The Art of Solo Travel: Morgan Cantrell | EcoTripSos

The Art of Solo Travel: Morgan Cantrell

One of the most popular sections of EcoTripSos is the “Interviews” section and it’s been quite a while since we did an interview for the last time. However, we think it was well-worth waiting, since we have something really special at hand today.

In the following lines you’ll get to know Morgan Cantrell, a “full-of-life” American girl who simply cannot be stopped when she wants to travel, which she does, for long long years. A lover of “Arctic Monkeys” and a hater of horror films, Morgan has done so much in her life along with studying in Scotland, working in Ireland, wandering across the States and traveling Europe!

This is the point where we stop, since reading about Morgan from her very own words is the best option right now!

Travel Morgan Travel in St Andrews, Scotland

Hey Morgan! Great to have you on EcoTripSos! Well, I know quite a bit about you by now, but can you introduce yourself to our readers who have deprived themselves of you so far? 

Sure! I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic and travel addict. Nothing makes me happier than chocolate and a plane flight. I grew up in Georgia about forty-five minutes from Atlanta and received a degree in history from Auburn University in Alabama. Yes, I am a Southern American with an accent, that says, “y’all,” and eats way too much fried food. I also love American Football. Like, I may be obsessed with it. My dad had two daughters, and when my little sister was born, he had to make the decision to brainwash one of us into football loving nuts. He chose me.

He probably couldn’t have foreseen such an adventure-loving offspring! 🙂 As far as I know, you started traveling at quite an early age. How old were you exactly when you did your first international trip? And where did the idea come from and where did you go? 

I did! My family began taking road trips across America when my dad was a kid. When I was born, he continued the tradition. I’m 23 years old and I’ve visited 26 of the 50 States. My mom and dad shouldn’t have been surprised that I asked them to send me to Europe. Probably what surprised them the most was that I asked to go when I was 12!

One of the teachers at the Junior High School I attended took kids to Europe every Spring Break on an EF tour. I remember begging my parents to let me go and telling them, “I may never get the chance to go again!” Eventually they caved and allowed me to go to Europe. At the age of 13, I took a cruise on the Rhine River in Germany, climbed the steps in the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, ate waffles in Belgium, watched the Eiffel Tower twinkle at night in Paris, and roamed the winding streets of London. It was a dream come true. Upon my return to the States, I told my parents, “I want a cheeseburger, and when can I go back?” It took a while, but I eventually did get back to Europe.

That is “some” travelling you’re talking about! How often do you go traveling since then? Which countries have you seen so far?

I did a lot of stateside travel between the first time I was in Europe and present day. My family and I took a few more of our road trips to places like Washington DC, Detroit, Michigan, from Seattle, Washington to San Francisco, California, and I drove by myself to Texas from our home state of Georgia. We tried to do a big trip at least every other year and see regional things as often as possible.

I have been back to Europe twice since that first time ten years ago. The first was in 2012 when I studied abroad in Scotland and the second was in 2013 when I moved to Ireland for a Working Holiday Authorization. In total, (including all of the road trips and trips to Europe), I have visited 26 American States and 15 countries on 3 continents. Much of my international travel took place during my Working Holiday in Ireland.

Travel Morgan Travel in Moher, Ireland

And it occurs to me that you won’t stop any time soon! 🙂 You had a long working holiday in Ireland, yeah? What made you fly there and how was the experience? What did you do there?

So what made me choose the Working Holiday in Ireland? Well, the honest answer is that I was going through a difficult time at home and needed a change. I was incredibly unhappy in my career and the relationship I was in, and I just needed out. The world was calling me. I wasn’t ready to settle down where I was in my life. I wanted to travel. I wanted to marvel at the world. I wanted to dip my whole self, not just my toes, into another culture. It wasn’t pretty when I told my parents that I wanted to leave, but eventually they came around and supported my decision.

Doing the Working Holiday in Ireland was the best decision I ever made.

I showed up in Ireland with no place to live, no job, and no friends. I had a hostel reservation for one week and the determination of a mule. Haha! I just kind of showed up in Ireland and had to figure it out. Within 10 days I had an apartment with four strangers from non-English speaking countries, and I had a job by the end of the first month. Ireland was an adventure, but it was (so far) the best adventure of my life. I made some lifelong friends, got lost in Dublin, tried new foods, and had the time of my life.

Dublin was the perfect location to take off into European travel. During my year in Ireland, I traveled to Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Israel, England, France, and Monaco. Talk about fueling my addiction to travel!

You also studied abroad, in Scotland, if I’m not wrong. What did you study there, and why Scotland?

I did study abroad in Scotland! I was at the University of Stirling in Stirling, Travel Morgan Travel in Donegal, Ireland Scotland the summer of 2012. I’m quite a nerd when it comes to history. I furthered my history degree in Scotland. It was great to learn Scottish history from Scottish people. American universities are fantastic and a great place to learn about the world’s past; however, a lot of the information is presented from the American point of view. While I was in Scotland, I learned their history from them. The nationalism that radiated from the professors was inspiring.

While I was in Scotland I traveled to Ireland and Switzerland. It was that trip to Ireland that led me to choose it as my home one year later.

Wow, I didn’t know the nationalistic air in history departments was an international  fact! To the typical EcoTripSos questions now, the ones that people ask the most! How do you deal with accommodation while traveling? What kind of alternatives do you choose?

Accommodation while on the road is a big question for all travelers, from beginners to experts alike! I’m a big supporter of hostels. I remember my first hostel experience in the Scottish Highlands. I was very unsure of the idea of boys and girls sleeping in the same room together, (being from the Southern States, I’m rather conservative) but once I got in there and gave it a shot, I loved it. Almost everywhere I go I will stay in hostels.

Unfortunately I had a really poor experience of couch surfing in Oslo, Norway. I don’t think I will be giving that a second chance. I know many people have very positive experiences while couch surfing, but mine was incredibly negative. I’ll only do it if I am with a large group.

Of course staying with people I know is always an option. That’s one of the privileges of living and traveling the world. You make friends in the coolest of places and always have a place to stay.

My advice for anyone looking to travel cheaply would be to go the hostel route. It’s fairly safe and a great way to meet people from all over the place who are into the same things you are. Just book early. There’s nothing worse than making a last minute decision and there is no room for you to stay.

Travel Morgan Travel in Tromso, Norway

Too bad your first Couchsurfing experience was an uncomfortable one… I am surprised to hear that really, since I have never had a single negativity with it. And transport? How do you like going from point A to point B? Do you ever hitch-hike? 

Flying, buses, trains in that order is my favorite modes of transportation.

Flying is of course the fastest way to get somewhere far away. I flew from London to Tel Aviv in four hours, and it was worth every penny. There’s something fantastic about being above the earth looking down at the changing shapes. I like to wonder what the people are doing down there. What kind of lives do they live? What’s important to them? Maybe I’m a bit of a romantic, but I love to think about things like that and the view from an airplane is a great place to ponder.

Buses and trains are great for local and shorter travel. They’re quick and efficient. Booking them can be a little bit more difficult than a plane ride, but that’s ok. I had to learn the hard way to check and double check timetables though. I’ve been left many a time.

I haven’t tried hitchhiking. I would love to someday! Maybe not by myself, but if I had a friend with me, I would love to try it. They say that Ireland is one of the safest/best places to hitchhike. I may need to make the trip back to my second home just for that experience!

In the right country, I believe, hitch-hiking can save you a lot of time&money! 🙂 How do you deal with your expenses while traveling? Say you’re going to travel in Europe for 30 days. How much would you need typically? 

Money while on the road is always a tricky one. I like to make enough money before I go on a trip that will allow me to splurge from time to time. I don’t purchase stuff; I purchase experiences. I would much rather spend money on experiences that I will never forget rather than buy souvenirs. But that’s just me.

Europe can be extremely expensive, especially when traveling though the capital cities. My recommendation is to have a few thousand in the bank. It really depends though on what type of traveler you are. Some people like luxury travel. They are more willing (and more capable) of forking out lots of money to enjoy the luxury of Europe. I on the other hand am rather poor and must conserve every penny. I watch what I buy and buy food to cook rather than eat along the way.

Travel Morgan Travel in Malin Head, Donegal, Ireland

And here comes the best part for us, poor full-time workers! You have an outstanding blog where one could find a lot of useful info on traveling or simply being abroad. When did you start blogging? What was the motive? 

Thank you!! 😀 I began blogging more or less on a whim. I had a few bloggers that I followed around the world and loved their stuff. I got to thinking that I could do that and gave it a shot. Little did I know how well it would pay off! I never in my wildest dreams though that I would have as many followers as I do or get the responses on my posts. My readers are fantastic and they are the reason I continue to blog.

I began blogging at Travel Morgan Travel ( February 1 and haven’t stopped. I’m a very honest writer and don’t hold too much back from my readers. I believe that by opening myself up to my readers, they can see that I am just like them. I’m vulnerable, emotional, dramatic, and yearning to make an impact on the world. I’m not any different from them. I just so happen to have a blog and be an extremely open person. That’s why I think my blog has become so successful.

Now I write on all kinds of topics. I’m hone for a little while between adventures, and while I have some time to kill, I’m exploring other areas of writing. I’ve written some advertisements, comedy, travel stories, as well as how-to pieces. I try to keep a variety of posts on the blog in efforts to keep a wide range of readers.

So we’re coming to the end of our interview. Most people hesitate to travel because of all the questions that I’ve already asked you. What would be your most useful advice to them?

Travel Morgan Travel in St Andrews, ScotlandThe other night I was having dinner at my aunt and uncles. I was telling them about my plans to go abroad for another year. My aunt looked at me with wide concerned eyes and asked, “Are you not afraid to go there?” I responded with, “I can’t be afraid, or else I would never go.”

Travel is terrifying. If you aren’t terrified to get on a plane with only a couple of suitcases to relocate your entire life or just a backpack to live out of for months, then you’re lying to yourself. It is the most terrifying thing I have ever done, but I can’t be afraid.

I believe there is a difference in afraid and terrifying. Afraid is something you come up with in your head. Afraid of the dark, scared of spiders, worried about this or that. Those are things that can be overcome. Terrified is something much bigger. It’s the long dark hallway with no light at the end. It’s the not knowing the outcome. It’s hopping on a plane with only a few belongings to restart your life in a world where you know no one and don’t speak the language. Terrified is a challenge, and I love challenges.

Don’t be afraid to travel. Things happen. Do be terrified of the unknown outcome of the adventure, but rise to the challenge. Travel may be the most exhilarating thing humans can do. Do it.

Morgan, thanks a lot for your sincere and informative answers! Without you this interview would never be so much fun! We really expect to cooperate more often with you! 

Thank y’all so much for taking the time to speak with me! I’ve greatly enjoyed this interview and look forward to watching your website grow!

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