Welcome back to Feature Friday! Today we have the pleasure of meeting Kay from The Awkward Traveller – two words I can definitely relate to! Kay is sharing with us stories from some of her trips, as well as pictures of her adventures. You’ll surely be able to get a grasp of her personality through this interview, and you might even find yourself laughing out loud!
1. Thank you for deciding to be a part of Feature Friday! Could you tell us a little about yourself and your blog?
Oh boy, the infamous question: tell us a little about yourself. Well then.
*clears throat, stands up in front of the classroom*
Call me K. Obviously, my full name isn’t one letter of the alphabet, but I just think it’s easier. PLUS, I feel like it gives me street cred. Me as a person isn’t all that interesting. I like to read and write and binge TV and play video games and eat candy. Me as a traveler is even less interesting. Somehow though, weird things always end up happening to me anyway.
Basically my blog is a barely organized collection of my travels around the world and stories of me learning life lessons the hard way. As with most blogs, literally everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt. I’m a complete goofball and I joke around 104% of the time so I’m rarely serious about anything.
What I want to accomplish with my blog, besides embarrass myself to the public, is just show that if a little bundle of anxiety-ridden energy like me can travel, there’s gotta be hope for everyone else. I recognize that not everyone can travel. I’m not one of those people who are going to preach I TRAVEL X-AMOUNT OF TIME AND YOU CAN TOO, because not everyone has the same travel abilities or priorities as I do. Travel the best way for you!
2. Why did you decide to become a travel blogger?
Um, I haven’t even fully grasped what it means to be a travel blogger. I’m not the best photographer (AT ALL), my outfits usually aren’t coordinated, I am terrible at planning, I’m scared of everything, I am an incredibly picky eater, people freak me out, and most of all I’m usually broke.
So why did I become a travel blogger?
Honestly, I don’t know. Once upon a time (aka last year) is when I decided I would try it out. I’ll spare you the mostly sad details, but I was sitting in my car on the side of the freeway, gazing up at the sky. I had maybe $23 in my account and no job. I felt completely alone. There were a million things going through my mind, worries and stress and a sense of overwhelming panic whenever I thought about what I was going to do next.
I watched the sun sink behind the brown hills of central California. And then I picked up my cracked iPhone4 and snapped a picture. It was actually a pretty bad picture, out of focus and my windshield was dirty with smashed buggies and dust, but that was the start. Before then, I wasn’t a picture person. I was even LESS of a person-in-the-pictures person.
But…I don’t know. I just decided right then that I was going to try to put an adventurous spin on an otherwise unfortunate situation and channel some of my passions into something productive! Idk if anything about my blog is worth anything to anyone else, but it’s fun for me haha.
3. What do you love so much about travelling?
Hm. I like the change. There’s a change in scenery, a change in people, a change in culture, a change in food, a change in language and fashion and religion and history – OH THE HISTORY. So I guess the main motivator is the excitement of change and the opportunity to learn first hand about things and people I might otherwise never learn.
Second, I’ve always someone ‘traveled.’ Or rather, I just moved around a lot #armybrat. So it just feels weird for me not to experience new places or new people.
I also love that travelling challenges me. I’d definitely grown so much those dark embarrassing times in middle school where I LITERALLY only left my room for school and occasional bathroom trips. Traveling has been the strictest, harshest, and least forgiving teacher I’ve ever had, but it has also been the most rewarding.
4. Have you ever regretted doing something while travelling?
Ahhh, yes and no, and it’s usually a regret that I have brought on by myself. I can’t think of anything specific that I’ve regretted doing BECAUSE of that particular place or culture, but I have regretted how I had reacted to certain experiences. For example, I went to Seoul during the winter. Totally my decision, and I wish I had chosen a different season just because I am a complete wimp when it comes to cold weather. I didn’t explore nearly as much as I wanted to, I was whiney, and I regret that I let that affect my experience. So Seoul definitely deserves a redo, but as I have learned, maybe not during December.
5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done while travelling?
On purpose or accident?? Because I have both. The scariest thing I’ve done on purpose is probably snuba diving in Mexico. And no, that’s not a typo. Snuba is a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving. It’s basically deep sea snorkeling. The snorkel mask is attached to an oxygen canister that floats on a little boat that follows as you swim. So scuba but you’re not holding your own tank. Does that make sense? Yeah, that’s exactly the extend of the explanation I got as our group filed into the boat.
“Wait, so how do I use the mask?” I asked, turning the mouthpiece over in my hand.
“You put it in your mouth and breathe.”
“Ah, okay. I get it.”
Apparently I didn’t get it. I almost drowned and the only directions the instructor had for me was to “hurry up and don’t get left behind.” My eye mask repeatedly filled with water and I couldn’t even see the reefs, nurse sharks, eels, turtles, or even the barracuda fish the reefs were named after. I think the instructor was trying to encourage me so I wouldn’t miss out, but even he gave up after a while and swam back to me and took off my weighted belt.
The other scariest moment was time I was in France and there was a loud explosion sound in the train station….but that’s a story for another time.
6. What is your most embarrassing travel story?
AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH do you have a couple of hours for the highlights?? Um, I don’t know if I have a most embarrassing story, every day of my life adds something new. I have awkward interaction stories, trouble with police stories, drinking too much in Mexico stories, helicopter chase stories, LOTS AND LOTS of bathroom mishap stories, wardrobe malfunction stories, missing airplanes and hotel checkout stories, getting lost stories, not having enough money at an expensive restaurant stories, and too many times to count whenever I’ve tripped in the middle of the sidewalk or fallen in front of a huge crowd or dropped something or had a booger fly out of my nose. If you ask for something specific, I probably have it.
7. Have you ever travelled solo? Would you do it again? If you haven’t, would you ever do it?
Errrr. Okay, I guess I’ve travelled solo before but not on purpose and I absolutely hate it. I think it’s amazing that people travel solo, it seems extremely rewarding and so much less planning and coordinating required, but it isn’t for me. It’s harder for me to push myself out of my comfort zone when I’m alone and when/if I do something, it isn’t as fun hanging out by my boring self. Who’s going to appreciate my lame puns?? I like sharing experiences with people and creating memories together, so that’s why I prefer not to travel solo.
8. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the least? Why?
Hmmmm. Well Seoul, South Korea right off the bat but only because I didn’t have as much fun and that was only because I was cold and miserable. I actually loved the culture and atmosphere and kpop is my life blood, but cold weather is my kryptonite so it’s not Seoul’s fault.
I also had a terrible time in Poitiers, France, where I studied abroad for my second degree, and oh boy, I could write a novel on why it was my least favorite. Gah, and there was a city in Alabama, USA that killed my dreams of becoming a cowboy and also Portland, Oregon (USA) where I currently live, but it’s complicated with Portland haha.
9. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the most? Why?
Omg, I say this like every other week, but Japan and Mexico have been my favorite countries to visit. Largely because the cultures and the people and the experiences I’ve had there. Aside from the United States and France, those are also the two countries I’ve spent the most time in for a single trip so maybe I just had a better chance to be enchanted by them.
And if you know me at all, you would know my all time favorite place in the world is Southern California.
10. If you had to choose one place to live for the rest of your life, where would it be, and why?
Oh I think I just answered that in the previous question – most big cities in Southern California. The greater Los Angeles area or San Diego preferably, but I’ll even go as far north as Santa Barbara. I don’t think I would want to live anywhere East of Moreno Valley though (lol sorry Palm Springs).
11. Are there any social norms or practices you’ve encountered while travelling you wish were normal in your native culture?
Nothing immediately pops out at me. I liked that the French eat dinner late, but that’s mostly because I’m a night owl and I’m going to eat a full course meal at 9pm anyway.
12. Is there anywhere you would not visit? Where, and why?
Not really, but I wouldn’t want to visit a place where my presence would have a negative impact on the community there.
13. What is one thing that is too large/impractical you wish you could bring with you when you travel?
My xbox. Or really any of my video game consoles, really. My xbox live gamertag is : Hochachachaaa ! Add me and let’s play together! Ugh, I’m working on changing my gamertag, but since I made it as a freshman in high school and I can’t remember any of my passwords, I can’t log in *cry emoji*
14. Do you think there’s a difference between people who deem themselves tourists vs. travellers? What do you consider yourself, and why?
LOLOLOLOLOL idk why anyone would even try to distinguish the two, but whatever boosts their ego I guess. They’re the same thing to me. Some tourists/travellers are more conscious than others, but it doesn’t deserve a whole new word. Some people go to…idk, the Colosseum in Rome for example. They want to experience the history but can’t get over the thousands of other people who also want the same thing. “Ugh, I hate tourists,” they roll their eyes and use their pocket wifi to find the nearest off-the-beaten path cafe.
I don’t get it, WE’RE ALL TOURISTS IN ANOTHER PLACE. I can understand the annoyance of someone shoving a full size iPad in front of your view so they can take a picture with flash, but you’re adding to the body heat. Calm down hombre. That said, there are ways to be a less annoying traveller/tourist: be respectful, keep an open mind, be grateful and gracious, stay humble. Simple.
15. What does home mean to you?
*restrains self from yelling California at the top of my lungs*
Erm. Home is relative. I have at least 3 different homes at any given time, so when I say “oh I’m flying home this weekend,” there’s no telling where I’m going. Home can mean a lot of different things, and even though I’m still trying to find out what it means to me, I know it when I feel it.
16. What advice would you give an aspiring travel blogger?
Just do it. And don’t expect everything to be flawless and perfect when you first start out. I mean, there might be glitches on the website, you might feel stressed and discouraged to keep up with all those other bloggers with 25k+ followers who get to a different country every weekend, you’re going to have your blogger inspos follow then unfollow you, people are going to critique your travel style, and sometimes it will just feel like you’re not enough.
Ignore all of that.
Once you just do it, even if your take-off is rocky, you will find your stride. You will build your own community and blogger friends and create your own little niche that only you can fill. You have a voice, so let’s hear it!
Thank you so much K, for being a part of Feature Friday! I had such a blast picking up your personality from your responses, and I feel I can definitely relate to you – especially on that awkward aspect. I had never heard of snuba diving before, and now I’m intrigued. I’ll have to look into that, and should I choose to do it, go into it with caution from your story! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your reasoning for not wanting to visit somewhere. It’s super easy to think about it in terms of ‘me’, but you focused on ‘them’, and I definitely need to take that approach more often! And girl, I’m right there with you. Travelling in the winter is not for me – I enjoy the sun and warm temperatures way too much. So happy to have you as a guest for Feature Friday – safe travels on your next journey – and I look forward to keeping up with you!
Did you enjoy what you read? Get to know more about Kay!
K is a weird 20-something fumbling through life as she balances a full time job that has nothing to do with any of her degrees. She writes self-proclaimed bestseller fiction novels, damages her eyesight by sitting too close to the TV, and embarrasses herself as she travels the globe. Connect with K at the following: