TRAVELER OF THE MONTH: DEANNA TROY TRAVELS | NOVEMBER 2017

 
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
— Bill Bryson

And the Traveler of the Month is ...[*cues drum roll*]... Deanna Troy travels! 

Last year, Deanna and her boyfriend, Cedric, packed their belongings to take a year off to travel. What was supposed to be a year-long backpacking excursion extended to an adventure of a lifetime. The couple is currently residing in Vietnam and documenting all of their fun on Deanna's YouTube channel.  Her videos cover a range of topics including: moving abroad with her significant other, trying foreign foods, and dealing with sexual harassment in Southeast Asia. Deanna's transparency and captivating personality are just a couple of reasons she was selected as this month's traveler, and I'm very excited to connect you all with her. So without further ado, please welcome Miss Deanna Troy Travels! 

Tell me about your youtube channel? what inspired you to create it?

On my YouTube channel “Deanna Troy Travels” (www.youtube.com/deannatroytravels) I post videos about travel, travel advice, storytimes, vlogs, interviews, skits and more! The goal of my channel is to help everyone (travelers and non-travelers) find adventure in life. Taking the plunge was the best decision I ever made, so I want to help other people shake things up and break out of their comfort zones. I grew up watching many YouTubers, such as Jenna Marbles and Shane Dawson. They taught me, and their many fans, that’s it’s ok to be a weirdo and it’s important to take risks to achieve your dreams! YouTubers have made me laugh, cry and learn to accept myself. I want to help others the way YouTubers have helped me. Having a YouTube channel has been my secret dream for YEARS, but the fear of being vulnerable to the online world held me back. However, after backpacking throughout Southeast Asia last year and getting a bunch of travel footage, I realized that I could and should make this secret dream a reality! So I finally decided to go for it and I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

 

 what have you enjoyed about b(v)logging...what has been the most difficult aspect of b(v)logging?

I have created various types of travel related YouTube videos for over a month now! I enjoy the creating process: getting the shots, discovering the right music and edits, and finally seeing the end product. The process is full of so many fun surprises! I also love sharing the end product with everyone and seeing my hard work entertain people. The most difficult aspect of having a YouTube channel is time management! The videos take a long time to create, and there is always an urge in the back of my mind to film everything and to discover and reach out to other travel YouTubers constantly. Sometimes it’s hard to step away and take a break.

 

I did some instagram stalking (lol) and i scrolled down to your very first post which read: "two hours until we leave for the airport for our year-long adventure and we just finished packing! whooohooo." that was posted in october 2016. it's now a year later, and i'm wondering if you and cedric decided to extend your year-long adventure. if so, could you tell me how long you plan to travel? and what was the motive behind starting this adventure?

Yes, initially we were going to travel for a year. The motive for this adventure was that Cedric and I were looking for a change in our careers. Two years ago I was feeling weighed down. I had been an Art Teacher for many years, an extremely stressful and under resourced profession in America. Cedric had been working the same programming job for five years and was also ready for a change. He had previous experience backpacking so he suggested that we take a year off to travel. The idea seemed crazy at first. We had to hang up life as we knew it, pack a year’s worth of items into 50 liters and travel 9000 miles to an unfamiliar country. But as we started planning, the pieces fell into place. Now, a year later, we have decided to continue our travels!

However, instead of constantly moving, we are renting an apartment so we can make week-long trips throughout the region. We plan to live in Da Nang, Vietnam until August 2018. We are very excited for this next chapter of our journey. I talk about this decision and plans on my YouTube channel. 

can you explain why you decided to move Vietnam and what you love about it? what don't you particularly care for?

I love how each area of Vietnam has completely different climates, cultures, meals and activities. Every region of Vietnam is a new adventure. It also doesn’t hurt that you can get by on less than $20 a day if you budget. One thing I don’t care for is the main mode of transportation in Southeast Asia: motorbikes. When I was in Thailand, I rode motorbikes and enjoyed it very much. However, I had two minor crashes and since then I have been too afraid to get back on. Also, I constantly hear stories of people getting horrible injuries from scooter accidents. Some include broken legs, paralyzed hands, memory loss and more. It is fun, easy and cheap to ride motorbikes, but the potential risk is not worth the convenience in my opinion.

 

What other countries have you visited in southeast asia? which one was your favorite?

In Southeast Asia we visited Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. We have also been to Australia, Ecuador and Mexico. I have been to Italy and the Dominican Republic. I truly have loved all of these places. All of them have gorgeous landscapes, interesting cultures and hospitable people. However, Vietnam has been our favorite; that’s why we decided to live here!

 

i know a lot of women who don't want to travel to other countries because they think it's unsafe? do you think that's true? and what advice would you give another woman who wants to travel but is concerned about her safety?

Women should not avoid traveling because of safety fears. Traveling around the world is just as safe/dangerous as traveling around your own country. Yes, some areas are dangerous, but as long as you do your research and use common sense it is easy to avoid risky situations. Also, it's important to note that most people focus on the least likely dangers, like getting abducted. If you do encounter an unfortunate situation, it's much more likely to be something non-physical like getting scammed. I also advise making friends with the locals and other backpackers. Locals can give you up-to-date advice about a city, and doing activities with a group of other backpackers will always be safer than doing activities alone. Again, this is the same anywhere you go in the world. The media and popular culture focus on the dangers of solo travel, but I have met many women who have loved it. You may have many people telling you it's too dangerous, but those are usually the ones who have never experienced it for themselves. Don’t let your fears stop you! Be smart, be aware, be prepared and get that plane ticket! I actually have tips on how to make friends abroad and how to be safe in my video “How to Celebrate Halloween Abroad” (Safety tips start at 4:29)

 

I WATCHED YOUR YOUTUBE POST ABOUT BEING HARASSED IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. i THOUGHT IT WAS VERY BRAVE OF YOU TO SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE. IF YOU'RE COMFORTABLE, COULD YOU SHARE WITH MY READERS ONE OF YOUR EXPERIENCES...AND OFFER SOME ADVICE ON WHAT SOMEONE SHOULD DO IF THEY EVER FIND THEMSELVES IN A SIMILAR SITUATION? SHOULD THEY REACH OUT FOR HELP...PHONE A FRIEND/FAMILY MEMBER?

Thank you very much! Yes this video was a hard one to make, but it contained stories and advice I really wanted to share with my viewers. One of the experiences in this video happened in Hue, Vietnam. It was around the Vietnamese New Year holiday. The streets were empty, as most of the locals and travelers were off celebrating. I was out doing some errands when a man on a motorbike approached me and asked if I wanted a ride. As I say in the video, this is a very normal occurrence in Southeast Asia because motorbike taxis and tour services are popular throughout the country. However, after I politely declined the man kept following me on his motorbike for FIVE BLOCKS! I felt scared because no one was around. I told the man I was meeting some friends for lunch. When I found a restaurant that was open, I walked in and sat with some random travelers. I told the travelers the situation and they were more than happy to keep me company until the man left. This was probably not a dangerous situation, but it made me uncomfortable and nervous. If anyone else finds themselves in a situation where a person is being a little too forward and overbearing, the best thing is to get to a public place. Also, it's good to ALWAYS HAVE A SIM CARD and to keep it topped up so you can phone a friend for help. I have a couple more stories of uncomfortable situations abroad and how I got out of them in my video “#metoo...Sexually Harassed in Southeast Asia”

 

how do you see the youtube channel expanding in the future?

I hope to grow my travel family of subscribers by continuing to create more diverse content. In my future videos, I plan to incorporate more footage from my past travels, give more advice, collaborate with other YouTubers and interview Vietnamese locals and other people from around the world to showcase different lifestyles and cultures.

 

i see that your boyfriend is featured throughout your instagram feed. how did you convince him to come on this adventure with you...or was this his idea? 

He was the one who convinced me! A few years ago Cedric went backpacking in South America where he learned about the backpacking lifestyle. As I said above, we both wanted to leave our jobs, but didn’t know what to do next. Cedric brought up the idea of backpacking for a year. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I reflected on our past vacations together and remembered all the backpackers I met as well. These people inspired me to go for it! We started to wrap up our loose ends at home, plan our trip and purchase supplies. We spent 6 months preparing (you don’t need to spend this long, but be aware that some things may take a while to sort out, like vaccines, updating passports etc.) and then, after what seemed like forever, we were finally off on our trip!

 

what are the pros and cons of traveling with your significant other? 

1. You will be spending every minute (24/7) with this person!  I think this is a pro. I love spending as much time as possible with my man! However, I know that many people like their alone time and space. Also, this means you will definitely see your partner at their worst because traveling involves many stressful and exhausting situations.

2. Both people will have different ideas about what is fun and what they want to do on the trip. For me this is both a pro and a con. My boyfriend is into more adrenaline-filled activities, like bungee jumping and ziplining. I prefer different experiences, like visiting temples and going on city tours. This actually works well for us because we both pull each other into things we wouldn't normally try, so we both get a more well rounded traveling experience. Both of us compromise and take turns trying things the other person likes. Overall, it’s a balance. If a couple is not good at compromising then this could be a nightmare for them!

3. Both people in the relationship will be frequently surrounded by beautiful people who are looking to flirt and hookup. I don’t necessarily love this but I am not concerned in any way about my boyfriend’s loyalty. However, this could be very hard for some couples to deal with. On the flip side, couples who are into inviting others to join their…activities, may see this as a pro! (LOL). 

 

the other day you told me you returned from quest fest in hanoi. what is it? I'm curious. 

Quest Festival is a music festival that is held every year in Hanoi, Vietnam. The festival features bands and artists from all over the world! It’s located on a lovely campground, Son Tinh Camp, away from the busy Hanoi city. It’s a big party with all kinds of awesome people. Watch the video below to see all the fun that happens at this music festival.

 

what's a fun fact about you? something you haven't shared on your instagram or youtube channel.

I’m an artist, I love making 2D art such as painting and drawing. I am considering creating time-lapse art-making videos (of paintings/drawings of the different places I’ve been to) on my channel in the future as well!

 

where are you going next?

We have a long list of ideas: Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. The plan is to find cheap regional flights and explore a new place every month or so. We are planning a trip for the end of this month, so if anyone has any suggestions you should DM me on Instagram (@deanna_troy_travels). 

 

how can my readers find you?

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel for all kinds of insights and laughs about backpacking and more! You can also follow me here: