I met Kim, online, just a little over a year ago. We struck up and have maintained an online friendship that has brought us to this point; me interviewing Kim, just as she launches her book, “Life on Fire.” Kim is the voice behind the blog So Many Places. Along with her husband, Brian, they are traveling the world and I – like so many others – have been following their journey from the beginning.
Kim and Brian spent the summer in the U.S. but they are just about to take off again to continue their travels. Kim has been incredibly supportive of my efforts to find my way in the world of blogging and it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to my friend, Kim ~
Patti: You’ve recently returned from 13 months of travel – I’m not going to ask what was your favorite country/experience because that’s too cheesy so instead I’ll ask, which was your least favorite and why? (like that’s not a cheesy question!)
Kim: I don’t feel like it’s fair to really take it out on the country itself, but my least favorite country was Peru. I think there were a few factors contributing to my bad time there. First of all, my husband Brian and I had been traveling like bats out of hell for about four months by the time we reached Peru, so we were tired. The scenery in Peru is beautiful, but there is really no environmental ethic at all and people just toss garbage out of bus windows and leave their bags of trash at the side of the road. This happens in a lot of different places, but because Peru is so stunning it was just really sad to see. Then, we got stuck in Arequipa, a big polluted Peruvian city, for two weeks due to some ill-timed travel plans. And in Cusco I got altitude sickness for a very long time and felt miserable. By the time we crossed the boarder into Chile I was ready to leave. But I’m sure if I went back I’d have a different, better experience.
Patti: As I followed your travels via your blog, it seems as if you discovered some benefits of slowing down in your travels, can you elaborate on that?
Kim: When we set out traveling we really thought we would only go for a year and so we tried to move as fast as we could to fit it all in. But over time we began to ask ourselves, “why only a year?” I mean, we’d already quit our jobs and sold all of our stuff, why would we limit ourselves? And after that we just gave ourselves the freedom to move slowly and experience the world in a different way, to become more intimate and familiar with the places we were staying, and it changed everything in the best way. I’ll never travel quickly again.
Patti: You spent this summer in the U.S. Aside from jet lag what was your immediate emotional surge when you stepped back onto U.S. soil? Has it been an emotional roller coaster – or did you acclimate pretty quickly?
Kim: It has been a serious emotional roller coaster. It is great to be back and to see all of the people we love and missed. But we are in suburban Ohio right now (we’ve lived in Portland, Oregon for the past eight years so suburban Ohio does not feel like home) and it is MAJOR culture shock in the worst way. Only chain stores, fast food restaurants, you have to drive twenty minutes to get to a park. I think if we were in Portland we’d be singing a different tune, but right now we are pretty itchy to leave again.
Patti: You’re the perfect person to ask the following question: I’ve always wondered about those, such as yourself, who travel the world and then return home and fall back into the routine of daily living – you know the 9 – 5 life. Now that you’ve tasted the travelers life, do you think you could return to the so-called, “norm,” the life you led before you began to travel?
Kim: That’s a funny question. Normally I would tell you that, no, I don’t think I could go back to a 9-5 life. But here in Ohio I’m just so bored that an office job actually sounds like fun! In general, though, I’m doing everything I can to keep myself out of a cubicle. And Brian (my husband) and I don’t have any immediate plans to go back to 9-5 life. I’m pursuing my passion of writing and have even just published my first book called: Life On Fire: A Step-By-Step Guide to Living Your Dreams. You can learn all about the book here.
But I do have to say that the life I lead before traveling (when I worked in a cubicle) wasn’t bad. I liked it and was generally happy. It was just that I had this big dream of writing and seeing the world and I knew that if I didn’t follow through with that dream that something essential inside of me would die. I wanted my dream to live and so that’s why I gave up my old life. I do miss it from time to time. I miss my house and my steady paycheck and my friends. But I have no regrets. I know I am doing what I should be doing.
Patti: I tend to believe travel offers one a sense of freedom, a non-obligatory lifestyle. How do you define what travel gives you?
Kim: Travel gives me so many things! First of all, it has given me an insane education. I’ve learned so much from traveling that I would never have learned in any other way. You just can’t beat this sort of experience. Your mind grows in so many ways. Also, travel has just allowed me to fall in love with the world. You hear so many terrible things in the news media. But travel has taught me that the world is filled with kind and caring people that are willing to help.
Patti: You’re heading to Spain to walk the Camino de Santigo – and you’re walking it alone. What do you hope to take away from the experience of walking alone?
Kim: You know I’m really trying not to have too many expectations about hiking the Camino. I’ve never done anything like this alone before, so for me this is all about just seeing who I am when I spend long periods of time by myself. I guess in that sense it is a pilgrimage of self-discovery. And it’s a confidence builder as well because I know that if I can walk 500 miles through Spain alone I can pretty much do anything!
Patti: You’ve just launched your book – big sigh of relief, yes? Did the process of writing your book meet your expectations?
Kim: I’m not sure I knew what to expect. I was afraid I couldn’t write anything longer than a blog post. The process was hard and long but it was also fun, especially when I could finally see that things were coming together. It feels great to have it done and packaged now. I liked the process and I hope to do it again soon.
Patti: Aside from walking the Camino de Santiago, what’s next on the horizon for you and Brian?
Kim: Well, after Spain we’ll both be heading to SE Asia. We’re biking across Vietnam in December! Other than that we plan to travel around Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and wherever else life takes us.
Patti: Thank you, Kim and safe travels as you and Brian continue to explore the world!
To follow Kim ~