Female Solo Traveler Series - Laura Silvja

Female Solo Traveler Series - Laura Silvja

Introducing VOITED's Solo Female Traveler Series, we're excited to celebrate the spirit of adventure through the perspectives of intrepid female explorers, starting with the remarkable Laura Silvja. Laura, a gifted photographer and storyteller, ventures into the hidden corners of our world, capturing its raw beauty and the essence of humanity. Her journey is a testament to the power of solo travel in fostering connections with nature and diverse cultures.

About Laura:

Laura Silvja, known for her insatiable curiosity and vivid storytelling, takes us on her captivating journeys to document the vibrancy of life across the globe. Her work emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding in bridging cultural divides, showcasing how adventure can be both a personal quest and a collective experience. Join us as we delve into Laura's extraordinary stories on our blog, celebrating the courage and curiosity that define the solo female traveler.

1. Trailblazing Tales: What inspired you to embark on solo adventures, and how do you think it has shaped your perspective on life and travel?

I am profoundly curious about our world and have spent the last years traveling full time, almost always solo, to share about intrepid adventures, remote communities, and far-flung cultures. I am passionate about traveling to some of the world's most intriguing corners to create a living document of what it means to be human and to demonstrate how curiosity and compassion strengthen our connection with nature and people alike.

Travel has for me fostered a deeper understanding for what really matters in life: to experience kindness, love, connection, and happiness, to make that journey of life profound and rich. In order to touch on happiness you have to put life both in perspective and in context, to feel its fragility. Exploring these raw and wild places is an incredible privilege, especially to be able to document it for the world framed through the lens of human connection, before they are forever changed into a more modern world, and to celebrate the differences within humankind by fostering appreciation of diverse cultures.

In a world where we often feel small and unseen, it is traveling that creates a sense of a meaning in life. No matter how big this world is and how much unknown is out there - we are all human. When traveling, I feel happiness, because I get to connect with other human beings in the most extraordinary way.

2. Essential Gear Insights: In your journey as a solo female traveler, which VOITED product has become indispensable, and how has it enhanced your adventures?

One of my favorite ways of traveling to remote places is in an overlanding car because it allows me to move at my own pace, stop in unexpected places to meet locals, and sleep in the wildest, most beautiful and untouched environments. One of my favorite products is the travel blanket – it’s lightweight and compact so I can bring it with me wherever I go. It makes every car camping setup so much cozier while keeps me warm at night in the cold mountains – definitely a more “luxury” / want-not-need item to bring along, but an absolute personal game changer nonetheless.

3. Sustainable Steps: How do you incorporate sustainability into your travels, and what role do you think eco-conscious gear plays in responsible exploration?

I hold immense value in the power of travel and the power of learning about our natural world and different cultures and ways of life in this world, to gain a better understanding for what it really is that is worth saving and to see the effects of modern society on the environment. Yet it is this type of traveling – hurling across the globe in an airplane – that is damaging our planet greatly. I have to accept that footprint, yet I am always striving to assess where I can be better and make up for my carbon footprint in other aspects of life with little ways to save the world:

· I always – really, always – travel with a refillable bottle so I never have to purchase a plastic water bottle, and completely refrain from using single-use plastic (where possible). Eight million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans each year, so this is an important one for me.

· Eating local food, always but especially when traveling. It’s also one of the best and most enjoyable ways of getting to know the local culture. Eating less meat. Eating seasonally. Supporting local fishermen and spearfisher men as they have close to zero impact and no bycatch.

· Supporting companies that are doing good – I’ve been fortunate to work with eco-conscious and like-minded brands and companies and I’m happy to support their missions in this world.

· Choosing eco-consciously made products – especially the fashion industry is one of the largest polluters, and choosing sustainable options when it comes to gear and clothing goes a long way in preserving this beautiful planet we love to explore so much.

4. Moments of Solitude: Can you share a memorable moment of solitude from your travels where you felt a deep connection with nature?

I was in the mountains of New Zealand’s South Island, driving past a village and continuing down an endless valley towards the mountains, during what must have been one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen – the world was dunked in a million shades of violet. The further I drove, the more it seemed like I was the only person on a planet that has never experienced the harmful impacts of humanity, a planet that was pure, magnificent and resilient, and I felt both utterly happy to know that places like this still exist and simultaneously sad knowing that most of our world is unfortunately not as untouched and healthy as it seemed right in this moment. A moment of feeling torn between bliss and guilt, between hope and despair. But to experience the utter bliss of being alive in some of the world’s last untouched natural surroundings served as a reminder that there is so little we actually need to be happy, to be healthy, to feel loved and rich.

5. Challenges Conquered: What has been one of the most significant challenges you've faced while traveling alone, and how did you overcome it?

I’ve been very lucky in my life and travels so far and have personally made the experience that people are generally way more caring and warmhearted than we tend to believe. Every time I was in trouble, especially by myself in the middle of nowhere, someone came and helped sooner or later. I once got stranded on a little island in Northern Vietnam when the night set in but a friendly fisherman showed me the way to the next little village. I once got stuck in the mud with my camper truck in a valley in Northern Georgia, close to South Ossetia, and after some time trying unsuccessfully, a car with a few men passed by and helped me get unstuck with wood planks and big rocks.

I’ve always chosen to believe in the good in people and it has led me to feel very at home with the global community, with humanity at large.

6. Empowerment through Exploration: How do you think solo travel empowers women, and what message would you like to share with those contemplating their first solo trip?

Having stepped foot into all these different places in the world has made me feel way more connected to humanity and the global community. I feel more connectedness and more confidence while roaming any part of the world. Every time I travel, I get to connect more dots, to the places, the people, the cultures. I start to see similarities where I saw only differences and I start to see connectedness in the differences that remain. My world has become smaller and more familiar through traveling, yet so so much more profound and meaningful.

I find nothing more empowering than having all those experiences of being alive in the truest sense of the word – and feeling alive is happiness. Happiness is not an external existence but rooted in a deep discovery of our own wealth.

I don’t believe in being guided by fear. The most beautiful, profound and meaningful life experiences happen at this beautiful junction of excitement, fear and curiosity. It is a privilege to be able to discover for yourself what happiness can be, and the satisfaction of this curiosity is something that should be available to everyone.

7. Cultural Connections: Could you share a story where you felt a profound cultural connection or learned something valuable from the local community during your travels?

At the end of the infamous Abano Pass in Northeast Georgia, only a few kilometers from the Russian border, lies the region of Tusheti, only accessible during the summer months from June to September, and completely shut off from the world for the rest of the year.

Life here gets tough, especially in winter when temperatures drop to -30°C, and many of the residents leave the region to spend the winter months in the towns at the foot of the mountain. Not so Irakli, the sole resident of Europe’s highest settlement Bochorna, deep in the Caucasus mountains. He works as the local doctor for the neighboring villages of the Tusheti region and provides the people with meaningful support. His resilience, selflessness and wisdom are a sign he has adopted well to this life, finding happiness and fulfillment in his solitude.

To meet the human beings who live in such difficult environments in harmony with themselves, their culture, and their natural environments, I wonder if beneath his content appearance is perhaps something hidden, whether loneliness is slowly consuming him, or if he discovered a unique tranquility within the isolation. It brings a new level of introspection and a unique perspective on life. Behind his warm smile and unshaken strength lies a complex inner world that an outsider will never be able to fully understand.

8. Adventure Essentials: What are the top three items you never embark on an adventure without, and why?

1. My camera – it’s my window to the world, my creative outlet, and a means to document the world the way I see it, and to share stories of far-flung places and the wisdom and intricacies of the multitude of different cultures and ways of life that are out there.

2. A knife. A useful, versatile and practical item to have.

3. My journal. It’s my favorite way to capture and reflect on any thoughts and feelings that get triggered by the places I visit, the people I meet and the events I get to witness. It’s also so cool to be able to look back on how a journey or an experience has influenced me, and how traveling has changed my perspective on life in the long term.

9. Unforgettable Destinations: What has been the most unforgettable destination you've explored solo, and what made it so special?

Staying with the Bajau tribe off the coast of a small island in southeast Sulawesi has definitely been one of the most powerful experiences. It’s been an eyeopener in regards to what it means to be rich and human, and a profound and unforgettable lesson in how humans can live in harmony with our natural world. Simultaneously, it was a tough realization of the damages human beings have done not just to our planet but also to the global community, in particular the most vulnerable and precious communities, those who have little impact to our changing world but suffer most from the consequences of human impact and climate change.

10. Future Footprints: Looking ahead, what dream destination is next on your list, and how do you plan to make that journey uniquely yours?

Mongolia – I dream of an overlanding expedition to the Northernmost parts of the country to visit the nomadic communities, stay with them and learn about their way of life, their customs, the changes and challenges they are confronted with in the face of climate change, and their wisdom on community, compassion and connectedness with nature. And to then document it for the world framed through the lens of human connection, to foster appreciation for cultural diversity and a deeper understanding for core human nature.

Laura's adventures are a reminder of the boundless beauty and resilience found in both the natural world and the human spirit.

Stay tuned for more inspiring tales from VOITED’s Solo Female Traveler Series, where every story is a step towards greater understanding and connection.

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