Women Who Wander: Adrienne Fors
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where have you been and where are you headed?
Hello! Right now, I'm a 24-year-old digital nomad, I'm still getting used to describing myself that way. I recently quit my corporate job, moved out of my apartment, and sold pretty much everything I own to pursue a location-independent lifestyle with my husband. We just got married in October in Mexico City. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and later, Salt Lake City, Utah. I was always very career-oriented and driven. I worked part-time during high school, college, and jumped right into the professional world after graduating from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in December 2014.
A few years into my career, I still had that itch to travel, so I shifted my priorities and made travel the #1. How did we decide to switch to a location-independent lifestyle? First, I’m lucky to share my passion for travel with Sven. We have each dreamed of traveling the world and working as entrepreneurs, but it was always something we thought we would do when we have enough money or when we’re in the “right place” in our careers. Well, news flash to everybody, no “right time” for anything is going to suddenly reveal itself. You have to create your own “right time.” We started saving up and made a plan to leave when the lease on our apartment ended. We’ve been planning whatever we can, but also remembering that we’ll figure out a lot along the way.
In addition to traveling the world, I love drinking wine, eating healthy food (sweet potatoes), running, reading, spinning (my new fav workout), relaxing on long-haul flights, listening to music on my noise-canceling headphones, making spreadsheets, and working on my travel blog.
Tell me how you began traveling. What fears? What major challenges? How did you overcome?
I've been traveling since I was a baby; travel has always been important to my mom, so I credit her with giving me the wanderlust gene. My family took cruises frequently while I was growing up, and for many years, my dream job was a cruise director. I loved the idea of giving other people the same joy I found while traveling, which is what led me to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. Since travel has been a part of my life since the beginning, I haven't really had to overcome any fears, but I have had to prioritize my finances to allow for travel.
Talk a little about why you think travel is important or what travel has sparked in you.
Travel is the best way to learn about the world and other people. There's only so much you can learn in school or by watching documentaries or reading books. When you're literally living and breathing another place, eating local food, taking public transit, wandering around foreign streets, and getting to know people who live there, that's where you learn the most. It's also humbling to be an outsider, a minority, out of your comfort zone, and you grow as an individual in those situations. For me, it has also been wonderful to share travel experiences with Sven. We’ve made so many great memories together and learned how to still have fun during stressful situations.
What type of travel do you do? Describe your travel style.
Lately, I travel with my best friend, who happens to be my husband. We're what I would call "moderate budget travelers" - a step up from backpacking, but still economical. We'll pay a little more for our own, private Airbnb in a good location than a hostel would cost, and I'm always looking for free or cheap things to do in the destination. I love history, food, and being active, so the perfect day for me would be a long walk in the morning, a deliciously authentic lunch, visiting a historical site in the afternoon, and drinking whatever drink the destination is known for at night.
What advice would they give millennial WOC who want to travel more?
It's cliche - just do it. My motto is "you only regret what you don't do," and with that mentality, if you want to do something or an opportunity arises, take it. Otherwise, you may spend your life wishing you had jumped at that chance. And don't be afraid to do it solo! There are so many inspiring solo women travelers who are having amazing adventures on their own. And if you want to travel more? Shift to a more frugal lifestyle. For the price of that new handbag or a dinner at an expensive restaurant, you could have a month-long Airbnb in Southeast Asia or a dozen dinners in Mexico. It's easier to save money with a clear travel goal in mind.
In your perspective what are some pros and cons of travel?
Well, there are definitely more pros than cons. As they say, travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer, and you learn so much about yourself and the world around you by visiting other places. The only con I can think of is that sometimes it can be uncomfortable to be in a place where cultural norms are so much different than your own. As a woman, you may experience cultures where women are treated much differently than in the US, and it can be hard to stomach that. I remind myself that as a traveler, my job is not to change the way things are in other places. I try to be an observer and take things as objectively as possible, even if I don't agree with it.
Tell us a little about what is to come.
What's to come? I wish I knew! But that's exactly what I'm trying not to do - have expectations. I'm naturally a compulsive planner, so I'm trying to loosen up and embrace spontaneity in this new lifestyle. I know I'm going to have incredible experiences and learn and grow so much, but I don't know what that will look like in a week, a month, or a year from now. I'm excited to meet interesting people on the road and share what I've learned with you on my blog, Adri En Route.
In the end, how do you want your story depicted? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
Wow, Sven and I just wrote our wills before we left the US, so this one hits home. Haha. I want to be known as someone who chased her dreams and lived life to the fullest. And if I can inspire others to travel and achieve their own dreams, then I've done something right.
Just for Kicks:
- Favorite place you've been?
Australia. The country is gorgeous, the people are so friendly, and the food is underrated but delicious.
- Place you're most dying to get to?
Oman. It's an oasis in the Middle East both literally (gorgeous coastlines) and politically (it's very peaceful). And I love history, so I want to learn more about the ancient civilizations who lived in the area.
- Airbnb or hotel?
Airbnb. I love living like a local and having amenities like a kitchen and laundry. Right now, the Airbnb we're staying at in Tokyo has a toilet with a heated seat. Probably my favorite Airbnb amenity so far.