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The Short Version: Be My Travel Muse isn’t your typical travel website. Not only does it focus on adventure travel — think skiing, hiking, and backpacking — but it’s also geared toward solo female travelers. That’s because the website’s creator, Kristin Addis, is the poster-woman for this kind of off-the-beaten-track adventuring. She’s traversed nearly 50 countries, often by herself. On her website, she shares her expertise in vacation logistics, advice for the must-do exploits around the globe, and tips for making friends with locals worldwide. Ultimately, Kristin’s goal with Be My Travel Muse is to prove that women — even those who might not think of themselves as intrepid – can explore the world on their own.
In May 2018, Kristin Addis hiked the Inca Trail that surrounds the famous Machu Picchu in Peru. She called it a YOLO experience, and she epitomizes that mantra with her adventurous lifestyle.
Life could have been different for the avid world traveler and creator of the popular travel website BeMyTravelMuse.com. Six years ago, Kristin was working in finance in Newport Beach, California. She didn’t love the job and couldn’t see herself being happy behind a desk for the rest of her life.
So she decided to quit her job to see the world. At first, Kristin was nervous about traveling on her own but decided to take a leap of faith. While traveling, she started a blog, so she’d have a project for her travels. Those two decisions — to travel alone and blog about it — afforded her the lifestyle to keep traveling, mostly solo, for years to come.
“I started the blog because I believed I could turn it into my next career,” she said. “Long story short, that worked out.”
Over the next six years, Be My Travel Muse has continued to become more and more popular. Kristin’s tips for solo travelers have been featured in The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Daily Mail, to name a few.
Kristin sets her travel website apart not only with its solo travel focus but also with an eye on adventure travel, epitomized with the tagline “The Road Less Taken.” The website doesn’t simply document her journeys around the world. Instead, it provides itineraries that let readers recreate her most positive experiences.
Seeing someone – especially a woman – traveling alone is inspirational to many would-be country-hopping women. “I mainly want to talk to those people whose family and friends are not supportive of her desire to travel, especially by herself, and let her know it’s possible,” Kristin said of her website. “I’ve been doing it for almost six years, and there’s no reason she can’t do it.”
It may seem counterintuitive to discuss dating alongside solo travel, but Kristin thinks the two ideas go hand in hand.
“Women need to travel alone because it shows us what we’re capable of in a society where we’re often pushed down,” she said. “It’s important to be resourceful, make decisions on your own, and be completely self-reliant. That makes us better girlfriends, wives, sisters, mothers, and members of society, I think.”
This kind of self-awareness makes you a better partner, or, if you’re dating, more confident in your romantic choices.
Still, that confidence to go it alone isn’t easy to develop. At the beginning of her journey six years ago, Kristin was nervous about traveling by herself. “I really didn’t want to at first,” she said. “I was superresistant.”
After she took the leap, Kristin was surprised by how much she enjoyed her independence to direct her own experiences.
“When I started doing traveling alone, I was on cloud nine,” she said. “I realized a lot of people travel alone as well. It lets me have the freedom to do what I want. I don’t have to ask anyone. I can make last-minute, split-second decisions.”
Though being a woman traveling by herself might make Kristin somewhat of an anomaly, it also helps her reach her goal of writing about authentic local experiences.
“I like to make my blog as authentic and local as possible,” she said. “So I try to meet locals whenever I can, and I noticed that I get invited to a lot more events with locals when I’m by myself. I think it sparks their curiosity.”
The tone of Be My Travel Muse isn’t one of an expert solo traveler speaking to a novice. Instead, Kristin wants every traveler to feel like she can recreate the trips.
“My writing style is conversational,” she said. “I write in that way to help people recreate the same thing that I’m doing. I don’t want any of it to feel out of reach. I want it to feel like something the average woman could do.”
With this goal in mind, Kristin creates guides and itineraries for every country to which she travels. For example, in a blog titled “The Annapurna Circuit: Too Beautiful to Miss,” she details two weeks of trekking in Nepal, documenting each day of her trip with compelling details.
Further, Be My Travel Muse provides practical tips for budgeting, planning, and packing. The success of the website even led Kristin to write the book “Conquering Mountains: The Guide to Solo Female Travel.”
“The book is all about how to prepare,” she said. “How to save, budget on the road, travel for free, get the best deals on flights, travel hacking, staying safe, and meeting other people while you’re traveling.”
“Conquering Mountains” also tackles one of the most common concerns she hears from women traveling alone: How can I stay safe?
“I don’t think traveling alone is less safe than being with someone else,” she said. “Anything can go wrong, whether you’re alone or not.”
Ultimately, Kristin wants to provide would-be travelers enough information that they can make informed decisions about their destinations and their travel plans.
Be My Travel Muse proves that traveling alone doesn’t have to mean isolation. “I know safety is a big concern for a lot of people, but, for me, the biggest concern was loneliness,” Kristin said.
As it turned out, she didn’t have anything to worry about. Solo traveling has helped Kristin meet locals and other travelers in ways she wouldn’t have with a travel partner or group.
She mentions some of the ways she made new friends along the way. “I was delighted to find that meeting people is easy. When I was in my 20s, it was just as easy as going to a hostel and sitting in a communal area. You’re going to meet people; you just will,” she said.
But for travelers who want a little more privacy than a hostel provides, Kristin suggests other ways to meet friends.
“Now that I’m in my 30s, the hostel thing is behind me,” she said. “Because I’m staying in private rooms, I join an organized activity. When I was in the Philippines, I joined a tour to a lagoon and met a bunch of people that way. Or it can be as simple as going to a yoga class, or a popular beach, or a restaurant, and striking up a conversation with someone who is also alone.”
Kristin isn’t done with her solo travel or creating new content for Be My Travel Muse. “Goal-wise, I would just really love to reach more women,” she said. “There are big pools of travelers who travel and go it alone, and I’d really like to speak to more of them.”
To achieve this goal, she’s expanding the reach of her platform by producing more content for the Be My Travel Muse YouTube page. The page features aspirational videos about traveling to Mexico or Bali. The videos include useful travel tips — like the best way to pack a carry-on bag. She wants to provide more travelogues like these.
In addition, Kristin is planning and leading adventure tours for groups of 14 to 16 people.
“I just finished one about a week ago here in Peru. It’s an adventure tour, and the idea is for people to come and test their limits,” she said. “We have two more coming up this year. One is in Alaska, and the other is in Africa, and those are both women-only tours. We’ll do some more in 2019. I’m not sure if I’ll keep it female-only or open it up to co-ed.”
But no matter where her adventures take her next, Kristin has been humbled by the success of her brand and her message: “I feel really honored that people trust me,” she said.