My Travel Ratings As a Solo Traveler for 15 Cities

Paris is great even as a poor student. I studied business management there for one semester in 2011. Everyone is stylish, food is great and the atmosphere is super chill. Photo by: Julien Brault

I can adapt to many countries and locations since I come from an international background. In many cities people have mistaken me as a local like in Paris and NYC. It’s cute, but then there are cities that are not so friendly towards solo female travellers with an international background. I chose these 15 cities because I have either lived there, spent enough time to get a good understanding of the atmosphere or applied/ looked for work there. I didn’t include my short tourist/ work trips, such as Tallinn, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Nice and Prague because I wanted to make a list of cities where I have experience of most of the things below. One to five day trips don’t really give a realistic idea unless you have time to do all of the things below. πŸ˜ƒ

If you are planning to move abroad as a solo person, I have listed these factors below to consider when planning to relocate to another country. Here’s my PERSONAL list of cities where I have received hostile treatment vs. friendly and which cities are affordable. Thumbs up is friendly, fun and affordable. Thumbs down, hostile, maybe even racist, very expensive. Both thumbs is either or, good and bad. Maybe it’s super fun and friendly but way too expensive or it’s an affordable place but super boring and impossible to find a quality partner. I’ll write a separate post of finding quality partners in different cities.

Airport/ Train/ Metro:
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ New York City, United States. Airport security and police were friendly and “welcomed me back home” and gave me chocolate. πŸ˜„
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Barcelona, Spain. I had extra kilos and I didn’t have to remove stuff thanks to the friendly lady.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok, Thailand. Amazing customer service, felt safe as a female solo traveler and no hostility towards foreigners.
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna, Austria. Friendly, great public transportation, no problems.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Milan, Italy. Friendly, no problems.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ Malta. It’s a very tiny island, but well organized and safe for solo travelers.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia, Bulgaria. I never took the metro, but people were helpful in the tram when I asked for directions.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌ Berlin, Germany. First time I arrived in Berlin as an exchange-student, a man helped me with my heavy suitcase (though he wasn’t airport staff). Same thing happened at a metro station, some man offered to carry my luggage up the staircase.πŸ˜„ In Munich airport the cafe guy gave me a candy bag for free and that was just three years ago. πŸ˜„
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon, Portugal. Friendly, welcoming and chill atmosphere.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌ London, UK. Airport and public transport was normal, nothing especially alarming.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Dublin, Ireland. Friendly, but what annoyed me was that you had to buy the little plastic bag for your cosmetics for 1€! The airports always give it for free so this was ridiculous.
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌParis, France. The airport lady didn’t charge me for extra kilos or ask me to remove stuff. Though, some metro lines and Gare du Nord train station are full of beggers and you really have to watch out for your bag. It took a while to get used to police men carrying semiautomatic rifles at train stations. πŸ˜„
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. Taxi drivers were very helpful towards female solo travelers. Airport people were WEIRD as fuck to say the least. I think they are either bored or don’t have too many brown people coming around. A blonde woman with a baby and some older man were trying to peek at my phone and were staring at me like a criminal when I was waiting for my plane. Also all the signs were super confusing so I got lost and did the security check twice. In comparison to Paris where tourist signs were very clear and directions were clearly marked.
  14. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ New Delhi, India. People are friendly, but as a female solo traveler it can be very dangerous. Men stare in a primitive way and I have actually never in my life taken public transportation there, just private cars with drivers. For female solo travelers it’s a big NO.
  15. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich, Switzerland. Nobody helped me with my heavy suitcase even though people saw me struggling at the train station. I changed my train twice and nobody helped, just stared. Very cold atmosphere.
Nightclubs/ Restaurants/ Beauty and Hair Salons:
Malta was a fun place to live for four months in 2017. Many international students and young professionals. I’m here with French and Italian new friends. Photo by: Bacco by Hugo’s
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ Milan. Super friendly atmosphere, easy to meet people. Though I knew people when I went there so it made easier. I got in to all the clubs and even to a private fashion party with my male model friends. πŸ˜ƒ Nice times.
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok. Friendly, though I didn’t visit too many nightclubs. Tourist areas were HORRIBLE. British drunks ruined that place for sure, but there were some quiet bars to sit, talk and have a drink. Tourist guided tours are good for solo travellers to meet people. Hanged out with British and German young tourists.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Barcelona. Very hip city. Even though I went there for work, I spend a couple days with my friend touristing around. Easy to get around alone, safe, affordable and nice sophisticated clubs.
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon. Super chill, friendly and vacay mode. The beach is not far from the city, so you can chill at the beach and enjoy the nightlife in the city. Clubs are sophisticated and safe.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Malta. Very young and extroverted. It’s full of foreigners. My landlord was almost the only Maltese person I hanged out with. Clubs are very cool, friendly and safe. A bit pricey however.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ New Delhi. Never went to a nightclub in India, but beauty salons are really good. Restaurants are amazing and yes the food is different than you get in Europe. They use very strong spices, Western stomachs need to be prepared. Indian bakeries are totally worth trying.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna. Small but sophisticated city. Elegant, international and calm. Nightclubs have an age limit 15, so it was fun to go when I was teenager. The Donau river is super cool in the summer. It’s like mini Miami Beach or something. πŸ˜„ You can do sports, rent a pedal boat, have delicious cocktails and enjoy life.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia. Friendly, top notch beauty treatments, manicures, pedicures, and cellulite salons. Nightclubs are cool and fun, but don’t go in with too many dudes. πŸ˜† Restaurants are nice and peaceful.
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ London. People stare at Indian people in restaurants. It happened in two different trips with different people. Very expensive prices too, but then again it’s London. It’s worth paying and experiencing.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich. Nightclubs are safe and relaxed, very empty during the week though. Restaurants are very expensive, not for budget traveling. I stayed and cooked at a friend’s house, but for normal solo tourists I don’t recommend. It can be a bit boring because it’s very career oriented city.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Paris. When I went with an Asian female friend to a nightclub, they let us in for free and the male bouncer complimented us. When I tried to go with a black guy, Moroccan guy and a Jewish guy to a club they refused to let us in. πŸ˜‚
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Berlin. Good is that bartenders always serve women first. Bad is racism and my Turkish guy friend didn’t get in to a club because he was Turkish. They told him “we have too many Turkish people in already”. Omg. I also didn’t get in to a club because I was “dressed too fancy”, though I heard from my friends that everyone had tattoos and black clothes in that club. 🀣
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ NYC. It’s not for the poor. I had savings and friends when I went there, but nail salon ladies laughed at my discount coupons.🀣🀣 I guess Manhattan people don’t use coupons but I went as an unemployed single tourist. No rich man to give me money. 🀣 Though in my favorite salad bar Chopt Creative Salad in Manhattan, the guy making my salad noticed an older posh lady was trying to skip ahead of me and he got pissed off at her haha. A+ for his customer service and their salads!
  14. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Dublin. Even though the Barbie hairdressers all had dirty looks when I walked in lol, they were PROFESSIONAL enough to tell me that the highlights that I asked won’t look good on my dark base and I ended up leaving the salon looking fabulous. πŸ’‡πŸ½β€β™€οΈ Though I did have a bad experience with a hotel. I asked for dry cleaning, paid for it and they gave it to me in a laundry bag still DIRTY claiming it was clean. 🀣 I got food vouchers as compensation though.
  15. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. A chill small country, but also very expensive. I didn’t actually eat out at all except in McDonalds. πŸ˜‚ I bought fresh ready made salads from the supermarket and bakeries had affordable bread and pastries. Not for budget traveling.
The Donau river in Vienna is fun and affordable. Great sports options, holiday fun and chill bars and clubs. I’ve been to Vienna several times. This picture is from 2003 and I rented a pedal boat with my friends. Photo by: Karin Ruotsi
Quality of Life/ Safety/ Career Opportunities:
Sofia is a friendly city with very affordable apartments. The balconies are huge and you can find big places for less than 400 euros rent in a good and safe neighbourhood. Photo by: Sonia Jain
  1. πŸ‘πŸΌ London. If you can get a job, it’s a great city. Without a job not very affordable. The good thing is that you don’t need any extra languages, but also a lot of competition.
  2. πŸ‘πŸΌ Bangkok. Safe, friendly and clean, weather is good and food is awesome. Not sure about career opportunities for foreigners, but they are friendly towards foreigners.
  3. πŸ‘πŸΌ Sofia. You can have a good quality of life for a very affordable budget. Career opportunities are better for foreigners than for locals. Something you don’t see too often in Europe. πŸ˜‚
  4. πŸ‘πŸΌ Vienna. Safe, affordable and surprisingly fun! There are big organisations such as IAEA from the UN ( behind me in the pic), so foreigners don’t necessarily need to speak German to get a job.
  5. πŸ‘πŸΌ Lisbon. Very relaxed, friendly and clean city. Many foreigners’ favourite. Never applied for work there though.
  6. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌDublin. Depends on the neighbourhood, but my student apartment was very expensive and brand new, next to the new tram line and my college. In the end of the road, however, were drug dealers. πŸ˜†It was very scary at times and there were many young hooligans. One of my Asian classmates had kids throw rocks at her. Career opportunities are really great though, many big corporations such as Microsoft and Oracle.
  7. πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Berlin. Very vibrant city, super cool, fun, affordable and safe, but a bit hostile towards foreigners. A lot of punks with big dogs. It’s better to know German if you look for work.
  8. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Paris. I LOVE Paris, but career opportunities are a bit narrow if you don’t speak French.
  9. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Zurich. Safe, clean and rich, but you need to speak German, French or Italian for job opportunities. Not a place to live with a small salary.
  10. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Luxembourg. Safe, clean and rich, but you need to speak French for better career opportunities. Not a place to live with a small salary.
  11. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Malta. Super cold inside the apartments in winter. The apartments are built from some rock material, the moisture builds in and most of them don’t have heating in all rooms. I lived in two different apartments and my bedrooms didn’t have heating! Career opportunities for foreigners are good but a bit limited to online casinos and banks.
  12. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ NYC. NYC is one of my favourite cities with amazing food, people and fashion, but it’s a SUPER competitive job market. It’s a challenge to look for work there because it’s also very expensive. The customer service jobs don’t pay enough for rent. You need a really good job to survive and then it’s great.
  13. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Milan. Friendly, fashionable and chill. Not very cheap either though. Salaries are not very high compared to Finland for example, yet the prices are almost the same.
  14. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Barcelona. It’s a safe city, but again, expensive and salaries are small. Never applied for a job there but heard complaints from locals. Many (corporate) jobs require you to speak Spanish.
  15. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘ŽπŸΌ New Delhi. It’s friendly and amazing for tourists, but for settling down for Westerners it might be a bit much. Women can’t walk around alone late in the evening and there’s generally less freedom than in Europe. Never applied for work there, but Indians are very friendly, open-minded and respectful towards foreigners.

So as a conclusion, the winners for the most thumb ups are Bangkok, Sofia and Vienna! Vienna was actually my favorite city for a long time until I went to Paris and NYC. πŸ˜„ Sofia is a place I could definitely live in, the weather is great and I blend right in as people are very mixed. Thailand is a favourite for many people. The perfect city is very hard to find and of course everything is more fun with a good job and money. For more fun, avoid going to nightclubs with a bunch of dudes! πŸ˜†πŸ˜‰ If you’re a dude, go with five girls and you’re good! ☺️

Thailand was great as a solo traveler! It is safe, friendly and affordable. This was my first SOLO trip abroad without any friends, family or colleagues in 2015. People are very friendly and lots of cultural activities to see and do. Be aware of how to dress though. Trashy tourist look with micro shorts and a tank top isn’t acceptable in temples.

Travel with a 100€ ($117) budget to Tallinn

Tallinn city view from Sokos Hotel Viru rooftop, 23rd floor, KGB Museum. Photo: Sonia Jain

Depends where you live, but a quick trip to one of your neighboring countries or states refreshes your mind and makes you happy. In Europe, it’s relatively easy and affordable to visit your neighboring countries. So I decided after a dreadful 2 YEARS 4 MONTHS without a single trip abroad that I’m going to Tallinn, Estonia with a 100€ ($117) budget. I went alone because I don’t have many friends and the ones I have were working. πŸ€“ It was a quick one day trip, left my house at 8.30am in the morning and came back at 11pm.

I think not travelling for almost two and half years blurred my brain and I fell for all of the tourist traps in Tallinn. LOOOL. I was like a countryside person traveling for the first time.πŸ˜‚ Anyhow, here’s how I spent my budget and you can also watch my travel vlogs (links in the end):

  1. 14€ ferry with return. Day trips are cheaper from Helsinki to Tallinn. Book in advance.
  2. 12€ bus/ tram with return to go to the ferry from my apartment.
  3. 2,90€ Coke Zero in a cafe in the ferry. I quit drinking alcohol three months ago.
  4. 15,50€ lunch with tip. I had black truffle risotto with sparking water. I went to one of the most expensive tourist areas because I was a hungry tourist.🀣 Another tourist trap, because you can find much cheaper places if you search a little. Though I really loved the food, service and interior design of Rado restoran. Even the bathroom was like an art gallery! You can check my Instagram for pictures.
  5. 5,60€ coffee and cake in a cute little cafe, Saiakangi kohvik. Also in the Old Town tourist area, but very relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Nobody stares at you even as a brown woman!! πŸ˜‚
  6. 5,50€ vegan wrap take away dinner. After my coffee and cake, I realised I don’t have much time to sit down for dinner before my ferry left, so I just decided on the quick and easy option and ate my vegan take away wrap in the ferry. I found a nice public sitting area with tables and a window view.
  7. 10€ bike taxi. It’s a tourist trap! The price depends where you go, but going to the Old Town can be up to 25€ for two people. Solo travelers don’t have boyfriends to pay for their travel costs, but we do have the advantage of negotiation skills.πŸ˜ƒ By the way, you can walk to the Old Town from the harbour in 15-20min.
  8. 12€ KGB museum at Sokos Viru Hotel. It’s a tourist trap! Even though you get a guided tour for one hour, the museum itself is very small, only one room, lobby and two rooftop balconies that are worth the view though. You also get a soft drink for 1€ from the hotel lobby. If you’re tight with time and money, skip this one. The tour guide was very funny though, so if you feel lonely as a solo traveler, this is a good option to spend your time and possibly make new friends! πŸ™‚
  9. 5€ KGB prison cells. Definitely worth it. It’s also a small museum, but very informative and you can read all the information from the info boards on the walls and listen to the info videos. If you have any questions, the museum person was a very friendly young Estonian guy. Bonus, a creepy prison toilet for tourists! πŸ˜„
  10. 8,80€ for candy!! The ferries are full of booze, cigarettes and candy. Very healthy haha.πŸ˜… Sometimes you can treat yourself though and candy was kind of my only option. Maybe my next trip will be to Bali beach with fresh fruit and smoothies. Though that won’t be budget traveling and for my current budget. Unless you buy my budgeting guides I can start saving. πŸ˜‰

Here’s my short Youtube video (1min 52sec) of the trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDxc5LnJluc . If you don’t want to hear me speak, I made one with music (1min 34sec). πŸ˜ƒ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYAnZGXNSuA . πŸ˜‚πŸ‘πŸ½

What to Buy When Your Weekend Budget for Grocesories is 20€ ($23,60)

So my weekend budget is 20€ ($23,60). πŸ˜ƒWhich groceries did I buy and did I leave any money to go out?

Here’s what I planned before I went to the supermarket and what I bought for the whole weekend for myself and my cats:

  1. Plan your meals for the whole weekend. Breakfast, lunch, dessert, dinner, drinks and evening snacks.
  2. Salad, carrots, cucumber. I had potatoes, tomatoes, onion, olive oil, salt, and two cans of kidney beans at home. So all these ingredients together will make a salad of 3-4 portions.
  3. Crispbread. I use crispbread as crutons for my salad and you can also eat it with butter as breakfast. If I make soup, crispbread is perfect to crumble on top of it or eat it with butter with your soup.
  4. Cat food. My two cats share one 80g wet food portion per one meal, sometimes 50g portion. If you don’t have cats, use that money to buy food items that last for a long time and can be used for a variety of dishes, such as canned beans, tomato sauce, pasta, noodles, rice.
  5. Flavored tofu. It doesn’t need any extra sauce, just maybe onions and some soya sauce. Serve with rice. One tofu package makes two meals.
  6. Soya milk. I mix it with my coffee, cereal, smoothies and protein powder mix.
  7. Frozen mangoes. I had bananas in my fridge, so I can make 2-3 smoothies (5dl/ 2 cups per smoothie) with one frozen mangoes package, two bananas and soya milk.
  8. Flavored sparkling water 1,5l and one ice cream. Everyone needs a treat and 1€ ($1,18) vegan ice cream is great when you’re on a budget. Since I quit alcohol, I started drinking flavored water and it’s a nice refreshing tasty drink with low sugar.

I spent 19,00€ ($22,48) so I have some change left for another dessert if my sweet tooth aches again this weekend. No money left for partying, but it’s ok since Helsinki nightlife is super BORING and small scale compared to NYC. πŸ˜‚ Anyway, happy weekend everyone!! πŸ˜ƒ

Glamorous Sonia’s weekend salad within a budget. πŸ˜‰πŸ₯—πŸ’°Photo: Sonia Jain

Managing Your Credit Card Debt

Budgeting is all about keeping your expenses in tact. You don’t want to spend extra money on interest rates, reminders for paying your bills etc. I’m not a millionaire, I do have A LOT of credit card debt and I’m struggling to pay my bills. So there are people who argue I’m not the best person to give advice to others. Maybe, but I’m speaking about my own personal experiences. I’m writing my own personal story of how I have managed my finances AND avoided bankruptcy while struggling with unemployment and living and paying bills alone in the past seven years.

Here are some things I have PERSONALLY done to manage my credit card debt:

  1. Pay the minimum. If it is the only amount you can afford, negotiate the monthly instalments with your bank. You’ll pay more in interest rates, but sometimes you need to eat too. Also, it’s better that the bank expects you to pay the minimum each month, because it’s always better to voluntarily pay more if you can instead of negotiating each time with the bank if you can pay less.
  2. Utilize free months for your credit card bill. Most banks and credit card companies have this policy. You can have two or more months per year when you don’t need to pay the minimum on your credit card bill. Check with them ASAP and negotiate which months you would like skip paying the minimum fee. Notice though that the interest rate will be deducted from the next month’s instalment. This trick doesn’t save you money, but it simply helps you manage better your low finances for the month and get you back on track for the next month.
  3. Negotiate with the bank/ landlord/ credit card company/ shoe store. Where ever your debt is from, a credit card company, a bank, a phone company, a clothing store etc., you can always try to negotiate longer payment periods, monthly instalments or change the due date of the invoice. It might cost a little extra, but it’s worth not losing your credit record AND you get to keep your shoes and bread and milk. πŸ™‚πŸ™ƒ
  4. Once you get a job, pay the whole credit card debt at once. I’ve had some random jobs in the past seven years while looking for a full time job and even though the pay has been total crap compared to what I should be earning, I’ve always been rational about paying my bills. If I have money, I pay them. If I don’t, I don’t have a choice but to use my credit card to buy food and it’s OK, as long as you pay the minimum each month. I did once the mistake of not paying my whole credit card debt when I could have, and it has been haunting me ever since. Of course when I use my credit card regularly, the debt never decreases.
  5. Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. I never had to think about it when I had a full-time job and had to unfortunately learn it while been unemployed. When I got some money from the company I used to work for, I thought I’ll pay ALL my debt and bills off at once. WRONG. Unemployment and the stress and loneliness of being bullied, discriminated in the job market and living alone took its toll on the money. So I decided to pay a little off (after my over priced rent) from my student debt, a little from my credit card debt, and took a nice vacation. What I should have done was 1. Paid the credit card debt in FULL off 2. Took a vacation 3. Paid my student loan. Yes, I put a vacation before student loan, because the interest rate is very low in the student loan. You need to have a stress-free mind to think rationally. So never underestimate the power of vacations and who knows what kind of cool people you could meet on those trips to share your bills and rent with. πŸ˜‰

I hope this helps a little! Let me know your thoughts and comments. πŸ™‚πŸ’°πŸ’°

credit card debt. budgeting. living within a budget.
Managing your credit card debt is important so you don’t pay extra in interest rates and worst case lose your credit record. πŸ’³πŸ’Έ

If You Love Your Brands Like I do, You Can Still Buy Them With a Small Budget

Even if you can’t live without your Fila, Nike, Michael Kors, Gucci stuff, there are ways to buy them without paying a full price. No, I don’t mean steal them or buy stolen stuff, but sales, second-hands from your friend circle, recycling and so on.

I have always sold my brand bags when I no longer like them and use that money to buy a new bag. This is a great tactic because you don’t waste your bags or money. So here’s my quick list for buying quality brands but paying less:

  1. Sales. This is obviously a no-brainer for everyone. Just make sure to time your shopping perfectly to get the maximum price deduction. If you can wait, the prices decrease towards the end of the sale.
  2. Brand outlets. These are gems. They often sell last season products, but really if you don’t work for Vogue, who cares?
  3. Buy online. You can save a ton of money by buying online. International shipping is often free of charge too, you just have to find the right stores that ship to your country. Make sure to do your research on international sizes though.
  4. Buy when you’re on holidays (not fake stuff though). Obviously now is not the time for international traveling, but when the borders open up again and tourism is back on track, don’t waste your opportunity for tax-free shopping. Many countries offer this and the ones that don’t might still have cheaper clothes than your home country, because of better exchange rates.
  5. Recycling. Second-hand stores and flea markets are a millennial’s dream. You can get money for your old stuff AND buy new stuff for crazy cheap prices.
  6. Friend circle. Depends who your friends are of course, lol, but this is a good way to get the style you like for a reasonable price and you’ll match your friends. πŸ™‚
  7. Cheap sports stores. Many budget sports stores have opened up to compete with the expensive sports stores. They are very good places to find quality brands for less money.
  8. Directly from the brand. Brands make their own pricing, so when they want to get rid off their last season stuff, they’ll sell their own stuff SUPER cheap. Sign up for your favourite brands’ newsletters and get the info on sales before others!
  9. Cheap electronics stores. There are always cheaper electronics stores that have the exact same stuff than luxury department stores.
  10. Budget stores. Brand shampoos can be 30% cheaper than in a normal store! It’s exactly the same stuff too.

So even when you’re living on a tight budget, you don’t have to look like a beggar. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’°πŸ‘

You can buy quality brands with a small budget too. Photo: Sonia Jain

Affordable Beauty Rituals For Men and Women

I’ve experimented quite a bit with different beauty treatments. Well that was when I had a job and money. Lately, I’ve just settled for home remedies and exercising. πŸ˜„ They can however, go along way when you’re on a budget.

Here’s a list of all the affordable beauty treatments I’ve tried and what works and what doesn’t:

  1. Wax hair removal. Doesn’t work on sensitive skin. At least at home, didn’t try at the salon. I got a bad rash and it left me ingrown hair.
  2. Sugar hair removal. Works. Tried at the salon to remove hair from my upper lip.
  3. Homemade scrubs. Works. Coffee scrub for your body is cool because it’s cheap and effective. Though if you have sensitive skin you should mix in some coconut oil etc. You can also use avocado as a facial to purify your skin on your face.
  4. Hairsalon vs. home dye. Depends. I tried highlights at home, literally NEVER worked out.πŸ˜† Highlights at the salon works. (If you pick a good hair stylist) If you have an even hair color, such as black, it’s super easy to dye the roots yourself. Just make sure your skin tone and hair colour compliment each other. Nothing looks tackier than bleach blonde hair on very dark skin and pitch black hair on super pale skin. As a general rule, warm tones for brown skin, cold tones for light skin. I prefer for example blonde-toffee color highlights. In my opinion, unnatural bright red doesn’t look good on ANYONE ever.
  5. Eye creams for dark under eyes. Doesn’t work. I tried like twenty different ones from 3€- 100€ ($3,40- $112). The 100€ ($112) does NOT work. I bought it when I had a full-time job and a regular salary. It was purely marketing and waste of money unfortunately. Dark under eyes are inherited, so depends on your genes and ethnicity. Traditional sleep deprivation is different than my dark under eyes. Some racist men have also made it their mission to make sure I know I have the eye bags and YES, I fucking know.
  6. Teeth whitening. Works. 7,5% or 9,5% Day White ACP Hydrogen Peroxide for 10-20min twice per day for a week at home rather than at the dentist, because if you have sensitive teeth, it will hurt like hell at the dentist. I tried and the problem for my teeth is that they use too strong Hydrogen Peroxide because they need the results in one hour. My dentist recommended me the home kit because I told him my teeth are super sensitive. He also said whitening toothpastes are a marketing trick and damage your teeth. The dentist makes a custom mould for your teeth and you buy the whitening gel from your dentist or online, such as dentist.net.
  7. Hair and nail growth supplements. Depends. I bought some from a pharmacist in Paris and they worked like magic! I guess it depends on your country’s regulations, what stuff is allowed and what is banned.
  8. Coconut oil. Works. It’s usually used as skin moisturiser. The only downside is that you smell like coconuts.😝 Maybe better not to use before going to the office.
  9. Avocado oil. Works. I bought it from a nail salon. It strengthens fragile nails.
  10. Castor oil. Doesn’t work. I used it for growing my eyebrows and eyelashes for more than a year. I didn’t really see any visible results in my eyebrows, though my eyelashes did get thicker.
  11. Argan oil. Works. This oil is used for dry or damaged hair. It worked for my hair because I used to have natural blonde highlights. Though my hair is naturally TOO oily and that is why I preferred highlights to dry my hair a little bit so I didn’t have to wash it everyday.
  12. Vicco Indian cream. Works. This cream works like magic for pimples and red spots. It’s available in Asian stores in Europe or if you go to India, it costs only one euro ($1,20) there.
  13. Vitamin supplements. Depends. I didn’t notice any difference when I took vitamin supplements and vitamin drinks. However, I haven’t tried many of them and there MANY. When I lived in NYC for a couple months, my roommate was a model and she recommended me vitamins for pregnant women even if you’re not pregnant. She told me they have more nutritions than normal vitamin supplements. Haven’t tried them yet though.
  14. Finnish sauna. Works. You sweat off toxins, it clear out your skin and you come out relaxed! Finnish sauna is a wooden sauna usually kept at 80 Celsius degrees. I like to sit alone for an hour. I used to go once a week when I lived in an apartment that had one.
  15. Drink two litres of water everyday. Works. Some people don’t like the taste of water, so you can drink sparkling water, add lemon/ lime juice or orange pieces, strawberries or add some store bought flavor. Water clears your skin and keeps you hydrated. Also helps for cellulite.
  16. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Works. For example just eating half a grapefruit has your daily intake of vitamin C. 🍎🍊
  17. Gave up sugar for eight months. Works. It worked miracles on cellulite, but it comes back once you stop your sugar-free diet. Sugar is unfortunately my weak spot, because I’m under constant stress as an unemployed single woman.😫
  18. Followed mostly a plant-based diet. Depends. You are what you eat. I tried to become a vegan, but currently follow a dairy-free pescatarian diet. I eat tofu, fresh spinach, rice and potatoes.
  19. Oily fish. Depends. Even though I try to eat vegan food most of the time, oily fish, such as salmon is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids.
  20. Gave up alcohol. This is a very new thing to me (even though I had a couple of 8-month periods without alcohol). There is an endless list of the harmful effects of alcohol for your body and mind. I used to think a few glasses of wine are healthy and vodka helps purify toxins in your body. I have changed my mind now. Let’s see how the results will be by the end of the year. I will keep you updated. πŸ˜‰
Eating healthy and exercising go A LONG way. Eat your veggies EVERY DAY and have fish once per week. Add some nice make-up, stylish hair and trendy clothes and you’re good to go!πŸ˜‰πŸ’‹ Emphasize your features that bring you confidence. πŸ™Œ Photo: Sonia Jain

Job Hunting Glamorously

If you’re unemployed, you know how stressful the situation is. If you are also single, you’ve also probably experienced the total disinterest in dating and meeting new people. When you focus on how to earn a buck for food, you’re not really interested in finding a man to have a bunch of screaming babies with.🀣 Also, the Coronavirus situation has disrupted the global job market. The ones who have now suffered the most in this situation are people like me, freelancers, job-seekers and singles. I simply have no income outlets at the moment and it’s a sad reality of our selfish discriminatory society.

Job hunting requires you to dress well, look representable, be nice, be diplomatic and know your stuff. So to keep a cool head and not look like a homeless hobo, you need to learn how to manage your stuff. Here are some things I have done in the past SEVEN years in Finland while looking for a full-time job worth my Master’s Degree in International Business Management:

  1. Kept a professional wardrobe. You never know when your next job interview is or if someone will hire you from abroad, so you need to have some business clothes ready and in hand. You can get designer clothes on sale from online stores, such as Farfetch. Zara and Mango are great too if you apply to a tech company where nobody understands fashion and you’re BROKE AF like me.πŸ˜†
  2. Learned to manage stress by MYSELF. I tried online therapy, talked to some mental health professionals and they didn’t help me AT ALL. It was the exact opposite, I felt more miserable after talking to these judgemental unempathetic “professionals”. Exercising, drinking wine, petting my cats and talking to old people have helped me. Old people have manners and values that under 65 year olds simply don’t have. They grew up in the generation of surviving, so they don’t whine about stupid shit.
  3. You need your electronics. Buy second hand if needed or pay monthly installments. Of course, you need a phone for calls, a laptop for modifying your CV (you can check Adobe Office packages for students if you are eligable or buy a normal package) and an affordable Internet plan. For example, I have a cheap phone plan with Internet instead of having Wifi in my apartment, so you can do your job hunting anywhere at anytime and call abroad etc.
  4. Pay your bills on time so you don’t get a mark on your credit record. Negotiate with your bank if you need to. Some employers will check this stuff.
  5. Exercise regularly. You won’t feel like drinking every night or binge eating when you maintain an exercise routine that you follow every week. When you know you have to do heavy exercise in the morning, you will not drink, smoke or do anything unhealthy the night before. Also it’s very important to keep a cool head and helps cope with continuous years and years long stress. Your energy levels will be high too and employers will appreciate high energy people.
  6. Networking, networking and networking! I have 500+ Linkedin connections and I have met almost all of them. There’s a few randoms from Twitter but the key for networking is obviously to meet people in person. Networking could lead to a job, so take it seriously.
  7. Be on time for meetings. Any meetings for that matter, doesn’t have to be a job interview.
  8. Tried getting a job abroad. In Europe there are channels, such as EURES, unemployment offices, workers’ unions and international headhunters who get paid to find you a job abroad. Be prepared to do low skilled work when you first move abroad and then find something worth your skills.
  9. Kept my skills up to date. Google has free online courses, check your unemployment office for free short courses, lear how to code, build a website, or paint a house etc. Whatever skill you want to improve, find FREE courses to do it.
  10. Study a new profession is the advice I simply DESPISE. Who has money and time to study 3,5 – 6 years for a new profession when you need to eat and breath too?πŸ˜† Not to mention try to look representable for possible job interviews. Save yourself the time and go give your CRAP advice to someone else. I think TWO business degrees are more than enough, so focus your advice on people with ZERO education. They seem to occupy the job market in the tech field anyways. πŸ˜ƒ
  11. Volunteered for different organizations. They might have paid job opportunities too.
  12. People hire who they like. Remember, a-holes hire a-holes. So if you didn’t get that job, that 50th job or that 150th job you applied to, you know why.πŸ˜„ Apply to a different field, continent, country and change your references.
Look professional when you attend job interviews, networking events or meet new people. This whole outfit is from two brand outlet stores in New York City (in 2014) and every item was less than $150. Classic pieces like these will last for years. πŸ‘—

How to Control Your Urge to Slap Annoying People in the Face

I admit, I’m not a Zen master. I have a quick temper and my bad temperament has reached whole new levels after being continuously and consistently bullied by a big group of LOSERS. Something about bullies, racists and douchebags that makes me blood boil and head explode. 🀯Bullies seem to have a very narcissistic worldview. They think its their right as obnoxious people to destroy perfectly happy content, young and smart (and not to mention helpful volunteer) women’s lives. They also think their targets are very jealous of them and this is how they justify their bullying/ provoking/ harassment/ constant need to prove themselves to their target and when you react, you are “jealous, crazy, aggressive”. LOL.πŸ˜†πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ Anyway, managing your emotions and controlling your behavior when faced with mannerless garbage is part of your appearance. Dressing well isn’t enough, you also need to behave well.

It can be challenging because bullies have literally no class whatsoever, so trying to stay classy and diplomatic is challenging. I have been provoked in the most disgusting, under the belt, low class tactics. You really need nerves of STEEL to have managed what I have managed by MYSELF. You can’t change an abnormal bully brain, the only rational thing you can do is to leave the situation.

So how HAVE I actually managed to control my urge to slap annoying people? Here is a short list of how I have managed to control myself while facing continuous abusive bullying and staying glamorous while doing it:

  1. Well I’m not a violent psycho for one. πŸ˜†
  2. Mental strength and being around racist and jealous mannerless people since I was a kid have really made my skin thick as an elephant and strong as steel. Nothing makes you ignore stupid shit better than being called the n-word, a gypsy, a boat refugee, and being spat in the face when you’re ONLY 10 years old. πŸ‘πŸΌ (also why I’ll NEVER have kids in Finland.)
  3. Music helps to block annoying people’s whining. 🎢
  4. As a general thumb rule, if the person is worthless to you, then why do you even give a crap what that person thinks of you. πŸ—£
  5. Writing and rage tweeting help process negative emotions. Sometimes mean people really get to me, because they have no limit to how low they can go.
  6. Doing yoga. πŸ™πŸΌ
  7. Some people constantly interrupt you when you’re trying to talk to someone else, make vicious remarks or just have that annoying way of asking “What, can you repeat that?!!” about 5 TIMES in a row, it’s irritating. So sometimes you just have to tell them directly to leave you alone. These negative attention seekers are usually harmless, so you can just try to be nice about it. If it doesn’t work, talk to them in their own language. (Since sometimes it’s the only language they understand. Sigh. πŸ™„)
  8. The key to mastering your emotions is to realize the fact that these type of low level trash people who provoke, provoke and provoke for YEARS until they finally get you to snap is that they are jealous. They can’t manage their own emotions even for five minutes, so obviously semi- zen masters like me, are a HUGE threat to them. Especially if they’re racist and think you’re subhuman like in my case in Finland.
  9. Don’t fall for the crocodile tears. I have had so many people point fingers at me as the “bad, angry SINGLE woman” and they have adopted the “rescue me innocent mom/ dad” thing. This show is SO pathetic and the only people it will hurt in the end are their own children, family members or friends that they use as puppets just to prove a point how “evil” single childless Sonia is. So since I know their tactics, I try to control myself when they deliberately provoke me to show how “aggressive” I am. They should probably find a more interesting job or take a vacation or get a new wife/ husband and leave me alone.πŸ˜†πŸ‘πŸΌ
  10. Misogynists can also provoke women and then simply brand them “crazy”. Calling women crazy or broken are cheap tactics abusive men use to control their wives/ employees/ girlfriends. Don’t fall for their trap and get angry, but make sure to find evidence how insane those men really are. Sometimes, you don’t even need to lift a finger because most misogynists fall for their own trap in the end. Just wait for it. For example, my ex-boss always blamed women for everything and after all the evidence I collected against him, the CEO finally opened his eyes and believed me and not that man’s outrageous lies. πŸ˜‚
  11. When someone always brags and tries to prove themselves to others, it’s a sign of weakness and low self-esteem. It’s easy to spot this and the simple way is just to smile it off. πŸ™ƒ You could also say “You don’t have to prove yourself to me, I believe you are happy without the constant need for my validation dear.” β˜ΊοΈπŸ‘πŸΌ
  12. People who are envious of you always think YOU are envious of them. Their car, their blonde hair, job, kids, money, spouse etc. whatever they can come up with when in reality they are jealous of your confidence and mental strength, because they themselves are insecure and try to hide it with bullshitting. Truly confident people don’t need to prove themselves and accuse single people of jealousy. This is just a cheap tactic of trying to validate their own low self-esteem when a “sad single woman” is “jealous”. Try to come up with something more original than accusing single people of jealousy. πŸ˜…
  13. Sometimes annoying bullies will claim that it’s “tough love” and you need to become “stronger”, grow a “thicker skin” when they simply torment and isolate you for fun. This is not ok and it’s challenging without a lawyer, so when the opportunity rises, sue them. Bullying is NEVER ok and it does NOT make you stronger. Never believe the bullies and their stupid ass crap excuses.
  14. If someone provokes you, scream, don’t hit. πŸ˜‚ Unless you hit for self-defense. (Though I believe in Finland there are no self-defense laws) Physical violence is a crime, but if you say “fuck you” to someone who deliberately provoked you, you’re not breaking the law. Swearing in your mind is also a good tactic. Also if you must, use words that are funny not illegal (in defamation standards. Especially racists are SUPER sensitive of being called racist and have made it illegal in Finland now LOOOL🀣). Imagine some tough guy suing you because you called him “micropenis”. Even if he would win the case, he would need to explain to his friends why he sued you. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜Ž
  15. Annoying someone is different than pushing someone. I have had crazy women “accidentally” bump into me in supermarkets and at work. AGAIN, these are cheap trash tactics to get a reaction from you and point fingers at you. Just remember, if they push/ touch you FIRST, you are reacting as self-defense. So better just stop right there pathetic bullies and get yourself a new hobby. πŸ˜†πŸ‘πŸΌ
When bullies deliberately provoke you, manage your emotions with different stress relief factors. Also keep in mind, they’re worthless and find you a threat. πŸ™πŸΌ Photo: Sonia Jain

Travel Smart When You’re Alone And on a Budget

You can travel even when you are unemployed. A great trick is to utilize job interviews. Big companies will pay for your trip even if they decide not to hire you or you decline the job. So if you can’t find ANY glamour in being single and unemployed, then at least you are free to go where ever you want without having to ask for anyone’s permission or taking anyone’s feelings into consideration. πŸ˜ƒ If you are tight with money, apply for a job in an international company and if they are interested, they’ll pay for your trip for the job interview/ relocation costs to move to the location of the job. Even a basic call center job that doesn’t require any education will do that in Europe. As long as you speak some exotic language like Finnish or Portuguese. For Americans, China and Japan pay huge salaries for teaching English (with an American accent). I’ve talked to some young American women who even went to Istanbul to teach English.

You can also do it online and save money to travel abroad. You don’t need to explain yourself to anyone. People will say you’re selfish if you travel and they’ll say you have a hidden agenda if you don’t travel and help your old retired relatives. 🀣 Cheap people will always find something to whine about so let them whine alone and move to a new country.

You have to be smart when you travel alone, especially as a single woman. I have avoided “dangerous” countries and picked safe spots like Thailand, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Germany and my favourite, New York City! Some may argue that NYC is not that safe, but actually, it’s the hub for highly educated talented single career women (and men). Funnily, Sex and the City TV- show inspired a rush of young fashionistas to move to the city and there might be even more young single women than men. Unfortunately, I failed to establish my career there and had to return back to square one. Sabotaging someone’s efforts to establish an international career is not cool AT ALL and doesn’t help anyone. I think any government would be happy to have smart hard-working young talent that actually want to earn their own money (regardless WHERE they earn their money..) instead of living on social benefits like a loser. Babies can come later and the LAME excuse I have gotten from people is that I’m “in the age of having babies”. 🀣 Wrong, I need a man to have a baby and MONEY. The baby won’t eat air, so obviously I need to have a (high paying) job first.

Even if you are broke, you can travel abroad alone. You just have to pick locations that are not very expensive, keep on a budget and maybe even try to earn some money while traveling! Every country has their own rules and regulations about unemployment, but most European countries have a “union system”. You pay an annual membership fee and if you lose your job, you get like 80% of your salary for two years. This is a good system, especially if you were viciously bullied in the previous workplace and need a break. Usually people find a job during this time, but unfortunately in my case my unemployment seems to never end. So then you just have to do random jobs, like sales promotion gigs (e.g. handing out flyers is LAME, but it’s grass root level marketing and pays OK, better than McDonald’s cashier) and other low paying jobs totally not worth your Master’s. πŸ˜–Here’s a list of countries I have travelled to while being single and unemployed. By the way, I also LOVE to combine trips to save a buck. So if I’m in Central Europe, I’ll take a cheap train to a nearby country etc..

  1. NYC. I went there three times for JOB HUNTING and all my plane tickets cost less than 500€. On one of my trips there, I worked two weeks at Marimekko store in UES in Manhattan to earn some cash. Once I stayed with family friends to save rent money and then I also found cheap shared apartments on Craigslist.
  2. Paris, France. European flights are cheap especially if you know all the bargain websites. Book early and travel lightly!
  3. Galway, Ireland. I travelled with my own money to check a call center job offer I got, but decided not to accept it for personal reasons. Again, not that expensive, took a plane to Dublin and a train to Galway and then a bus to my hotel. Travel lightly so you don’t need to take a taxi everywhere.
  4. Sofia, Bulgaria. I went there for a call center job. My travel expenses were paid by the company and first two weeks in a hotel. Sadly, I got fired. πŸ˜…πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ
  5. Mumbai, India. I stayed with relatives to avoid hotel expenses. If you don’t have relatives abroad, find cheap hotels and go with friends.
  6. Bangkok, Thailand. I took a cheap flight from Mumbai since I was already in that part of the globe. Nice hotels are also MUCH cheaper than in Europe/ the States.
  7. Malta. I went there for an online casino job and my travel expenses were paid by the company and first two weeks of accommodation.
  8. Tallinn, Estonia. There are cheap boat trips from Helsinki for like 20€ with return. People are beautiful, friendly and very helpful. Prices are very reasonable too.
  9. Luxembourg. Found a cheap flight and stayed with a friend. The cheapest way to travel is to travel with friends or alone and stay with friends/ relatives. If you don’t have friends, find trustworthy travel buddies online. (There are websites for it.)
  10. Trier, Germany. I took a cheap train from Luxembourg, paid in total like 20€ with return.

People will get jealous if you travel when you are unemployed, they will question where did you get money to travel and did you do something shady. πŸ˜‚ There’s no cure for jealousy. You don’t need to explain yourself to anyone, but since so many “lovely” people have accused me of BS, here’s a very simple blog post how to travel while being unemployed, without having to do prostitution, rob a bank or squeeze money from your retired relatives!! 🀣

Sonia enjoying life and checking out cultural stuff in Malta in 2017! She got a low skilled JOB (totally not worth her Master’s) there, the company paid her travel expenses and rent for first two weeks. πŸ’―πŸŒ Photo by: Hicham Abdel