Who is The Blonde Gypsy?

Hello again SHABL,

As the year is almost over, I would also like to dedicate a post recounting my adventures in 2011, but I think that will have to wait until next week. First, I’d like to give some more background information on myself and what I am doing here.

It all started a few months ago when Rob and I became acquainted through the interwebs during what I can only describe as the craziest travel/living situation of my life. I had just moved to Odessa, Ukraine for an internship and was taking every opportunity that I could to explore the region. Moldova, Romania, Turkey. During a desperate period when I thought I might be stuck in Romania forever because of the poor bus and train connections back to Odessa, I discovered SHABL and found almost all the answers I was looking for.

From then on I was constantly referring back to the site and seeking guidance from Rob as he had just been to so many of the places I was set to visit. Not only did I find all the information that he had provided extremely useful, but I also felt we were on exactly the same page in terms of our travel style and outlook on life in general. I think he recognized this as well and thought my perspective as a solo female traveler could be a good addition to the site…so here I am.

Now, when and how did I decide to stop having a boring life? The truth is, I have never really considered my life to be boring. Boring people get bored. I have been traveling my entire life but I guess it was back in 2008 when things really began to escalate as far as me taking chances on the unknown and traveling solo. It was right around the time I was finishing my undergraduate education; things with my now-ex-boyfriend weren’t going so well, I was growing tired of life in southern California (I know, hard to believe), and I had just spent several years studying for degrees in International Studies and International Business. So with that I made the spontaneous decision to pack my bags and move to London. And when I say spontaneous, I mean I decided in the beginning of December that’s what I was going to do and by the beginning of January I was doing it.

My life in London was amazing. I got a job working in fashion for one of my favorite designers and I met some of the best friends I have ever had and still have. Unfortunately after 9 months I was forced to move back to the US because I couldn’t get an extension to my visa. That sucked. I had really made a home for myself there and realized that Europe was where I needed to be. From then on I knew I had to find a way back. I gave both New York and LA a shot in the interim, but neither of those places proved to be a good enough replacement.

I then decided to save up as much money as I could and a few months later took off on a one-way ticket to travel around the continent by myself in hopes that a job and/or visa would land in my lap and I could stay. Of course that didn’t happen. What did happen though was I ended up meeting people and having experiences that would ultimately lead me to where I was supposed to be less than a year later and where I am right now. Sweden.

So now I’ve been living in Sweden since August 2010 and I couldn’t be happier. Had a brief and wild stint in Ukraine this past summer and fall, but now I am back. This spring I will be finishing the Master’s program that brought me over here and we will see where things go from there. For now I am just enjoying every minute of my current situation and traveling a hell of a lot. This is a continent where low cost airlines abound and everything is so close which is what makes it easy to do.

From here on out I hope to share as many of my experiences from the road and living abroad as I can; hopefully they will serve as a point of reference/inspiration/entertainment for everyone reading. I also look forward to discussing and getting feedback on important matters that affect all solo female travelers from all the girls out there who have dared to explore the world on their own.

I will be going back to California for Christmas which should be interesting. It’s been a year since I was last there, my longest time away thus far. Would like to wish you all very happy holidays whether you are alone, with your families, or with your friends. Next week we’ll dig deeper into my travels in 2011 and beyond…

Safe travels to those of you in transit and until next time, SHABL…

P.S: The photo above is from Transnistria.


  1. Gerard ~ GQ trippin

    December 21, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Good to see you aboard Larissa? It’s great that you’ve been able to bounce around the world to see where you like to live the most. I’ve been a local California boy my whole life. Now I’m going to make up for that with an RTW. Good luck finishing up the Master’s program! I just completed my MBA last spring and it was one of the best feelings. Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

    • Julie

      December 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      I am looking forward to reading about your adventures combined with Rob’s encounters! Merry Christmas to you as well!

      • Larissa

        December 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm

        Cool to hear, Julie. My adventures + Rob’s encounters should certainly be enough to entertain you for a while 🙂

    • Larissa

      December 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks? Thanks, G & Q! 🙂 I really love your site and can’t wait to follow you guys on your own journey. Let me know when you make it over to Sweden, or Europe again for that matter. And congrats on finishing your MBA, what a perfect time to take off and do this.

  2. charlie

    December 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Looks like another one of Rob’s egregious additions to SHABL. Glad to see you here Larissa! I know someone who had an adventure in trans-dniester although they said they were glad to be out of there. Are you going to incorporate a twitter with SHABL? Also I bet some of the internet would enjoy your tips/how tos/experiences about studying abroad.


    • Larissa

      December 23, 2011 at 9:14 am

      Hey Charlie! I actually had a really fun time in Tiraspol//Transnistria. Was only going to stay one night but it turned into two. I have to say I wasn’t as glad to get out of there as I was glad that I had the option to, if that makes sense..I will definitely be covering my time spent there in a future post. As well as more on my experience studying abroad.

      In addition to SHABL you can also follow me on Twitter @theblondegypsy or my Tumblr blog http://www.theblondegypsy.tumblr.com.

      • Rob

        December 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        I only went through it on the train, did eat a repulsive sandwich then shockingly another though. Looking forward to hearing about it.

  3. Megan

    December 23, 2011 at 1:58 am

    happy holidays Larissa! i imagine you’re seeing the opposite weather of me right now being in CA. gotta love norway 🙂

    safe travels into the new year!

    • Larissa

      December 23, 2011 at 9:04 am

      Tusen tack Megan…o god jul och gott nytt år till dig x

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