Interview with Alice from Teacake Travels: “I traveled to test myself.”:
Interview with Alice Teacake from Teacake Travels
The Female Travel Collective interviewed Alice Teacake from Teacake Travels
Alice Teacake from Teacake Travels is an amazing travel blogger and female advocate. She’s been embracing the female solo travel lifestyle for almost eight years and has come far with her blog about challenging yourself as a woman on the road and her different projects throughout the world for female empowerment. In this interview, we talked about what traveling means to her, the usefulness of self-defense, her favorite budget destinations, and why after eight years of traveling solo, she might be looking for a change in her life, after all.
„Travel doesn’t just have to be cocktails, bikinis and pretty Instagram pictures. It can also be about sweat, challenge and showing yourself what you’re truly capable of! “- What does this quote from your website mean to you?
“If I go hiking, I am not going to be wearing a red flowy dress.”
ALICE: I mean, the reason I originally went traveling was purely to challenge and test myself and I think a lot more women are doing this now, which is great. There are lots of opportunities when you go on holiday, you can relax, you can go to the beach, you can do these things. But for me, the reason I left the UK was to challenge myself. I didn’t want an easy road. I went into traveling full well knowing that it was going to be difficult. Because I wanted to come out the other end knowing who I was, what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I was fully capable of. That is why I personally travel. You were just talking about this whole Instagram-thing… (sighs), I think that travel is highly rewarding, but it is also very challenging, and I think that is not coming across on Instagram at all. You know, if I go hiking (laughs), I am not going to be wearing a red flowy dress, as I reach the peak in my heels. I am covered in mud, I cried a bit because I got lost, and when I do get to that peak the feeling is just monumental because, obviously, it’s a physical thing, but it’s also a mental thing to go hiking. When I get to the top, I’ve literally invested blood and tears and to get there it’s just such an amazing feeling - that’s why I do it. It’s not about 1000 likes and a pretty picture (laughs).
Literally speaking it is a challenge to go up there and change yourself into this flowy dress to take a picture. Absurd.
ALICE: I know. Obviously, it makes you question society because people want to see that. They like the idea because people want to escape. I think, you know, that is what Instagram is. It is a chance to escape and to dream; to get lost in that.
You said you want to challenge yourself all the time. Have you ever felt unsure about yourself and your lifestyle? If so, describe the situation, as you have been traveling so long.
“Things are changing. I hate to say it, but I am starting to realize that maybe I don’t want to travel so much by myself.”
ALICE: I mean, I’m human. Every day I question myself, and that is just natural because we always have the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, right? So, whatever I do, I’ve always got my angel backing me up, but there’s also the devil on my back. I think I am almost up to 8 years of traveling now and my needs and my questions about where I am going in life have naturally changed. When I first started traveling, I was so determined, and I pushed myself because I was so eager to see who I was. That is a natural thing in your twenties; I wanted to know what I could do and traveling solo… I just pushed and pushed and pushed…maybe too much. You know, I’ve been through some pretty rough stuff in the last 8 years. And there were definitely times where I pushed myself too much and I had to say to myself; 'It's OK if you need a break'. Where I am in my life right now, the truth is that I want a boyfriend, I want to get married. So, in order to get married, I am going to have to find a boyfriend and that might mean that I have to change my lifestyle a little bit. Now I know who I am and I know what I want as I kind of worked all that out in my twenties. Therefore, now I can start to share that strength, my dreams, and goals with someone else. I hate to say it, but I am starting to realize that maybe I don’t want to travel so much by myself. Maybe I want to share that experience with someone else.
That is a legitimate claim, a lot of female solo travelers form their identity through traveling solo, and it might be hard for them to admit that they actually like traveling with people...
ALICE: You know, I have been getting into a lot of women empowerment projects and working with other women to achieve that. Times are changing and I enjoy that. You know, naturally, as a businesswoman, I am starting to think, should I do tours with women? These new ideas are coming through. I want to spend more time with people now.
You said in your 8 years of traveling you faced significant difficulty, would you mind describing one situation?
“However careful and however much you know, [sexual abuse] can still happen.”
ALICE: It’s been amazing. I really want to say that. I would not want to change anything. Because, with the bad stuff that happens comes the good stuff. So, everything that has happened I don’t regret. It has made me a better and strong person. The most recent situation where I faced difficulty was in India. This guy tried to rape me. I never thought I would be in that situation. Well, ok I thought I was wise enough not to get into that situation. From that situation, I have learned that however careful you are and however much you know, it can still happen. It was a tough experience, it definitely took me a couple of months to work through it. It’s been about six months now… it happened in September.
I’m sorry you had to go through that.
“Because I learned Jiu-Jitsu, in a weird way, I am glad that the guy got me.”
ALICE: I mean, in a weird way, I am kind of glad that the guy got me. Because I learned Jiu-Jitsu and I spent three months in China studying it. When I was doing it, I did not enjoy the training, because you have big guys on you the whole time. But when I did that training, I thought to myself, ‘It’s not if I have to use it but when I have to use it’. Which is sad, but it is kind of true. And then, obviously, I came face to face with my fear as he was trying to have his way with me. I am honestly so grateful that I learned self-defense. Without that, I would not have known what to do. Knowing those skills, even though I was scared, I will say I was also empowered. I was like: I know exactly how to handle you, so, my body went into robot mode, and I said ‘Let’s do it’. I am just so grateful for that. I cannot stress enough how important it is for women to learn self-defense. It does not matter if you are on the other side of the world or in your hometown. I’m proud of myself.
Thank you so much. for sharing that. I am sure you have learned quite a big deal traveling almost 8 years. Could you pick out one or two thoughts that stuck with you a lot and that you have learned while traveling all these years?
“In terms of reaching your travel goals: it really is about your mindset and believing in yourself.”
ALICE: There’s a really good quote by Henry Ford and he says: “If you think you can or if you think you can’t: you’re right.” And I just love this quote because I’ve set out to be on the road to prove to myself what I am capable of. We talked about the devil and the angel earlier. If I want to do something, I always say to myself that it is possible and that I can do it. It’s just about your mentality. In terms of reaching your travel goals: it really is about your mindset and about believing in yourself to get there. If you have the tools and the mindset to get there, then you’re literally halfway there. Once you have the thought, you just need to move the muscles. That is what I would say.
You give a lot of advice on how to travel on a budget. Can you list three countries that you thought were the most worth it for what you paid?
Three countries were most worth it for what Alice paid for: Bangladesh, Taiwan and Thailand
ALICE: Number 1 is Bangladesh, hands down. It was the most amazing country. There is not much advice on it or anything, so I told myself, ‘I must go’. What came out of it was just brilliant. It is a beautiful country, and it taught me a lot about people who have no money but so much to give. Their hospitality and their generosity were just limitless and I am grateful for what I was given, physically and mentally. The food is amazing. Of course, you have the city, which is complete chaos. If you have ever been to Delhi, Dhaka is 10 times that. I have never been to a city that is so chaotic. You either love it or hate it. It’s just an amazing experience. As far as money goes and what you will get back from Bangladesh, it’s a winner. 100%.
The other country is Taiwan. It is also very cheap if you really want freedom and generosity it’s brilliant country to go to. I hired a moped for three months and Taiwan is obviously one of the smallest countries…ever (laughs). I only got around half of the country in three months because it was just so fascinating. If you want to see the 'easy' version of China, Taiwan will give that to you. You'll meet amazing people and experience beautiful rides if you decide to hire a bike. You can get lost in forests and eat beautiful food. It’s just a very lovely welcoming country, and it does not get enough exposure.
The last one is probably a classic: Thailand. I have been back so many times and I think that proves just how warm and welcome it is for female travelers. You have the beach in the south, but you also have the temples in the north. It is just a beautifully varied country. Thai people are unique, I love their culture and I love how kind they can also be. Those are my top 3. Definitely.
If you have had a look at our blog, you know that we approach with a feminist angle. We also aim to use that word intentionally. What does the word feminism mean to you? Would you consider yourself a feminist?
ALICE: I’m 100% a feminist. I feel like feminism has just got so messed up and it’s a shame really, as feminism is purely simple. It just means equality. And that is all that it is, it’s equality and respect and getting the same opportunities as a man. Being respected the same as a man. And I think for the western world feminism is on a more advanced level. You know, we are fighting for sexual freedom, for equal pay etc. But in other areas of the world, we must remember what feminists are fighting there too. With the projects I'm doing in India for example, the problems are this: Will your husband let you out of the house? Will your husband let you speak? Do you not have fear of being hit? Feminism has many different levels in different countries.
You said you are doing a lot in India to improve women’s rights. Can you elaborate on that?
“I am working with a wonderful woman called Simla from Hands on Journeys. She’s pushing for empowerment tourism.”
ALICE: I am working with a wonderful woman called Simla. She runs a company called Hands on Journeys. She’s very much pushing for empowerment tourism, that is what she calls it. If one wants to travel, they want to see all the different sights in India for example. You can go around the golden triangle. Yet you can also spend your time here helping others. Simla goes into local communities to find where help is genuinely needed. Then we go in (the tourists) and carry out empowerment work. It is very much about building women up and helping to build communities. You know with volunteer projects you go in and go out. Simla goes into local communities to find where help is genuinely needed. Then we go in (the tourists) and carry out empowerment work. So Simla finds their strengths and sets them up with the initial tools but from them on, they are running their own business. In India, we are helping women to run their own textile companies and cooking classes.They start bringing in a lot of money, usually way more than their husbands. It is really good. I love Simla and Hands on Journeys.
What advice would you give all women out there when it comes to the relationship between themselves and their body?
ALICE: You are born a certain way and you must learn to love and respect what has been given to you. Because it is you. And I think, whatever shape or size you are, there is always going to be someone who appreciates and loves that. It does not matter if you have small tits or big tits; a small bum or a big bum. There’s always going to be someone out there who also loves that and can respect it. I think we as women are so harsh on ourselves. Media is constantly telling us that we have to fix ourselves, to change this or lose that, or cut and tuck this in. The media is just so mean. Whether you are talking about a magazine, a newspaper, or social media. The message is not good and I think we need to be a lot kinder to ourselves. Of course, you don’t want to eat ten chocolate bars, ok? It’s not good for you. Everyone knows this. So you just need to respect and love your own body. You know, if you feel you are healthy you are on the right track and it does not matter whether you are a size 16 or a size 10, as long as you are happy, physically and emotionally. That is what counts.
What destinations are you still dreaming of?
ALICE: The truth is, even though I have been traveling for eight years, I have been very much about quality over quantity. I’ve never been to Canada. I have never been to the States. I have never been to South America and I have never been to Africa. So I have continents I haven’t even touched yet!. I am excited about possibly going to Pakistan this year. I am also very excited for Canada. I am going to Canada in May, to Quebec to the Women in Travel Summit.
Check out Alice's amazing blog on www.teacaketravels.com
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