Hi, my name’s Rebecca. I sold my possessions and packed up my remaining belongings back in September 2016. Since then, I’ve been travelling around and have launched my own company Zero Menstrual Cups.
TPM: What kind of traveler are you?
RDS: First and foremost, I travel on a budget, so that impacts all of my travel choices. For example, I’ll take a bus if it’s cheaper than a flight. Fortunately, I don’t have any time constraints as my travel is open ended, so it doesn’t matter if a journey takes an extra 10 hours if it means I’ll save a bunch of cash to spend on other things.
As I generally travel by myself, I take the opportunity to meet fellow travellers in hostels. It’s an easy way to interact with like-minded people and I’ve managed to make some lifelong friends from these experiences. I always select a hostel that has good reviews and is relatively social. In addition, I find that you get better recommendations from people about what to do and how to spend your time.
I like to travel slowly and consciously. Personally, I feel that if I rush through a bunch of destinations, I don’t get a proper feel of a place. How can I make a judgement on a location if I’m only there for a day?
TPM: Why did you decide to start traveling as a backpacker and opt for slow, long-term travel?
RDS: It’s funny, I never made a conscious decision to travel as a “backpacker” per se, it’s just something that happened organically from my desire to travel as simply as possible, whilst on a budget.
As I travel with a 22ltr backpack, I keep everything pared down to the essentials. Truth be told, I’m too lazy to pack and unpack a large suitcase each time! As I haven’t got a “fixed home”, I like to keep my pack as light as possible whilst maintaining home comforts.
TPM: While traveling you also run a small business. Can you tell our readers a little more about what your business is and how you got started?
RDS: I started Zero last year, so it is very much still a new experience for me. Zero is a menstrual cup made from 100% medical grade silicone; it replaces the need for tampons or pads. I’m inspired by the women I meet on my travels and want to encourage them to make their periods zero waste. I have been a long time advocate for reusable period products, but it was only during my time working at a hostel in Malaysia that I realised I had to turn my interest into something more.
TPM: Where in the world is your favorite place to visit? Why?
RDS: My favourite “home away from home” is Chiang Mai, Thailand. I love everything about this beautiful city: the blossoming cafe culture, the friendly locals, the amazing food, the perfect weather. For these reasons, I have found myself being drawn back to Chiang Mai many times over the years.
TPM:What do you think is the biggest sacrifice you have done for the sake of traveling?
RDS: Maintaining “real life” relationships with my family and friends. I can Skype and message my loved ones as much as I want, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that I’m not physically there.
TPM: How many countries have you visited?
RDS: I’ve visited fourteen countries so far, including three new ones this past year.
TPM: Have you had any scary moments while on your travels?
RDS: Whilst I’ve never experienced any truly terrifying moments, there have been a few incidents where I have felt my personal safety could be in jeopardy. With that in mind, I always trust my gut - if a situation feels dodgy, I will get out of there. Travelling smartly definitely involves an element of common sense, following the customs of the country you’re visiting, and always being open to new experiences.
TPM: Where is your next travel destination going to be? Why?
RDS: I’m currently in New Zealand, wrapping up a six-week road trip with a friend of mine who I met in Malaysia. I’ll be heading back to Chiang Mai after New Zealand because I really miss good weather (as I am writing, it is foggy and pouring with rain in the Bay of Islands), and the amazing street food. Having spent the last four months in New Zealand, I am excited to head back to South East Asia.
TPM: How has travel changed you?
RDS: Travel has opened my mind to different ways of living: I no longer see the traditional 9-5 as the only way to live. I’ve met plenty of people who are location independent and I find each of their stories to be inspiring and motivational. In addition to this, travel has boosted my self-confidence in a way that no one other single experience has.
TPM: What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about traveling while owning a business?
RDS: Definitely plan for the worst, and then expect it to happen. Things inevitably go wrong when you start a business and often misfortunes are amplified by the fact you’re travelling around. Things as banal as finding a solid internet connection can take up a lot of time or scheduling meetings across different time zones can be tough, so definitely prepare for that. That being said, I have complete trust in myself to plan, budget, and live on my own terms. Travelling solo whilst owning a business encouraged me to fulfil my goals and depend only upon myself to achieve them.