Gloria Atanmo is an online educator and content creator in the travel space, starting her career as a blogger through witty, reflective, and informative storytelling.
After venturing to over 80 countries across 6 continents and working with brands along the way, she’s landed features in Forbes, Oprah Magazine, Conde Nast, Essence, Buzzfeed, and more.
She’s authored a book, spoken on many stages, led retreats around the world, and now focuses on helping female entrepreneurs make a bigger impact and income. She gives herself another 5 years before she’ll go live on a mountain and be fertile.
Listen to more episode of Girls Go Abroad:
- The Top 5 Reasons You NEED to Travel Solo
- Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone with Emily Luxton
- Solo Female Travel in Japan with Whitney O’Halek
Glo’s Travel Story
Gloria Atanmo’s travel story started when she was in college with a study abroad semester in England.
“I was actually a late study abroad-er,” she told me. “Most people study abroad in their sophomore or junior years. So most of my peers were 19, 20 and 21, but I actually did it in my fifth year. I was a super senior.”
She decided to finally go abroad in her last year of college because she couldn’t play college basketball anymore. She’d never traveled overseas before and figured that she’d never be able to afford it, but she put the application in anyway and was able to get a scholarship!
While she was studying abroad, Glo managed to see 12 different countries on an incredibly bare-bones budget. Most of her comrades went on organized trips to super expensive destinations, so:
“I knew that I couldn’t afford to travel like everyone else, so let me just make these trips adventurous. And what ended up happening was to my benefit. I became so good at solo travel because I had no choice but to solo travel.”
Her first solo trip was to Scotland, where she ended up meeting a woman on a hike who invited her over for dinner.
And ever since then, she’s been obsessed with travel. She packed her bags just a few months after graduating and set off for an internship at the same place she studied abroad. After that, she continued to make ends meet however possible just to keep traveling.
Why Travel is So Important
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Meaningful and memorable. That's what I want to think of when I look back on my life's story, the body of my work, the connections I've built, and the legacy I will ultimately leave. Nothing makes me feel more centered than moments like these, where there's not a care in the world and I'm dancing to the beat of my own drum, and perhaps the instrument of a new friend. Think about how you can connect with someone in a more meaningful way today ❤
Glo’s blog’s tagline is: “Life is short. See the world. Spread Joy.” I love how short and sweet it is, so of course I had to ask her to talk a little bit more about what it means and why travel is so important to her.
“So my initial tagline was ‘Chronicles of an adventure junkie’, which that probably expired around 2018 when I stopped being as much of an adventure junkie and started wanting to see the purpose in my travels and meaning.”
“So life is short. See the world. Spread Joy. The first portion is a reminder that guys, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Tomorrow isn’t promised. So do the things that you want to do. Do the things that you love now.”
See the world is just: “If you want to see the world, and that’s something that’s on your bucket list, you know, do it now.”
“And then spread joy. You know, when you’re going through these countries, when you’re meeting people, when you’re having these incredible experiences, spread your love around the world, be kind, be compassionate, you know? And that just became kind of just the undertone of my messaging and what I really wanted to convey with everything I was doing.”
“I think travel is so important because it humbles you in a way that, you know, traditional education or your comfortable day to day life can’t. You know, when you’re going through your day to day motions everything is the same. Everything’s comfortable. You never have to struggle. You never have to challenge yourself.”
“None of us are as aware of our privilege as we think. Like, we know we have internet, we have running water, we have these thing. And you know, we know that in the back of our mind. But until you really go out and see what poverty looks like, you don’t know how to count your blessings and you don’t know how to sit with gratitude to its full extent.”
Solo Female Travel Tips
Having now traveled to over 80 countries across 6 continents–most of them solo–I was sure Glo would have so killer solo female travel tips–and she absolutely delivered!
When it comes to eating alone as a solo female traveler, she highly recommends dressing up and ordering champagne. “Really own” the experience “because then you become a mystery.”
For making friends, Glo says you should definitely stay at hostels. “I call them adult playgrounds,” she says. “Obviously hostels have a bad reputation for being dirty and cheap and gross and all that kind of stuff, but you really got to find the good ones.”
“There are now a bunch of luxury hostels which are amazing for solo travelers who, you know, like the comforts of having their own rooms. So they have like private rooms, but then they also have like events every day in the lobby or and they encourage you to meet other people and it’s just a great way to connect with others.”
And if she could only give one piece of solo female travel advice, it would be this:
“Say yes. Spend at least one day in every city or country just saying yes–yes to the salsa lessons, yes to the hike, yes to the random party, yes to the nightclub underneath the ground. You know, just say yes to the adventure because that’s where the best stories and experiences lie.”
Travel Lightning Round
To wrap up the interview, we did a fun little travel lightning round. Here were Glo’s answers!
- Best food: Italy
- Best island: Bali
- Best city: Hoi An, Vietnam
- Craziest adventure: paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland
- The place she’d visit again in a heartbeat: Bali
- Place she hasn’t been yet, but is dying to go to: New Zealand
- Best men: Irish accent, German courting style, Argentinian men are easiest on the eyes
- Friendliest people: Thailand