The Girl who Travels:: #BiancaDoes7Countriesin14Days

biancamaxwell

What is this thing we call life? Are we really living it? Aside from our daily and mundane affairs, how adventurous can we exist in our time here on Earth. As women, we tend to carry a load on our shoulders; sometimes tons of physical and emotional exhaustion that makes us want to scream to the top of our lungs. We need outlets, whether it be small or monumental, it is damn sure vital. So back to what is thing called life? Everyone has their own answer and some envision how they see theirs in terms of living it up. When I witness women living their dreams, taking risks, and being bold for humankind, I take notice immediately.

Bianca Maxwell is certainly one who I was instantly compelled to. As I was using one of my daily, take-a-break outlets – Instagram, I stumbled upon her page which simultaneously turned into a developing story. A travel story if you will. She was prepping for a vacation that wasn’t just any three to four day girls trip – Bianca was doing a solo 14 day international trip to visit 7 countries and wait for it…with ONE carry on. After reading with my own eyes, I immediately hit the follow button because happily knowing – we now get to go along with people on their journeys thanks to apps like insta-stories and snapchat. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store. An interest piqued from her beautifully-spirited smile, big hair, and how she would manage to go to London, Ireland, Morocco and more with just a small bag. Low maintenance at its finest.

Thankfully, I was able to get an interview with Bianca about her travel experience, tips and advice on things like packing and planning, essentials, and traveling alone. From meeting strangers turned friends along the way to floating on hot air balloons to visiting the Vatican Museum in Rome, she shares her story that will hopefully inspire more to fulfill their bucket lists. My goal is to encourage women across the world to travel as much as you can which will give you a chance to see what else is out there. So without further ado, check out the interview on #BiancaDoes7Countriesin14Days below.

Bianca works in fashion management and digital production and currently resides in Boston, MA. She will be launching her blog this weekend Bmadewell.com.

1. So 7 countries in 14 days with one carry on is a big deal, wow. How would you sum up our experience?

Traveling to another country is an immense blessing and extremely humbling. Being able to travel to 7 countries was even more so. I always thought knocking off my travel goals was an unattainable aspiration for a very long time, until I did it!
Experiencing other countries gave me deep appreciation about the cultures of the places I’ve only read about. I had opportunities to explore European art, Irish humor, Muslim hospitality, Spanish wines and Roman history.
Bianca in front of the Louvre in Paris
However, this experience also really humbled me about being American in our current political and cultural climate. Being in countries with such rich history of art and culture really made me realize how young America is as a country, how much we have to learn and how much more we can do for each other as a community.

2. I’m sure most of us want to know, was there any anxiety involved in packing? Did you learn any tips you would like to share in achieving such a task, especially for us women? 

I’ve never had an overpacking issue since I have been flying domestically from coast to coast since I was 9, so packing is pretty easy for me! Except for this one, because I only brought a Carry-On!
My younger sister had gone to London, Dublin and Amsterdam by herself and had stayed in hostels. I planned on staying in one as well, and planned on bringing an oversized suitcase for shopping in Morocco. She laughed and suggested I only bring a bag that can fit in the lockers in the room – since everyone hates a bag lady in a hostel!
That advice inspired me to travel with only a Carry-On – that and almost missing my flight home during a layover from Colombia because I had to pick up my checked bag and go through customs *rolls eyes* Excess Baggage can really ruin a trip!
When I get ready for any trip I always prep a rack of looks a couple of weeks beforehand. I have an old clothing rack from my last apartment that didn’t have a closet, so now it’s my favorite thing to pull out when I need to re-organize or pack.
This first thing I do is pull all my favorite things out and let them sit on the rack. When you see things everyday you get tired of prints or colors and put them back in your closet  When I get closer to my travel date I try-on, mix and match, and edit what I have. I end up editing down and swapping things out, but it’s a helpful dry run of what I plan on wearing. Since I was traveling to climates that went from 34 and rainy, to 91 and no clouds, I had to be really thoughtful about what I brought. Each piece need to have multiple looks and layering options.
My top tips for starters  Start pre-packing 2 weeks before your trip. Try-On, and Edit it down to your favorite pieces that you don’t have to suck it in for, or pose a certain way for it to be flattering. Don’t pack clothes just for Instagram, it’s a waste of space. Invest in a good hard shell suitcase (a soft suitcase won’t protect your clothes if you are stuck in the rain). Pack when you still have a weekend in between your travel date – its good if you need to run errands last minute.
3. Traveling for most helps us to explore other cultures, learn, gain insight, and relax. What were you seeking from this 14 day journey as a solo traveler? 
I really wanted to experience the world, but also find my place in it. I’m extremely entrepreneurial and very ambitious, but I’ve always had this, “oh I will do that after I see the world” excuse going. Now that I have, and I have that experience, I feel like I am better positioned to pursue the things I want because I understand more of the world. Investing in a broader sense of self is the best way to spend any resource.
Park Guell in Barcelona
4. What advice would you give someone who is interested in traveling abroad alone but still hesitant at the thought of it?
Book the ticket and freak out the months in between the trip. I was in disbelief when I planned, bought it and boarded my flight. It is still surreal but the tickets weren’t refundable so there was no going back!
5. From the intricate doors in Morocco to the rocky roads in Lisbon, how did you choose your destinations?
I have a list in the back of notebook I carry around (My love for stationary is unparalleled) and I have a running list of places I want to see that I’ve built over the last 5 years. I also bookmark beautiful places I see on Instagram to keep me motivated and hungry for more. What was suppose to be a cheap weekend in London became the 7 Countries, 14 Day adventure after I played with airfares and flight paths. Be your own travel agent!
(Left: Dry Ingredient Shop in Madrid. Right: Grand Canal of Venice, Italy)
6. We noticed you chose to wear a pair of white sneakers as one out of two of your packed shoes (Superga to be exact), was that intentional? Was there any significance in color, brand, etc?
I love a minimal and classic look, so a white sneaker was extremely intentional. The brand is Italian, and looked like they would offer more comfort than my current sneakers. I wanted a pair of mint condition sneakers that I could literally cover the world in. Luckily, because I love white sneakers – it ended up working with all of the shots I took from the top!
Bahia Palace in Marrakech
7. What travel essentials were your main go-tos and/or holy grails? (i.e. beauty products, clothes, travel guides)
For skincare, I use Mario Badescu, gentle skincare that kept all my breakouts at bay. While I am on flight I bring their rose facial mist, Neutrogena eye cream and Murad collagen creme.
For hair, I use Shea Moisture and Jane Carter for both styling, masks, edges and oils.
Bianca in Dublin, Ireland
For nutrition, I am really into a new multivitamin called Ritual, it’s vegan and amazing.
For sleeping and for inflight accessories, I bring a satin lined cap or beanie, my iPad, a inflatable neckrest, fuzzy socks, a book, and eyecovers. I also horde healthy snacks like no one’s business.
For travel accessories – I have this amazing Smythson wallet, 2 Mophie chargers (an external and a case) and a Herschel backpack.
For Apps, Google maps – with offline maps downloaded was a life saver in Morocco.
8. We love how your posts were beautifully curated but most importantly educational with a touch of humor and personality, how did you visualize your feed to promote such good vibes? (BTW, we loved your creativity with your tripod)
My feed naturally happened as I went! Before my trip, I made a decision to just post what I felt like and loved. After working with brands in NYC, I realized that I was a creatively paralyzed trying to meet overcritical expectations.
Worrying about likes and followers is exhausting, I’m not an influencer or a brand, so I just threw caution to the wind and focused on being authentic. So I figured if I fIood the feed, I flood them, and everyone can unfollow if they want! I just wanted to be proud of the content I put together and that was the most important thing to me.
 Bianca at Riad BE Marrakech wearing a bathing suit from Aerie
I was scrolling through my images from past trips and saw consistent images I always take no matter where I am that Ive never shared. Videos of car rides, pictures of my feet, selfies of the scenery I am in, food, music etc. I am not a huge fan of an Instagram that is just too much of one thing, everything needs some balance and context, so I did want to have some kind of storytelling that made people feel like they were with me.
To my surprise, I got a GREAT response from everyone and was inspired but all everyone who reached out to me to launch the blog I have been pondering of doing since forever.
9. Some reasons people never imagine taking a trip at this capacity is due to cost or money, are there any budget or financial advice you could provide on ways to make this a reality for our readers?
I have a travel fund for my wanderlust. My paycheck doesn’t go in my closet, it goes to my passport and to my memories. The only thing you can buy that can make you richer is travel and experiences. I challenged myself to plan a trip that had flight + hotel at a certain rate, and excursions/food shopping at another rate. I put a limited amount of cash in my checking account while I was away, and put money aside for all my bills for when I got back along with some more just incase there was an emergency. Planning and prepping for wanderlust is my key.
Bianca rowing in Madrid
10. Since this is a fashion site, we must ask which country did you most feel inspired from for style? Any new things you wanted to adopt in your own personal style once you returned to the states?
I loved the way the women dressed in London and Paris. I would love to think that alot of my minimalist look is inspired by Parisians, and when I get a little edgy it’s bits from working in LES New York. In Morocco, I loved the way the older men dressed with clean solids, long hemlines and slides. Throughout my travels I saw alot of women experimenting with Hair Color – something I envy, but I probably won’t ever do to my natural hair – so I’m looking into colored curly clip-ins for the summer!
11. In three words, how would you describe your overall experience once your #Biancadoes7countriesin14days tour had come to an end?
Take me back!
{Left: Bianca at Piazza Del Campidoglio, Right: Castillo de San Jorge Lisboa in Lisbon)
To see all of Bianca’s beautiful photos from her trip and to follow along for more of her travel experience, check out her Instagram page @BiancaMaxwell
Thanks for reading! To see more of my travel posts, click here and here.




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