Tactical Traveler: S1:E4 | Many Roads Traveled with Tamara Bee

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In this episode of The Tactical Traveler, host John shares Tamara Bee’s journey to Africa, spanning 76 countries over 30 years. Tamara shares her journey from Paris to Cape Town in 1993, fueled by curiosity and adventure. The conversation focuses on the challenges of traveling in the pre-digital era, including visa issues and bureaucratic obstacles. Tamara shares her experiences in Europe and the Middle East, navigating through bureaucratic mazes and enduring extreme heat. She shares her backpacking trip through Africa, covering 30,000 miles, and the hospitality she encountered.

Tamara also shares her experiences with exotic meats, such as antelope, zebra, crocodile, and wild boar. She shares her motivation for starting her podcast and blog to inspire and empower solo female travelers. She encourages listeners to embrace the liberating experience of travel to step out of their comfort zones and explore the world with an open mind and adventurous spirit.

Highlights:

{1:35} The Genesis of Adventure

{06:00} Navigating the Unknown

{15:00} Extreme Heat Experiences

{25:30} Unique Food Experiences

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Tamara Bee Bio:

Tamara Bee is a seasoned solo traveler with an insatiable thirst for adventure. With over 30 years of experience exploring 76 countries across the globe, Tamara has embarked on epic road trips that defy conventional boundaries.

In 1993, before the age of the internet, cell phones, and Google Maps, Tamara set out on her first backpacking journey from Paris to Cape Town—an awe-inspiring 48,000-kilometer (or 30,000-mile) odyssey via public transport. This daring expedition marked the beginning of her lifelong passion for travel.

Inspired by her remarkable experiences, Tamara launched her travel podcast and blog, Many Roads Travelled, inviting listeners to join her on captivating journeys through different series, each focusing on a distinct road trip adventure. Through her engaging storytelling, Tamara vividly portrays what it’s like to travel solo as a woman in diverse corners of the world.

From traversing Central America just before the COVID-19 lockdown to exploring Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, India, Canada, and the USA in future series, Tamara’s podcast offers a virtual escape for wanderlust-filled souls craving global exploration from the comfort of their homes.

Tamara’s podcast is available on various music apps, including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more, and on her website, Many Roads Travelled. Additionally, she welcomes opportunities to share her travel insights as a guest on other podcasts. Those interested can connect with her via the contact page on her website or download her press kit for more information.

Beyond her travel escapades, Tamara’s adventurous spirit has led her to remarkable encounters, from hanging out with gorillas and chimps in Africa to scaling Mount Kilimanjaro. She has also demonstrated compassion by setting up her acupuncture clinic to treat locals in India and immersing herself in the culture of a remote headhunters’ village in Borneo.

Join Tamara Bee on her exhilarating journeys as she invites you to embrace the spirit of exploration and discovery, inspiring travelers worldwide to embark on their transformative adventures.

Links:

https://manyroadstraveled.com

Sponsored Links:

https://therootbrands.com/product/zero-in

https://newulife.com/hk/en 

https://trufinco.com 

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John

Hey, everybody. Welcome to the tactical traveler. I am so excited today that I will be interviewing Tamara Bee. She has been traveling the world solo for the last 30 years. She’s been to 76 countries. She uses mostly public transport and hitchhiking. She’s had some—epic and amazing trips. 

As I was just talking with her before we started recording, I’m most interested in hearing about her first trip to Africa, Tamara. Welcome to the show. Thank you for coming on. How are you doing today?

Tamara

Well, thanks so much for having me, John. I am OK. I am slightly frustrated in Ontario, Canada, with our third lockdown. But besides that, I’ll get it.

John

Yeah, these lockdowns are cramping my travel style for sure.

Tamara

No doubt I know, I know. I’m so glad I got to. I went to Central America for a month. I got back on March 4th. So, two weeks before our first lockdown. So, I’m so happy I got that trip in, at least.

John

Yeah, right. So, I want to start with this and then lead it into your trip to Africa. Why? I mean, so many things are intriguing about your story and the things you’ve done. But why? Why are you doing this? What’s the reason for you doing all these crazy adventures by yourself?

Tamara

Well, I guess it is. Why the hell not?

John

Good answer. I like that one.

Tamara

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean the first trip. So, remember, this is back in 1993 as well. So, I did this 3000-mile overland trip without modern tech, Internet, cell phones, ATMs, etc. You know what I mean? It’s travelers’ checks, and there are no Google Maps or anything like that. So. It was, you know, you’re on your own. And I just kind of winged the whole trip. And it was my first backpacking trip as well. However, it wasn’t my idea at all.

So, it was in the summer of ‘92. I was saving up money. I was working two different jobs, and my plan was, I mean, I didn’t know if it existed or not, but I was going to make it up. If it didn’t, I was going to go to the. Caribbean and yacht Hitch or yacht hop? Right. So that was my plan, very civilized. And then, in one of the bars where I was working, I was a bartender, a friend of mine from high school, who I hadn’t seen for four or five years. He came in and said, “Hey, Tim, how are you doing? What are you up to? I was like, I’m taking another year out of university and, you know, told my plan about going to the Caribbean hitch. And he’s like, oh, I’m doing that. 

Well, I’m taking another year out too, but I want to go from Paris to Cape Town by land, you know, or water so completely over land. I was like, well, that sounds wild. And he’s like, well, I think you should come with me.

 I went  – well. I think you might be wrong. No way. 

And he’s like, look, let’s just meet up for lunch and catch up, and, you know, in a week or so, I’m like, OK, so I do that. 

And then, of course, he’s really on me. He’s like, really, you should come. It would be best if you came and. Like, hey, see, I don’t want to go. I don’t want to do that. And he’s like, listen; I’ve got this book, Lonely Planet Africa, on a shoestring. And it was like that 3-inch thing. I think it was the only guidebook out for Africa at the time. He’s like, just borrow this, read it, and then get back to me in a few weeks. And I was just to shut him up. I took it. 

Well, of course, I’m reading through it. I’m like, wow, that sounds amazing. Wow. That sounds interesting. So about two weeks later, I called him back and. I’m like. OK. So, when are you planning on leaving for this trip? He’s like, well, December. I said, ” OK, I would have enough money until January. 

So, January ‘93, you know, if you want to wait for me, I’ll come, and he’s like, of course I’ll wait for you. And that was it. I ended up leaving six weeks later. We flew to so Wellington on two flights. My flight was from Toronto to Paris, and then my flight 16 months later, I flew from Nairobi to England.

So, the six-month trip I planned to go to the Caribbean turned into this crazy 30,000-mile trip from Paris to Cape Town, and then I hitched back to Nairobi by myself. Then, I flew to England and ended up living in England for just over 20 years. So yeah, that six-month trip turned into 22 years. 

And then Casey’s, like we parted ways after five months. He was like, this is too hard. I will go to England, live there for a year, and then return and finish. From Nairobi, he quit on me, which is fine. I was ready to split, like, to go our ways anyway. But he was like, you know, then I’ll spend a year in England, then I’ll fly back to Nairobi and go, you know, continue to Cape Town. So, it still counts as doing it. I’m like, I was like, are you crazy? No, it does it.

John

So, he quit.

Tamara

It took me a year to get by land from Paris to Cape Town. But you cannot say you did it because you had a year’s break, so I think that’s fair.

John

Right.

Tamara

Enough to be honest, right? Yeah.

John

So, tell me a little about the journey from Paris to Cape Town—some notable experiences or stops and so on. And so, you know, you started accidentally like it wasn’t planned.

Tamara

Yeah, yeah.

John

You know, but you continued. You didn’t stop after that. So, tell me a little bit about that as well.

Tamara

Yeah, sure. So, you know, thinking like he’s been planning this trip for, you know, a year or so, he thought that he would have, like, Europe kind of sorted like. You know he only had the guidebook for Africa. And remember, you know, before the Internet, you could just Google stuff and look things up, right? 

So, you’re so we didn’t know how we would get to Africa. And he had no guidebook for Europe. So, we had to walk around like our first morning in Paris. We walked around for four hours to try and find a cheap place to stay in January in the cold with our, you know, backpacks, my pack. I had a sleeping bag, a cooking stove, clothes for the cold, and clothes for the heat. 

So, the backpack weighed about, you know. 3040 lbs. Yeah, 40 lbs probably. Not light! And then, so we kind of went through Europe. So we went through France, Italy, and Greece, and then we couldn’t figure out how to get to Africa because it was winter. So, a lot of the ferries were not we’re running basically. 

So, we go to a few Greek islands and then to Turkey. And we thought, OK, well. We can go, you know, from Turkey. We should be able to get, you know, to Africa. Well, again, I had to. I also visited a travel agent to look at a world map. Figure out where the hell we were.

John

All right.

Tamara

We’re going to get across. So, I’m like, we, well, we could maybe go through Lebanon. Through Israel into Egypt. But then again, I knew that I didn’t want to have Israeli stamps on my passport because I was going to Sudan, which was Islam fundamentalist, and you can’t. Well, most Muslim countries. Even back then, you couldn’t have an Israeli stamp. 

So, I was like, I don’t, you know, I don’t know if I should do that, but anyway, so I called the Lebanese Embassy.

John

Right.

Tamara

And I was like, hi, we’re two Canadians. I was just wondering if we can come through Lebanon and if we need a visa. He’s like, Madam, there is a war going on. It’s like, oh, so that’s a no, he’s like, yes, I’m like, OK, well, sorry about your war. The next country was over, so my next country was Syria.

John

Oh my God.

Tamara

Yeah. So, I followed the Syrian embassy. I’m like, hey, two days, want to come to Syria? Is that possible? They’re like, oh, yes, of course. So, I was like, OK, do I need a visa before I come, or can I get one at the border? Oh yeah, you get one at the border, no problem. And then he closed it. But have a lovely picnic in Syria. It’s like, OK, awesome.

So, we get to go right along the Turkish coast, which is beautiful, by the way. And you know it’s, you know, days to get there, right? And we finally get to the Syrian border, and you know, by two different pickup trucks and the back of pickup trucks and really bad roads and everything gets to the Syrian border. Where’s your visa? Oh, well, I just spoke to a guy at the Syrian embassy. He said I can get one here. No, it’s not possible. You have to go to Ankara, Ankara, Turkey. Which is north Turkey. 12 hours away. I was like, Oh my God, yeah. 

And this was us. I forgot we also went to Cyprus before this to get from. We thought we could get the ferry from Cyprus to Alexandria in Egypt. So, we did that, but because we went, we’re on the Turkish side of Cyprus where we went, the ferries weren’t running from that side. They’re only running from the Greek side. 

So, as we crossed over to the Greek side of Cyprus, they’re like, no, not possible. You have a Turkish stamp. We’re not letting you. And that’s the only way the ferry. So, we had to go back to Turkey. So, I’ve got that little bit before. So, it’s just like, oh. Wait, are we ever going to get to Africa? Yeah.

So, we had to do this 12-hour ridiculously long bus journey to Ankara. Of course, we got there Friday night. Embassies are closed all weekend. Yeah. I so had to wait the weekend out. Monday, we finally got our visa and then got back on that bus for another 12 hours to the border, and we got in. 

So that was, yeah, that was great. And now, looking back, obviously, I wish I would have spent more time in Syria because we’re only there for a couple of days in Damascus, which was such a beautiful, amazing city. And the nicest people. 

And what’s happened to it over the last ten years is so sad. You know, so many countries have been destroyed. Yeah. It’s heartbreaking because there are just the nicest people. I’ve been to many Middle Eastern countries: my own and I…The hospitality I’ve received is just ridiculous. There are such generous, kind people. Amazing. I’ve been invited into many homes, had sorry meals, and even slept in their homes.

John

Right.

Tamara

Without even sometimes being able to speak the same language, you know, so just great people. Yeah. So, yeah, finally going to Jordan, and then, yeah, from Jordan, we went into Sinai, Egypt, and finally got into Africa. So that was amazing.

John

They are. People don’t realize how much travel has changed since the early 90s, when you and I were a little older. So yeah, we understand that now, with cell phones, smartphones, and the Internet, there’s instant access.

Tamara

About three months. Oh God, yeah.

John

Information: I was at 17,000 feet on Mount Kilimanjaro and in Africa, and my cell phone rang. You know. My first international trip was similar to the experience you’re discussing, where you get conflicting information. It isn’t easy to piece together, especially when you go to third-world countries, and to be able to piece all that together. And then to get to Africa is amazing. How long did that take you from departure from Canada to step into Africa?

Tamara

I think it’s about three months. Yeah. Two. Yeah, I think it’s running at 2 1/2. Yeah, 2 1/2 months.

John

So, what drove you?

Tamara

Well, just to get to Bloody Africa.

John

Right. But I mean, when it didn’t work out the way you thought?

Tamara

It was frustrating because, like I said, the Cypress thing first happened. That costs money. We’re on a tight budget, right? Because I was on such a long trip.

John

Yeah, the frustration.

Tamara

So ideally, I mean, I knew you, we knew Europe would be more expensive. So you know, I plan for that, but all these, like, you know, going to Cyprus back and forth, it was at the time there’s like 25 U.S. dollars, just departure tax plus ferry cost plus you know what I mean? 

So, it added up, and then that same thing returned to Ankara. You know that was. That took that wasted, what, 12 hours each way bus journey and then a weekend. So, you know, four days just for nonsense. Because I listened to a guy in an embassy who you’d think would know what it was. The next frustrating thing was that we had to wait for our Sudanese visa. 

So, we applied in Cairo. And they like it. I met other travelers who didn’t even get it. You know what I mean?

So, it wasn’t a sure thing to get your seniors. Visa up and. They would just go, oh, we’ll come back next week. Well, I won’t hang out in Cairo for weeks on end. I love Cairo, and I was there during Ramadan, so it was pretty cool because I met a nice local guy. You invited me to. Like they have their breakfast at 6:00 PM. And yeah, he invited me to eat breakfast with his family outside their shop. 

So, what would happen is if all the stores were closed, the shutters would come down, then roll mats on the sidewalk, and all the food would come out. And you just sit on the mat. Sidewalk and share food. It was awesome. 

So, because I had to keep going back to Cairo, I’d go to see Oasis, which is amazing. And then I go down to Luxor, and then I’d have to return to Cairo. So, I think I went to Cairo about four times waiting for this Sudanese visa, which took about three weeks. But once we got that, that was cool.

So, I kind of fall. I managed to follow the Nile down to the cartoon where it, you know, diverges. The Blue Nile comes from Ethiopia and the White Nile from Uganda. I go to both Blue Nile Falls and Murchison Falls. The White Nile falls in Uganda, so yeah, kind and not, and then now it is the longest river in the world, too. 

So, besides the South, the South Sudan, because again, they were at war, which I don’t know if there’s still a war. Right. The war between North and South Sudan went on for a long time, so you couldn’t go any further South than Khartoum at the time, which is fine because three weeks over three weeks since it had was enough for me. 

John

Right.

Tamara

Yeah, I think that’s the hottest I’ve ever been. It was like the hottest day was 49 Celsius. No. Sorry. 50, No, No, 59 Celsius. Sorry.

John

  1. 59 Celsius. What is that? That’s a.

Tamara

It is the Fahrenheit.

John

Yeah. So, hold on, let me look, what is that very night?

Tamara

Maybe about like 140. Nothing. What you.

John

138 Oh my God.

Tamara

There you go. Yeah, in regards. It was like living in a sauna in cartoons.

John

Right. I was just in Death Valley in August of last year, and it was 124. So, this is, you know, 14° more than that, and it, as you breathe, felt like.

Tamara

OK.

John

You know, burning your lungs.

Tamara

Yeah. Yeah. And our hotel room didn’t even have a fan, let alone AC. So, this is how I’d have to try to get sleep if I had some silk box of shorts and, like, a tank top. And there were showers down the hallway, which weren’t that clean.

John

Right.

Tamara

Other cockroaches would be sitting around between your feet when you’re in the shower. Lovely. And I and I would just wear my clothes like I wear. And you know, those little travel towels, I soak that. So, I’d lie to bed fully wet with the travel towel over my face, try to rush to fall asleep, and then wake up three hours later, bone dry, and repeat. I would do those three or four times a night—so much fun. So.

John

I was in. I was in a country. Another third-world country, and they had an electricity outlet in the shower.

Tamara

That’s sensible.

John

Like, OK, how bad do I stink? How badly do I need to bathe versus taking my chances? With that, you know.

Tamara

In India, they are masters of stealing electricity from the main wires, like the homes—all the time. So yeah, in India, you’ll have wires hanging through the.

John

Shower. Right? God crazy.

Tamara

It’s a lot like I’ve spent 3 1/2 years in India. I live there. Yeah, I traveled on and off for 3 1/2 years.

John

How nice.

Tamara

So I know India quite well, and yeah, that happens all the time, and it’s scary. Yeah. You don’t shower nearly as much when you’re on the road, so when you.

John

Right.

Tamara

Do it at home. Especially back then, like in Africa. Like you, you got. The bucket showers. And you’re lucky if you got it. If it was warm or hot water, a lot of the time, it’s cold water, and all that means is that you just get a bucket of water with a little cup. And sent to an empty shower room, but without the shower head. Yeah, that was that was it.

John

I’ve told people you know my time in the military, and learning how to do wet wipe showers has become very useful as I’ve been to some crazy places.

Tamara

World, you know.

John

But they, I think, and probably Canada, are similar to the United States; they simply do not. Comprehend how fortunate we are. They, you know, running water, clean bathrooms. Most Americans and Canadians would not worry about showering with cockroaches or going through their feet.

I know Canada, and most of America doesn’t have to worry about 138° without AC. Having that kind of experience creates an appreciation for everything we have. Yeah, I mean, man, 138° without air conditioning. How did? Yeah.

Tamara

I don’t think a fan would do anything. It would be more like a hair dryer, but.

John

Right, all that would do is, you know, circulate, burning hot air.

Tamara

It made the hot air. Yeah, I mean that that did include humidity. So, it wasn’t a dry heat. It was a humid heat. Right. So that was with humidity. It was 59. It gets hot in the summer in Canada, Ontario, where I’m from the week. I mean, we. We hit 40 plus quite often, so, oh yeah, I like it. It’s very humid in Ontario as well. 

So, oh yeah, we get it’s hot here. It’s wild. We can go from this summer. And if we hit -40 this summer, but we hit probably -30 Celsius this winter, and then, 5-6 months later, we can be plus. 40. It’s wild. That’s why Canadians are a Hardy bunch. I think.

John

Yeah, I mean 144°, which is what that is. It is in Fahrenheit. It that, you know, that’s what it is here in Tennessee; they’re getting the hundreds with, you know, damn near 100% humidity. Yeah, so. You know it. It could get pretty muggy.

Tamara

Oh, it’s. Yeah. And you’re just, and you know, then you get dehydrated quickly, too, right, because you’re sweating so much.

John

Right.

Tamara

And we don’t have a good water supply like, you know. And that’s one thing when I’ve traveled throughout, but especially after because that was my first ever backpacking trip. Like, talk about, you know, jumping into the deep to this day, it was. It’s my hardest, my longest, but probably most rewarding trip I’ve ever done. So, in a way, I’m glad I did do that first because every trip since, and I’ve done some, you know, hard trips or long trips, but nothing compares to the African trip in, in how hard it was.

John

Yeah. So, let me revisit that for just a second. So, you had all these difficulties, you know that guy bailed on you, not a ton of information just because of the time you were in. So, what kept you traveling when you dealt with those complexities and frustrations? I mean, how many miles did you say you did again?

Tamara

So, I think I worked. It’s around, yeah, 30,000 miles. But that just include that doesn’t include the two flights I did. And then also, that doesn’t include, you know, all the miles I covered when I was in a place walking my Kilimanjaro. You. Now that was like. I think I probably walked 90. Because I went six days, so the next day, I think it was something like 85 kilometers, like the six-day hike for killing, which you.

John

Yeah, yeah.

Tamara

Know, right? Yeah. So yeah, it was about 30,000 miles from a place like from, you know, place to place kind of thing. What kept me going well, and this is funny, is when we. We were in, you know, when I was in Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, those two months. We met maybe six other travelers. That’s it for two months now. You think about you think right now when you go to say. Thailand or Mexico? How many other tourist travelers do you meet? Thousands. We made six in two months. 

So, because I went off the beaten path per se, you know a lot in Africa. Yeah, I would go for a few weeks, if not months, without meeting many other travelers, and it was quite funny because, especially when I was, I was on my own. Own that. I would meet people.

So, you meet people. Where? Wherever, right and you, you start talking to them, and you don’t say your name right away. And then people go, oh, you know, then we say, oh, by the way, what’s your name? And I’d say, oh, it’s Tamara. I don’t know how often this happened to me, but everyone would go, Oh my God, you’re. The crazy Canadian chick we’ve heard about?

John

Oh wow.

Tamara

I guess I got quite a reputation because not many people did what I did, like came from Europe. I went to South Africa and decided to hitch back up to Nairobi. So, I only met a few guys who did it, but they had their vehicles, and they were guys. I didn’t mean another girl that had done it. So, it was always meant as a compliment. You know what I mean? I think anyway.

John

Right, right.

Tamara

Yeah, it was. The reason why I kept going was that I had a mission. You know, my mission was to get to Cape Town, and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, you know? And there’s a couple of times. Well, it’s one time we were in North Sudan. I’m like, just crossed into Egypt. We had a nightmare about this train, and oh, my God. And he said, well, I think we should just fly from here to Nairobi. I’m like. Casey, this is your trip to go by land. We are not flying. Stick it out, and it was one of the worst trains. Finally, when the train came, it was one of the worst train lines in my life and by far the longest. I think it was. Fifty-six hours or something train with no wind, like no windowpanes, through the desert. So, you were so filthy. And then, the water tanks ran out of water after about 12 hours. So, they would, yeah, they would stop.

John

Oh my God.

Tamara

They make other little stops, and then all these little kids run out with little time. You know, the little, you know, when you bring a bucket and spade to the beach like, you know, our kids there, they run with these little buckets of water that they just dipped into. The Nile is not the cleanest water.

John

Right.

Tamara

And you just have to buy it for one penny or two cents or so like that. But like this water from them. And luckily, I had. My uncle thankfully gave me this cool. Remember back in 93. But this really little cup-in-a-cup water filter, which cleaned like everything it, killed every. 

So, it would take time because you’d have to pour one bit into the other cup and then into my water bottle. But it saved my life a million times for sure. So, but yeah, so that was fun. That was a fun train ride. But yeah, I finally did it. And I’m just stubborn, and I wanted to get to Cape Town, you know.

John

Right, right.

Tamara

That’s where I keep going.

John

Right, that’s cool. That’s cool. So, 76 countries. I’m going to double this up. What would you say is the most interesting food you’ve ever eaten? And then, what’s your favorite food?

Tamara

Oh my gosh, there are so many choices, and I also stopped eating red meat when I was 19. So, before I started traveling. I had to make some exceptions along the way. Well, I don’t know about the most. Well, there’s a restaurant in Nairobi called Carl. Floors, and it’s kind of like a buffet. Well, yeah, you pay the price in as. Much as you want, right? But this is unique because you’d sit at your table. You’d help yourself with all the salads and things like that, right? And sides. But the meat.

John

Right.

Tamara

The servers come around with these metal stakes like spears, pretty much with roasts on them with the machete. And there are 40 different roasts added per day, right? And then you just say, they go one slice or two, and they just slice the meat onto your plate with their machete, and all the different roast rotates. So, I was like, well, I got to try these things because, you know, even though I don’t eat red meat, I will never try them again.

John

Right.

Tamara

So yeah, I tried several different antelope zebras. Crocodile was my favorite. That was good cause it just tasted like salty chicken. And while bore. What else? I don’t know. There are lots of them. As I said, there are many different types.

John

So, Nairobi became one of the places I want to go to now. That alone is worth the entire podcast. And you and I have been talking for a little.

Tamara

Carnivores. Yeah, if. It’s still there.

John

But you know.

Tamara

Yeah, yeah.

John

And I’m like, oh, my God, I want to. Go to this place.

Tamara

And it was huge. It was this huge complex. They had a restaurant, so it’s called Carnivores. Like I said, I’m not sure if. Still there and then, but part of the complex was like this nightclub, too, which was hilarious. 

So, we know which kind of us are almost vegetarian three times that they even have a vegetarian menu, which is funny. But yeah, it was. It was like it was a very. It is an interesting place. And I think another interesting dish I’ve well-tried was in Jordan. My taxi driver invited me to his house to have dinner with his family. 

So I went, you know, and I’m playing with the kids and the mum’s cooking and everything. And then she comes out with this massive platter. And it’s a goat’s head like the fur, and the eyeball is still there, right? And the scalp has been cut off, so the brains are there. Right? And that’s and the brains kind of cooked with some rice, herbs, and stuff, but it’s still in the head. And that was like.

John

Right. Right.

Tamara

You know, plus a bunch of other sides and everything. And within Muslim homes, the guest always eats first. Like they wait for you to eat the first bite, and then they start eating.

John

Right.

Tamara

I was just like, OMG. Like this goat is staring at me, I take a teaspoon and dig in. And I was like, OK, that’s delicious, but I’m just going to have the rest. But thank you so much. They go to all this effort, but Casey likes it. He had a few bites, so.

John

That’s so funny. Yeah. And a lot of people don’t get that. But one of the ways is, I don’t want to say popular, but it’s common for them to honor their guests with hospitality because they usually cook their best meal. You Oh yeah. You know. And it can be unkind if you choose not to eat it.

Tamara

Yeah, you. It isn’t very kind, so I had to try the same thing in Africa. Like, I get invited to all these, like literally mud huts. And, you know, I know that they are only. Have this one meal like a one pot of it’s like a common name. It’s kind of like a porridge. But it’s made from maize, and I know this will last the whole family for the whole day, right? 

And yet they invite you into their homes and give you like a big bowl of it. And it’s so hard because I was 23 then. This was all completely new to me. And, you know, most of the time I can’t communicate right, can speak—the same language. 

So usually what I would do is play with the kids, which is always fun, and then and then when they give me this bowl of, I can’t remember the bloody name of it. Right? But it’s like it’s like a maize porridge. Which is not very nice, by the way, either to taste wise, but of course, I’ve got to eat it, but then it’s like, well, I don’t want to eat all of it because what I do is I eat a little bit and then give the rest of the kids. But I’m trying to be as polite as possible because I’m full. You know what I mean? You know, after a few bites, but. Yeah, it was a tricky one, but then I know also that they are kind of. A lot of other villages are envious because they had the, you know, zoos or frenzies or what, you know, in their Hut. 

So, it’s kind of like a trade-off, I guess. I don’t know. It’s hard to get used to that, especially at a young age. But yeah, you cannot refuse. You just have to try it, at least.

John

Yep, yeah, it’s always been interesting. And sometimes you get amazing food that just.

Tamara

Oh yeah.

John

Mind-blowing, and then other times you’re like, Oh my God, I hope I can. Keep my stomach.

Tamara

Yeah, like in Turkey, I got this Turkish guy, and I went fishing with his dad from 5:00 in the morning, and he was amazing. He caught so many fish I caught, I don’t know, ten or something. And then we went back to the house, and, you know, the mom cooked it all up, and it was amazing. You know, fish, you know, this is a feast. And I eat chicken and fish. Call it my fins and feathers diet. 

And so, eat the fish. And then the dad, who didn’t speak any English. He kept pointing. And Nick, his son, who was who was my friend coming, he said. Oh. You’re missing the delicacy, like the best bit of the fish. I was like, what’s that? 

So, his dad picks up the fish head and sucks the eyeballs out and eats the eyeballs. And they’re like, that’s the delicacy I was. I was just like, no. I was like, thank you, but for taking me fishing. You can have all my fish heads. You can. Have all the eyeballs. So, you can’t go to work. You and, you know, laugh about and have a sense of humor. You can kind of work your hand at it sometimes.

John

Sure, sure. So, when we talked the last time, and I just wanted to get a familiar call with you, you expressed a purpose in doing what you’re doing now. And I’m going to put your links and stuff up and make sure everybody has access to all of the different, you know, social media channels. But tell me a little bit about that as we kind of wrap up here about your mission and your name and why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Tamara

  1. Yeah. So, and I think it was August last year, you know, during lockdown COVID all that stuff, and no one could travel. I was like, well, you know what? I’m going to start my podcast. And then the blog kind of came along afterward. 

But the podcast because, for years and years, my friends have been telling me, like Tam, you have to write a book or probably ten books. And I’m like, yeah, yeah, I know. And I just thought, well, I love telling stories and even, you know, traveling now, you know.

John

Right.

Tamara

Most travelers I met on my last trip to Central America were people in their 20s. Like I was when I started. And when we’d sit down and start, you know, talking and, you know, I’d share, I’d share a travel story or two. They would just be amazed because I did this all without modern tech, flying, and reservations, and it kind of just blows people in their 20s away. How did you possibly do that without Google Maps? Like what?

John

Right.

Tamara

So, I was like, OK, and it was good for me because it was. Almost like I started the podcast after that trip, so I used it kind of as collecting data and ideas, and if it would work, you know, and everyone you know said that I spoke to about the podcast was just like, oh, my gosh, yeah, that sounds awesome. I’m going to, you know, listen in, and that’s the reason why I wanted to do it a little bit differently. So basically, I take it. I do it in series; I’m still in the first series, this African trip. So, every episode is about a different destination, so I take you with me. Trip, and 

then, in each episode, I give you up-to-date tips, in case you know. So, if you want to go to that place now, you know these tips will help you. So, it kind of combines entertaining with a little bit of education and, you know, the tips and stuff like that. And so far, my listeners, all my reviews have been great. They are awesome. It’s been. It’s awesome.

John

It’s pretty easy to talk to.

Tamara

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. And I just do solo, and I just talk like this. Right. So, I give you that experience. So, my motivation was right. I like to inspire, especially other solo female travelers. I mean, anyone who loves travel can listen to it. It’s not just for solo female travelers. But to inspire you, like, say, and that’s why I started with this trip because it was my first. The backpacking trip and I see in, you know, Facebook groups all the time. Like is it safe to go there? Is it safe to go here? You know which I just find it’s kind of. I don’t know, weird question, but I just kind of say well, listen, I did all this sorry way back when you can do it now. You can book everything online before leaving your house if you want to, literally.

So, traveling is so much easier, but it’s an awesome and liberating thing. And I always think of it.

John

Right.

Tamara

Traveling is the closest you can get to freedom because you get to know what you want when you want. And go wherever you want, like there’s been times when I’ve woken up in the morning. I’m like, you know what? I’m going to go. To a new country. Today, like and. I do, or I woke, and I was like, you know what, I’m just going to stay where I am and lay my hammock all day. 

So, I do. It’s just awesome. It’s very, very liberating, and it’s not nearly as scary as you think it will be. And you know, if you ever, if you’re thinking about it, you’re a woman, you want to travel solo, then what I would suggest is just going to either your city or a nearby city or town, whatever, and just do something solo. Go to a restaurant. I mean, obviously, with COVID. It depends where you are, but you know, and just try it out, you know, or book a weekend away. 

And see how it’s sitting next to you or something like that. You get on, but. It’s not nearly as scary as you think, and I still get slightly nervous. Before I leave, it’s all happy excitement as soon as I leave.

John

Yeah. What’s the best way for somebody to contact you to hear more about your story or to follow your journey? What’s the cause? I’ve got all your stuff, And I’ll post it when I post this recording. But what’s the easiest way to get in touch with you now?

Tamara

The easiest way is probably via my website because all the links are there, too. So yeah, it’s called Many Roads Traveled.

John

Great. Yeah.

Tamara

Because that’s how I travel via roads, and I’ve done to many, many, many roads.

John

Yeah, many roads, right? All right. Last question, as we tie it off here: what’s been the best country you’ve been to so far?

Tamara

Maybe it’s travel.com. This is my; I wouldn’t say I like this question. I don’t know. Yeah, like it’s too many. I’ve been to 76 and, you know, I lived in England for 20 years. I lived in India, so.

John

I do, too.

Tamara

Yeah, I, yeah, I’ve really. I’ve been asked so many you think I know, but I don’t.

John

Well, because you end up becoming favorites for different reasons.

Tamara

Exactly. And because I travel by land, I travel by public transport. I get to know the people and the area better. You know what I mean? I always kind of feel like my goal is to be that people don’t look at me as if I’m a tourist or traveler. They look at me like, oh, she. Just lives here. You know what? It’s easier in some places than others, but just like in Central America, I love it because that’s the last place I’ve been.

John

Right.

Tamara

I was so surprised at how beautiful and nice it is, so let’s just say Guatemala for today, Guatemala.

John

Yeah. Yeah, great. Well, listen up. I’m a guy. Her website shows many roads traveled with 2Ls. I’m going to put it in the podcast notes. I would love for you to reach out to her tomorrow. I find your story to be inspirational. The journeys that you’ve had. And just everything you’ve accomplished and the message that it’s safe to travel even as a single solo. You know, I think that everybody needs to hear that they need to travel more.

So, thank you for coming on and sharing your first epic trip with us, which is crazy. Thirty thousand miles is, you know, mind blowing and that you did it through hitchhiking and backpacking and. All that different stuff is amazing to me, and I can’t wait to hear more from you and watch your story unfold.

Tamara

Awesome. Well, thank you so much, John. It’s been amazing, and it’s been so much fun. So, thank you so much for having me.

John

No problem. All right. Thanks a lot.

More from Titan Evolution Podcast

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