Mikayla Timothy is MissMaps.com‘s Featured Female Traveler this week! A 25 year old ESL Instructor originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, she is now living and teaching in China. She and I met while studying abroad in Venezuela and have kept in contact, finding that travel has brought us closer. She gave me confidence to move abroad and gave insight on how to find teaching positions, while I’ve been able to share what it’s like traveling India as a solo female. She’s got a sparkling personality and a go-get-em attitude, and here she’ll introduce you to her favorite travel memories and tricks. You can connect with her on Facebook or Instagram: mik_meow
Where was your first trip abroad?
I moved to Merida, Venezuela for about 6 months, the week of my 18th birthday for an independent study abroad. (Unless you count crossing the Mexican border for a day of lobsters, piña coladas and braids by the beach ;).)
Where is your favorite destination?
A big piece of my heart will forever remain in Colombia! My favorite place was the national park, Parque Tayrona.
What place is on top of your bucket list?
I’d love to see it all but the place I’d like to cross off soonest is India.
Who is your favorite travel companion? What makes him/her so great?
My favorite travel companion is my good friend and current house mate, Kate Greenwood. I’m a firm believer that we ended up meeting in China so that we could travel together. We are always on the same page with everything and have the same interests so it makes traveling together easy, convenient and so much fun!
Where is your favorite destination? What makes it special to you?
It’s difficult to choose just one place, because everywhere I’ve been has offered such a unique and personal experience. So far, I think my favorite place has been Guilin/Yangshuo, China. Before moving to China, I had done some research and watched some documentaries about different places that I needed to see. The mountains really called to me. In Guilin, you can float down the Li River on a “bamboo” raft through these mystical mountains to Yangshuo.
I remember the feeling of realization on the raft that “You are here! You are actually here”. It was quite surreal actually being there, it was more incredible than I had imagined!
Yangshuo is a bit touristy and commercialized but it’s in the center of these beautiful mountains. You can rent bikes for $1 a day and ride through the small villages nearby. I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in traveling, especially those interested in hiking and outdoor adventures!
Any thoughts about relationships and travel? Relationships can mean with friends, family, romantic – anything!
I think traveling is such an incredible experience. You learn so much about the world around you and so much about yourself. You can try to retell your stories, share photos and videos but nothing quite compares to actually being there.
There is so much emotion evoked that you could never properly share it all, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feelings of nervousness and excitement etc. For me, to be able to share an experience like that, good or bad, with another person, is so incredible!
Traveling can definitely strengthen a relationship because it’s an opportunity to share something so unforgettable. I’ve met so many amazing people from all around the world while traveling. Your paths cross so briefly, yet you share something so intimate with a total stranger. I’ve also had the opportunity of traveling by myself which has offered so much insight to my personal evolution. I remember thinking on various occasions how much I’d love to share this moment with someone, but my words and photos would never do it justice. On the other hand, I think traveling with another person or multiple people can be quite stressful at times. You all have different wants and needs and finding the right balance can be tricky. If you are able to make it work, you’ll share some beautiful memories!
Mikayla, you’ve always been a travel inspiration to me – and I know sharing your adventures with others will inspire them as well. Who knew that eight years after meeting in the mountains of Venezuela, we’d still be exchanging stories! Until we meet again, xoxAnika