It’s Thursday again (how did that happen?) but it does mean that we get to meet a new travel blogger and find out about their wonderful adventures!
Today, we are wandering with Kate from Kate’s Travel Tips. Hi Kate, please tell me a little about yourself.
I’m Kate, an American expat hailing from the Forgotten Coast of Florida. I moved to Spain for a few months to participate in a teaching program but ended up falling in love with a Spaniard (and Spain)—cliché I know. 😉 But six years later I’m still here and have no plans of leaving!
To date I’ve visited 30 countries—soon to be 32 once I get to Vietnam and Cambodia later this month. When I first started my blog my travel style was budget friendly (plenty of 7am Ryan Air flights and cheap hostels), but thanks to a new job I’ve been able to splurge a bit more and venture to far-off destinations.
Where are you currently?
Currently (and permanently) I live in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain.
Where do you want to go next? What are your future travel plans?
In August, Javi (my husband) and I are headed to Vietnam and Cambodia. After that we’ll make a trip to the States for the holidays. My father wants to show Javi our “origins” so that means a family excursion to the backwoods of Tennessee (poor Javi has no idea what’s in store for him). After our trip to the U.S. I’ve been itching to cross off Iceland and northern Italy (specifically Alto Adige province) from my to-do travel list.
Where is home? Name one thing that you always recommend to people that visit?
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia but I claim Port St. Joe, Florida as my hometown (I moved there at age 14). Not many people have heard of St. Joe, but those who have love it. When you go there you should eat Apalachicola oysters, have a bonfire on the beach and enjoy the gorgeous Gulf Coast sunsets.
Where has been your favourite place to visit? Why?
One of the most epic trips we’ve taken was to Tromsø, Norway. We chose this destination because I was determined to see the Northern Lights, other than that I had no idea what to expect. I was shocked to find we had about 3 hours of civil twilight a day and four feet of snow. We went camping, dog sledding, and northern lights hunting. It was an amazing experience!
Where didn’t you like/where were you disappointed with? Why?
Well it’s sort of my own fault, but I thought I could handle going to the “big party night” at Carnaval in Cadiz without sleeping. We left at 6pm and got home at 10am the next morning. It was so insanely crowded… and it was just a bunch of drunk people walking around, wearing costumes, and peeing in the street. I think the daytime events at Carnaval are much more interesting and entertaining, so I learned my lesson the hard way that year. If you have a place to stay or a ride back then it’s worth going to the nighttime festivities, otherwise I’d recommend going to the parades and singing competitions during the day.
What is your favourtie picture you have ever taken? Where was it taken?
My favorite travel photo is from our Tromsø trip. You can see the Northern Lights in the background and the gorgeous scenery around us. Every time I look at this photo I remember how much fun we had and despite freezing my butt off—how special it was to hear the whales in the water behind us while being mesmerized by the sky above. I still can’t believe we got to experience a moment like that.
What has been the craziest thing you have done/place you have been on your travels?
I don’t know about craziest place…but one of my (more recent) favorite experiences has been sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
Three things on your wander list
Apart from the ones I previously mentioned, I’d really like to go to Antarctica Finland, and Sri Lanka. After traveling to the Arctic Circle I suppose I just can’t get enough of those cold destinations. 😉 Also, we went to Maldives on our honeymoon and I regretted not seeing Sri Lanka while we were there!
Weirdest/most interesting form of transportation you have taken?
Taking a Tuk-tuk in Thailand was probably one of the most stressful transportation experiences… but I’d have to say riding camels through the Sahara Desert is not as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be. Depending on what kind of saddle you get, it may be the most uncomfortable ride of your life. Riding a quad through the desert dunes is way better and it was one of my favorite activities from the trip!
What is your best travel hack?
It has taken me years to figure out how to pack the correct amount of clothing… the trick is to plan out each outfit per day, and bring just those items. I am a horrible over-packer, so it’s an accomplishment for me when Javi and I are able to share one suitcase for a 14-day trip. Also, I use websites like skyscanner to compare flight options, but I always check flight prices directly on the Airline’s website too – sometimes the flights are cheaper!
What items do you never leave behind when you travel?
Tweezers… because they’re essential.
How much does your luggage weigh?
I don’t weigh my luggage anymore; it’s always under the limit. 😉
How do you track your expenses whilst you are away?
I don’t really. I know how much money is in my account and I can just use my bank app to see if I’m getting too close to the bottom of the barrel.
What is one weird thing you miss when you travel?
My dog Pumba. I guess it’s not weird… but I always wish he could come with us on trips.
What are your top tips for staying fit and healthy on the road?
Drink lots of water! I’m not exactly a health nut… and I eat everything in sight so making sure I’ve got enough water in my body makes up for all my horrible eating and drinking habits.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve been working on “El tiempo entre costuras” in Spanish (“The Time in Between”). Next up I’ve got “When Breath Becomes Air”, so wish me luck (I’ve heard it’s heartbreaking).
If you could go back in time and be the first person to explore/find a place in the world, where would you want it to be?
I’m not sure I’d care so much to be the first to discover them, but I would love to be able to see Rome, Athens, Angkor, Machu Picchu, and Cairo in their glory days. Based on the existing ruins one can only imagine just how spectacular they were back in the day.
Thank you so much for your interview, Kate.
Check out more ‘Wander With’ interviews here.
Kate moved to Spain in 2011, fell in love and never left! Her blog features travel tips for global destinations, local happenings in Spain, and useful information for expats and travellers.