For this edition of Interview with a Traveler we talk to Kayla from A Book of Maps about all things travel. Kayla is 22 years old and currently attends University where she is working towards her bachelors degree in International Relations and Development. Kayla lives in Canada and of course, she loves to travel.
What changes did you make in order to save money for your travels?
Well I am a part-time employee for most of the year so the main change was to stop buying items like clothes and make-up and even books so I could save up money. Basically I had to make sure that with every paycheck I got, a portion of it went towards travel expenses.
What’s the best bit of travel advice you have ever received?
I am not sure if it is really advice, but while in Israel some of us in the group (myself included) were in the mindset of plans and specific times (as we had not gotten used to things running on Middle East time yet). My one group leader answered a question with “Does it matter?” and it hit me that travel is not always about seeing everything and being somewhere at a certain time. If you don’t get to see something you can go back and if you miss that bus then you can catch the next one.
What inspired you to start traveling?
The books I read growing up, definitely played a part in inspiring my wanderlust. I tended to read books like The Royal Diaries which made me want to see all of the palaces and castle that the princesses grew up in. I loved reading books that took place in a different country (particularly Europe) and I was always fascinated by Atlas’s and Globes. My family always went on trips every summer and my first trip was when I was two weeks old so I think, somehow, that sparked something inside me that made me want to travel.
What is your proudest accomplishment you achieved while traveling?
My proudest accomplishment would have to be backpacking in Israel and camping in the desert. I have been camping before and I am completely down with sleeping on the ground in a tent. But the places I have camped always had washroom facilities and showers. In the middle of the desert, surrounded by mountains (sand hills?) my “washroom” was a large boulder and my sleeping arrangement was a sleeping bag on the rocky ground. I have to admit I was a bit scared of spiders and scorpions crawling into my sleeping bag, even though it was so hot I didn’t even crawl inside it. This was also my first backpacking adventure. For someone who over packs to the point of having to buy extra luggage to come home with, the idea of carrying my belongings on my back for 6 weeks was a challenge I was excited for.
What has been the most under rated country you have been to and why?
Israel and Palestine. It is underrated, probably because of the rockets that fly back and forth and the political, social, religious and historical tensions in the region that are obvious in some areas. I would go there again, I fell in love with that region.
What is your travel mantra?
It is nice to always be prepared but spontaneity is key to some memorable adventures.
In what ways, if any, has travel changed you?
Travel has changed me for the better. It has taught me to look at the world with a different view and that in order to actually know a place, a people and what is really happening you must actually go there and then you can form an opinion. It has opened up my world dramatically and I can now say that I like kanafa, I hate frog legs and nothing beats the way the Jordanian coast of the Dead Sea lit up at night and how it felt to see the house my Nana was born in.
Fast fun five…
If you could only describe yourself as one would it be: beach bum, city slicker or country bumpkin?
Um…all three. Mostly I am a country bumpkin.
If you could travel back in time, which era and place would you go to and why?
This is one of the hardest questions I have ever been asked! I will choose…the 1800s. I love the fashion and how times are changing very fast and honestly I would just like to wear a corset and petticoats just once.
If you could travel with one celebrity, who would it be and why?
I think I am going to go with Kate Middleton. She could probably get me into some really cool places and she seems like she likes traveling having lived in Jordan and studied in Italy.
If someone was to make a movie about your travel life, what would it be called and who would play each of you?
“Twenty-something girl who travels the world despite her mother begging her to stay home” Would that be too long? Maybe be: “Making My Wanderlust Dreams Come True” As for who would play me, I hope it will be Emma Watson.
What was the first overseas trip you took?
Favorite country and why?
Oh goodness, that is difficult to say. I want to choose all of them but I guess I will choose England. I felt a sense of home in England and I hope to study there one day.