Carole is a travel industry insider and travel writer who freelances for corporate clients and publications. Her passion project began a few years ago when she launched her blog: 'Drop Me Anywhere'. She invited readers to vote to choose a location to which she would travel without a plan.
Readers, which for Carole are her Virtual Travel Buddies (VTB's), seemed to really enjoy the interactive nature of the blog and her travels and they returned to read the stories about the locations where they had dropped her.
In December 2014, she sold her car, furniture, and clothes and used her savings to continue the project. With readers continuing to vote for locations, she managed to crowd source her way around the world. The project also included Carole's commitment to volunteer in each location she visited. Organisations and projects she volunteered for are highlighted in her philanthropic website Rebel-With-A-Cause.
Carole is now writing a book about her experiences and she is planning a female empowerment conference to help other women, especially those in the second half of their lives, to do their "one big thing." One last thing she added is that her house is for sale now too!
Interviews with globetrotting and adventurous women with wanderlust
What does traveling mean to you?
For me, travel is about the people. Sure, it's an honour to visit some of the greatest museums in the world and to explore historical and archaeological sites, but for me, it comes down to the people. There's nothing better than being invited to have a cup of tea with a local in Vietnam, or into an Irish family's home, or sitting with a master woodcarver for 3 hours while he tells you about his family and explains his philosophy on life. It's also great to meet fellow travellers with whom you can explore areas that neither of you hail from.
Why do you travel and what do you search for when traveling?
I'm interested in everything when I travel! But mostly it's a mix of culture, people, and adventure. Though I wouldn't turn down a nice relaxing day on a beach in Akumal, Mexico, Hoi An, Vietnam, or Gil Air in Indonesia.
Have you ever experienced something extraordinary while traveling that you would like to share?
My top two would be when I volunteered in Kuala Lumpur teaching English and Math to child refugees from Burma/Myanmar. I taught nine-year-old Esther math and got to see the look in her eyes the moment she figured out division.
Another one of my top ten travel experiences was climbing the 300-steps up the tower of St. Lamberti's church, established in the 14th century, with the church's first female tower keeper. She keeps watch over the city of Munster six nights per week. The tower has a storied history involving Anabaptists, torture, and cages with bodies that were hung from the tower. The tour was arranged by the German tourism board and is only available to journalists.
Which country is according to you a ‘must go’ destination for women?
I'd say that most countries are a must go for women, as while the experience might be different for men and women in some, all travel is valuable. I've visited 63 countries and the only one of these which I would not recommend a woman visit on her own is India as there is an issue with violence against women and societal views on it. If you do decide to go, this is one place I wouldn't recommend travelling without a plan. While some women I've met have had good experiences, they tended to stay with friends, or in Ashrams, or in high-end hotels with arranged tours. It's different when you're traveling on trains and in less expensive hotels and trying to get a feel for the local culture.
What is your favourite destination?
That's a tough one. If forced, I would have to say Budapest, Hungary. It's a European capital which is outside the Eurozone and therefore quite inexpensive. Though it has a very complicated history, the people are just lovely - very nice in general and smart. They have a large world-view. There's a crazy amount of bookstores and half of those seem to be antique bookstores. The music and theatre options are endless and the waterfront is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I hope to move there. I'd have to say Hoi An, Vietnam comes in second due to its very unique atmosphere, beautiful beach, nice people and it's beyond affordable.
Do you have a bucket list and if you do what is on there?
I started one a few years ago, but never kept up on it as some of the greatest experiences I've had have been ones I never knew existed before I did them! Again, that's my whole, travel without a plan attitude. Still, I'd like to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House.
Do you have any tips you would like to share with other women who travel?
Don't listen to the naysayers; the ones bringing up every reason why you shouldn't do something, or all of the concerns. They're just expressing their fears. Thank them for their concern and move forward. Don't concentrate on all the things that could go wrong. Take one thing at a time. I learned through this project that it's always more dangerous "over there." People asked if I was afraid to go to certain locations yet, people in Europe, Asia, and Australia told me they were afraid to come to the U.S. as "everybody is walking around with a gun." Oh, and for goodness sake, set a date. It doesn't have to be tomorrow but, set a date. That way you're always working towards that goal. Someday is not a date.
Do you feel inspired by Carole's stories and would you like to stay up to date about her travels?
Visit her Drop me Anywhere site
Check out Rebel with a Cause
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