This week we would like to introduce Katie Bell of The World on my Necklace. Katie is a traveling Kiwi, who has been living abroad and traveling as much as possible for over 10 years. She’s not a digital nomad, just a regular 9-5-er that has managed a travel lifestyle.
The biggest inspiration for me to travel is for the experiences, these experiences are made up of the people I meet, the journey itself, the incredible places I visit, the food I eat and what happens along the way – I love the whole package of travel. Being a traveller for me is a state of mind, the way you view the world. Through travel I have regained my sense of wide eyed wonderment that I had as a child.
2. For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
I am an expat, annual leave traveler and a quit your job to go travelling – traveler. I temped for years and would travel for a couple of months when an assignment finished. When moving countries I would add on some travel time as I would be leaving my job anyway.
3. How do you afford your travels?
Hard work and sacrifice. Working 2-3 jobs at a time, not going out too much or spending a lot of money on ‘things’, living in share houses, travelling as a budget traveler to make my money stretch for longer.
4. Where was your first international trip and how old were you?
It was to Australia when I was 10 years old with my Mum and brother. I was excited about it for months before we went and the whole experience felt magical despite the Australian culture being quite similar to New Zealand. I noticed the different accent straight away and loved that everyone sounded different to me
5. Where has been your favorite destination? Where has been your least favorite?
My favorite country (not counting my own) is Canada, and I especially love the province of British Columbia. I just love it so much! I feel a great sense of belonging there, the people are the friendliest in the world and nature in Canada is just another level of beautiful. Nowhere stands out as being my least favourite, I don’t think I have truly hated anywhere that I have been. I guess places like Mississauga near Toronto, Canada that just seemed to be strip malls and generic hotels are the kind of places that I really don’t enjoy. I would never stay long in these type of places anyway.
6. If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
Vancouver, Canada. It’s my place. I love it wholeheartedly and I miss it every day. I love the people, the food, the natural beauty and range of outdoor activities in and around Vancouver. Swimming at city beaches, hiking in the mountains, snowboarding in winter. It is pretty much perfect for me and what I am into. The plan is to immigrate here in a few years.
7. Have you ever had high hopes for a destination, tour, etc., only to be disappointed in the end? Or any travel mishaps?
I had really high hopes for Venice and New York and was disappointed. I still enjoyed them both but they weren’t what I had bigged them up to be in my head.
I have definitely had a lot of travel mishaps! Passport stolen on a chicken bus in Guatemala, broke my toe while in the Amazon basin, bad altitude sickness when doing the Inca Trail, Food poisoning when crossing by boat from Panama to Colombia via deserted islands, Backpack stolen while sleeping in a park in Czech Republic, held up at knife point in Berlin, landing in a cyclone in New Zealand. I seem to attract bad luck when it comes to traveling!
8. What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
When my boyfriend and I were in Iceland we found it funny when a few times we were in Restaurants that were half full or less and the waitresses were stressing out and turning people away despite half the tables being free. This was in the small towns, not Reykjavik, so I guess they aren’t used to lots of people! We went into a café to grab a coffee one morning and the waitress told us she was too busy to serve us – there was only 2 other people in there!
9. What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations?
I don’t really collect anything in particular, the only thing I have from all of my travels are my travel journals. It has always been important for me to document my trips and I love reading them now.
10. How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
My camera. I love landscape photography and love (trying) to capture the beauty of nature, inspiring architecture and anything else I find interesting or beautiful.
11. Why did you begin blogging? And how did you come up with your blog name?
I began blogging to document a 13 month trip through the Americas with my boyfriend which we finished in October 2013. My original blog “KT and Trav around the World’ was a simple google blog for our family and friends to keep up with our trip. I really enjoyed writing and I thought that I had some good travel stories to share so I decided to set up The World on my Necklace to create a more professional blog and to try to enter the competitive world of travel blogging. I named the blog for my favourite world globe necklace that I got in Camden Market, London. Also as a kind of play on the Lonely Planet ‘On a Showstring” guides as I mainly do budget travel.
12. What’s next for 2014?
2014 is going to be a year of working and exploring my new home, Sydney. I am planning to squeeze in a 1 week trip to the Australian Outback visiting Alice Springs, Uluru and Kings Canyon to see my brother who is a tour guide out there. Also hoping to spend 9 days island hopping the Yasawa Islands in Fiji later this year then flying to South Africa for a month to spend Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and also visit Victoria Falls and Mozambique while we are there, then 3 days in Singapore on the way home. Planning a few weekend trips to nearby destinations in Australia too. It’s going to be a great year!
Backpack or suitcase? Backpack. I have a great little 40L which is a lot lighter than a suitcase and because of its size, I literally can’t overpack!
Window or aisle? Always window. As a very nervous flyer I need to see what is happening outside of the plane to help calm myself.
Solo or group? With my boyfriend, he is my favourite travel partner. In the future I will be undertaking more solo travel and I am looking forward to that too.
Tapas or sushi? Usually Tapas, unless I am in Vancouver then definitely Sushi! I haven’t been to Japan yet but I am love with Vancouver sushi.
Beach or mountains? That’s a hard one! I love the beach but I am going to say mountains as hiking is my biggest passion, after travelling.
Be sure to follow in Katie around the world: