What Travel Taught Me

What Travel Taught Me In 2016 – Lessons From Bad-Ass Female Travelers

Can we all just agree that 2016 was horseshit. Sure there was the odd life changing occasion here and there but for the most part it seems that 2016 was not quite the best, and many people I talk to just had a rough year. The good news is that if what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, then I imagine 2017 to be like walking around surrounded by superheroes in disguise because there’s going to be a lot of powerful people! Before we jump into this superhero world, I wanted to close out the year with a post on some real life superheroes. I follow these bad-ass travel women on social media, (I’ve included their links so you can too), and asked them to share their stories about what travel taught them in 2016. Let’s all get inspired by these stories and excited for another year of life full of new opportunities and new adventures!

What Travel Taught Me in 2016 – Lessons From Bad-Ass Female Travelers

Get inspired today with this collection of 'what travel taught me in 2016' lessons from a group of badass female travelers!

Monica – From Here To Sunday

This year I took a giant leap. I quit my job to travel the world and blog about my experiences! Since April, I’ve been to 18 countries across Central America, Europe, and Africa. Naturally, I’ve learned quite a bit this year about myself and the world. As an American, I chose an interesting time to travel given I was abroad during the election. Because of this I had many opportunities to have conversations about the global economy and hot topic issues.  I’ve appreciated each of these conversations because they have broadened my mind and perspective and I learned more about how other countries operate around the world. I’ll forever feel grateful to have learned so much from so many – from Spain to Norway to South Africa! Travel overall has taught me to appreciate the little things, to feel grateful and it has broadened my mind to think more globally.

Follow more of Monica’s adventures on her website and Instagram

What Travel Taught Me

Katie – What’s Katie Doing

My travel to Saudi Arabia in 2016 taught me that whilst you need to respect the culture of the place you are visiting, underneath the abayas we are all the same! I’ve never felt unsafe traveling in the Middle East, but I do respect the local culture and dress appropriately. My abaya was only needed when I was in public and it wasn’t a big issue to wear it to fit in (although the blonde hair stands out!) Having visited a salon whilst in Damman, I can confirm that we are all the same underneath. All women love to keep fit, have their hair and nails done and enjoy a massage at a spa. Don’t forget this just because they don’t show it in public.

The photo I am sharing is my colleague and I wearing our abayas at the office in Saudi Arabia (I visited for work). It was important to our team to show that Ernst and Young, the company I work for, was diverse and would embrace a team made up of all types of people, not just white, middle aged men.

Follow Katie’s adventures on her website and Instagram

What Travel Taught Me

Cassandra – The Quirky Pineapple

Travel has taught me a few things! It’s taught me to be patient, to be more spontaneous, and to be more open. This past year, travel has taught me to be A LOT more open to people, adventures, and places. There are a lot of areas that people tell you aren’t safe to travel to. There are a lot of people that let that fear scare them into ruling out a country or a city. Of course, there are some countries and cities that aren’t stable at the moment. But, travel has taught me to push boundaries anyways, and always go to a place with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I’ve learned more about a country, culture, and the history of an area because I was open to learning! I wanted to experience everything that I could, just to have a taste of how a local lives. Travel taught me that travel goes much deeper than taking the pretty pictures and crossing a destination off of our bucket lists.

Another big aspect that travel has taught me is being open to meeting people. Naturally, as a female traveler, I’m always cautious and wary. The other part of me loves to make connections and build friendships. In 2016, everywhere I met, everyone was so friendly! With a simple “hello”, I was able to befriend someone and learn something new. Some of those friendships have lasted even after I left the country. Travel breaks down my barriers and has taught me that when you’re traveling, meeting people is half the fun (or even more fun)! Now, whenever I travel, I always try to meet up with someone from the area. This could mean through Facebook groups, Couchsurfers, or through Instagram! I love making new connections, and ultimately friends, in new areas!

Follow Cassandra’s adventures on her website and on Instagram

What Travel Taught Me

 Sonja – Migrating Miss

In 2016 I learned to travel more with purpose. Travel for travels sake can be fun, but if you have someone to travel with, or a home to return to, then it can be even better. Over the summer I travelled extensively and at the end of my trip I added on 2 days in Copenhagen before returning to my summer base where my fiancé lives. Although I enjoyed Copenhagen I found myself wishing the whole time that he was there with me, and thinking about coming back with him. I realised that I don’t need to always add on extra destinations just because I can, that sometimes it’s worth waiting. Travel can help us to grow, change our perspective and open us up to new opportunities, but in 2016 I learned it’s not a race to the end, because there isn’t one, it’s the journey that counts.

Follow Sonja’s adventures on her website and Instagram

What Travel Taught Me

Verushka – Spice Goddess

Travel in 2016 has taught me to live light and not carry excess baggage.This is not only literally but figuratively. I have started to change the way I view the world as well I am needs and wants.  

Surrounding myself with like minded souls is another lesson 2016 travels have thought me.I had the honor of travelling with 29 bloggers from around the world for two weeks in Kerala, India. I came back a different person. Having never travelled with such a diverse and large group, everyday brought new lessons and the bond of friendship strenghtened.  Every journey we take we learn something new.

Follow Verushka’s adventures on her website and Instagram

What Travel Taught Me

Rebecca – Bee Wanderlust

The year 2016 has been a big year for me, it may sounds cheesy but I could say it’s the one year that really has changed me.I have travelled before, but in 2015/ 2016 I moved from Wales to Australia. Throughout the year I learnt a few things. Firstly I can do hard work to support my travels, work I would never normally do (farm work I’m looking at you!). I have become a lot more patient and chilled. I feel like I have learnt more about what I want in life, mainly to travel. My travels in 2016 really have made me grow as a person, I appreciate the little things, my interests and knowledge have broadened, I have learnt new skills I would never have normally. It was only once I returned home to Wales that I realised all of this, sat in my old room. I am not the same person. The only bad thing? I now can’t stay in one place. So, I booked a one way ticket right back to Australia for January 2017!

Follow Rebecca’s adventures on her website and Instagram

What Travel Taught Me

Hannah – Getting Stamped

2016 was a crazy travel year for me, I boarded 74 flights alone this year! I’ve learned a lot of things this past year but most importantly that I can live without wifi at my finger tips at all times. I spent two weeks traveling Cuba, where I didn’t have wifi 24/7. And you know what, I survived! I remember the night in Trinidad Cuba when I went to the city square and there were hundreds of people on their phone connecting to the wifi hotspot. I realized I can live on an hour a day if I really needed to. Oh and Cuba is amazing, I can’t wait to go back and explore more.

Follow Hannah’s adventures on her website and Instagram

What Travel Taught Me

As for me, it seems arrogant to put myself in the badass category, but I do have a lesson so thought it was worthwhile to share it here. In 2016, travel taught me that incredible experiences can be our reality if we want them. We don’t have to only look at epic landscapes in magazines or watch amazing experiences from around the world on TV. It doesn’t all have to be a far-off dream. When I was on the summits of the Swiss Alps I was in complete awe of what I was seeing. It seemed so unreal to me because all around me was such incredible views that you would usually see in a magazine or on a National Geographic documentary. While I was up there freezing my buns off, I kept thinking that if we really want to experience these things, we actually can. It takes hard work to save money instead of eating out all the time or buying all the latest gadgets, but the sacrifice is always worth it for moments like that.

What Travel Taught Me

I hope these insightful stories inspire you to take the plunge and travel somewhere new in 2017, even if it is somewhere close to home. Let’s make 2017 the year you go on that weekend away, book your dream trip or drive to somewhere you’ve never been! To finish off the last post of the year, I want to thank you all for another year of support. Every time you read one of my articles, like a post, leave a comment and share them with your friends, you are supporting the work I do and that is something I appreciate so very much. I hope we can all stay connected in the year ahead no matter where we are in the world!

Happy holidays to you and yours <3



  • Monica December 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    So interesting to read everyone’s perspectives and stories! You really do learn so much traveling. Thanks for including me Katie 🙂

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

      So true! Thanks for sharing your insight!

  • Rebecca December 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I loved everyones stories! Such an inspiring read! Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this! (:

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Thank you for inspiring others by sharing your story <3

  • Khansa January 2, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Travelling teaches us a lot about ourselves and makes us humble through our struggles. I love travelling and seeing new places. Thanks for sharing this amazing post

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Very well said, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Svetoslav January 2, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Very good idea for an article and it was interesting to read everyone’s insights.

    For me, 2016 was quite productive, but I am sure 2017 will be even better!

    I certainly agree with this point “My travel to Saudi Arabia in 2016 taught me that whilst you need to respect the culture of the place you are visiting, underneath the abayas we are all the same! ”

    That’s so true and the sooner the people realise it, the better!


    • Katie from What's Katie Doing? blog January 8, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks Svet, I’m glad that sharing my experience has resonated with you!

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

      I couldn’t agree more Svet, thank you so much for your comment. All the best for a productive 2017!

  • Anne January 2, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I really wish more people would travel as it truly breaks down barriers and might put an end to some of this hatred in the world. The comment about the abaya is something I wholeheartedly echo. I watch pictures of Syrian refugees on TV and once you put aside religion, they have exactly the same cares and concerns we do. Food on the table, shelter, health and their families.

    • Katie from What's Katie Doing? blog January 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      That’s so true – so many people seem to block this out by focusing on differences though Anne, its so sad.

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Hit the nail on the head with this one Anne. I always think that we are much more alike than different too.

  • nicki January 2, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I know most of these ladies and follow their travels. <3

    I love what Katie said about women all being the same underneath it all. That is also something I learned this year traveling around the globe. Even if we couldn't communicate very well because of language barriers, we knew what the other one was trying to convey and felt the same. I remember being in Bali and going for a massage and they did not speak much English but a lady next to me just pointed to the massage tables and gave me the best massage ever. She knew!!

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 11:01 am

      It’s incredible how much we can communicate without spoken language and how similar we all are. I love this, thank you so much for sharing.

  • Shobha January 4, 2017 at 1:00 am

    some great stories! not sure if surviving without wifi counts as bad-ass though. Love the Saudi Arabia story too. Not that many people go there and to have time in a salon hanging out with the local ladies sounds fun.

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 11:03 am

      There’s many different ways to be badass. I thought the same about the Saudi Arabia story and am proud to have it as part of this post.

  • Christina January 4, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Amazing stories from amazing women! I agree that, on a global scale, last year was NOT the best, but 2016 was the year I started my travel blog so it was a good one in my book 🙂 Love posts like this one!

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Yayyyy congrats on starting your travel blog! That’s an awesome achievement for 2016 now here’s to a super productive 2017!

  • Shane January 5, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Such an inspiring post! I need to write my own reflection on lessons learned from travel over the past year. Found some great new gals to follow too, thanks!

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Thank you so much!

  • Lena Elzayn January 6, 2017 at 3:43 am

    Love all the positivity behind this post and all the different inspiring women being featured! No matter how different everyone is the underlying message is one of adventure and curiosity. Love it! 2016 was a good year for me because I started travel blogging. It’s brought so much joy to my life and I love learning about other bloggers with posts like these. Happy 2017!

    • Katie Mac January 9, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Thank you and congrats on starting your travel blog, how exciting! <3

  • Lula Dolz May 7, 2017 at 2:46 am

    great hearing from different women, definitely empowering thank you!

    • Katie Mac May 9, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Yay mission accomplished! Thanks Lula <3


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