Inspiring females: meet the travel entrepreneur who has visited 87 countries

Meet Yasmine - A Swedish entrepreneur, marketer, photographer and social media specialist living in London.

Yasmine’s story - Yasmine took a trip to India at the age of just 6 months, igniting her love for travel from the get-go. Fast forward 29 years, Yasmine has now travelled to 87 countries and plans on reaching 100 by the time she turns 30 (5 months time). Whilst traveling, Yasmine became inspired to help fellow travelers learn how to travel on a budget and her business www.tibba.co was born.

Want to hear more about Yasmine's epic journey around the world? So do we!

How did India inspire you to start travelling?

When I was 6 months old my parents took me on a trip to India. I have been told my extended family and neighbour thought it was outrageous to take such a small baby on a trip to India. Apparently my parents just looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and said we are going and its going to be a great adventure. I am so glad they did because this is what sparked my interest in travelling.

Of course it would be a lie to say I remember much of this journey but its the stories I have been told from the trip that I carry with me and inspired me to become a traveller.

What challenges have you faced always being on the road?

One the hardest parts of travelling and moving around has been society and its expectations. We are supposed to live a ‘normal life’, get a 9-5 job, get married, settle down and have 2.1 kids. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but its not for everyone and certainly not for me. Its been really hard having to deal with my own insecurities and fears and at the same time having to assure people back home that no I am not running away from anything, I am not lost and this is how I actually want to live my life. One thing that has really helped me is to surround myself and get inspiration from other people who are in the same position.

How has travelling the world impacted you as a person?

To be able to travel in the way I have done is such a privilege that I am immensely grateful for. I wouldn’t be the same person today if it wasn’t for travelling. It has made me humble, open minded, diplomatic and flexible. It has also turned me into a very happy and positive person who always tries to have an optimistic look on the world.

It’s such a cliche to say ‘Go travel and find yourself!’ but there is a lot of truth in it. When you travel you have no control, you are constantly getting new impressions, so there is simply no time to go on about things in the past. Often you are in a different time zone which makes me somewhat off connect to my normal everyday life which gives me time to reflect and focus on myself and my goals, its like you are in a bubble of joy.

How did your travels develop into you becoming the co-founder of Tibba?

When I travelled around the world I ran out of money as most of us eventually do, it was time to go home but being an obsessive traveller I was really not ready to go home. Little did I know that this would spark the idea to the business I run today almost 10 years later. About a year ago I was travelling with my best friend and we were talking about what makes us happy. I told Erica about one of the happiest times of my life; when I travelled by myself around the world, I didn’t have much money but I experienced so much along the way. How did I manage to travel and do things with so little money? I helped others in exchange of accommodation, yoga classes and much more. For example I took my diving license on a small island off Malaysia east coast in exchange for helping the diving school build a new website. Telling Erica about my experience we both got super excited to develop an app where people could trade skills and not bills and that’s how Tibba (www.tibba.co) was born.

In January I also set up a community for Swedish digital nomads (www.svenskanomader.se) which aim is to inspire and help people take the step and go and live a better life travelling and working abroad.

It is so great that I am able to base both of my businesses on the thing I love the most: travelling!

Have you encountered many gender culture shocks along the way?

Not so much actually, although of course there have been a few instances. Once in Spain, I was having a drink with a male friend of mine and his Spanish friend. His friend wouldn’t acknowledge me, he would ask my male friend about me, and when I tried to answer he would just cut me off… I was furious! On the contrary, I was road tripping Oman and walked into a little coffee house in a tiny village. It was dark with only older men sipping coffee at first so I felt a bit uncomfortable, but decided to sit down anyway. I ended up staying almost an hour chatting about everything from world politics, the history of Oman to growing strawberries.

Many people are shocked to hear that I was ignored by a man of my own age in a Western country and surprised that I became friends with a few older men in the Middle East. It has taught me to never ever judge and always be open minded.

Is there any advice you would give to fellow female travelers?

Do it! Follow your dream and don’t listen to people back home. Another thing that really helped me when travelling solo was to be a part of a group like Contiki or WifiTribe if you living as a digital nomad. Also for solo female travelling, there are many great communities out there, everything from Dame Traveler to Tourlina – a networking app for female travelers. In that way you can meet other people for inspiration and motivation.

Did people ever tell you you couldn't travel to any of these countries?

A few years ago I was working in Kosovo, and when I told people where I was going, you could see faces turning into question marks. Isn’t Kosovo dangerous? The same when I was going on a trip to Ethiopia. My experience was that both these countries were very safe and friendly. Of course travel isn’t always pretty, and you always need to watch out for yourself. But many times its not necessarily so much about the country in question, but more about being careful, avoiding certain areas or to go with someone local.

Why do you think it is important for women to travel the world?

It’s such an empowering experience to be able to travel the world as a woman. It gives such a sense of freedom and I feel that it would almost be a waste to not see what the world has to offer. Another beautiful thing that comes with travelling is to experience new cultures and to see that we are actually more alike than different to each other.

Are there any particular women who inspire you?

My mum <3 When she was 16 she decided that she wanted to go and live in Paris. This was way back in the days and just imagine a young woman deciding to leave her small hometown at such a young age to go and live in another country, outrageous! I love her for that, she has always done what she wants, questions norms and stands up for what she believes in.

Do you have any further challenges ahead once you reach 100 countries?

My next challenge is to sail around the world! This is something that has been a dream of mine as long as I can remember. I just need to get the boat and I am off … Give me a few years 🙂

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