In this blog post interview, we speak with Patricia Tatiana Duque, a fellow international solo traveller and digital nomad. Patricia talks about her personal journey and how she started travelling solo, and the importance of travelling for her. She also shares her favourite destinations, gives advice to those who want to travel but have financial constraints, and tips on traveling solo for the first time. As a female solo traveller and digital nomad, Patricia shares her strategies for prioritizing safety and balancing work and travel.
Let's start this interview with a quick introduction. Take the stage Patricia!
Hey Niv, thanks for having me on here! I’m Patricia Tatiana, Chilean American and my travels are mainly focused on international, mid-range travel. My travelling style is pretty diverse from exploring a country, scenic attractions, trying local authentic food, trendy spots to hole-in-the-wall spots, meeting locals, nature, nightlife, and overall just good vibes :)
What inspired you to start travelling solo?
I went through a lot of personal things in my life over the past few years that put me in a dark place. I was in an unhealthy relationship and once it ended in 2018, I took the steps to start healing. The healing journey took me many years because not only was I healing from the relationship, but I was also looking within for the first time in my life. The stress of what I went through put a physical toll on my body and I ended up having major surgery in early 2022. After surgery, I decided it was finally time to live my life again. As I was healing from surgery, my job told me that my role had turned ‘remote’. I didn’t really know what to do with that information because the plan all along was to return to the office in Manhattan. I decided to book a trip and work from there at the same time, and I loved the experience. For me, it wasn’t just about a trip and it wasn’t about a solo trip, it was about taking the first steps to live my life again.
What does travelling mean to you?
Travelling is so much more than just taking a trip somewhere. It’s about stepping outside of your home country and your comfort zone to see the world, learn cultures, learn different perspectives and ways of thinking. While it’s great to see museums and scenic attractions during a trip, I also love to have a cultural experience if I can, to learn more about the country and culture. If you’re travelling to a new country for example, ask people what the local foods are to try. Try not to get your typical food you would get at home, but try the local authentic food instead. It will give you a different travel experience versus just doing things the way you normally would back home.
What are some of your favourite destinations that you've visited?
Every place is beautiful but a few definitely stand out. My favourites are Bora Bora, Croatia, Tokyo (Japan), Patagonia (Chile), and Cappadocia (Turkey).
What advice would you give to people who want to travel more but can’t because of money, work, or other reasons?
While I understand that travelling is not that easy for everyone, I also believe that everything is possible. The first thing is deciding how important traveling is to you. If it’s something you really want to do more of, then you have to prioritize it in your life. That might mean giving up things to be able to travel. For me it meant giving up the apartment I loved in Manhattan, putting my things in storage, and using that money to travel instead. It means making hard decisions to be able to do something you love. It might mean saying no to other things so that you can save up for that trip.
I recently wrote a blog post with tips on how to travel more that you can read here: 5 Tips on How to Travel More
What advice would you give to someone who is considering travelling solo for the first time?
Stop thinking about it and just do it! You’ll meet so many people that you won’t really feel like you’re travelling solo. My best advice would be to connect with others before your trip through Facebook and Whatsapp groups. This way you’ll have a few people to meet up with when you arrive. For example, if you’re looking to connect with other travellers during your trip to Lisbon, you can search “Lisbon International Friends” on Facebook. Join the group and post something about yourself. You’ll see the groups will have lots of events and meetups to meet and hangout with people. Once you join one WhatsApp group, you’ll see the city has tons of WhatsApp groups depending on what your interests are.
How has solo travel changed you?
For me, the biggest thing travelling has done is make me feel like I’m living my life again. It’s also pushed me outside of my comfort zone to feel more comfortable in being who I truly am. Being in Corporate America for so long, I became a person I really wasn’t in order to fit in. It’s also made me feel more confident in going out there into the unknown. I’ve also met some amazing people during my travels and I’m so grateful for that. I would have never met them if it wasn’t for my travelling.
As a female solo traveller, how do you prioritize safety and security while on the road? Do you have any specific strategies or precautions you take?
I think as any solo traveller (male or female) you always have to be aware of your surroundings. It’s important to do some research on the country before you travel there. For example, there are some countries where it might not be smart to walk around on the street looking at your phone or keeping your phone in your back pocket. I typically try to go to places that are considered ‘safe’ overall.
As a digital nomad, how do you balance work and travel? Do you have any tips for others who are trying to do the same?
I do think it’s a completely different experience to work while travelling versus to travel only. For the past year, I was working and travelling at the same time, otherwise known as a “digital nomad”. I think some people think I’m not really working when I’m traveling but that’s far from the truth. Depending on where I am in the world, I would have to adjust my schedule to work US east coast hours. In Europe, it meant working from 1pm to 10pm local time. It also meant turning down plans with people when they were off from work. As long as I woke up early enough, I would have the day to go out and explore before work started. Just recently I started travelling without a job and I’d love to be able to continue doing that, at least for now, to really get the full experience of travelling.
What are your future travel plans and goals?
I’d love to be able to travel full-time, continue to visit other countries, and have as many experiences as possible. I’ll likely work full-time again but for now, I’m enjoying and welcoming this moment and taking the opportunity to travel as much as possible and meet people along the journey.
Any other advice?
Remember that our time here is temporary and tomorrow isn’t promised. We don’t know when our last day will be so do the things you love and do them now. If you don’t have a passion right now, explore new things and you will find something you love to do. Put yourself out there and you’ll gravitate to something. There is so much life out there for you and so many experiences to live. Grab that opportunity because you deserve that and so much more. Allow life to flow the way it’s meant to, yield to it and see how life unfolds for you.