We all love to see wonderful videos of men and women accomplishing all these incredible feats like ice climbing or doing something that seems rather impossible. But amongst us normal folks, there are such people that exist around us. In conjunction with International Women’s Day, we are here to share some incredible and inspiring stories from 20 female travellers and adventurers from around the world, of all ages and sizes, with
Who are they?
TOP 20 INSPIRING FEMALE TRAVELLERS | WHAT’S THEIR STORY?
1. Trekking the Chadar Frozen River in 9 Days
Inspiring Female Traveller: Amrita Sen
Location: Chadar Frozen River, Ladakh India
Blog: Tale of 2 Backpackers
The Chadar Frozen River Trek is one of the most beautiful, yet adventurous treks in the Ladakh. The place itself is a rugged territory with surprises at every nook and corner. The wild Zanskar River flows through the treacherous terrains, ravines and canyons of Ladakh. During the summer, the river flows with all gusto. Winter comes, the river calms down and freezes. A blanket of ice forms over the river and this forms the only path connecting the villages from Zanskar side to the more accessible Ladakh towns. The blanket of ice is known as “Chadar” (chadar means blanket).
I am someone who is fond of sunshine and warmth. So when I heard about the Chadar Frozen River Trek, I was a bit sceptical. Not that I have an aversion to the cold weather, but braving a temperature of -35 degrees is a different ball game altogether. Further, at that time, I was not even a serious trekker, having done only one high altitude trek before. Well, a bit more research about the place and I was convinced that I should be there.
The Chadar Frozen River Trek is a 9 days trail over the frozen riverbed where temperatures are -5 degrees in the sunshine and can go down all the way to -34 to -40 degrees at night! At places where the chadar or blanket of ice broke, the trekkers had to wade through the ice-cold water. If the water were too deep, then we had to climb over the slippery mountains.
9 days in the inhospitable environment definitely changed me in many ways. Walking on the ice is never easy. I walked like a penguin, fell down an umpteenth number of times, got up and walked again. I did not want to stop. I wanted to see my strengths. I wanted to see the frozen waterfall! At night, I would be totally frozen. Inspite of having two sleeping bags, hot water bags, I would feel cold and jittery. But I was happy that I am having such a unique experience. Not everyday, I get to walk over ice! At the end of 9 days, I could walk well on ice. I could hear the babble of water flowing below the sheet of ice and could make a guess about the thickness of the ice sheet. I could brave the cold. And I was ready to embrace any challenges that would come up my way.
Chadar Trek was truly a changing experience. It definitely made me a better person and a better traveller. There is one fact that I very well understood in this trek – mountains make me humble and wonders of nature make me responsible.
2. Hitchhiking Alone for 4+ Years on 4 Different Continents
Inspiring Female Traveller: Iris Veldwijk
Location: 4 Continents
Blog: Mind of a Hitchhiker
I’ve been on the road uninterruptedly for 4 whole years in Europe, Central America, West-Asia, and South America. After a gap year to finish university, I’m now in Africa and back to traveling full-time… and I have no intention to stop. Hitchhiking is my main mode of transportation, which has been a very rewarding and awakening experience; more than a thousand people have opened their doors for me to share their commute, working day, or travels. They trusted me, and I trusted them.
When hitchhiking, you really get to experience it all: from days full of speed-of-light focus to tedium, euphoria, frustration, flow, and contemplation. I was never a patient person before I surrendered to the willingness of others to take me with. Besides patience, hitchhiking alone has also increased my self-reliance and kindness to strangers.
In the picture is the moment of my last hitch before leaving South America in December 2017. I was hitchhiking from Medellín to Bogotá and I was only 32 kilometers from my destination. A family with father, mother, and a little girl picked me up, and we drove into the city. I mostly chatted with the little girl, who fixated on my hitchhiking sign. Her name was Esmeralda, and with the permission of her parents, I spoke a bit about traveling, meeting people, and seeing places. I’m not sure if anything stuck, but I let her keep my hitchhiking sign. Maybe she will one day find the courage and confidence to go to wherever she desires to be.
3. Facing the Wilderness of Australia at 50 Years Old
Inspiring Female Traveller: Michela Fantinel
Location: North Tropical Australia
Blog: Rocky Travel Blog
After travelling alone for many years, on my 50th birthday, I wanted to add something new to my solo trips and went on a solo camping adventure in North Tropical Queensland.
I was off for a week in the remote regions, camping in several places on my own. Sleeping in the remote wilderness of the Daintree Forest, entirely off from civilisation, made me think about many things that I used to avoid or take for granted. Being one with nature helped me enhance my capabilities of adjusting to the environment by giving me a more direct approach to my surroundings. While on one site it did push me to my limits, at the same time, feeling helpless and exposed to it, it helped me better deal with my fears.
I recognised how irrational fear can easily take control of you and how being confronted with a new, challenging situation can be, most of the times, a blessing. While your surviving instincts are all geared towards the typical “fight or flight reaction” — naturally facing a situation, teaches you how to tackle and solve it in a simple way that goes beyond your imagination. And the outcome is often a surprising and rewarding experience. We are finally more capable of what we think! This experience spurred me to try out more challenges and new things in life.
Read about how bouldering as a sport can change and grow women
4. Getting Lost in the Slovene Mountains but Found Again
Inspiring Female Traveller: Tereza
My life in Slovenia has never been the same since I started spending my free time with Neža – the craziest and most adventurous woman I’ve ever met. Since one spring afternoon, when she came to me and said “Let’s go hiking” we never missed an opportunity to head to the beautiful Slovene mountains. Either alone or with friends, weekends in the mountains became our most favourite activity. And so it happened, that we didn’t want to avoid this activity even on the snow and one day simply decided to go snow hiking.
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday at the end of January and we headed to the mountains with all necessary winter equipment needed for the snow hike. It was just the two of us and we were green as hell, having no idea what hiking in the snow really looks like. And naturally, it didn’t go smooth as we imagined. After an initial problem with getting our car stacked in the deep snow, we also got lost in the forest, because all the markings were hidden by snow. After 4 hours of walking in knee-deep snow, we saw the peak we were aiming for still far away and realized, we were not going to reach it today. So we sat down on a sunny spot, had a snack, enjoyed the winter fairy tale and chatted about how lucky we are to spend this beautiful winter day in nature. This was first of many winter hikes we did and all the future ones went much better, making snow hiking one of the most fun and enjoyable activities in Slovenia for us. Read the whole story of snow hiking in the Slovene mountains.
5. Becoming a Catamaran Skipper
Inspiring Female Traveller: Edwina
Location: Barcelona (Port Ginesta) to Ibiza & Formentera and back!
I wanted to become a catamaran skipper. I dreamt of sailing around the Mediterranean with my friends, exploring a different bay every day. In the US, that path would have been relatively easy: enroll in a catamaran course and get certified. In Spain, it was a little more complicated.
I started with the basics, and got myself a Spanish boating license – always being the only woman in the practical courses. But none of the schools here had catamarans.
As my sailing friends talked about the biggest sailing regatta in the Mediterranean one day, something dawned on me: there HAD to be a catamaran participating. Several days of googling and referrals later I was on the phone with a complete stranger who told me he was in fact sailing the regatta on a catamaran, and I was welcome to join.
I boarded the “Seacat” a few weeks later not knowing a thing about catamarans, night sailing, or regattas. And while the race itself was a write off because of a lack of wind, my fellow sailors were incredible, taught me about catamarans, night sailing, astronomy and showed me the island of Formentera. I even docked (parked) the boat on our way home. I realized how supportive the sailing community is, and whilst there are not a lot of women in the sailing world yet, there are many opportunities out there if we dare to ask.
6. Solo Trekking Corsica’s GR20 in France
Inspiring Female Traveller: Christa Rolls
Location: GR20, Corsica, France
Blog: Expedition Wildlife
Every year I challenge myself to go on a solo adventure – trekking makes me feel grounded, and melded with nature and the landscape around me. I had always dreamed of hiking the GR20 in Corsica, considered by some to be the toughest long-distance trek in Europe, so when the opportunity presented itself, I took it. The island of Corsica is like a dream, home to a vibrant culture and some of the most incredible beaches and mountain vistas in the world. Trip planned and organized in great detail, gear packed, guidebook read over again a dozen times, I felt more ready than ever to tackle this journey.
However, all the guides I’d read couldn’t prepare me for the mental gymnastics I would face while balancing on small rock walls above a precipice with my too-heavy pack. Reaching the base of Monte Cinto, overlooking the stunning mountains and faraway seas of Corsica, I was overwhelmed with excitement to continue my descent to the next hut – every day to follow would become progressively easier. My gratitude,
too, for my fellow hikers, who offered me words of encouragement, conversations over a hard-earned beer, and many laughs, solidified what
I already knew: exploring newfound destinations and meeting wonderful people adds so fully to the essence of life.
7.Lost and Stranded Alone Overnight on King’s Peak Utah
Inspiring Female Traveller: Kristen Czudak
Location: King’s Peak, Utah
Blog: Yonderlust Ramblings
My most adventurous and rewarding travel experience occurred under somewhat intimidating
First, I found high ground and located a stream, which I bet would lead me to civilization. As nightfall approached, I began to survey my options for shelter, since I was gravely unprepared to build my own. I was able to find a suitable cluster of sheltering pines, with an ample supply of needles for insulation from the cold night air. The most surreal moment of this experience was being awakened in the complete enveloping darkness of night, by repetitive flashes of light. I realized in the distance, it was raining. The storm never migrated my way, however, and I was spared from enduring a factor that could have made my unprepared night outside excruciating. I will never forget the outline of those Uintas Mountains lit up in the storm.
The next morning I managed to find a trailhead and several individuals who
People joked that I probably would not go hiking again after an experience like this, but it only reinforced my passion for taking on challenges in this world through travel. Only from experiences like these can you learn from mistakes and grow. This experience changed my perspective on many things, and has proven to be one of my most appreciated travel moments.
8. Road Trip Through Georgia
Inspiring Female Traveller: Rahma Khan
Blog: The Sane Adventurer
My five days road trip to Georgia (the country) was one of the most adventurous and eventful trips of my life. I am an avid adventure-seeker and I love to indulge in as many adventurous activities I can while
However, I wasn’t prepared for the adventure that lies before my flight in the Caucasus Mountains. Just a night before reaching to Gudauri, I experienced my first ever paranormal experience in the spooky and shady hostel I was staying at in Tbilisi. It was not a great night at all and with very low energy and deteriorating health, I continued the journey to the paragliding spot. However, the moment I saw the ground more than 2000 meters below my feet, the eye infection pain and the scary previous night experience was all forgotten. Paragliding at Gudauri became the major highlight of my entire trip and definitely the best adventure I expected from that trip to Georgia.
9. Learning Spanish and discovering myself in Rural Bolivia
Inspiring Female Traveller: Steph
Blog: Worldly Adventurer
When I stood before my Bolivian colleagues on that very first day and opened my mouth to introduce myself, a jumble of Spanish words tumbled out. I still don’t know what I said. It doesn’t matter really – I know it made very little sense.
I had moved to Sucre just two days previously, giving up my job, home and friends in the UK to start an adventure that, although I didn’t know it at the time, would last well beyond the initial year I had planned.
The thought of moving to a city where I didn’t speak the language to volunteer for a charity supporting literacy in rural villages, had seduced me. It would be my biggest challenge yet. At the time, it didn’t matter that I barely knew what living and traveling in Bolivia would be like in reality or even where the country was.
It never mattered. Working alongside a slew of Bolivian women dedicated to improving the lives of rural communities was about as inspiring as it gets. We got by when it came to communication, using gestures, Google translate and plenty of smiles. I even wound up on live national television, making marginally more sense in Spanish this time than on that first day’s introduction.
Four years and fluency in Spanish later, I still look back on those seven months with fondness and gratitude. Every time I do, I’m reminded how it’s the experiences where we throw ourselves into new relationships with new people that are always the ones that leave the greatest imprint on our lives.
10. Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro in Triumphant
Inspiring Female Traveller: Isabella Biava
Location: Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa
Blog: Boundless Roads
I am not sure if I can be called crazy and irresponsible or bold, but either ways it doesn’t change the fact that I decided to hike the Kilimanjaro without previous training at all. Ok, yes I had been running and exercising but not constantly and not specifically to climb up to 5,895, which I had never done before. But I did it, it was devastating, challenging and breathtaking (in every way) but it was one of the most memorable experiences in my life and possibly also for being such a last-minute call. And needless to say, I would do it over again.
What made it so special, though, besides the achievement of getting there, was the incredible comradeship that my fellow hikers and I had. We were three girls that accidentally met for being part of a volunteering project. One of them was my roommate, and we both met the other girl on the way to our improvised adventure. We hit it off immediately, the three of us and we would give each other support every time there was a fall back. Especially on the last leg of the hike, the most important, to the peak, where we were walking like we were on the moon, slowly and heavily. The first time it was me who wanted to give up, I was scared and in pain, but the girls cheered me up, “we will finish this all together” and then it was me to encourage them. And we all made it together to the final line, crying tears of joy, of pain and love. We made it, together, unite. You can read the full story here.
Read on to the next 10 Inspiring Female Adventurers…