The Wayfaring Autist

Photographs and writings documenting 4 years of non-stop solo travel by an autistic female

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What it the Purpose of this Website?

   This website is a documentation of my four years of travel as an autistic female. It will showcase my photos and writings from my travels and future travels. I am an autistic female in my thirties and in early 2015; I gave up me home and structured lifestyle to travel. I traveled for four years, been to about 40 countries and 4 continents.

  I traveled solo, and I limited my belongings to only  what could fit in a carryon- approved, 40 liter backpack.  I would often work in exchange for food and lodging and spend most of my time in developing countries. I was on a very tight budget.  While autism may make solo travel more difficult, I was extremely  determined to travel.See the About page to read more about me and this website.

I am currently writing a book and about half way finished. I really wish to find a publisher and editor .  I think this book could help others in some way. Traits of Autism do not go away when you travel but it does not make it impossible . The book will focus on autism when traveling solo and how I coped when thing went wrong.  If anyone knows of how to get published, please   Contact me    

Why American Culture is Toxic to People with Autism and Mental Illness

People think that travel is difficult for someone on the spectrum but i do not believe this is so. Travel was so much less stress than working a meaningless job that you hate.  When I traveled full- time i would work for food and a place to sleep. I did not feel too attached to the job because I knew that I could always leave. The whole point was to do a work exchange for a month or so and move on to the next place.

Now that I settled , I feel like my life is meaningless. In America people often have to work numerous jobs that they hate. Many employers will not hire full time labor due to the fact they would have to give them benefits and treat them like human beings.  For someone on the spectrum that can be very difficult. Many of us hyper focus and have difficulty focusing on things that do not interest us.  Another issue with working with autism is that we may have a harder time dealing with pressure and time limits.  I have faced burnout in as short as a month at some jobs.  It is nearly impossible to find jobs as an adult that will accommodate your needs as an autistic person. You are forced to mask all day and for some that results in a meltdown or shutdown.  Most of the government funding goes to school aged-kids and even that is ridiculously low. Adults get cut off  and throw into a world that is way too overwhelming for many of us to thrive. For me this  can result in suicidal ideation and low feelings of self worth.

Travel can provide an escape from that and a sense of relief. Some cultures are not as fast paced as American culture.  As an oversensitive person with autism ,I feel more at ease along the Mekong Delta or Southern Europe than i ever will here.  Whenever i am down or depressed , I consider giving up all of my belongings and leaving again.  Other than Autism, i have sever anxiety, OCD traits and bouts of horrible Depression.  I have panic attacks on occasion.  I had not had one panic attack during my time abroad. My conclusion is that It is a direct result of the culture in America. A culture so competitive seems toxic to me.

In America there is so much to worry about. If you are sick and can not work, you worry about being able to eat. The housing cost is so high and pay is so low.  I have Medicare and it is hard to find doctors that accept it. I have no vision or dental insurance and the copayment for therapists are so high.  If i would be physically injured, i could not work and very well end up sleeping on the streets.  Many of us on the spectrum can not hold down a job and are so burned out when working one that we shut down when we come home. By shut down, i mean have no energy to speak to people. For me i stay in my room for day under a blanket and do not come out.  I usually cry when this happens and sometimes wish that i were dead.

I wish America would slow down it’s pace a bit and not be so angry and competitive. The toxicity of this culture has claimed the lives of countless people. Their lives were lost to health problems triggered by stress or suicide . The truth is many of us with autism develop mental health issues because we can not thrive in such a culture. This has to change but sadly, i doubt it will.





Bird Imagery

I sometimes find is fascinating to sit and watch birds on the water. I can sit and focus on the light reflecting on the water for hours. Most of these shots were taking in Central Europe where you can often see swans on the water. It was really the first time i have seen swans in the wild and they look superb in photographs. 

Autistic sterotypes and individuality

According to stereotypes as autistic people we are said to be rigid and obsessed with structure. The media portray us as a burden to society and broken. Television often stereotypes us to be savants with minds like a computer system. Another stereotype is that we feel nothing which is completely untrue. Some stereotypes may apply to some of us but we are individuals. Being an individual means we obviously have different needs and desires. According to many of these stereotypes and societal misunderstanding, dreams of travel and wanderlust are unrealistic and will probably never be true. Luckily, this is kind of bullshit for some of us.

I once believed the stereotypes, and it gave me a feeling of worthlessness . I used to dream of travel but I never thought it was obtainable. The day I left home and shoved all my belongings in a 50 lt backpack was scary. I guessed it would last a few months at most but it lasted for 4 years. It trained me to be more flexible and made it where I was comfortable to talk to people. It made me independent and it was my education. I learned a lot and it taught me immense empathy and patience.

This blog will be about long term Travel and the effect my autism had on my lifestyle. It is my personal feelings and opinions. If you are on the spectrum and do not feel the same, please do not be offended.

Pathway in Armenia

This was taken near the Turkish border. To get to this area, i took an old mini bus from Yerevan at the bus station (sort of bus station) two taxi drivers lied to me and claimed that the bus did not exit.  Obviously the bus did exist and was filled with locals going back to their villages. I hitchhiked back.  It was a very impressive area and secluded. At the near-by monastery. There were groups of Russian tourists but few ventured past that.

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