How to Combine Work With an Active Lifestyle and Three Months of Travel Every Year

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

My name is Janice Leith Waugh. Leith is a family name that goes back five generations and is currently being used in the next two generations as well. I say this because I have an interest in history and it comes from first being interested in family history. Over time this has extended into world history. History and travel, especially social history and travel, are tightly connected. I’m Canadian, I live in Canada and travel about three months of the year in total.

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

How and why did you get into traveling?

When I was about 10 years old, my mother told me about cycling and going from hostel to hostel in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. This struck me as the most exciting thing possible. When I was 14, I learned of a trip cycling from hostel to hostel in North Wales and southern England. I saved every cent and went. That was the beginning. When my mom turned 80, we went on a family trip to Cuba and I realized that it was the first time I traveled with my family since I was 14.

I am not super sporty but I am very aware that my fitness level affects how I travel and what I can do on my travels. Since I am a writer which dictates a sedentary work style, I have a practice of being active at least six days a week. This means either the gym, walking along Lake Ontario which is near my home or swimming. Fitness and strength are important to me. Otherwise, trip planning is a complicated process. The destination is first. In the past year, my travels have also been focused as much as possible on learning French. This has taken me to Quebec and France. In January, I expect to go to Morrocoo. Essentially, my destinations are chosen by current interests.

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

How do you finance your travels?

As a travel writer, some of my travel is sponsored. I also travel at my own expense a number of times each year. To do so, I am frugal. I like hostels. I don’t go after fancy restaurants. I find free things to do. I write about budget travel quite a bit.

Why is traveling important for you?

Travel is important so that we better understand the world and our place in it. Solo travel is important to know ourselves. It also makes us interesting to our partners, family and friends.

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

How do you bring your things with you?

I have a carryon suitcase and a carryon backpack. I choose which is right for the trip and go. If I can’t make everything fit in a carryon and a handbag then I am packing too much. Something has to go.

I’ve had a Swissgear suitcase for years however I think there are many good brands on the market. I have a Vaude backpack made for women.

Very often women especially choose too large a backpack thinking that they need everything with them for every circumstance. Carryon is a perfect size. Leave things behind and buy new as the climate changes.

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

How do you organize things in your bags?

Anything that I don’t want to get crushed I lie across the bottom of the suitcase and let it flow over the sides. All other large items are rolled and added to the centre. Then what’s hanging over the sides is layed over the rolled items. Socks, scarves, underwear, belts are tucked along the borders of the case. Liquides are placed in a clear plastic bag and put at the top of my case so that it’s really easy to take it out at security. I have my packing list here: Bare Minimum Packing: Here’s Your Packing List.

Waterproof is important. If you’ve ever seen your carryon sit at the top of a luggage cart on the tarmac in a downpour, you’d know why. The same goes for a backpack. Having a rain cover is essential.

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

How do your bags and gear hold up?

I love my bags. No issue whatsoever. However, when I replace the carryon I will go for something lighter if it’s as sturdy.

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

It’s not gear but I would invest in quickdry underwear. Underwear can take up too much room in a carryon so quickdry makes it easy to have fresh clothes all the time.

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

My high capacity powerbank is really important to me. I’ve been given some that only top up my phone while my powerbank gives a complete charge and more. The one I have is no longer being made but if I were to replace it (I don’t like throwing things out just because there’s something new available) I would replace it with one that has multiple ports for powering multiple devices at one time.

What is your best advice for other travelers?

If you’re having trouble moving from dream to reality, talk to people about your plans. Not your dream. Your plans. The more you do the more the plan will become real, the more details you’ll fill in and the more responsible you’ll feel for living it.

Solo Traveler Janice Leith Waugh

What will the future bring?

There are many more places to go. Next year, the Balkins, Morocco, and Japan are high on my list.

Visit Janice Leith Waugh on her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


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