Gray Cargill from Solofriendly.com Interview

Posted by admin | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 30-09-2010

Our travel interview today is from Gray Cargill of solofriendly.com

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a forty-something woman who enjoys solo travel. I’m also a travel blogger and an avid (amateur) photographer. I’ve lived in Vermont almost my whole life and have worked in the non-profit field for the past twenty years.

How did you get into traveling?

I’ve always enjoyed traveling. We didn’t travel a whole lot when I was growing up because we were pretty poor, but I did travel to see relatives in other states and went to Germany for a month to visit my father, who was stationed there. I loved seeing how different life was in other places, outside of Vermont. It was so much more exciting. After college, I didn’t have the money to travel for a few years, and when I did, I didn’t have a traveling companion. I was of the mindset that you needed to travel with someone. But I finally decided that life is short and I didn’t want to wait for someone else, so I just started going on my own. My first big trip was a three week course through my University in England studying Shakespeare (which was a perfect way to be introduced to England!). I next fell in love with Las Vegas, which I visit every year. In between, I’ve been to Mexico and Canada, but most of my travel has been domestic. There are so many places I wanted to see in the US (and still do).

What have been some of your most memorable experiences?

My international travel has been pretty amazing. Germany and Austria are beautiful countries, and I feel a real tug toward England because I’ve read so many books set there. My helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon was pretty mind-blowing; seeing the Canyon from the air is definitely an experience I won’t forget soon. In Las Vegas, I got to pat an African lion cub; it was one of those touristy photo opps, but still. . .how many people can say they know what a lion cub feels like? I visited New Orleans in the post-Katrina era, and I really fell in love with the city and the spirit of its residents. They love their culture fiercely and won’t give up on it. From a negative perspective, my trip to Mexico was memorably awful. I got food poisoning the night before I was to go to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins. I didn’t want to miss it, so I forced myself to get on the bus, and I started feeling sick, so I got up to head to the bathroom in the back of the bus and blacked out. Luckily, two men on either side of the aisle saw what was going down—me!–and caught me before I could get hurt. But I only made it through half an hour of the tour before I had to catch a cab back to the resort, I was just so sick. If and when I return to Mexico, I’ll be doing things differently.

What are you doing now?

I work full-time at a non-profit in Vermont and when I’m not there, I’m blogging or hanging out with friends. I also serve on the board of my condo association. I’m planning a November trip to Paris for a week, which will be my first trip to Europe since 1994. That’s exciting for me. Then I’ll be headed back to Las Vegas around Christmas.

What websites do you run?

My oldest blog is SoloFriendly.com, a blog for solo travelers, which I’ve been writing since 2008. In the spring, I launched a new website (with blog) to help people plan their solo Las Vegas vacations called The Vegas Solo.

What tips would you give someone wanting to go traveling?

  • Find a way to do it. If you don’t think you can afford it, you can. There are numerous websites out there that will tell you how to save your money for travel, travel cheaply, and secure jobs or volunteer work overseas.
  • If you don’t have anyone to travel with, go alone. I’m not the bravest person in the world by a long shot, and I travel alone. If I can do it, 99.9% of the traveling population can.
  • Don’t think that there’s only one flavor of travel. There are many different ways to travel. I’m a vacation traveler; I travel for a week or so at a time. Others are nomads. Others will travel for a few months at a time for around the world. Figure out which style of travel works best for your life.
  • But most importantly, do your research ahead of time. You don’t have to know everything about your destination, just enough to know the dos and don’ts, where to stay, and how to get around. Knowledge is the most important tool a traveler has.

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