Open Letter to travel girls and dreamers everywhere:Mount Bromo, Indonesia

This open letter goes out to the girls who ‘always wished they could’. It goes out to the crush worthy women who are well traveled, versed in marketing and social media, girls who have the potential to inspire others. But more importantly, it goes out to the girls who have never left their hometown. The women who look at the world as something beyond their reach, who took a leap at the chance to join hands with others who are already in pursuit. To follow their hearts into amazing journeys across the planet.

Bagan, Myanmar -- Karina Noriega

Bagan, Myanmar — Karina Noriega

You ladies took the first step already. You took a risk. You put yourselves out there. You probably haven’t stopped thinking about the possibilities since then. Whether traveling around the world has been a lifelong endeavour or a recent inspiration, I want to encourage you to follow through.

Travel will teach you more about the world and about yourself than any book, any show, any school or any one person ever could. I’m talking about lessons beyond the history, culture or state of a particular place. I can speak to my own transformation as a girl who learned to believe that I could do ANYTHING!

My first solo backpacker adventure down the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico -- Karina Noriega

My first solo backpacker adventure down the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico — Karina Noriega

So don’t just be the girl who watches the world go by. Get out and become a woman who challenges possibility.

Be the girl who leads.

Start small. Dream big.

Go for a weekend. It doesn’t have to be far. Push just beyond your boundary.


We may be more comfortable surrounded by what we know, but that safety bubble blinds us. It keeps us from growing.

Be approachable.

Jump for joy @ Parque Central, Antigua, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Jump for joy @ Parque Central, Antigua, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Locals are your key to any new place. Use local resources.

Stay in a hostel.

Connect with other travellers. Make new friends. Make new excuses to finally go to …. wherever.

Make your own decisions.

This is your chance to discover who you really are through the choices that you make.

Carve your own path.

Be flexible.

Be spontaneous.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia -- Karina Noriega

Angkor Wat in the Rain, Cambodia — Karina Noriega

Change your mind. Miss your bus. Go to the show.


Live in the present. I find the longer I’ve been away, the more everything back home just stays the same. Don’t worry, you can always catch up.


I got chased down dirt paths by a schoolroom full of little boys and girl while riding a scooter through the remote NPA of Northern Laos.

I got chased down dirt paths by a schoolroom full of little boys and girl while riding a scooter through the remote NPA of Northern Laos.

Don’t just check off highlights. Leave the tour. Make your own way. Discover!

Say yes!

Be curious.

Follow the sounds of music. Cross the bridge. Join the crowd.

Wakeup in a world without expectations, responsibilities or demands. It will the first time in your life when you can truly, freely answer the question: “What do I want?” Your only obligation today is to follow what drives you.

Follow your instinct. Trust yourself.

Use alternative means to travel.

Hitchhike, learn about rideshare programs. Do a home stay. Study abroad. Try house-sitting. Use forums. Couchsurf.

Creating thank you cards with the kids - Karina Noriega

Creating thank you cards with the kids at the Casa Guatemala orphanage – Karina Noriega

Be a positive impact traveler.

Give back. Volunteer. Work exchange for a skill you’ve always wanted to learn.

Please don’t be the girl who just bar crawls from city to city. It gives all girls, specially Westerners, a bad reputation. We are already living in a world of gender inequality. Respect yourself before you demand others to show you respect.

Use all your senses.

Pay attention to the details. Pretend you are writing a story. Let the aromas become memories.

Problem solve.

Tattoed-face tribe, Myanmar -- Karina Noriega

Visiting the Tattoed-face tribe, Myanmar — Karina Noriega

There is no greater lesson in self sufficiency than navigating your own way around the unknown, specially when problems arise. Depending on your own knowledge to come up with a solution is the single most powerful boost of confidence you will ever experience.

Use your talents. Be creative.

Perfect the art of peeing in a hole without ever putting down your backpack. I’m serious!

Don’t be afraid to get lost.

I promise that when you stumble and fall, you will learn far more about what you are made of and what you can achieve. Draw strength from inside.

Temple top panorama over Vietnam -- Karina Noriega

One thousand or so stairs later you reach mountain top temple overlooking the Vietnamese coastline — Karina Noriega

I don’t just want to encourage you. I want to support you. If you have questions, doubts, or ideas, I want to help you. And when you follow through, I want to hear about your experience. Share your story so that more girls can be inspired. Lead a generation of women who are strong, independent, confident, and stand up for others. Inspire courage.

~ A Wise Tale By Karina ~

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