The Adventures of Julia - Plus Savvy Tips for Female Travellers [caption id="attachment_4583" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="Forget fear, says Julia (Courtesy: Julia Dimon)"] [/caption] Julia Dimon (a.k.a. Travel Junkie Julia) is quickly becoming a household name for anyone who watches travel television or is a keen traveller. Many of you know her from the TV show Word Travels (broadcast nationally on OLN in Canada and internationally on National Geographic Adventures in over 45 countries worldwide), which follows Julia and fellow travel writer Robin Esrock as they globe-trot around the world. Be sure to check out her cheeky web site www.traveljunkiejulia.com - her videos alone are worth a visit. [caption id="attachment_4581" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Word Travel cohosts: Julia Dimon, Robin Esrock"] [/caption] Her latest gig? She’s co-hosting a new outdoor adventure lifestyle show, Outside Today, with Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn. Julia also hosts a popular online travel series called "Destination Getaways" on MSNBC. And she’s written for numerous publications (she got her start at the Toronto Star at the age of 12). Julia has been to more than 80 countries on seven continents. She’s gone polar kayaking in Antarctica, canyoneering in California, gorge swinging in Zambia (think bungee jumping to the extreme!), and she’s chowed down on an 18-day-old fertilized duck egg in the Philippines. Julia has also spent lots of time on beaches and at night markets around the world. [caption id="attachment_4587" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Taking the plunge. (Courtesy: Julia Dimon)"] [/caption] We thought she'd be the perfect expert to advise us about first-time adventure travel for women. Canadian Living researcher Jaime Myslik talked to the funky travel guru just before she hopped on a plane to her next destination.
Question: What’s your advice for women who want to experience their first real “adventure travel” experience? Julia: Embrace the adventure. Fear plays into it, where women think that they are not actually adventurous by nature and they are not sure if they can do it. Throw this fear and doubt out the window because you can do it and you’ll love it. Break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. That’s how you can really grow and learn about yourself. You're bound to experience new things you didn’t know you could do. Going through an adventure travel company is a really good place to start. Choose tour groups that are small and sustainable, ethical and socially conscious. Three come to mind: Gap Adventures (I trekked the Inca Trail in Peru with Gap a few years ago), Intrepid Travel (great for easing into adventure trips) and I also like Puravida Adventures in Costa Rica where you can combine activities such as surfing with yoga. [caption id="attachment_4590" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="Travel Junkie Julia goes off the beaten path every chance she gets (Courtesy: Julia Dimon)"] [/caption] Question: Can you you recommend any tour companies for best-gal pals who want to taste a bit of adventure travel in Canada? Julia: There's Surf Sister, based in Tofino, British Columbia, which specializes in women’s surfing in a “pro-chick environment"; Perfect Day is a Vancouver-based companies but their trips are nationwide. You can opt for para-sailing, rock climbimg, kite-surfing, dog-sledding and many other thrill-seeking activities in a safe but fun environment; and I also suggest Icefield Heli Tours near Banff, which offers this amazing heli yoga experience. You fly by helicopter to a beautiful lookout and do yoga overlooking the Rocky Mountains. That's perfect for the first-time adventurer. [caption id="attachment_4584" align="aligncenter" width="248" caption="First time for everything: horseback riding, dogsledding, rock-climbing... (Courtesy: Julia Dimon)"] [/caption] Question: What 5 things would you never travel without? Julia: Here are my must-pack items: 1. Alarm Clock. Especially good if you need to catch an early morning flight. Never rely on the wake-up call. 2. Travel Insurance: Important safety measure so that if something does happen you have the comfort in knowing you can be taken care of in case of an accident. Don't fear the worst but do prepare for it. You'll need to show proof of insurance. And be sure to arrange travel insurance if you're going to the United States. 3. Ziplock Bags: they're transparent, and you can shove all kinds of stuff into them, even electronics, plugs and cords. Ziplock bags are great to store shampoos, conditioners and lotions. If they explode in your baggage on the plane the mess won’t get all over your clothing. Put anything that might leak in a ziplock bag. I also use them for packing socks and underwear so that they are easily identifiable. 4. Head Lamp (or flashlight) and a Swiss Army knife: Blackouts can happen at any time and electricity could be out for hours. A swiss army knife is handy in different situations – a picnic to spread peanut butter, a tool for a random reason. 5. Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizer: These two items may not be vital if you are travelling through nice European cities but they're necessary in more exotic and off-the-beaten-path locales. Plus, sharing them also helps to make friends while travelling on the road.Stay tuned for our next Q&A with Julia about budget travel and how to fit in and not look like a tourist. Happy travels.