Podcast Interview About My Solo Travel Experience
Have you ever learned about some “exotic” trip that you just knew you had to do? The trip may have been very different from your usual travels, but somehow this particular adventure was speaking to you – and just felt right!
Well, that happened to me back in 2001 – when a good friend forwarded an email promoting a photography tour to China & Tibet. I certainly loved taking pictures when I traveled, but I had not ever been on a photo tour. Plus, I didn’t know anything about this photo tour group (called BTO) or its leader Bill Bachmann. Nor did I know anyone going on the trip.
However, as I read through the detailed itinerary – which included 5 days in Tibet – I almost began to hyperventilate. It was definitely calling to me! I had been wanting to branch out from my European travels and see more of the world. Yet, I never dreamed Tibet would be one of those places. So, I trusted my “gut” and within 48 hours, I had sent in my trip deposit. I was going to China & Tibet!
My First Photo Tour & Falling In Love with China & Tibet
It turned out to be a great decision. In fact, that trip was truly life-changing! I fell head over heels in love with the exotic cultures of both countries – the sights, the sounds, the people, the rituals. Plus, it was a photographer’s dream! I came home from that trip knowing I wanted to do much more “exotic,” cultural travel like that.
Since then, I have taken many more “exotic” trips – including eight photography tours and 7 of them with Bill Bachmann & BTO. There’s no doubt in my mind that the 2001 China/Tibet trip is what jump-started me on my current travel & career path. It has shaped who I am and directly led to what I am doing today – this “Planet Janet Travels” blog that you are reading!
About My “Go Solo Live” Podcast Interview
I was recently interviewed by Jennifer Buchholz of “Transform Via Travel” for her “Go Solo LIVE” Podcast. We had a very fun 37-minute interview – really it was a friendly dialogue – which went “live” on Friday, the 13th. And this is what I am sharing with you in today’s blog post. You can click this link to “Listen to the Podcast“.
Jennifer’s mission is to inspire mid-life women to get out and travel – so they can experience the joy of travel & its transformative power for changing lives and perspectives. This can happen whether you’re going on an international trip or just touring around the U.S.
And going “solo” doesn’t just mean traveling by yourself (ie, completely alone). Solo travel can also be signing up for a tour like I did with China & Tibet – where I was traveling with a group, but I didn’t initially know anyone else who was going. It was my chance to make some new friends – and that I did!
So much of travel is about taking that one step a bit outside your comfort zone – which can lead you to wonderful travel experiences & memories you’ll savor forever. Also, this podcast interview is relevant not just to midlife women – but to all my readers including the men. So, what did Jennifer & I talk about, you ask?
Telling My Rural China / Solo Adventure Story
Jennifer asked me to share a story from a significant solo travel experience. So, I picked one from this life-changing China/Tibet trip in 2001– specifically my 2-day “trip extension” back into rural China to cruise the Li River & visit charming Yangshuo. It was just me and a local guide.
The trip extension started out in Hong Kong where our China photo tour ended. There, in Hong Kong, is where my terrifying travel visa snafu happened. Luckily, it got resolved – but not without some effort & personal angst!
However, from then on, it was pure travel happiness! I loved the Li River cruise (photos below) & exploring the small town of Yangshuo – which you’ll hear much more about on the podcast.
The podcast interview is entitled: “Doesn’t Matter Where You Are, Unexpected Things Happen; Just Breathe.” The title comes from my first needing to overcome the travel visa issue which almost derailed the trip extension.
Jennifer starts the interview by asking where my travel bug comes from. I give a lot of credit to my adventurous Mom (who is now 92)! The bulk of the interview is spent sharing my wonderful trip into rural China (starting around the 6-minute mark).
Podcast How To’s
If you’re like me, please don’t be intimidated by this podcast thing! The interview is just an audio file that will automatically play on your computer – the easiest way. First, click this “Listen to the Podcast” link which takes you to the “Go Solo LIVE” podcast page for my episode.
There, you will see a black box with my photo where you can click the “play” arrow – and you should be good to go. Sit back and enjoy! And, please let me know what you thought about the interview. I’d love to hear!
Here’s What You’ll Hear on the Podcast
- Where my spirit of adventure & love of travel originated
- What did I do when I was denied boarding on my DragonAir flight to Guilin
- The story of my Li River cruise & time in Yangshuo
- My favorite experience cycling around Yangshuo with local guide Shirley
Painting the Picture of Rural China With Some More Photos
The photo (below) is of me & Shirley, my delightful guide in Yangshuo. We spent six wonderful hours together. We cycled through the beautiful countryside around Yangshuo, which is punctuated with tall limestone peaks.
I was able to get an ‘up close & personal’ view of rural China, as we cycled through small villages and passed by rice fields, water buffaloes, and fish & duck farms.
We also climbed Moon Hill for great views of the lush green valley below and toured Dragon Cave. My time spent with Shirley was one of my favorite travel days ever!
Special Memoriam for My Friend & Mentor Bill Bachmann
Bill Bachmann was my dear friend & mentor. I traveled the world with Bill & his BTO Photography Tour group – a total of 7 times. The 2001 China/Tibet BTO tour was my first. Thanks to Bill, I have traveled to Africa twice, India, Guatemala and Cuba. My latest amazing BTO trip was to Antarctica.
Sadly, Bill passed away on October 11th from a valiant 1 1/3 year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a world-renowned commercial and travel photographer & has traveled to over 200 countries. He had a passion for exploring this fascinating world, photography, writing, teaching & inspiring others to travel.
Bill has truly shown me the world – along with so many of my BTO travel mates. There’s no doubt I would not be doing my Planet Janet Travels blog & business without Bill’s huge influence. He was a true inspiration & will be missed beyond measure. Goodbye, my friend!
COMMENTS: Did you enjoy the podcast interview? Could you relate to some of my experiences? What types of solo travel have you done? Have you visited rural China and/or taken a Li River cruise & visited Yangshuo?