My name is Kate. I’m British AND American, but home is – and probably always will be – Edinburgh, Scotland.
I’m a big fan of adventures, swing dancing, cooking, eating, drinking, making stuff, and getting overexcited about things.
The first time I went on a trip by myself was the summer of 2004. I had three weeks between working at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and doing a semester at the University of St Andrews. It seemed silly to fly home to the US and then back to the UK again, so to me, it was an obvious choice.
I didn’t know anyone else who’d done it on their own before, as that kind of thing just isn’t as big for Americans, but I didn’t care. I got a Eurail pass and went to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Český Krumlov, and Prague. (I also attempted to go to Helsingør, Denmark but failed.) It was fantastic and difficult and illuminating – a pretty enticing gateway drug.
Since then, I have been on various trips, sometimes alone sometimes with people, but I have always had the urge to see more places and eat more food in said places.
What this blog is all about
I started Getting Where when I was getting serious about planning my big overland Trans-Siberian-based adventure from Edinburgh to Bangkok. I decided to keep it going when I completed that trip because I think there’s still plenty to talk about.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a permanent traveler type – I’m pretty sure I want to live in Edinburgh forever. But I also want to take lots of lovely, long trips away as well as plenty of short trips closer to home. And maybe there’s even another massive trip lurking in my future. Who knows? Not me. Not yet.
But my biggest goal in writing about whatever I end up writing about is to be as honest and transparent as possible when it comes to the practicalities, emotions, and finance of DIY travel.
When I talk to people about traveling alone and extensively, the same two things always come up:
People tend to call solo travel brave, and maybe it is, but that’s also relative. Taking a trip on my own is far less scary to me than say, speaking to a room full of people.
I sometimes get the sense that people believe that just because I’m going off to do these things on my own, I’m fearless, which is absolutely not the case. Traveling solo, particularly as a lady, can be really intimidating. I spend a fair amount of time freaking out about stuff, big and small, and I don’t want to mis-represent this sort of travel as something that’s effortless and breezy.
At the same time, the amazing things that come from the experience of being in a different place far outweigh the parts that scare me.
I am by no means rolling in the cash. I prioritise the stuff I really love, but I’m rubbish at saying no to going out for drinks with friends or buying a ridiculous silly t-shirt no matter how close to the line I am pre-payday. I put more things on credit cards than my mother would be proud to hear about.
But if something is your priority, you will find a way to do it. Money be damned. You can make it. I will not regret carrying a balance for a few months in exchange for getting back on my feet almost entirely on credit once I got back to the UK because I managed to spend all my re-start money on the trip.
So I try to lay my travel finances as bare as possible in terms of saving and spending, because even if your budget is far from immaculate, it doesn’t have to be an immovable barrier.