Girls Who Travel’s Meet and Greet series is BACK and we are kicking this re-launch off with a meet and greet with Girls Who Travel’s founder, fearless leader, and inspiration to us all: Arden Joy!
GWT: What’s your favorite way to travel?
GWT: Hostels, hotels, or homestays?
GWT: Are you a planner or do you go with the flow when you travel?
GWT: Would you rather explore landmarks or local favorites?
Arden: Local favorites
Sound-Bite Style Summaries
GWT: Tell us about the thing you do that you’re most proud of. Why are you proud of it? What about it is inspiring to you?
Arden: My two babies – my son and Girls Who Travel! Sounds cheesy but they are both such a big part of my life and have grown to be more amazing that I even dream possible.
GWT: What is your favorite travel tip, piece of advice, hack?
Arden: Have a go-to small, inexpensive local gift that you can bring stacks of when you go traveling and then hand it out everywhere you go! Flight attendants, servers, your tour guide, hostel roommates, someone who gives you directions. It’s an easy way to make friends, show gratitude, give back, and share a little bit from your world.
GWT: What is your travel style? How would you describe it?
Arden: I like to travel with “planned spontaneity.” I want to know where I’m going and that I’ll have a place to sleep and maybe a few things booked in advance that I know I don’t want to miss. After that, I like to wake up each day and see where the day takes me and what I’m inspired to do. Ideally with a travel buddy who enjoys traveling the same way!
Let’s get into the details
GWT: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from travel that you’d like to pass on?
Arden: Not to be overly dramatic but – travel changed my life! It’s so easy to forget that our understanding of the world is shaped by our own little “worlds” – everything from the language we speak to the traditions we participate in to the art we’re taught to value to the manners we practice. Exploring places where all those things – and many other things – are completely different from what I thought I knew to be right, or true, or correct, or beautiful, or polite, was the absolute best gift I could receive.
It taught me to always remain open to things that are new and different. It taught me that the world is SO much bigger and more amazing than my little brain can even comprehend and that I need to be listening and learning, not judging and expecting. To be honest, I’m addicted to that feeling now. I love going somewhere and feeling so completely out of my element that I can’t help but know that I have lots and lots and LOTS to learn.
GWT: Have you ever met anyone interesting or made a new friend while traveling?
Arden: I love love love meeting new people while traveling. Perhaps my most cherished story, though, is during a visit to Quebec City. My traveling BFF (shout out to Debbie!) were staying in a cute hostel in the city center. We ended up making friends with our roommates, two gals from Japan, and even met up with them again in Montreal. Years later, I was heading to Japan to teach English so I reached out to them to see if we could meet up at some point. Turns out one of the women was living just 30 minutes from where I would be living! We connected once I arrived and we became fast friends very quickly (there may have been an incident with a little too much alcohol that landed me in the ER which really sealed the deal for our eternal friendship buuut that’s a story for another day). Before I left Japan to go back home, I helped introduce her to an acquaintance of mine – a gentleman I thought she might like to get to know. Turns out she DID like getting to know him and they ended up getting married!!! Now she lives in the US and we try to see each other at least once a year. You just never know who you’re going to meet or how they will change your life.
GWT: What do you credit most to your success?
Arden: Willingness. Willingness to fail, to try again, to try something new, to learn, to listen, to be wrong, to rest but then keep going, to be uncomfortable, to be embarrassed, to be proud, to fight back, to accept what is, to see that maybe success doesn’t look like what you thought it would.
Thanks for sharing, Arden! We love you and all that you do for us here at GWT. Join Arden and over 80,000 other women in our Girls Who Travel Facebook Community! You can also find Arden on Instagram and writing here on the GWT blog.
Girls Who Travel is an education and empowerment community dedicated to helping women explore beyond their boundaries. We welcome all people who identify as non-masculine/non-male to connect, educate and inspire each other with their stories, fears, knowledge, questions, and ideas. Because together we make each other strong. We hope you will join us and see the world.