Woman Wednesday: Kate B., Travel

Q and A with Kate Bittle from Myersville, Maryland

“There are always affordable places to move to in each country.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: After over five years of living abroad, I’m finally coming home! A lot of people ask how I made a life of traveling; well, I’m finally here to provide you with some answers. I’ve been lucky enough to live three years in Vietnam and two years in Portugal as well as travel to twelve different countries along the way. But the real question is: how? Especially for me as a recent graduate with the inevitable loan crisis that hangs over many of us. I know I’m not alone here. My goal is to help people travel around the world by presenting traveling opportunities and ideas for young solo travelers.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I never would have guessed that I would spend five years abroad after arriving for my first solo trip in Vietnam. As a child, I grew up taking summer family vacations in the states, which consisted of long car rides while being picked on by my older siblings (Yes, I am the youngest child). During my junior/senior year of university, I tried to study abroad, but that’s when they told me that I would have to be taking general education or what we call “freshman year classes.” WHY DIDN’T THEY TEACH ME THIS THE FIRST DAY? This pretty much meant that I would be traveling abroad for school and paying this extra semester to not excel in my education at all. NONE, so I decided against that idea. After graduation, I was ready for an adventure, but I couldn’t figure out where to start. That’s until I decided to send a message to my friend who was living abroad in Korea. She asked if I wanted to join them living in Vietnam. It seemed crazy to head to a new place without a job and very little savings, but of course, I said yes. This was the best decision I’ve ever made. I didn’t grow up knowing I wanted to travel, but traveling made me realize my dreams.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Today, I will be your travel guide and try to sum up everything I’ve learned in the last five years. To even start traveling, you must envision where you’d like to be and the lifestyle that you want to achieve. There are opportunities all around the world, so stop and do research about all your ideal travel destinations. Next, there are different opportunities presented in each destination. From my experience, teaching English in Vietnam is an amazing opportunity but not as much in Portugal. Look at the job market in each area or secure a remote job before you leave. Travel research will become your new best friend.

The third thing I would like to share is that there are always affordable places to move to in each country. Don’t overpay to travel; if you want a nice and expensive resort, then hell yeah, go for it. But if you’re a solo traveler like me, then book the hostels, find the shared apartments, and make new friends. I once lived in a five-bedroom shared house in Vietnam which had its own private pool and a six-bedroom shared apartment in Portugal right near the city center. My flatmates at one point were from Poland, Brazil, France, Canada, Portugal, Tunisia, Czech Republic, Italy, and the USA. Make new friends and learn about each culture! That’s a part of traveling! My last tip for today is if you put yourself out there, doors will keep opening for you. Okay, let’s pause for a minute, do you know anyone who is traveling? Have you asked them what they’re doing? New people recommend new ideas and before you know it, your life is filled with new traveling opportunities.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means the freedom to do whatever you want as a woman and to be an equal. This topic is brought up a lot when traveling. Here’s just some food for thought: Do women of different race get the same opportunity to travel and work in each county? Of course not, but as we push for equality in the workplace, we hope the world will change its views. Also, do women have the same safety as men while traveling? Of course not, but as we push for the non-objectification of women, we hope the world can be a safer place.


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Woman Wednesday: Thao

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Thao, Newark, California

“It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability, and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down.”

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about connecting with and helping people! I have been a stay-at-home mom with a home-based business, but prior to that, I was working in corporate in the human resources field. Despite being great at my HR jobs, I was not fulfilled. Then I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, and that has been challenging. For years, I felt guilty about not fully enjoying being at home with my kids as much as I thought. The thing is, I know to my core that I’m made for more. It was not until I decided to take a huge leap of faith last year and started my home-based business that I finally feel empowered to create my own joy.

I now have a balanced life in that I get to be home with my children but also have something of my own! Aside from the flexibility, what I love about my current job is I get to help and impact other people’s lives in ways I never knew I could. It brings meaning and purpose back to my life all because I learned to listen to my gut instincts and did it despite uncertainties.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old. Growing up, my parents had a successful home-based bakery and were extremely busy with their business that there was no family structure and minimal quality time. Needless to say, I was an unhappy child and didn’t feel I had anyone to go to. My upbringing definitely had a huge impact on the person I’ve become. I struggled with self-esteem and insecurities as a child, and this played well into my adulthood despite having a bold and outgoing personality. However, I’ve done well academically and achieved both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the age of 24.

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I was ambitious, focused, hardworking, and driven. It wasn’t until after finishing my master’s and entering the real world and workforce that I became more lost than ever. For the first time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life! I went into HR, left it, came back to it, and then finally left it altogether after having kids. I desperately tried to figure out my purpose and direction in life, but I wasn’t able to do it for years. I think my self-awareness, resilience, and persistence have been instrumental to my growth and overcoming challenges. After I became a mom, I have been secretly living with depression and anxiety. Finally, I had the courage to share my story last winter on Facebook. It’s mind-boggling what these mental disorders can do to someone’s self-belief and ability to enjoy life. I realized during my darkest moments that the one person who was always there for me despite anything has been God. My struggles have indeed deepened my spirituality and commitment to redefining my life. The only person who could bring real change to my life is me and only me. I am not a quitter!

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned that no worldly achievements will bring lasting meaning and happiness to my life if I don’t make an effort to develop myself and become the best version of who I am meant to be. Self-growth is the best gift anyone can give to themselves and has personally helped me cope with my mental disorders and life challenges in general. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma in our society and in most cultures about mental illness. I want to be the voice of people living with mental illness and show others that it is definitely possible to thrive in life despite your mental conditions. I also want young people to know that it’s okay to not know what you want to do in life. Some of us still couldn’t figure it out in adulthood! It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down. I also wish I was less fearful of trying new things for most of my life. Now, I’ve learned that doing things despite fear is the key to unlocking my best self and best life. It’s never too late!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: For years, women have been limited by what we can do, and feminism to me is about breaking boundaries and glass ceilings. I see the ideal world of equality, and if that is desiring the same rights and privileges as men, then call me a feminist!

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Woman Wednesday: Maya

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Maya, Berkeley, California

“I learned I shouldn’t wait to start something, but I should just go for it and figure it out along the way!”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about making people’s lives better. I went to college with the intention of studying political science with an emphasis on international relations to go into human rights work in the future. Climate change has always been a thing I thought of as important, but it never really struck a chord with me until I realized that it is not only an environmental issue but also a humanitarian issue. Rising sea level is causing many people to relocate, natural disasters are exacerbated due to rising temperatures, and people are lacking clean water for daily needs. After realizing all of this, I got more interested in learning about environmentalism and the zero-waste movement. I realized that a lot of products out there for zero-waste are still relatively expensive and there is no one-stop-shop for minimally packaged or zero-waste beauty products. So, I created Serenade, my e-commerce site for these beauty items! My mission is to grow this store into a comprehensive, one-stop-shop for sustainable beauty products with my own product line. I’m currently working on getting the word out and upgrading the website aesthetic and brand identity. Stay tuned and follow the shop on Instagram @serenadethecompany!

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, so I think it’s been pretty easy for me to believe that I can create something of my own if I’m committed enough and have enough resources. In high school, I did a ton of internships in the business administration/event planning fields, and it taught me that even established businesses face a lot of challenges. They don’t always have it figured out. And if that’s the case, I learned I shouldn’t wait to start something, but I should just go for it and figure it out along the way! 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I’m only getting started! I don’t know if I have a lot of advice or wise things to say, but I did learn recently that there are so many people rooting for you if you want to start something. Not everyone wants to necessarily want to be an entrepreneur but everyone wants the world to be a better place and they will support you!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means believing that women, including myself, can achieve whatever anyone (regardless of gender identity) can achieve. It also means uplifting other women. That’s really important to me.

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Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

Instagram: @serenadethecompany

www.serenadetheco.us

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂