all things solo travel and amazing travel opportunities. For travel blogs, I'm obsessed with Adventurous Kate – she is a travel blogger who showed me how attainable this lifestyle actually is. Where Goes Rose is a fountain of knowledge and such an inspiration for how she has grown her blog! The Blonde Abroad has one of the most beautiful blogs ever! HandLuggageOnly are always my go-to for Europe city breaks.