Podcast: Why I Did It, How I Did It, and Tackling Fear

I was recently invited to talk travel with Jennifer Buchholz of Transform Via Travel in a live Blab! session. Now in podcast form, I love that I have the chance to share our chat with you. Despite me recovering from a summer cold that made my voice nonexistent, this was such a fun and inspiring conversation. This truly brought me back to the “why” of travel, and why everyone – and especially women – should get out there, and go solo.

Check out the conversation HERE!

With curiosity and courage,

Kelly

Video: Because I Can

On May 4, 2015, I wrote a deeply personal piece about why I had packed all of my belongings, save what I could carry, into a storage unit and was setting off for five months. My itinerary had grown from a two week trip to a 6 week trip to a five month trip, and this was no longer a vacation, but a journey. People asked me “Why?” And there were so many possible answers. At the time, I simply said, “Because.” In retrospect, a better answer may have been, “Because I can.”  Read More

Everest Base Camp: The Highlights, Part Two

If the first few days of the EBC was filled with energetic invincibility, reality took over in the second half of the climb. The mountains have a way of making a person feel small and inconsequential, while instilling a deep respect and awe. They stand as sentinels to a place few have ventured into, and many do not survive. They are indifferent – the earth continues to rotate, and only the mightiest of earth’s movements alter them in the slightest. During the second half of the climb, the wonder at these towering peaks and the harsh beauty of a different landscape settled in. As did the weariness, the aches, and the altitude.  Read More

Everest Base Camp: The Highlights, Part One

Eight days up, four days down, and 100 pages written… to try to fit that into any sort of sensible format is futile. But, there are certain highlights that become those stories – the ones that get pulled out in any conversation about a particular trip or experience. The favorites, and the ones that others can relate to. These are mine.  Read More

Everest Base Camp: A Crowded Path Less Taken

And worth every step.

 Traffic jam on the descent into Namche Bazaar.
Traffic jam on the descent into Namche Bazaar

I looked around me and laughed. A path less taken? The trek to Everest Base Camp? Hardly. It’s the Disney World of the Himalayas – it’s strange to think of such a long, sometimes grueling and often physically challenging trek being a tourist destination. But – it’s novelty (say “Everest” and watch eyes widen and jaws drop) and relative accessibility for many has put the trek on the map and a whole lot of bucket lists. So much so that the villages along the trail now almost exclusively serve the trekking industry and tourists, and are expanding. New buildings are going up all along the route. And though I can’t say for certain, I’d be willing to wager most Nepalese shops off the trail have items other than chocolate bars and Tang for sale. Just a guess.

But – this is where it gets personal – this trek was most definitely a path less taken for me. Read More

2017: The Year of Color and Mountains

 Varanasi, India ~ March 2017 Varanasi, India ~ March 2017

2017, you were a surprise. Two years ago, my wildest dreams never would have foreseen me in the middle of the Ganges, watching the evening prayer ceremony… or searching for Durga in the rock hewn temples of a fishing village on the coast of India. I couldn’t have predicted the “sari fail” at the Taj Mahal just after sunrise, or imagined the vibrant towers of Meenakshi Amman temple. I hadn’t yet experienced the breathless exhilaration of the crazy tuk-tuk ride through Jaipur, weaving around camels lazily chewing their cud, cows napping in the middle of the road, overloaded bicycle rickshaws, and every form of transportation imaginable. And I hadn’t yet participated in the joy that came with celebrating the colorful and chaotic Holi with village children, our white clothes quickly turned to rainbows. Read More

A Restoration of Faith: It’s About the Journey

And here we are.

Last weekend, I had a crisis of faith. Did I do the right thing? Was this path truly leading to where I need to go? Because there are times… there are times it’s exhausting. I joke that my dating profile is the worst resume a life could have – I live with my brother and sister-in-law, I don’t own a car, my work is unsteady and uncertain and without health or retirement benefits, I don’t have a significant other or children (At your age?! Gasp!). I’m that person that “everyone” whispers about – questioning whether she’s a functional, capable adult? Is she wasting her life? I’m also the one others use to make themselves feel better about – “at least I have my own place,” “at least I have a television.” (I do, but I haven’t seen it in 18 months – its in storage. I should probably just sell it.)  Read More

Monsters, Mountains, Starlight, and Finding My Path

It was four years ago this very weekend that my world as I knew it, hoped for it, and was comfortable in, exploded around me. The remaining structures would all crumble in very short due course. Life was stripped bare.

There are far worse tragedies in this world, and far less. But that is irrelevant. What matters is it was mine. Read More

Travel 101: Every Journey Begins with a Single Step

But a Bit of Planning Never Hurts

I’ve been asked many times how I went about planning my long trip last year, and circumstances finally brought me around to thinking more about the question, and my answer to it. How do you go about planning a trip, whether a day, a long weekend, a couple of weeks or several months? Where do you start? Answer: the basics. Essentially, the 5Ws and H, slightly altered for my own personal preferences, and a few additional considerations thrown into the mix. To make matters interesting, they all interconnect and influence each other. Read More

The Art of Getting Lost ~ Teotihuacan, Mexico

I shared a version of this story in May 2015, in my first few days of travel. But I love this story, and all it represents.

~ May 6, 2015 ~

Today was one of those days that is so full I simply don’t know where to start.

Which is actually quite fitting, considering the day started off with me getting lost. Read More

Travel 101: You Bring Yourself With You

I’m a bookworm. And an introvert. The one who actually enjoyed getting grounded, because it meant I had an excuse to retreat to my room, alone with my books. My parents did occasionally factor their daughter’s personality into their punishments, and instead of sending me to my room, would send me outside. That usually meant climbing a tree, with a book, and reading among the branches. Not quite what they had in mind, I’m sure.

  Glendalough Abbey, Co. Wicklow, Ireland  Glendalough Abbey, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

When talking travel, people tend to divide into two camps – the ones who know themselves well and plan their travel accordingly, and the ones who believe travel will make them someone else. Read More

Rain and Stars ~ Joshua Tree National Park, California

I’ve lived in them, visited them, have family and friends in them. But in the past few years, larger cities are not my preferred destinations for stress relief. I’m drawn much more to the outdoors. So when a friend I met while traveling last year said he’d be in the City of Angels for a week on a family trip, and may have a couple days of unscheduled time, I cheered and groaned. Read More