FEATURE FEMALE TRAVELER-CISKA
Ciska and I first met online through various business and travel groups we were both in.
I think we actually first started chatting after I saw she was converting a van into a camper and thought she’s my kinda girl. Passionate about travel, cultures and trying anything new, especially if there are waterfalls involved and handy with a saw and hammer.
Since then I have been lucky enough to have Ciska come along on some of my adventures and capture some great shots with her drone ( which she loves!) and camera. As well as having fun travel experiences here in New Zealand, Rarotonga and Bali and I can’t wait for more!
Kia ora my name is Ciska! I’m born and breed in New Zealand with Dutch decent (yay for Euro passport & a kiwi one!) I’m 35 years old and a VERY passionate adventurer and lover of all things travel.
What made you or inspired you to travel?
The strong desire to experience and see everything that interests me.
Initially it was traveling the world that intrigued me the most, however once I had traveled solo for 1.5 years around the world, my passion grew immensely to travel my own country. What inspires me most is immersing in other cultures, ways of living, their outlooks on life. Seeing how others live. Seeing nature at its finest especially waterfalls! I just love the feeling of being somewhere new!
What has been your main challenge in following your travel dream?
Having too many passions! I want to experience everything, I want to learn everything! So I guess its having too many dreams lol can’t be a bad thing.
But lets also say that if I won the lottery I’d travel for the majority of the year whilst the rest of the time would be working on an awesome business, spending time with loved ones, progressing with building up to the ultimate ‘base’ (having a solid place to call home is important to me). I have a lot more places I want to visit that’s for sure!
How do you fund your travels, any tips to share?
For my big year and half trip, I had saved up most of my adulthood so I was able to travel from savings and the profits of selling my business (I had a car fabrication shop where I kitted out cars for shows, crash repairs, painting etc). In the previous years however, I started making videos about my NZ travel adventures, I made a Facebook page to publish them after getting over my ‘fear of what others would think of me/my videos. Within a year my page had grown to over 15,000 followers!
I have since been able to leverage the exposure I gain through these followers (now over 30k) to travel free in exchange for features in my videos, or specific videos of services that align with what my videos are about – adventure, nature, hikes, waterfalls, supporting local businesses.
What are your top travel hacks for women traveling solo?
Travel hacks, don’t get arrested in a foreign country haha! It can be a little scary but makes for a great story to tell after! Ok in more seriousness, I always brought a local sim-card and carried a phone with me at all times to feel safe. I would always take a few business cards of the accommodation I was staying in case I got lost. If you feel unsafe, pretend you are talking on the phone. Upload favourite travel pix/videos online often, as a backup. Have your money spread across different banks and carry a few different credit cards – keep your big savings in a different account other than the credit-card account. Have someone (it was my mum) a signatory on my accounts in case things really turned to sh*t and thankfully she was able to get me new cards when mine got taken. Stash small bits of cash (say $50) in a few different places – this seriously saved me as I jumped onto a plane from Vietnam to Thailand with only a few stashed notes (a story for a different interview ). Bring along an expired passport/ID if a company (like a hostel or scooter hire) would demand to hold it then I’d give them that one, mostly worked.
Have you got a favourite travel experience?
One favourite memory? Definitely not one, more like 1,000!
I would say it was the first few months I was abroad and on my own in Vietnam. I said ‘yes’ to working in a fancy restaurant/hotel in exchange for food and a room. I made the most BEAUTIFUL local friends here and we spent the following months hanging out together. After work, before work, on our days/weeks off & after I’d finished there, traveling to local cities where they had never seen white people: amazing.
I choke up every time I think of how amazing these people are. Actually, the first ever video I made was about my experience here in Vietnam, it was super long and originally only close family were allowed to see it because it was so personal to me, then I had to the courage to share it with friends, and then publicly. I’ll leave a link to it below (it’s 13mins long sorry!)
Are there any lessons you’ve learnt or have you experienced personal growth through travel?
Absolutely, so many. To be non-judgmental, everyone has a story, feelings, history, culture, upbringing and we all show these in different ways so being compassionate is a must. Being open to new experiences – saying yes more often (but making sure it’s a safe ish situation ). This can definitely get you into some trouble but also end up being some of the best experiences. Talk to anyone and everyone (again if its safe), I ended up making the most beautiful foreign friends this way, shop keepers, hostel workers, travel agents, just your normal people can have the biggest hearts. All of that aside, I also learnt to keep my trust circle small, quality over quantity.
What is your favourite quote and why?
“If you can’t change the situation, change the way you feel about it.”
Why? Its so friggen powerful! There are SO many situations that we can not control, but just changing our thoughts can get us through pretty much anything. Its helped me tremendously.
Finally, is there any advice you’d give to another woman wanting to change their life and maybe travel solo but is unsure where to start?
Take a trip in your own country! Pick a new town that you can travel to by say train/bus so you’re still close enough comfort wise to your own home. Do your research on a reputable hostel to book into (female only dorms are great) or get a private room if that’s more comfortable. Look up a few activities in advance that you’re super excited about. And take the courage to spark up conversations with others, even other females that look like they’re traveling alone.
Thank you so much for sharing your travel story
and inspiring other women to chase their dreams
and take a chance to see this beautiful planet!
Want to know more about Ciska and follow her adventures?
You can find her here;
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/NZ_adventures