Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can’t sit still. Since graduating from college three years ago she has spent time working in London, backpacking through eastern Europe and road tripping in the United States and Iceland. In September she is planning to backpack around the world. Stephanie documents her travels and explores the more philosophical side of travel at Twenty-Something Travel. She also tweets, a LOT, @20sTravel.
What’s the most underrated destination you’ve been to?
Definitely Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am a huge cheerleader for the former Yugoslavia in general, and Bosnia is my favorite of the bunch. Pretty much everyone overlooks it even though it is stunning, and quite safe now. Sarajevo is a really elegant city, with strong Ottoman influences. The countryside all around is stunning too; it’s covered in these immense rolling green hills flaked with vibrant orange rooftops.
People tend to think of Bosnia only in relation to the ugly wars of the 1990’s and there are a lot of ghastly reminders of the violence that happened there. Nonetheless the people are so resilient and determined to rebuild. It’s inspiring to visit a place where history is so raw, yet the people have such optimistic spirits.
How do you kill time when you’re stuck on a bus or plane?
I have perfected the art of staring out the window vacantly. I love taking buses and trains because you can see so much of the country. I plug into my iPod and kill hours just watching the scenery go by. It’s Zen-like.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or experienced traveling?
I did a road trip across Iceland and the entire trip was just epically surreal. Fields of purple wildflowers would give way to a vast and desolate black sand desert followed by vibrant green hills and waterfalls- all within the course of an hour or so! We’d drive for hours down Route 1 (Iceland’s biggest highway) without seeing another sign of life besides sheep. At some points it really felt like being on the moon.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a new destination?
I usually try to get out of the hostel or hotel right away. I can’t wait to start wandering around and if I’m lucky I’ll get lost and stumble across something really interesting.
If you could give one tip or piece of advice to travelers, what would it be?
To all would-be travelers I would say that there is always a good reason NOT to travel, but ignoring those factors and doing it anyways is so incredible rewarding. I meet people all the time who are putting off their dreams of travel for some indefinite, intangible “perfect” time. There is no perfect time. There’s only your life now and what you choose to make a priority.
All of the advice I dish out on my blog really boils down to the same one thing: just go! Get moving. I’ve never met anyone who regretted taking the time to explore the world.
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Yoder