Dear Female Founder,
It’s okay to not fit in. Yes, seriously.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
I know that all the signals society gives us tell us that is not the case, but it is true.
In school, we want to run with the cool girls and adhere to the path laid out for us: ace your GCSE’s, nail your A-Levels, get into the best university, land that coveted graduate scheme.
We want to be good in bed, but not known as easy. We shouldn’t be too loud, but shouldn’t be too quiet, either. We want to make your parents proud and have our teachers like us, but we don’t want to be seen as their pets. Who invented all these norms? Not us, did we?
In fact, I discovered something when I hit thirty. After I had laboured under the weight of regret for years for saying the wrong thing, second guessing my passion, and apologising for my style, I suddenly realised that difference is my (and your) greatest asset. I realised that all the coaching I had received around my personal brand, getting ahead, cutting through the noise all equated to difference.
By now, you are thinking “Oh shut up, I have heard this all before”. And it is true. I’m sure you will have, but how often have you paused and checked your behaviour?
We all say the lines, but we don’t believe them. Don’t lose twenty years like I did, knowing but not internalising. How many of you look back on younger photos and think “Damn, I looked good”? Yet, at the time you probably believed that you would have looked better if you had lost weight / had a different haircut / wore a better dress.
Female confidence is the single biggest inhibitor of progression. My mother told me as a teenager, that everyone in the room was pretending. It wasn’t till a few years ago that I recognised what she described as imposter syndrome. Any successful person I ask (male or female) admits to feeling this most of the time. See, we are all pretending.
We will not punch through that glass ceiling until we believe we can. Till we sleep with who we want to, as often as we like, pursue the activities that make us happy, love with abundance, trust our guts over data, pull the girl up behind you, love and appreciate the body we have been given and be unafraid to sit outside the norm.
Embrace your difference. It is your secret weapon.
I am sure you are thinking “Great, but what tangible things can I do to build confidence, and maybe even become an entrepreneur?”. Here are a few:
Eat your frog everyday. Take the worst thing on your to-do list and do it first. It is amazing how productive the rest of the day will be, if we don’t procrastinate on ugly tasks.
If you’re scared before a meeting, pitch or anything, go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and say these words: “I am the shit”. It does amazing things for confidence.
It’s all about customers, no one else. Don’t be arrogant and think you know what they want. Talk to them every day and hear it from them.
Starting a business is like painting or writing – you just have to start. Stop talking about your ideas and start doing something about them. Anything is good. Starting is the hardest thing, I know, but I’d be very proud of you if you’d start something today.
Alexandra Depledge, MBE, is the co-founder of Helping.com (formerly Hassle.com) and the CEO and co-founder of online architectural platform BuildPath. She is a board member on London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) and was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to the sharing economy.
This letter was first published in the book Dear Female Founder: 66 Letters of Advice from Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Made $1 Billion in Revenue (Blooming Founders Publishing, 2016).
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.