Having traveled solo to more than 50 countries around the world, Monthon “Mint” Kasantikul, 26, has been inspiring a new generation of travelers through her blog, I Roam Alone, for over a year now. Following the recent launch of her first book of the same name, she will soon become the host of a TV travel documentary produced by TV Burabha.
How did you start traveling alone?
Back in my first year at Chulalongkorn’s Faculty of Arts, I was worried that I couldn’t quite keep up with my Spanish lessons, so I asked my mom if I could do a summer course in Spain. That was my first time traveling alone. I cried all the first week and wanted to go home, but I eventually gained more confidence.
What are the most important things for a girl who travels alone?
You need to be alert. Look around to see if there’s anything dangerous. Know where you are and what you have on you, so that you don’t get led astray and don’t lose your belongings. There was a time in Cape Town, where I turned down a wrong alley and felt super unsafe even though I was with two German guys I knew from the hostel. And you need to listen to yourself. I mostly say yes to things, but if my first thought is no, then I just don’t go. You need to be able to communicate a strong “no” when the situation is not right.
What’s the best way to enjoy your travels?
I believe that we can spread happiness wherever we go. Simply smile, greet and help others. When people see you happy, they’ll be happy. And if you want to meet good people when you travel, you have to be that good person first. It’s the law of attraction.
Which trip has been your most memorable?
South America. Though I can speak Spanish, the countries there are not particularly safe. So it was all an adventure. It’s unlike Europe where schedules are very well set. There were lots of unexpected events. I was once on a bus when the driver decided he wouldn’t make the journey anymore because there weren’t enough people on-board. I spent eight months visiting cities, trekking, losing my way and even falling in love. It was like a shortened version of my entire life.
What was your scariest experience?
I was on my way to Machu Picchu when a fellow traveler had a heart attack. I watched on as another traveler performed CPR, but it wasn’t enough. It was so traumatic that I cried for two whole days.
How do you fund your travels?
My mom sponsors me. I’m actually spending my inheritance in advance. She said if she waited till she died then gave me the fortune and I wanted to travel, I would be too old and trips wouldn’t be so fun. So she chose to give me this experience. Now that she sees me growing up with valuable experiences, she knows that she has made the right decision and doesn’t have to be worried about me anymore.