Beth Whitman, author of a best-selling travel guide for women, started her global travels with a three-month stint in Thailand, India, and Nepal. She is the brains behind the much loved female-oriented travel blog, Wanderlust and Lipstick. She has a passion for adventure trips, philanthropy, and volunteer work. This Seattle resident has been travelling the world for more than 20 years and has now started to lead women-only and co-ed trips through her company, WanderTours, to many fascinating destinations. Beth Whitman also runs a non-profit organisation called the WanderWorld Foundation that provides support to women and children's organizations where she leads tours.

We interviewed her recently and this is what she had to say!

How would you define your travelling style? Do you plan your travels a lot or do you prefer to be spontaneous?

I actually like to mix my travels up. I like to be both active by running and hiking but I also love my downtime when I can just sit poolside.

Logistically, I usually book a hotel at the beginning and end of a trip but then I like to be flexible in between. You never know who you'll meet on the road, someone who can provide some great tips for where to go and what to do.

You usually travel alone. What is the single best thing about travelling solo?

I do really enjoy traveling on my own. I like it because it gives me the ability to have my own schedule. I'm usually a really early riser, so I'm up and out of bed and exploring (or going for a run) before the sun even comes up. I don't know many people who are up and out of bed earlier than I am!

You completed 220-miles Snowman Trek in Bhutan in 25 days. How challenging was this trekking adventure and how did you prepare for it?

Oh my gosh. It might have been the most challenging thing I've ever done. Yes, the altitude was difficult. But what was more difficult was getting up, day after day, knowing that I had eight to 13 miles to cover. I'm really slow at altitude so that made it even harder.

Bhutan trek

You recently participated in the Honolulu Marathon and are planning to participate in a marathon in Tokyo in the month of February. How do you manage your marathon training along with the travel?

Oh, I LOVE running when I'm traveling. It gives me the chance to see a city in a completely different perspective. Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in my runs if I'm on a tour but I've managed to do so pretty well. The only place I can't run is in Papua New Guinea. And that's because it's not a safe place for a woman to be wandering on her own. So there I have to try to find a treadmill or do some other sort of workout in my room.

Why did you choose Thailand, India and Nepal as the destinations for your first trip outside the USA?

I had a boyfriend who wanted to go to India and I was just tagging along. I don't know that he's left the country since then and look at me! Ironic.

In your blog "For Women Traveling to India" you observe that "India poses few problems for women travellers". How was your experience in India?

India is really challenging for all travelers. It's full-on everything - sights, sounds, colors, smells, people. But it's also completely fascinating. I've had really great experiences in India. I find the people to be warm and generous and the food! The food is so good.


You have spent a lot of time in Australia. What are the top tips and advice you would offer to women travelling solo to the country?

Oh, Australia is such an easy place to travel for women (really, for anyone). They speak English and the Aussies are so laid back. It's a beautiful country, too. Really the best advice I could offer a woman traveler is just to go, spend time in the outback (like near Uluru) and soak up the amazing culture. There is such a rich culture with the aboriginals.

You bio says you have had a hand grenade pulled on you in Cambodia! What in the world happened there?

Oh, that's a long story. But the short version is that I was traveling overland in 1992. It was a time when there were four factions all trying to take over the government and no one knew who was in control. I was traveling by pickup truck and our vehicle was stopped by armed men. They saw me (the only Westerner on the truck) and wanted my money. I played dumb and just kept saying, "No understand."

The driver of our vehicle just took off and as he did, the man who was asking for my money pulled out a hand grenade. He never did pull the pin, thank goodness. Even though I was sitting down, I felt like my legs were dropping out from underneath me.

You have been to Vietnam eight times. That's a lot. How do you approach a holiday in a country you have visited so many times? Do you consciously try to make it unique each time?

I do like to change things up a bit. But it's also really comforting knowing that I have friends there after so many visits. Going to Vietnam for me is like going home. It's a really strange feeling but one I love.


The year 2016 is here. What are your travel plans for the year

Well, as you mentioned, I'll be doing the Tokyo Marathon in late February. I'm then leading a few of our culinary WanderTours - to New Orleans, Santa Fe and Seattle. Then Papua New Guinea in August and the Snowman Trek (again) in September. These are just trips I know of. There are always more travels that crop up. Check back with me in December!

This interview with Beth Whitman is a part of Travel Trolley's ongoing 'Best of the Travel Bloggers' series. We are interviewing and showcasing popular travel bloggers who encourage and inspire people to travel. Check out all the bloggers we have interviewed and showcased and learn about their interesting experiences, adventures, travel stories as well as useful holiday tips.


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