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How can you travel light even on an extended trip? How can traveling light be an attitude to life as well as a practical way to pack your gear? Katherine Leamy talks about these questions and more in this episode.
Katherine Leamy is The 5 Kilo Traveller, a freelance travel writer, and blogger based in New Zealand.
- Why traveling light is useful
- Ideas for the ideal type of backpack
- Advantages of different types of clothing
- How to manage toiletries and the weight of liquid vs solid as well as brand tips
- Is traveling light an attitude?
- Tips for women traveling solo
- Recommended travel books
You can find Katherine Leamy at the5KiloTraveller.com
Transcript of the interview
Joanna: Katherine Leamy is ‘The 5 Kilo Traveller,’ a freelance travel writer and blogger based in New Zealand. Welcome, Katherine.
Katherine: Thank you very much for having me, Joanna.
Joanna: I’m excited to talk about this topic.
Why The 5 Kilo Traveller in the first place? Why are you so interested in packing light?
Katherine: Back in 2017, I went to Croatia initially by myself for four weeks, and I decided that I needed to be independent with my bag.
I wanted to be able to carry it myself, I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone else, because I didn’t have a travel companion to help me. So I really wanted to just have a bag that I could manage myself.
And it was also about keeping things safe and secure as well. So that was really the big reason as to why to carry a light bag. And it turned out that when I was in the planning, I ended up with a bag that was just over five kilos, so I got dubbed ‘The 5 Kilo Traveller.’
Joanna: It’s so interesting to me. You said there about being independent, and safe, and secure. I’ve done a lot of independent traveling, I literally would struggle to have a bag that small! And I am really interested in this topic, which is why I wanted to talk to you, especially as I plan for my bigger walks where carrying all this stuff feels important to me, but I think you have a better attitude. So let’s get into some of your thoughts and tips on packing light.
Let’s start with the bag itself.
Katherine: The bag is a 24 litre bag. It’s really not much bigger than a child’s school bag really. I wanted to have a good carrying capacity. So it carries up to about eight kilos worth of gear. It’s got a good harness system. And it’s got a hip belt.
A hip belt is not compulsory. But for me, I was going to be doing some walking between accommodation a bit like when you walk in the Camino. And so I needed it to be really ergonomically designed for my bag and keep my bag sort of safe, I guess.
One of the things with the bag is that people say, ‘Do you go for the bag first? Or do you find what you want to put in it and then pick the bag?’ And one of the risks with that is that if you pick a bag, that is say, 30 or 40 litres, you’ll always pack to the capacity of the bag. So by buying a bag that was 24 litres, I knew I was restricting myself to how much I could actually pack.
Joanna: My husband is a total bag geek, he will spend hours watching YouTube videos and all these different things. I always have Osprey backpacks. Do you have a particular brand that you like?
Katherine: My current bag, the bag that I’ve used for a long time was my Vaude bag, I think which is a German brand. And it’s just incredibly ragged. I’ve had it for five years now. It’s really robust and it’s just been absolutely brilliant for what I’ve been needing it for.
Joanna: My little Osprey, I’ve had, I think, for about 15 years now. I just keep changing out the clips.
Katherine: In my old backpacking days when I carried a 20-kilo bag, my backpack was a Karrimor, and which the irony of the name isn’t lost on me. They’re encouraging us to carry more.
Joanna: Yes, that’s absolutely right. I wondered about your view on the pack cover. Because I really like packs with an integrated rain cover that goes in the little pocket. And some people buy them separately, but I think that the separate ones can be heavier, and it can be very easily lost. It’s something that I care about in a pack. I wondered about your view on the pack cover.
Katherine: The Vaude one that I’ve got does come with a pack cover. I don’t know if it’s always necessary. It depends whether you are planning on walking in the rain. Other people just make sure that they’ve got a plastic bag or some cover within the bag so that the contents stay dry even if the bag gets wet.
But the Vaude has a rain cover that actually it’s still attached to the bag just with a little clip. So if you don’t want it, you can always just remove it, but it’s actually got a clip on it so that you can just pull it right over the bag and it just tucks into a pocket underneath. It’s really handy.
Joanna: I guess we should even question the backpack situation. Here in Europe, we do a lot of weekend trips away and people will have those little rolly things that you can put out really easily into the luggage space or whatever.
Do you ever go with that kind of rolly wheel thing, or do you always use a pack?
Katherine: I used to have a small rolly suitcase. But I’ve had enough experience of the wheels breaking and then it becomes a suitcase you’ve got to carry. But actually, for my bag, it’s actually a lot easier to carry the weight on my back where it’s coming through my shoulders and held on my hips.
I think that’s a lot better designed for carrying, then turning around and pulling a bag along. Personally, I just find it a lot easier. I’m a lot more mobile, and it’s very hands-free travel when you’ve got a bag on your back, because you can reach out, you can hold on a train, and I liken myself to a bit like a turtle. I’ve got everything on my back, but I can still reach out and grab, or use my phone, or read maps, or whatever it is. I’ve got both hands free. So the backpack is definitely my preference.
Joanna: I’m totally with you on that. And in fact, I get really happy when I put my backpack on because I feel like this is me now, I’m off.
When I left England in the year 2000, and I flew to Australia, and I did come back occasionally, but I basically left for 11 years. All I took was a backpack and that was everything I took.
And it’s so funny to think that you don’t need that much stuff. Or you can just walk out with your things. Also on the rolly suitcase, I would say living here in Bath and a lot of places in Europe, you have cobblestones or very uneven ground, so your arm just dies if you have a rolly suitcase.
Katherine: The vibration.
Joanna: Exactly. I’ve just even from my house down to the train station, which is about half an hour walk. It’s like I tried it once and I was like, ‘Never again.’ And a lot of people don’t think about that. Because maybe especially in the U.S. or Australia, for example, you don’t walk to the train station, you’ll probably get a cab or whatever, so people don’t think about that.
In Europe, we walk a lot of places, you would have found that.
Katherine: Exactly. And there’s also things like footpaths are not always the cleanest of places either. So you’ve dragged your bag along on the ground and then you go into a hotel and people throw their bags on the bed. And I’m like, ‘Oh, put it on the ground.’
Joanna: It’s so funny you say that. My husband has a rule, no bags on the bed, because that is exactly how you pick up bedbugs or any kind of bugs because people have done that. We never, ever put our bags on the bed.
Katherine: Absolutely. I totally agree.
Joanna: Okay, so that’s a lot on backpacks. It is so funny how people can geek out on backpacks. But once you go down the rabbit hole, you can get pretty serious. We have a lot of backpacks in our house because we get obsessed about them. But let’s get into the actual stuff.
How do you manage the amount of physical clothing you have, let alone toiletries?
Katherine: First of all, before I do any packing, I think about where I’m going and what activities I plan to do, and then I base my packing around that. And I think, is there stuff that I can hire when I get over there or borrow off someone?
Thinking about the season and the places that I’m going to, the country, the cultural stuff, gets me thinking about where I’m going and what I actually need. Of course, before the pandemic, I was planning on going to walk the Camino in Spain. I was looking at the things that I needed. I didn’t really need outfits for anything nice in the evening. I just needed to be smart and casual.
I didn’t need high heels. Not that I wear them much anyway, but there were certain things that I just wasn’t going to need. And I think the more realistic you are about what you need, the more you’ll leave at home. So some people it’s very easy to pack for every eventuality, but you really don’t need that arctic jacket when you’re going somewhere in summer.
There is that whole ‘just-in-case’ packing that’s risky, but really, it’s just about thinking about where you’re going and what you’re doing, and the cultural rules of the place, whether you need to cover up and then start looking at your wardrobe and what you’re going to take.
Joanna: Do you buy specifically light-weight clothing? This is something I’ve been thinking about with the Camino.
Usually for hiking, I wear cotton T-shirts because I prefer the fabric but with the amount of washing that one has to do, and they don’t dry particularly fast. And so what you need really is the quicker dry material, which is what I’ve been thinking about with that.
Do you go for the lighter material, for quicker drying in order to wash things more often?
Katherine: I’m a huge fan of Merino wool or Smartwool products, which actually are fine during summer because there are fabrics, like there’s the Icebreaker brand in New Zealand that has a cool light fabric. It’s a Merino wool, but it’s nice and cool for summer.
They’re quick-drying, and they’re also odor resistant as well. So you can actually wear it and then air it at night. You don’t need to wash it, so you could hang it on the end of the bed kind of thing or on a wardrobe. And the next morning, it’s really got no odour at all. So there’s that kind of thing.
But there’s the other thing is even if you did want to wash them every night, they are quite dry, they’d be dry in six hours kind of thing. And you can easily wear it the next day.
Now I think you only need one T-shirt to wear like when you’re doing the Camino, one T-shirt to wear and one T-shirt to wear at night kind of thing when you’re not walking. So I guess one of the big tricks with packing light is making sure that you’re prepared to do some hand washing.
Joanna: Do you take a little washing line with you? The elastic ones? I’ve got one of those.
Katherine: I have used those in the past. But now I generally find somewhere because I’m really only drying, usually a T-shirt, some underwear, and maybe a pair of shorts, I think we get a bit hooked on hand washing or washing things all the time. And they don’t need washing, they can be spot cleaned and things like that.
Merino socks, for instance, you can wash, you don’t have to wash them every day, as long as they’re well aired. But I usually find things to drape things over. Whether it’s a chair, or I don’t know, I haven’t been on the Camino. So it might not be so easy in the hostels, but I’d probably just take some pegs and hang them on a clothesline that’s around or hang them up next to a window kind of thing.
Joanna: I’ve seen people peg them or pin them to the back of their pack. Yesterday’s socks, you wear a pair and wash a pair type of thing. So that as you’re hiking along, it dries in the sun. When were you planning on doing the Camino?
Katherine: I was meeting my sister over there. And we were doing it in May of last year.
Joanna: Oh, okay, right. I’m hoping that the pandemic will reduce the number of people. But I still couldn’t do it because it’s pretty popular now. I think.
Katherine: Exactly, it’s very popular.
Joanna: I want to ask about toiletries, because as women, I don’t even wear that much makeup, but still I like an eyebrow pencil. That’s my one thing that is very handy. But how do you do toiletries?
On the Camino for example, suntan cream is one of those things that is really important. And from New Zealand, Australia, you have to carry certain things for health. And then there’s other things like moisturizer.
How do you manage those toiletry bits and bobs?
Katherine: I start getting a little bit scientific and six weeks to two months out from going somewhere, I’ll actually measure how much of… This is very scientific you’ll laugh, but I will measure how much a teaspoon of moisturizer will last me. And so say for instance, if a five-mil teaspoon of moisturizer lasts me 10 days then I can say that well for 30 days, I only need 15 mils of moisturizer.
Joanna: That’s brilliant!
Katherine: So I really get down to the science of it and so then I just collect little bottles, and containers, and medicine bottles, from antibiotics and things like that. I’ve got hundreds of them. But it’s just reducing things right down.
I think there’s the whole liquid amount that you can carry on a carry-on bag. And it’s like 100 mils but when you think about 100 mils of moisturizer or even 100 mils of shampoo, that’s going to last absolutely forever. But the other thing with toiletries is if I can take a solid, I will take a solid over a liquid.
My shampoo and conditioner is a solid bar, my deodorant is a crystal. They take up less space and also less weight as well, than liquids do. And when I reached Croatia and Italy and I had a little jar of purple shampoo, but it all spilt, and it went through everything. And purple shampoo is just like tar, it goes everywhere. So I now have a purple shampoo bar and it’s actually perfect.
Joanna: Now I have to ask: a solid bar and a crystal. What are these brands?
Katherine: The shampoo bar that I use is a New Zealand brand called Ethique, E-T-H-I-Q-U-E and they do shampoo bars and body bars, and they do moisturizers and all that kind of thing. I can’t remember what the brand is for my crystal, but I get it from a herbal shop. And it’s just a small crystal looks like it’s the shape of a deodorant, but it’s just not liquid and I actually smash it, so in fact I only take a little portion of it.
Joanna: Wow, you’re incredible. I’m so impressed with that. Because it’s so funny even mentioning shampoo and conditioner. I always feel like I can use whatever, I can use soap in my hair, or whatever. But I like to have a conditioner. If you have some nice conditioner with you, then you feel quite good afterwards. You know your hair is nice. But I’ve never even thought to get a bar. I think here we have Lush.
Katherine: Oh, yeah. One of the other things that I took was a Dr. Bronner’s bar that was on my first trip. And the good thing was a Dr. Bronner’s all-in-one bar is that you could use it to wash your clothes, as a body wash for cleaning, and also as a shampoo bar as well. So that was actually really helpful. And also, I could clean my shoes with it, and all that kind of stuff. So it was really versatile for cleaning everything.
But the other thing as well is that, I guess, if you’re staying in hotels, there are things that you don’t need to actually carry, because the hotels will provide them. So you don’t need to worry about maybe shampoo, and soap, but I was in hostels and different places. So I needed to have my backup.
Joanna: I’m the same when I’m backpacking, that’s when you need more stuff, almost. You need more stuff, but less stuff as you say, you don’t necessarily need to take a nice dress to wear out to a restaurant, but you need more things like washing.
In terms of any other tips, or what do people get wrong? Is there a way to think about what not to do?
Katherine: I don’t ever think of it as doing anything wrong. I think it’s just a bit of a learning curve for everyone. We all are learning.
One thing that I think is risky is you get your bag, and you’ve got everything in it. And then you have this last-minute panic that you’re not going to have enough. And so you end up shoving a whole lot of stuff in that you didn’t need, you’ve thought through what you actually needed, and you planned for it. But then at the last minute, you go, ‘Ah, I’ve gotta just take this or I’m gotta just take that.’ Before you know it, you’ve crammed quite a few extra things in there that by the end of the trip, either have never seen the light of day, or you usually found that you didn’t really need them.
One of the tips that I stick with is making sure that everything mixes and matches. My base colour is blue. So I basically make sure that everything goes with that so you can mix it up and make things look a lot better or just different.
The other thing is making sure that things layer so wearing a long sleeve under a short sleeve and then a jacket, so you get your warmth through the extra layers. You can on some days find that you’re pretty much wearing your whole wardrobe.
Joanna: I find the winter because I do more hiking in the autumn and the colder weather. I’ve ended up shoving an extra fleece in at the last moment only to find that I then have a small fleece, a base fleece, and another fleece, and then this extra fleece. I’m like, ‘I do not need this much.’
Joanna: Layering, it’s a good tip.
Katherine: The other thing is scarves and jewelry. Taking a couple of scarves and a couple of pieces of jewelry can dress things up and change things and have things looking different.
But I think the other thing is about not just about what you bring with you in your bag, but actually your attitude.
People worry about that, ‘Oh my god, everyone’s going to say that I’m wearing the same things.’ But actually, when you’re on the road, particularly when you’re solo, and people aren’t seeing you all day wearing the same saying so to them, it’s a new outfit, to everyone that you meet what you’re wearing is a new outfit. So it’s just to you that you’ve worn it probably for the last three days in a row.
Joanna: That’s exactly right. And of course, you can always buy things.
Katherine: Oh, yes.
Joanna: I ended up buying a pilgrim T-shirt at Canterbury Cathedral, which I thought was pretty cool. And so that’s the thing you almost, when you get to a place you can buy it. Buying a T-shirt when you’re backpacking is not that big a deal, even if you’re on a budget.
Katherine: Exactly. Another thing is actually if you’re planning on buying a T-shirt, actually, leave a T-shirt at home knowing that you’re actually going to be buying something when you get over there. So maybe not taking your full quota of T-shirts but having that as one of your souvenirs that you’re going to buy.
Joanna: The other thing when I did the Australia trip is that you can get things sent to a post office in most countries or some kind of drop box, or there are the services now. I packed up a parcel with my work clothes for when I got a job and got him to send that over. So you can ask a friend or someone to send a packet, if you’re, say hiking for a bit, and then you’re going to a city, you can send something. Have you ever done that?
Katherine: No, the only thing I’ve thought about doing is more sending stuff back. When I was in Amalfi, I was eyeing up the ceramics and thinking, ‘Oh, I’d really like some more ceramics.’ I ended up just buying a plate and a couple of smaller items.
I ended up carrying those, but I think if I’d decided to buy anything more, it was just so easy to send it back for them. And the shops over there were so obliging, and ‘We can send your dinner set back to New Zealand.’ They’re very accommodating.
Joanna: I don’t have many possessions, but I do have a Turkish kilim that I carried around Turkey for a long time. I wish I had it just sent that back rather than carrying it because it’s not a light object. But no, I think that’s right. So sending stuff to and from. You did mention a bit about attitude.
I feel like traveling light can be an attitude as well, in terms of emotional baggage.
Katherine: I think certainly, right at the very beginning of when I started traveling light, it was purely about security and managing my bag. But then the analogy to life certainly came true, where you just realize that your bag is less cluttered. And you’re thinking about these things.
We’ve got sayings, lighten up, and you’ve got to lighten your load and all that kind of thing around emotional stuff and mental health. And it does cross over the packing light. When you think about what you carry in your head. And just keeping that whole minimal thinking and that mindfulness, sort of what we allow, that clutter that we allow in our mind as well. There’s certainly a crossover from packing, in thinking.
Joanna: I think so too. Just on books, I take a Kindle now. And I have my phone in terms of electronics and you need charging cables.
I also carry a journal, which does add weight. Do you have books? Or do you do ebooks or stuff like that?
Katherine: I do ebooks, usually have either audible books or ebooks like Kindle, which I just use on my phone. And for a diary, I actually pulled out my diaries today.
Years ago, when I had this fascination with the Liberty diaries, I thought they were beautiful. So I used to carry them whenever I went traveling. Now I just use my phone as my diary. But of course, I can’t stick all those photos and tickets and all those things, those little things that you pick up along the way used to go in my diary, and I do miss that.
Joanna: Definitely a hardback journal is high on my list for necessary. I use Leuchtturm or Moleskine.
I want to just ask you on your blog, you talk about how solo travels saved your life.
Tell us about your solo trip and why it made such a difference.
Katherine: I went on my solo trip when I was 48. I wasn’t really into this whole midlife thing. I hadn’t read up on it or anything like that and didn’t really know anything about it. But I guess I was just after a bit of a challenge and a bit of an adventure.
I wanted to do something for myself, bringing up teenagers and working and everything like that. I just felt I needed a bit of me time. So for me the trip was actually a real reboot. I developed the confidence that I’d forgotten about. And I realized that I can look after myself and I can do things and I can talk to people, complete strangers. It really was just a huge, huge confidence boost.
Reboot is a good word because it reset my thinking and it had reverberations into my whole life. I think prior to doing that trip, there’s no way I would have set up a website or been interviewed on podcasts or anything. I’ve done some incredible things since, and I really do think that that trip was the reboot I needed.
Joanna: I feel like a lot of people especially well, especially women are afraid to travel solo.
What are your tips or thoughts on women traveling solo?
Katherine: I think first of all, if you’re going to do it, I do recommend doing, say a mini trip somewhere local, or somewhere to a nearby city or somewhere that you’re familiar with, you’ve got the familiar language, familiar currency, and just get used to that fact that you don’t have to ask anyone else what they want to do or where they want to eat, or if they want to eat or, ‘Can I have dessert now?’ Or ‘Can I have two lots of dessert?’
You get used to that freedom of not having to consult with people. So start with a smaller trip locally.
And then the other things I suggest to people is follow your safety rules that you follow at home. I don’t generally go walking out at night by myself. I don’t do that when I’m traveling alone.
I also like to mix up solo travel with catching up with people. So whether that’s meeting someone I know, or it might be even doing day trips, or a walking tour, it gives you a chance to mingle. But I actually found that I’m a bit of an introvert, but I still can make a conversation out of someone making me a coffee, or, so the barista, or the pizza maker, or anyone. I can talk to most people. So break up the solo travel with some planned episodes of catching up with people.
Dining out is often the big fear of solo travelers. I would often eat earlier when there weren’t big crowds in restaurants, so I didn’t feel quite so conspicuous eating by myself. And then I’d also eat my main meal during the day. So at lunchtime, which was often cheaper as well. Then at night, I would get some kind of takeaway, I’d go to a delicatessen and get a selection of food and then go and sit by the beach and eat my meal down there. So there are different ways of doing things to help you with some of those bits that are a bit uncomfortable.
And then, of course, probably one of my last tips is, and this is my thing, because some people wouldn’t worry about this. But I do like to keep in touch with my family back home. I like to let my husband know where I am and that I’ve got somewhere, and just as a courtesy to him, and it’s a safety thing that someone knows where you are and where you last were, but I am a bit of a spreadsheet queen fanatic. So he could actually look at my spreadsheet and pretty much know, within the hour where I was.
Joanna: We now have, between me and my husband, you can share your devices. It’s a bit stalkerish! But you can actually see where the other one is. We use that quite a lot, actually.
Katherine: Yeah, there’s some apps that you can follow people, I haven’t actually done that. But I think I would do that next time. I don’t think that was all available five years ago.
Joanna: No, absolutely not. You can even get little Air Tags you could put on your bag. We’ve all had lost luggage at some point. Very useful things like that.
I want to add to your solo travel thing. As a woman traveling alone, I actually think staying in a hostel or more like shared accommodation, you can easily meet other people. And in fact, I’ve always found women travel alone all over the world. I remember a coach trip in Western Australia, one of these 24-hour coach trips, and pretty much everyone on the coach was a solo female traveler.
Katherine: Wow, yeah.
Joanna: So, you can meet other people. And that doesn’t mean you have to hang out with them for ages. But you can certainly go out for dinner with other people you meet along the way.
Traveling alone as a woman, if you stay in a hotel, you’re less likely to meet other people than you are in a cheaper form of accommodation.
Katherine: That’s right. And the other thing is being a solo traveler, people are a lot more willing to talk to you because you don’t have a companion, so they want to talk to someone who’s by themselves.
And hostels, whether you’re cooking meals or whether you’re sitting in the lounge, people feel very safe coming up to a solo person and saying, ‘Hi, where are you from?’ And the conversations are so easy flowing. I met some incredible people, young and older and it’s just fantastic travelers, solo travelers and group travelers at the hostel. I really enjoy hostels. I really do.
Joanna: Definitely. And just another tip. I’ve never had a problem eating alone. I actually like eating alone, but one of the things is people bothering you so when I wasn’t married, I always wore a wedding ring. So if you’re not married, or if you’re divorced, or whatever state of life you’re in, wearing a wedding ring as a woman is a good idea and also headphones so the old-style headphones, not the wireless ones. But the ones with a wire.
Katherine: The ones you can see?
Joanna: Yes, the ones you can see. If you have headphones, they don’t have to be attached to anything. They can just go into your pocket, but they tend to put people off. So if you want some private time, that can be the best way.
Katherine: Exactly. I never found that I got spoken to unnecessarily. I never felt that there was any intrusion much. Even when I was eating by myself. There were some people that came up and talked to me because often they would hear my accent and think, ‘Oh, where is she from?’ And just couldn’t help themselves but come and talk to me. Because you’re not interrupting someone else’s conversation. It’s just one person. And they probably think, ‘Oh, of course they’d like to be spoken to.’ But it actually didn’t really in reality happen all that much, I found.
Joanna: I think this was probably more in my ’20s when I was younger and also traveling around the Middle East on my own. It depends what culture you’re in really, and how old you are probably. I’m also, like you, in my late ’40s now, so possibly, I will get less approached in bars. There are benefits to being an older woman!
Joanna: What are some of your recommended travel books?
Katherine: The first one is called Grandma Gatewood’s Walk. It’s about a woman in the 1950s, her name is Emma Gatewood. And she is a woman from Ohio, I think, and she walks the Appalachian Trail. She’s the first woman to ever do it. She’s 67-years-old. And she’s got 11 children and 23 grandchildren.
She goes off and walks, decides that she’s going for a walk, and doesn’t tell her family what she’s doing. And anyway, heads off on this walk to the Appalachian Trail, which is 2,500 miles. And the guy who’s written it, has done the biography. And it’s just gorgeous. It really is.
People are always asking her why is she doing it? She goes, ‘I don’t know, I just wanted an adventure,’ or ‘I just wanted a walk,’ or ‘I just wanted to be alone.‘ It’s really delightful. But she comes from a very sad background where her husband was physically abusive to her. And so she’s got an incredible strength.
One thing that really drew me to her is that they consider her to be the first ultra-light hiker because she literally carried five kilos on the Appalachian Trail. And she pretty much had a change of clothes, some food, wore the same sneakers. I think she got them repaired or changed them along the trail. But it was just one pair of shoes, a change of clothing, and food. And she had a shower curtain that she used in case it started raining while she was sleeping on the ground. It’s an incredible story.
Joanna: And we have all this sort of ultra-light material these days!
Katherine: Exactly. But even then, it’s really interesting because the book has a real social history thing as well because it talks about the American society in 1955. And how the cars were coming in and people were getting lazy and not walking. God knows what they think now!
It’s a really interesting book about American society at the time and how women were viewed. And even back then, the backpackers had their big backpacks and everything like that. So even they thought she was a bit mad that she didn’t have everything. She’s actually walked the Appalachian Trail three times, which is pretty phenomenal.
The next book that I’ve read was by Rita Golden Gelman, and it’s called Tales of a Female Nomad. When she was 48, her marriage broke up. And she’s an anthropologist, I think, and she decided to go and live in a village in Mexico, and just be a part of a village.
Basically, that was the start of the rest of her life spent being a nomad around the world. And so she’s written really beautiful stories about different cultures in different countries. And what she saw and what she experienced, and probably from an anthropologist’s point of view, just the study of people but not trying not to interfere as well. It’s really interesting and covers South America, and the Galapagos, and Southeast Asia, and all over the place. It’s a really interesting read.
The last one, I’m in the middle of it at the moment, and there is a bit of a theme here, but I am quite enjoying anything about solo travel. It’s by a journalist Stephanie Rosenbloom, an American Woman. And I think she was sent on a journalist job to do a story on traveling alone.
She starts off in Paris. And then she goes to Istanbul in Florence. It’s an interesting read, because I don’t think it’s a novel as such. She does talk a lot about her experience traveling alone. But it’s almost a little bit like a very long essay with academic writings and philosophy and all that kind of thing around what it’s like to be alone.
She’s done a lot of research into alone time. And it’s really fascinating. And as a person who’s travelled by themselves, of course, I’m reading it or listening to it and just nodding along going, ‘Yep, yeah. Yeah, that’s so true. It’s so true.’
I don’t know what it would be like for someone who hasn’t travelled by themselves, whether they just found it interesting or amusing. If you want to know what solo travel is like, she really does hit the nail on the head. And she talks about things like eating food, when you’re by yourself, like you’ve got no distractions, you’ve got no one to talk to. So you’re really focusing on the food in front of you. And you’re really savoring the flavours and things like that. She really hits the nail on the head.
That’s Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom.
Joanna: Fantastic. Well, this has been such a fun chat. I know you have a lot more on your website.
Tell us where can people find you and everything you do online?
Katherine: My website is the5kilotraveller.com. That’s the number 5 and traveller has two L’s, and my Instagram is @the5kilotraveller. And my Facebook is The 5 Kilo Traveller. So that’s where people can find me.
Joanna: Brilliant. Thanks so much for your time, Katherine, that was great.
Katherine: Thank you so much. It’s been so much fun talking. Thank you for having me.
Another very enjoyable talk. Great info and inspiring!
Jo Frances Penn