The last few days have been so busy I should’ve share this earlier, but here it goes!
Leska is one of those people that when you read her words you can’t help but loose yourself in her magical depths. She is so inspiring and a true lotus, words can’t really describe her to be honest. Sorry for the vagueness, but I really wish for you to see it for yourself through the writing she’s put so much love and thought into sharing it with us.
The reason why I decided to interview her is 1. because I have fallen in love with the way she sees and chooses to live life and 2.because she is doing what many girls dream of but feel like they can’t. Leska is on a Solo journey around the world. Doesn’t that sound so liberating? Below she shares with us tips, advice and her personal experience and thoughts of traveling and more specifically solo traveling. We love you Leska! Thank you for bringing us sunshine with your words.
As these words sprout from my smiling heart, the sun rises over the hills of the highlands, painting the morning sky with the richest golden nectar of all and he kisses my cheeks with prophecies of a new adventure.
I have been awaiting him – the sun.
My connection to nature and the sun in particular, has been an ineffably deep and powerful one for as long as I can remember.
That’s why I am ‘Sunshiner’ – the wanderer, the artist, the storyteller, adventurer, healing healer, student of the world, child of pachamama, sister of the trees and ocean, citizen of the universe, yet most of all – soul.
But people usually call me Valeska and, if you’d like to, you shall as well
These people I mentioned, they are my family beyond borders and from all over the planet, since I started wandering the roads of the world.
That was more than 1 year ago.
Though it feels like I’ve mastered to create eternity in one moment and it might as well have been 10 years, if the calendar didn’t tell me otherwise.
Currently I still call the road my home.
And of course all the couches, beds, gardens, floors, patios, boats and garages, where people offer me to stay for a night – as well as all the benches, bridges, forests, jungles and beaches I can find.
I haven’t stayed in a single hotel, hostel or airbnb ever since I started this journey.
(Yes, that really is possible!)
All I own fits into a backpack smaller than the one I once owned for school
I move with the wind and in whatever direction my soul’s compass is pointing in.
Two months ago, when I was in bolivia I decided to live and travel without money from now on. So I’m on my way to becoming an expert on travelling low/no budget.
People help me and I help people along the way and wherever I go, I know I have to be there in that exact moment.
The universe proved this to be true over and over again.
I’m never to be seen wearing shoes and I believe with every sliver of my soul
~ that everything you can ever imagine is possible and exists.
~ that the universe always has my and your back and you can unconditionally trust it and yourself.
~ that love will always enlighten fear.
When I started writing about my adventures, I wanted to share the magic, the miracles, the goodness and unparalleled beauty of this world, how I experienced it. I just had to express my sheer fascination with all the synchronicities and cosmic cairns, that the universe had scattered across my path and my gratitude for everyone I’ve met and everything I’ve learned.
And that hasn’t changed one bit.
That still is the reason I write.
To tell my story of miracles, so you may look at the world with different eyes and recognize the magic, that is all around you everyday.
Since I recently shared my whole life story, the topic of butterflying yourself from childhood trauma and PTSD is very close to my heart as well and I would be the happiest little ray of sunshine, if taking you along with me on my own butterfly journey could help you find the strength to keep on going on yours.
When you started your travels, did you plan out your trip and destinations? Did you do any pre-planning before you left on this journey, or what were the steps you took to prepare for this adventure?
That’s a great story! No, I actually did none of that and still don’t. When I left my home country I had sold or donated almost all of my belongings, cancelled my flat and was ready to go and follow the path, that I had planned for months in advance. Yet just a few days before I was supposed to start this new chapter of my life, I was informed, that things had changed and I couldn’t do what I had planned out anymore. I was surprisingly calm and accepted my situation very quickly. There was something inside of me, that always knew, that this path was never mine. The universe had in closing one door opened a giant stargate for me simultaneously.
I noticed the magnificent opportunity I had been handed. I could go ANYWHERE in this world. Nothing was tying me to this place anymore. I looked at the world map, chose a small island in the caribbean, that I never in my life had heard of before and booked my one-way tickets the same evening. I was on the plane to paradise two days later. Without any plan, anywhere to stay or even knowing what language they’d be speaking.
Traveling is a dream to so many people but most of the times it remains a dream, how did you manage to overcome any fears and insecurities that come with traveling?
I like to say, that travelling in and of itself has never been my goal, but more so the consequence of the way I choose to live and love in this world When I boarded that first plane, you can’t imagine how incredibly scared I was. Yet I knew with the certainty of the sun rising in the morning, that I, too will rise after the dark of night. That this gateway was the most precious gift and the chance I had been unconsciously manifesting for myself for years. Because my soul knew, that this is what I needed to grow and blossom. And it knew, that I deserved to.
Everything in my life was telling me ‘Go!’. Too many roadsigns saying ‘This is the way home’ to overlook them.
It will take this one step of bravery down the foggy path and all fog will clear, revealing the most magical places and divine souls for you to explore.
To embrace uncertainty, the unknown and uncharted is to invite endless possibilities to enter your reality. Wander off the safe and well-trodden trail and you’ll find there are no limits as to where you can go and where you can’t. Everything is possible.
I feel like often times and especially when travelling on your own, a lot of fear arises concerning other people. You’ll have to open up conversations, ask for help, might be scared, that you’ll always be alone (you won’t) or that someone might not have your best interest in mind. You know, all the ‘mights’ and ‘what ifs’.
I had to cultivate love for myself, so I could not only understand and care for myself appropriately, but to offer understanding and love for every human on this earth. If you can look at a person and see them as an extension of yourself, love and understand them the way you wish to be understood you’ll notice how every fear of them will fade away. They’re not that scary anymore. They are just like you.
It is about trusting yourself and your intuition so much, being so connnected to your inner compass, that you can trust yourself in every form you (the universe) express yourself in.
Everything will fall into place, because you know, that it will. Just be open to what exactly that place looks like.
That is one of the most empowering feelings in this world. To unconditionally trust your journey and accept every turn and twist your path may take. Whatever happens, it is all part of the plan, that you yourself created. Knowing, that all of this is happening FOR you, not TO you, will allow you to grow and become the beautiful, mighty sunflower, that you were always meant to be.
How has solo traveling benefited you?
It allowed me to discover not only parts of myself, that I would’ve never thought existed but to discover this world and its people in a whole different way.
I had always been the shy girl and massively awkward and scared in any social situation. I remember so many occasions, where I chose making my life more difficult and painful over asking for help. Not being able to hide in a group of people for so long and meeting so many wonderful and supportive souls, that appreciated me the way I was, I now would say one of my biggest talents and even passions is to connect to others, have great conversations and create friendships. I’ve just gotten so curious to find out what amazing spirit might be waiting for me even behind the most grim of faces.
What knowledge and what lesson they could teach me. There are teachers everywhere!
With only me taking care of myself and making sure I my needs are met everyday, I got to know my self so much better and intimately. You’ll figure out what YOU can do for yourself to make you feel safe or content or satisfied
And that will teach you a lot about yourself.
In the hard and the very hard times, you’ll learn just how strong you can be and, that you’re capable of doing and overcoming anything. To finally know, how powerful you are, what you’d be able to do without having to depend on anyone else and that you’re always enough (but to allow help anyways, because you are worthy of it and this is an interconnected universe).
Solo travelling really can be a first-rate training in keeping a cool head even in crisis situations and approaching all kinds of obstacles solution-oriented.
You’ll feel humbled and empowered all at the same time. And very, very proud.
Oh and the ‘discovering the world in a different way’ – part is just about as great!
You’ll be way more approachable, if you travel on your own and might be more open to approach others. You can soak in the beauty of a place without distraction and stay as long as you’d like in one place. If someone invites you over for dinner, you can say yes immediately and go for it.
Pro Tip: Try spending time with locals! You’ll get a more authentic feel of a country’s soul and heartbeat. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Chances are they’re just as interested in hearing about your country as you are in getting to know theirs.
When you ask them you’ll also get the best inside infos on beautiful places, when to see them and great local food.
You’re free to experience the place however you prefer it.
I, for my part, have fallen in love with every single country I’ve been to.
Experiencing the many unique plant and animal kingdoms and seeing how we’re loosing pieces of them every day, has made me more determined in what I want to do for this world and getting a glimpse of the diverse yet so smiliar lives, dreams and worries of people, their humor and kindness, I have also fallen in love with humanity again. Being able to restore this love for humanity was priceless for me and I’m certain, having so much time and space to ponder and process my experiences the way I needed to, without being influenced by someone else’s perspective has played its role in it.
As a girl, do you find solo traveling to come with more challenges, how do you overcome them?
Traveling by yourself in general comes with challenges for everyone and they’re a part of it, that is greatly outweighed by all the benefits. (Though I’d say the benefits include the challenges.)
From my experience maybe the biggest challenge for female solo travellers especially is to not give a damn, if anyone else thinks you can or should embark on this journey.
The way our society views females (and males) is so deeply ingrained in some people’s minds, that many will automatically tell you how dangerous and reckless your project is. That the world isn’t a safe place for a women all by herself. Some countries more so than others, even, if they themselves have never been there. You’ll be robbed, you’ll be kidnapped or experience sexual assault – if you’ve ever had a conversation about this, you probably know the deal. You’re basically a walking target for everything, right? No, wrong! If you use common sense, don’t do what you wouldn’t do in your own country, prepare and plan things the way you feel safe and confident and are sensible and appropriately aware of your surroundings, you’ll be fine!
To not let their fear become yours and overshadow what your inner compass is telling you, to not let their fear interfere with what you dream of doing – that’s where you need to take that one step of bravery and believe in yourself unconditionally. Because you’re a woman and that means you’re so, so powerful.
Book that ticket.
Friends and family at home won’t be the only ones telling you to rather wait for an opportunity to come around, where someone can come with you.
Everywhere people ask me, where my companion or boyfriend or group of friends are and they’re baffled, when you tell them you’re travelling on your own. (Please, don’t tell anyone though, when you don’t feel safe around them. Common sense, you know.)
But how I see it, these people are like beautiful, fertile soil and simply still hold a lot of potential to receive the seeds you’re planting and grow
And you can help them with that by showing them that jungles grow at the edge of the horizon. Let them take a look through the glasses, through which you view the world.
When your decision has been made with fierce determination and you have a soul’s calling to back it up – nothing and no one can deter you from following what’s calling you.
No matter what people told me, I always wanted to see for myself. And where people had promised me only black and white, I have always found colour.
Do you have any tips from your experiences of staying on a budget or traveling with little money?
When travelling there are three categories, you’ll spend most of your money on and that you can’t travel without: accommodation, food and transport.
The most budget friendly ways to have a place to stay for the night are couchsurfing and camping.
That’s what I have done myself for the past year and months.
You could sign up on the couchsurfing website – I’ve heard it is great, but I’ve never used it personally. I absolutely love to be able to get involved in the locals’ culture, beliefs and ways of living.
I’ve met all kinds of people and got to know each and every one in their own different and special way.
Wild camping is another great and free option in countries, where it’s legal. (But I admit, I’ve done that one in every country regardless of its laws.. oh well.) To me there’s no place more beautiful and blissfull to wake up in than in the loving embrace of nature. I’ll choose the jungle and beaches over comfy beds every day.
In most places you can safe some cash on food by not eating out and buying food, that’s prepared for you. Instead head out to the supermarket or farmer’s market and cook for yourself. Pro Tip: If you go for a raw vegan/preferably fruitarian diet you won’t really need a kitchen and your food will be ready to eat at any time and in any place.
But there are way more options to eat for free and over time I’ve discovered many ways, that work perfectly for me. (However I know, they’re not for everyone and not possible for everyone.)
An option for both of the above are websites like WWOF and Workaway. They basically do the same thing, that I do, but over the internet.
You can always offer to perform works and services for someone in exchange for food, accommodation, money – these websites link you to people all over the world, who’d love to take part in such exchanges. I’ve worked in many different ways for people I’ve met, sometimes for longer periods, sometimes it only took a few minutes.
I simply would call what I do mutual symbiotic help, because to me it has rarely been anything else but people, that met and just wanted to help each other and noticed they could.
For transport the most budget friendly and, may I say, fun and enthralling way to get from A to B is hitchhiking. (I love, when there are dogs in the car and I can pet them the whole time.)
That paired with walking long distances by foot and occaisionally freight train hopping is how I managed most of the transport on my journey.
What are tips you’d give to other girls who want to travel alone but are not sure how to or feel afraid?
You don’t have to do a world trip straight away – start small. Go out for dinner on your own, explore another city in your own country by yourself for a few days, travel to your bordering country and see how that goes. Maybe go travelling with someone else and try splitting up at some point. Once you’re in the country you want to travel, most of your fears will fade and you’re excited for what’s to come. Ease yourself into it.
Search for where that fear is coming from, what it is your afraid of and then think about what steps you could take right now and while your travelling to conquer that fear and feel more confident.
Book transferes, hotel rooms, a guide and inform yourself on common threats and mistakes tourists make in that country, if it makes you feel more prepared for your journey and capable to tackle it.
But don’t wait for a time, where you’ll feel 100% prepared and ready to go – there is no such thing. I’m still nervous, when travelling to a different country, that I’ve never been to before and I know, most solo travellers are as well.
You will be nervous and question what you’re doing and why you’re doing this and that’s completely fine. You’ll hear all the voices, that aren’t yours in your head telling you you shouldn’t go and you might want to believe them in that moment.
You need to go anyway.
And I promise it’ll be one of the best decisions you can make and an incredibly brave one, you’ll forever be proud of and grateful for.
Has intuition played a role in your travels? How?
How do you pick your destinations and what usually draws you to them?
I’d like to answer these two questions as one as they go hand in hand for me.
Intuition has been ever-present on my journey.
It has been the voice, calling me to step on that first plane.
It was by my intuition’s guidance, that I wandered around the globe and experienced all these places and lessons. And it is the reason I still am wandering on.
None of the places I went to, I had chosen by mind, all of them were chosen by soul and heart. And divine plan.
It’s absolutely fascinating to me how the universe will always come up with new ways to show me where I need to go and what I need to do. It tends to be a little secretive at times, but everything has made crystal clear sense in the end.
Since I’ve started to follow the signs and synchronicities, began to listen to my inner compass without doubting it, every day can be the most unpredictable but endlessly inspiring adventure. I’ve stepped on planes and flew to countries simply because I was worried to let someone I’ve just met at the airport fly by themselves. I’ve crossed borders by car and foot simply because the person giving me a ride was. I’ve met people, that I’ve seen in my dreams and people, that’ve seen me in theirs. Numbers have been my streetlights and signposts. There are signs EVERYWHERE and they’ve always led me right to where I needed to be. Both, for myself and others.
I’d like to say nothing can surprise or impress me anymore, considering the unbelievable miracles and (not-) coincidences I’ve discovered on my way, but it’s the exact opposite way.
The universe never ceases to amaze me in its beautiful ways and with each day I am more in awe.
When I wake up in the morning I don’t know where I’ll end up that day, if I might even leave this country – I just choose a road and start walking.
If you could give any advice for a girl who is ready to embark on her own personal journey what would it be?
Around the time I started my journey, I began asking myself before every decision I made “What would someone, who loved themselves do?”, “What would you tell someone, that you love in that situation?”.
So much happiness, joy and growth has come into my life from that way of thinking and it has become a habit by now.
You might find, that that eternally loved girl would know, that it deserves to experience the magic in this world and fall madly in love with it and herself while doing so. And that she would absolutely go for it.
And in my humble opinion: you should do exactly that.
Links, Websites, Videos:
If you’d like to read more about my journey and the little stories I write, you can do that on my instagram account:
My blog, where you’ll find my life story: https://wearesunshiners.wordpr
Thank you for listening to this heart’s passionate chatter of mine and may your day be drenched in sunshine.
Your wildflower sister and ever-loving friend.