Linda Goh – Intrepid Solo Woman Traveler – World Is Her Oyster
SmartDory meets Malaysian Linda Goh, who has lived in United Arab Emirates, Maldives, China, and Thailand.
An intrepid Solo Woman Traveler, Linda has traveled to over 25 countries, Asia (10 countries), Middle East (9 countries), Europe (6 counties), and Australia.
Linda Goh identifies as a global citizen who believes that everyone has equal rights to basic needs, education, and freedom to make choices in life.
She enjoys playing an active role in her community and strives to make the planet more peaceful, sustainable, and liveable.
Where travel is a concern, Linda wishes for the day where there will be no diplomatic borders or sanctions, and we will all be able to travel the world without a passport or visa?
An independent and “a free-spirited girl who stands up for herself” – Linda Goh’s placement in the world is one of global citizenship.
Her vision is to explore a borderless world where travel is unconfined, sustainable, and liveable.
Linda confesses to SmartDory that she takes off at the drop of a hat into the world’s playground.
Her spontaneous adventures and stories are vivid, amusing, left Dory gasping in disbelief.
While ordinary people aim to travel to a new destination once a year, this fearless wanderer disagrees, as she doesn’t want to limit her sojourns to one goal when she could go everywhere.
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Does this lady globe trotter have a bucket list trip or country that you’ve always wanted to explore but have yet to do so?
Linda wants to train to be super fit to walk the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela route in Spain (known in English as the Way of St. James) – a unique pilgrimage route of self-discovery and Christ.
As a noble Buddhist, she wants to challenge herself to go as far as her feet take her on a spiritual journey and a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
That coupled with visiting and living in “The Land of Fire,” Azerbaijan is her fervent wish to explore the world’s beautiful lands with unique traditions, nature, architecture, and mysteries.
1. Where and when was your most impromptu trip?
I’ve made many impromptu trips.
The most exciting and adventurous experience was a solo trip to Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2011.
I booked a ticket from Dubai to Tbilisi to escape from work stress over a long weekend without knowing much about the destination.
Little did I know, I was on an inaugural flight to an unknown city.
Back then, Tbilisi was not as touristic as today.
There weren’t many accommodation choices to choose from when I landed in the wee hours of the morning.
I had no choice but to crash in an old colonial guesthouse that looked like a Rapunzel’s tower.
I enjoyed discovering beautiful Tbilisi, its delicious food, and its rich culture.
I had a lot of fun and fond memories of my first snowfall, crashing a stranger’s birthday party, and visited the city of love called “Sighnaghi.”
I made several friends during the trip, including a crush, I still keep in touch with until today (wink*), and the rest is history.
Sometimes, the best adventure comes from life’s unplanned moments.
2. What kind of work did you do that was the most enriching?
In 2010, I took a sabbatical year to volunteer for various causes to help refugees from Myanmar.
The program included taking part in an outreach clinic organized by Mercy Malaysia – to provide primary healthcare to Rohingya refugees in different parts of Malaysia.
I also spent a month living with a group of young adult refugees from the Karen tribe in Mae Hong Son Province (in Northern Thailand, along the Myanmar border)
I taught English and language teaching skills.
Discovering survival skills and life from a refugee perspective opened my eyes to the luxury of convenience that we often take for granted.
These out-of-the-classroom lessons are more valuable than the lessons that I taught them in class.
3. Do you miss Malaysian celebrations or food while traveling or living overseas?
I’ve spent most of my childhood years in Malaysia, and I believe that’s more than enough time spent discovering a country.
I always take the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the local culture and be part of the local community wherever I go.
It is only wise to embrace diversity and cherish each other’s unique qualities as citizens of the world.
4. When you are out eating, which is your preferred food?
I don’t have any preference for food.
As long as it is hygienic, edible, and recognizable!
I like tasting kebab sandwiches from different places – it’s one of the easily acceptable staple food.
From the Shawarma, popular in the Middle East, to the Greek gyro and the German Doner Kebab – I like the popular variants worldwide.
5. How do you pack for your trips?
I try to pack as light as possible whenever I travel.
I usually organize my essential items in small bottles or containers.
I fold my clothes into palm-sized pieces and placed them in see-through zip-lock bags to identify them quickly.
I traveled a lot for business and attended exhibitions in different countries over a week and sometimes for months.
So, packing everything in a compact suitcase or a hand carry bag saved me a lot of time and hassles whenever I’m on the move.
Besides, I prefer walking out of an airport immediately after I touched down without waiting and queuing at the luggage collection area.
6. Between Hill or Sea, which do you prefer?
I like the soft touch of sands between my toes, feeling the sea breeze brushing through my salty hair and face, and sun-bathe myself under the warm sunshine.
It ain’t a holiday without a crispy tan.
7. What are the ten things you will never leave home without apart from your passport/visa and money?
- credit or debit card
- mobile phone
- mobile phone charger
- multi travel plug adapter
- daily use contact lens
- disposable underwear
- nipple covers
- 3-in-1 hair, body, and face wash
- 3-in-1 face palette/colour stick
8. Which female superhero do you most identify with?
I admire Angelina Jolie; she is a strong female idol with many kids worldwide, like a mini UN in the family.
9. What or who inspired you to travel?
What–A neighbor’s son gave me an atlas when I was about eight years old. I was so fascinated by the geographical terrains of the world, and I dreamt about visiting every country when I grow up.
Who–My late aunt was an avid traveler who had traveled to every continent of the world.
She started traveling solo, explored the world independently in middle age, and never stopped traveling until she was gravely ill.
With minimal foreign language acquisition and literacy, she discovered places and lived in several countries throughout her life.
I have great respect for her courage to break through the social barriers and burning aspirations to experience the world.
She would share her travel stories with me whenever she visited us, and I’ve always looked up to her as a source of inspiration since I was a child.
10. What are the wise words of advice you would give to your 20 y/o self if you could go back in time?
Stepping out of your comfort zone or social and cultural limitations is a crucial breakthrough.
Traveling solo is often the most crucial step of a lifetime journey.
So, do whatever makes your soul happy, even if it makes life uncomfortable for a while.
No woman should ever stop exploring her limits and not be afraid of failing or taking a detour.
It is because you’ll never know where life takes you.
Just leap of faith and always trust your instinct that eventually, things will fall into place.
Linda Goh Quote
“Follow your heart and discover the world with your eyes and heart wide open.” – Linda Goh.
In summary, after speaking with Linda Goh, SmartDory is inspired to travel more, diversify my tastebuds, sample different foods, and experience how the other side of the world works.
I know I will learn a whole lot more than I ever learned in school.
Your life will change – are you up to it?
Above all, I know that I will be more compassionate about life.
I know you have 101 Questions to Ask Women Who Travel Solo.
Look out for the next feature of SmartDory Travel Girls.
If you want to be featured or know of a single woman traveler who fits the bill, share the story, love, and write me.