This week’s Featured Female Traveler has a unique story that is guaranteed to keep you captivated and wanting to know more. Meet Ms. Vicky Carter, from Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and now, England!
In her own words:
My name is Vicky Carter and I am 24 years old (when did that happen!?) Besides being this week’s Featured Female Traveler on MissMaps.com, I am a presenter, writer and workshop facilitator. This is my main job title although I have dabbled in a few other things as well- acting, dancing, hospitality etc.
I was in born the Middle East, Bahrain to be exact and I would most definitely call that my home. I lived there for about 10 years, then Abu Dhabi for two and now I live in the leafy hills of Surrey in England. To be honest, I am a very adaptable person, with any location, situation and people, so I quickly call anywhere I go my home, even if it is a resting place for one night.
As you can imagine, Bahrain is quite different to the suburbs of London. In fact when I first moved here and I found it rained all the time, I realised why British people were so depressed! I also find the prude behaviour of many British people quite shocking, I have no problem talking to anyone and everyone, which I thankfully found was the case in Manchester where I studied for three years.
It is quite hard to summarise a childhood in a country that is the most liberal of the Middle East yet also one of the worst countries for human rights in the world. Living an idyllic expat lifestyle where grand houses filled with underage spoilt kids having easy access to whatever they wanted, combined with a country filled with rich interesting history and culture, friendly warm people, intense climates and a contrast of financial incomes and lifestyles according to your religion, is Bahrain summed up on a quick note. Living in Bahrain was mad. Mad, but I am so grateful for the experience it has given me, the adaptable attitude I have to new people, new places and new cultures, as well as highlighting that the world is never as it seems. Honestly, I had some moments of my childhood which were petrifying: the time I was chased by men, or even when the AC unit broke. But then again, isn’t that what makes us stronger?
My first trip abroad was actually to the UK from Bahrain to visit family when I was four months old, so it has been a long time that I have been flying! My Mum and Dad travelled a lot when they were younger and growing up, we went on continuous holidays around the world. Now this nomadic lifestyle has been ingrained in me. It is the norm. I get itchy feet about every two months, and want new adventure all the time!
I don’t have a favourite destination. That is like asking a parent what their favourite child is! My favourite country in Asia is Indonesia; I love how they have numerous islands that are all filled with varying religions, stunning natural scenery, incredible beaches, wonderful wildlife, interesting geothermal activity, extreme sports and adventure as well as delicious food! I am obsessed with Asia, I keep going back to it because I love how unique each country is, even if they are so close to one-another; as well as the array in food they have to offer!
My favourite country outside of Asia, not including Europe, would have to be New Zealand as I am sucker for adrenaline and natural beauty. Besides New Zealand, I love Italy because of its delicious food, culture and art. My all-time-favorite cities are Manchester, Madrid and Melbourne because they have an awesome night life, music scenes and street art! I love cities that are rough around the edges, which have a bit of character, and have fantastic music and creative arts scenes which are mirrored on the people and the city itself.
Throughout time, I have travelled with some great people and some not so great people. But what makes a good travel partner is: someone who is flexible to your plans and ideas, who has an enthusiasm and interest for the local culture and people, who won’t hold grudges, who is positive, who has the same interests as you or is comfortable for both of you to do your own thing, understanding, independent, street smart and financially organised, can help you and support your own journey as well as realise for them to have their own personal one, and who always remembers to have fun! You don’t want to travel with someone who drains positive energy and vibes from your trip, or gets you down, or holds you back from what you want to do.
My honest advice to a first time traveller who is about to go with someone is to make sure they have found the right person to travel with and that both are flexible with each other. And ideally, if things don’t work out, you both are happy to leave as friends. I love travelling with a fantastic traveller, but life doesn’t always work out like that and your perfect partner might not have the money or drive as you do for your trip. When I really want to go somewhere, I go. At the end of the day, we are there to interact with the place, the locals and the culture, traveling with others from your hometown or meeting other travellers will change your time there dramatically, and sometimes even hinders that experience.
I backpacked solo for the first time when I was 18 and still love it now. I love being able to do what I want to do without conferring with someone else, as well as meeting a number of people and locals in so many places around the world.
For men travelling alone, the world is a lot easier and simpler, questions are unasked. As a woman in Asia, where I spend a lot of my time travelling, I am constantly questioned why I am alone. On my previous trip I was harassed and assaulted so it is something you should be wary of. I am not saying women travellers shouldn’t travel solo. In fact, far from it. I just would clarify to all those going, make sure you are conscious with what you wear- adapting to local customs and how you act. Be confident in everything you do. There may be preconceived stereotypes that travellers may have where you are going, and most are with negative connotations. Follow your gut instinct and remember to send friendly messages not flirty- many people get confused between the two.
MM: Vicky, your stories are insightful, encouraging, and so truthful. Thank you for sharing your messages – they need to be heard!
And as a final note, here are some more detailed explanations of Vicky’s photographs. Each has such a great story attached!
Photo 1 – Taken at Sydney Harbour Bridge when I was 18 travelling with my friend around Australia for four months. It was the most broke and hungry I have ever been but I wouldn’t change those months for the world- we fell in love with hot Aussies a number of times!
Photo 2– I was travelling around India with a friend and we were invited to a wedding in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, here is the happy couple! The family and people there were so warm and welcoming it was incredible.
Photo 3– Lumbini Nepal when I was 23, where Buddha was born! I was travelling solo here staying in Buddhist Korean Temple and it was such an incredibly humbling experience. I believe in the Buddhist values and the place was so tranquil, I instantly decided that I want my ashes scattered here when I pass.