Meet Ryan Giblin: A Solo Traveler from New Mexico!
Discover Ryan’s Solo Travel Adventure! Hailing from New Mexico, Ryan embarked on his solo journey in spring 2023, and he’s loving every moment of it. If you’re seeking inspiration for your first solo trip, delve into his interview for encouraging insights!
1. How long have you been solo traveling and what encouraged/inspired you to do it in the first place? Why should someone embark on their solo journey?
In spring 2023, I was applying for a new job and wanted to travel before starting the new gig. But I thought that a couple of months wasn’t long enough. So at 30 years old, single, with no kids, and no real responsibility, I decided it was the absolute best time for me to travel the world. I quit my six-figure job in May 2023 and started traveling. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
I could’ve chased after more money but there’s plenty of time for that later on. You’re only in your 20s and 30s once – I didn’t want to regret anything when I’m older. I knew if I had taken another job, I’d look back at my life and say, “Man, I had the perfect chance to travel the world when I was 30 years old. Why didn’t I take the risk and do that?” Remember – there is no “perfect time” for any decision.
While I was working, I built up an 8-unit real estate portfolio. I had some extra cash from a refinance on an investment property. Real estate was my key to being able to make this bold decision. I would also offer that doing this younger would be better. The hangover at 24 is much different than 30 haha. And more seriously, as you get older, you have more bills you need to think about like health insurance, car payments and insurance, etc. My advice – do that study abroad program in college (I wish I would have). Skip that summer internship after freshman year and go backpack Europe, South America, or Southeast Asia. Even if it’s just a month, I promise it’ll be an epic experience.
And also just want to point out that you don’t need to quit your job to do this type of travel. You can travel to amazing parts of this world without breaking the bank by using credit card points for flights and staying in hostels rather than hotels (more on hostels below). But the kicker here is you might not have anyone who can go with you, so you may have to do it solo 🙂 And that’s perfect, traveling solo has been an incredible experience for me and many others.
2. Where would you recommend a first-time solo traveler to visit that isn’t on everyone’s radar and why?
My advice is no specific country but choose a backpacker-friendly region with a large hostel infrastructure. All of Europe is fantastic and Southeast Asia is awesome too. For those that don’t know, a hostel is a type of budget accommodation in the form of dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds. They provide a cost-effective alternative to hotels and often feature a social atmosphere. You could have between 4 -16 people per room (I like the ones with 8 or less folks). Hostels are popular among budget-conscious travelers, including backpackers, students, and those seeking a social and vibrant atmosphere. Hostels normally have events during the day and pub crawls at night making it much easier to meet people. When you stay in hostels, solo traveling is wayyy less lonely than you’d expect. In addition, staying in hostels is key because they are much cheaper than a traditional hotel which has allowed me to travel for much longer. I’d say the average price per night for hostels in Europe was about $30 (during peak summer demand) and in Southeast Asia, it’s about $10 per night. The app I use to book hostels is called “Hostelworld”, with an orange icon. I filter by choosing 8 stars or above. So far – I’ve stayed at over 33 properties across 12 countries!
3. Since our platform thrives in uplifting minorities – we want to know, in what ways do you navigate and embrace cultural differences while traveling alone, and how has it shaped your overall perspective on the world?
Navigating and embracing cultural differences while solo traveling has been an enlightening experience for me. As I explore new countries, I make a conscious effort to engage with and appreciate the diverse cultures I encounter. Here are some ways in which I navigate and embrace cultural differences.
- Building friendships with folks across the world:
- Traveling alone provides ample opportunities to meet and make friends with people from diverse backgrounds. I actively seek out interactions with locals and fellow travelers, fostering cross-cultural friendships that enrich my understanding of the world. My Instagram now has videos, pictures, and stories from people all over the world.
- Cultural research and sensitivity:
- Before traveling to a new destination, I like to research and understand the local culture, customs, and traditions. This helps me navigate social situations with respect and cultural sensitivity. For example, in Japan, you should refrain from eating or drinking while walking or on the subway (the bullet train is okay since it’s a longer duration). Some street markets even have signs asking to eat standing near the stall you bought the food from. This is just one example – there are lots of little things to be aware of while traveling to a new country. But a simple search on Google will get you sorted out.
- Respecting sacred sites and traditions:
- It’s important to approach sacred sites and cultural traditions with respect. Whether it’s visiting temples, and churches, or participating in ceremonies, I ensure that I adhere to local customs and show respect for practices that are meaningful to the community. For instance, in most churches in Europe, both your shoulders and knees should be covered. This is also the case for temples in Southeast Asia.