The Navy may have coined the slogan “Join the Navy and see the world,” but it is a Marine Corps Reserve combat engineer who is turning those words into action and sharing them through “The Brie Adventure” blog.
Capt. Brie Burgett, 30, has traveled to 108 countries and six continents during a decade of military service. Along the way, she has racked up a following on Instagram and her blog, where the “full-time adventure seeker” shares her solo travel tips, sightseeing highlights and envy-inducing photos.
Burgett credits her love of travel to summers spent working as a lifeguard in a small Ohio town, where she spent breaks during her shifts building a “massive dream bucket list” of places she wanted to visit. But it was her decision to join the Marine Corps that jumpstarted her travel spree.
Just 19 years old when she graduated from Ohio University with dual majors in political science and international relations, Burgett was too young to apply to the State Department Foreign Service. So, she decided to join the military, selecting the Marine Corps after a recruiter questioned whether the teenager with Barbie-doll looks had what it takes to succeed as a Marine.
“The way each service recruits is perfect for the personalities that go into those branches,” said Burgett, who graduated at the top of her class from Combat Engineering School. “The extra challenge was definitely what I needed to entice me. It was great. It definitely pushed me physically, mentally. The Marine Corps has been a great fit.”
Burgett spent six years on active duty before transitioning to the Marine Corps Reserve in 2017, where she has remained on active orders.
“I keep getting really great opportunities with the Marine Corps and haven’t been able to walk away yet,” said Burgett, who recently transferred from Stuttgart, Germany, to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
But it was her first duty station in Okinawa, Japan, that fast-tracked her passion for travel and adventure, including her first mountain climb up Mount Fuji. Trips to Easter Island, Myanmar, and summiting Mount Kilimanjaro rank among her top travel adventures.
“I love going new places with friends,” she said. “But, if they can’t, my philosophy has always been I don’t want to not go on a trip or miss something I want to do just because it was me traveling solo.”
That adventure-loving attitude means Burgett’s passport is within arm’s reach at every duty station.
“I try and see as much as I can and not put it off,” Burgett explained. “When I show up and start burning through all the easy things to go do, everyone’s like, ‘Slow down. You’re going to run out of things to do.’ I’ve never run out of things to do.”
The Brie Adventure tips for solo travelers:
- Push outside your comfort zone; Plan a bucket list trip. “These two things have changed the entire course of where I’ve gone on these travels and adventures,” she said.
- Solo travelers, especially first-timers, should book excursions using Viator, TripAdvisor or military base travel services. “You don’t have to worry about the logistics of getting to a place, exchanging money or using public transit or renting a car,” Burgett said.
- Consider an Airbnb close to a downtown area or tour location to save money on meals and experience local culture.
- Sign up for free city walking tours.
- Check local resources for travel tips such as Okinawa Hai in Japan or The Culture Trip throughout Europe.
- At overseas duty stations, ask seasoned service members for advice on the best airfare saver apps or travel websites, which often vary by country or region.
- Maximize weekend and long-weekend travel opportunities.
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While solo female travelers need to take extra precautions, Burgett believes it’s become easier and more common during the past decade for women to travel alone.
“It’s good to have a respect and understanding of places you’re going, but I think a lot of times it’s safer than we may think based on looking at the news,” she said.
Her biggest piece of advice is not to sit home when adventure awaits.
“We get these ideas that trips can only be these large excursions going somewhere else,” states Burgett, while pointing out how easy it is to road-trip between East Coast cities. “But often there are really cool things to see and do wherever you’re stationed. There’s so much to see or do any place you’re at.”