Kate McCulley, aka Adventurous Kate, is a young Boston woman and travel enthusiast, who finally plunged into world travels in early 2010- 2 years ago already- and has not looked back since. Kate’s been excitedly tromping around the globe ever since. Today we catch up with Kate to find out how/why she set off on her adventures, where she’s been, and what she’s up to next. Without further ado, Kate:
Q1. In January, 2010 you set off on your life as a long-term traveler with a 6-month trip to SE Asia. Why did you choose that region of the world to begin your travels?
For years, I had been planning to take an eventual yearlong trip around the world. It was taking a very long time to save, and I realized that I didn’t want to wait years anymore – I was unhappy with my life in Boston and I wanted to travel NOW.
Then I realized that I would be able to travel sooner if I decided to simply stick to a cheap place like Southeast Asia. There was so much that I wanted to see in Southeast Asia that I knew I’d be thrilled to spend several months there! Going to Southeast Asia was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Q2. What are the most important lessons you learned from that trip?
Try not to overplan your life – allow for serendipity. I can’t think of one plan I made prior to leaving on my Asia trip that I actually kept. My fondest travel memories are of finding great groups of travelers and changing my plans to travel with them more.
Q3. Afterward, you based yourself in England, where you set about building your business and
exploring Europe. How did you end up moving to England?
Well, it may have had something to do with an Englishman I met in Vietnam. I never thought I’d end up moving to England – I definitely wanted to move to Europe, even while I was in Southeast Asia, but I always saw myself eventually living somewhere in France or Italy. I hadn’t seen much of the UK beyond London, and it was eye-opening – the charming smaller towns, the endless greenery, the pubs! It surprised me how much it appealed to me.
Q4. You actually ‘settled’ in Chester, which happens to be my favorite town in England. All the historic buildings are sooo gorgeous and charming. Of all the towns and cities in England, how did you end up in Chester?
I hadn’t heard of Chester before meeting my travel companions in Vietnam, who were from there. I discovered an absolutely beautiful walled city, with so much history, and well-connected in terms of transportation. Architecture is the usual way any city wins me over, and the restored black-and-white Tudor buildings in Chester had me swooning more or less immediately.
In terms of day-to-day life, Chester is just a great place to live, with lots of nice pubs and great shopping. As far as England’s infamous north-south debate goes, I am most definitely a northern girl now!
Q5. You recently attended the famous Chester races. Please tell us about that.
Oh, it’s such a quintessentially English activity! There’s nothing like dressing up, rocking a fascinator, drinking Pimm’s, placing 2-pound bets, and screaming your head off with the crowd for a horse with a name like “The Butler Made Me Do It.” I thought traditions like this had died out decades ago, and I’m very happy that that’s not the case.
Q6. You also recently attended World Travel Market, which you declared an amazing event and smashing success. You talked to a lot of travel agencies and tourism boards there. Have you been able to get any sponsorships, press trips or other goodies out of your efforts yet? Do tell!
In the two months since WTM, I’ve laid the groundwork for several adventures that will take place later in the year, starting with Paris in January. WTM was also a great way to network with my fellow travel bloggers, which always leads to more opportunities.
So far, I have actually reaped the benefits in Cappadocia, Turkey: the owner of a travel company in Cappadocia, whom I met at WTM, took me on a great hike through the hills and arranged for me to have a hot air balloon ride, too!
Q7. You spent time in Jordan this fall. What were your best 2-3 experiences?
Definitely camping with Bedouins in Wadi Rum. What an amazing landscape, and I will never forget riding a camel across the desert during the sunrise, watching the tall shadows of the camels and seeing the rocks turn bright orange under the pale blue sky.
My second would be covering myself in black mud and floating in the Dead Sea. It’s a fun and goofy thing to do, but your skin will feel amazing afterwards.
For my third, I have to give you something from Petra! And it would be the hike up to the monastery. It’s a tough hike (I did it by donkey), so not a lot of people do it. But I loved the stillness at the top, and I loved meeting families and having tea with them along the way.
Q8. Where are you off to next?
I will be spending as much time as I can in Chester without a UK visa – a bit less than half my time. In Europe, I will be visiting Paris; Umbria, Italy; and the Shetland Islands for the Up Helly Aa Viking Fire Festival, which should be amazing! I am also planning to spend three weeks in the Balkans in the late spring.
And I do have a big trip outside Europe planned as well – in February, I will be traveling to India for the first time!
Q9. What’s in the plans for Adventurous Kate in 2012?
Adventurous Kate will continue to deliver on its main objective: encouraging women to take the plunge and travel solo. There will also be plenty more of my wild travel stories from the road!
This is going to be a big year for expanding my business. I am planning more long-term partnerships with travel companies this year. I recently launched a travel calendar shop just to see if there was interest, and there was quite a bit – so I plan on increasing my line of merchandise.
I’ve dreamed of writing books since I was very young, so I would like 2012 to be the year that I finally release at least one book, and hopefully more. Stay tuned!
Thanks for sharing your travels with us, Kate. Enjoy another adventurous year in 2012!
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