Melissa Rondeau from Wanderess Bleu
Disclaimer: I stumbled upon Melissa from Instagram and I fell in love with her site. I love seeing other travelers similar to me who are traveling the world on a spiritual journey. Traveling isn't just about how many countries you've been to, it's more about the people you've met along the way and the obstacles you've encountered that made you grow. I love the experience Melissa had in India, where she struggled with wanting to disappear but wound up finding a better version of herself. She's a tough cookie who isn't afraid to be vulnerable and it shows from her writing. I love and appreciate people who can step outside of their comfort zone like that to inspire others with raw authenticity. I had the honor of interviewing this lovely lady to learn more about her travel journey.
What does traveling do for you?
"Traveling saved my life. For many of us, it’s easy to slip into familiar patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The moment that I arrive in a foreign country, my eyes become wide open to change and transformation. Escaping for awhile allows me to consider new ways of relating to my things happening in my life. Being in a different country, gives me a different perspective. There was a time in my life that fear consumed me and it seemed that I was existing instead of really living. It took 10 years, to develop the courage for big solo female backpacking trips to exotic far away lands. Some countries can be intimidating and courage is required to explore!
I think solo female backpacking is the ultimate expression of being authentic and living a whole hearted life. Many women restrict travel because of safety concerns, whereas I feel empowered to push any boundaries that would restrict my freedom."
Why solo female travel?
"I chose that I could no longer live from a place of fear. I decided to live with the intention that the world has many good people in it and that the universe has my back. For the longest time, I dreamed of visiting the Great Pyramids of Egypt but the last few years were filled with negative media reports. This created a safety concern inside of me. When I decided to embark on a solo female journey to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and the West Bank it was well thought out. I did research about any conflicts existing between each country in preparation for my trip. Well intentioned friends expressed fears for my safety, which I took seriously. I made an appointment with a psychic that sensed I’d be safe but directed me to consider alternative routes of travel. I realized my original route was not the safest passage of travel and that flexibility was crucial. Being a smart traveler, is not only important for myself but also to my two young children. I don’t let being a single Mama slow down my wanderlust for solo or family travel but I do take my safety more seriously."
What did you learn about yourself from traveling?
"I learned that I’m a truth seeker or explorer at heart. My mind is completely open to connect, relate and see the goodness in others. I enjoy talking to people from all walks of life. Some of my most memorable experiences were extreme opposites. About 10 years ago, I met a major German car company executive that drank on the side of at the Hofbrauhaus. He explained that he built a life of riches but was deeply depressed. Then in 2013, while in Bangkok I met a lady boy dancer that took a break from entertaining around 3 am in a red light district club. We sat and talked for hours. He explained that he was happier than ever because although he was financially poor, he finally found the courage to embrace his sexuality. It is these kinds of experiences that deepened my understanding of human behavior and to understand the meaning of life. I learned that solo travel is lonely at times but I enjoy connecting with strangers in small meaningful ways. One day in Bali, I was feeling really disconnected. A woman was selling small wooden carved handcrafts. Neither of us spoke the others language but we began to connect non verbally and our exchanges erupted in laughter. I walked away feeling genuine joy and happiness. My travels taught me that I possess good survival instincts and the ability to
navigate my experiences being 100% responsible for my own words and actions. There is no one to rely upon when alone in a foreign city. There was a time that I became seriously lost in Bangkok. My cell phone only worked on WIFI and somehow I ended up in Old Bangkok where many people didn’t speak English. I was feeling overwhelmed and sat down to cry because I was really starting to panic. Then after a few minutes, I stood up and figured how to return to the mainstream part of the city. What I learned about myself is that I have the ability to quickly access courage and overcoming aloneness fears.
I think of myself as a global citizen and all the experiences I've had all around the world has transformed me into a deeply loving person capable of being present and living an extraordinary life."