Departure Lounge | Walk Aboot
So why is Kimmie so unbreakable? Well, it’s because she is so damn flexible. In fact, she is a gymnast, an elite gymnast for about 90% of her life while the other 10% she was learning to walk and travel.
Ok fellas calm down…we are here to talk about travel…sheesh.
I first met Kim at another one of my Travel Massive, Toronto chapter meetups. This one, held in the chichi Brassaii cocktail bar/restaurant in Toronto’s King West, was all about Montreal and came with all you can eat poutine! Whaaa!!! Kimmie’s a lot of fun and with my other travel blogging friend Kevin from The Wandering Wagars the jokes kept coming like hot gravy over cheese curds all night.
Name(s): Kimberly Erin Davies
Travel Blog: Walkaboot | www.walkaboot.ca
Blog Content: Adventure Travel. (Remote if you’d like to say that)
Hiking the W-Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Patagonia
• How do you incorporate remote adventure into your travel? How do you prepare? Can you give us some tips?
Remote adventure is the highlight of my travels. It is my ultimate goal and my true destination. This would be one of those cases where it is actually all about the destination rather than the journey as the destination is usually unreasonably difficult to reach and takes a significant amount of planning. So whatever mountain I am thinking of climbing, or remote island I wish to visit, or trail I would like to explore, I make it my primary goal to at least get there to start it.
I prepare for these remote adventures by investigating every option available to arrive at the destination from whatever location my previous journey takes me to. I also PACK. I am a master of packing.
I have an uncanny ability to pack for all 4 season’s in one bag. This might include camping gear, climbing gear, surfing gear, food, shoes, you name it. It’s an art form really.
Now it’s time for tips: When it comes to packing, grab a couple compression sacks. You would not believe how many articles of clothing you can jam and squish into a compression sack. I usually fill one with winter/fall clothes and one with summer/spring! When it comes to getting to your destination, cover it all; land, sea, air, taxi, bus, shuttle, ferry, sailboat. Make sure you can reach your goal destination from anywhere. Just arriving there will give you a high!
- Share one of your favourite travel stories. How do these type of experiences change you as a person?
One of my favourite memories ever is the day that I reached the summit of Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador. Cotopaxi is the second highest peak in Ecuador and one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. This perfect stratovolcano stands at 5,897m (19,347ft) and has erupted over 50 times since 1738. Most recently it erupted last year!
Summit of Cotopaxi Volcano, Quito, Ecuador
Getting ready for glaciers on Cotopaxi Volcano, Quito, Ecuador
It was always on my bucket list. I had to try it…and when I finally did I was faced with something so much harder and so much bigger than I ever considered. It took me 2 days and all of the physical and mental strength I could muster. Truth be told, I had no idea what climbing a volcano of this stature would take.
It took me 7 hours to reach the summit. Along the way, I trudged up the glacier with crampons on my feet and a harness on my waist.
We crossed ice bridges and went into ice caves. It was so exhausting that I even attempted to convince my climbing partner to let me take a snow nap while he finished climbing to the summit. Fortunately, he was not having it though.
Experiences like this reinforce the type of strength you have as a person. To physically and mentally push oneself through a task to completion can leave you feeling ever more powerful in everyday life. It abolishes doubts and creates confidence. After completing tasks like these I feel proud; proud and inspired. Ready to take on the next challenge. There is an ever growing and ever changing Rolodex of future adventures and opportunities to be conquered. Never say no.
Handstand at Chichen Itza, Mexico
- What are your top 5 travel rules that you follow every time you travel and why?
Like every traveler, I have a certain set of guidelines I like to follow to ensure I have the best time possible:
My first rule is to never place oneself in a compromising situation. This may sound weird but I always say to myself, “Kim, if you put yourself in a compromising situation, you have the chance of being compromised”. I want to experience the world, but I don’t want to play risk roulette in a way that could severely compromise my experiences, feelings, and open-mindedness. While I partake in a lot of adventure, my biggest rule is to use my head and think things through.
My second guideline is to never rule anything out. One of my pet peeves is those who go traveling yet refuse to spend the time, or money going out to see the sites available. I guess a pet peeve would be travel snobbery. I do not ever think it is cool to say ‘Machu Picchu has too many tourists’ or “Chichen Itza is a waste of time”. The sites that are famous are usually famous for a reason and are usually worth the hype. The history of each location is what brings you to that country/culture. If your goal is simply to live, live at home. If your goal is to travel then go and see.
Third, I believe in making friends with locals. Yes, like actual friends. I know many of these people come from different places, brackets, and cultures than you, and yes the language barrier can exist…BUT…none of this should inhibit a natural connection. I am so close, and have experienced so much, and have learned an incredible amount from the friends I have made in the countries I visit. From these friends, I gained a real respect and appreciation for what I have, and for what I do not have. Plus, they take you for the best food.
Fourth, always eat the street food. Oh ok, so this might sound risky but it is usually not, and for when it is…there is always Imodium. If you eat where the locals eat, then you are in the zone. You can go to any location and find American/European food, but you are traveling. So see where the locals eat and try that food cart. I would take an empanada, a guinea pig, or even pig intestines before I go for an American Pizza. I also save 80% more money this way.
The final rule. Make sure you are having a good time. Make sure you are smiling, and always looking at the bright side of things. If you truly aren’t enjoying a location, leave and find a new one that makes you smile. You are traveling. The whole point is to have fun so move and enjoy.
- What are your top 3 travel hacking tips and tricks?
#1 Google Offline Maps. As soon as I arrive in a destination I have saved the map on the Google maps app. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a terrible sense of direction (despite the traveling) and need to follow my little blue dot everywhere.
#2 Hide a few hundred dollars in your backpack because you never know. 90% of the time you are pretty safe doing the hostel thing, but I will get real with you…I have been robbed, twice in one week actually. I was bound to sleep on the street when BOOM! I remembered the money I had hidden in my backpack! Back to the hostel I went. FYI. This is not always about being robbed. I have been in destinations where ATM’s stop working and I’ve used my hidden bills to move on.
#3 Listen! Listen to what people say. If you book everything online before you get there, you could definitely miss out! Listen to what other travellers are saying about where to go, what they ate and where they stayed. Follow their lead as pre-booking is not everything.
What are your top 5 travel things you must bring in your carry-on, purse and/or satchel?
Every traveler has their perfect pack! I know I certainly have some carry-on must-haves, because preparing for a long journey can make everything that much better:
- My most important carry-on item is actually slippers! I don’t know about you, but my feet get REALLY cold while flying or riding the bus. I always bring a pair of warm slippers so I can be comfortable whilst on the move.
- As I am a media kind of girl, my second must have is my electronics. I take all of my electronics with me in my carry-on bag. This means iPod, iPad, computer, and cameras. I really love to listen to music as a way to pass the time. Oh…and a pair of comfortable headphones is key.
- So an obvious #3 would be charging cords and extra batteries. God forbid I lose power in my iPod while traveling, I might as well roll off the bus as far as I am concerned. So an extra battery charge is important.
- Lately, I have been into taking pens and a sketch pad onto the plane. Having the opportunity to sketch can really pass the time! I guess things of importance to me are primarily comfort and entertainment.
- Finally #5 is definitely an extra sweatshirt. Yes, this takes up the room but as I stated above, I do not like to be cold while traveling! It hinders my ability to relax and to even sleep. So I always bring an extra layer to wear when I am cold, and if I am not cold, I roll it up and it doubles as a pillow so I can sleep easier. It’s all about warmth, comfort, and sleep.
• What is your most prized souvenir you brought back from abroad and what’s its story?
Ok well, this is a little strange, but my most prized possession is a tiny little Icon of a Condor which I purchased at the witches market in La Paz, Bolivia. Its purpose according to the ‘witches’ in the market is to bring good luck in travel to its holder. It is significant to me because I purchased the icon on the very first day, in the very first place, on the very first morning I arrived in South America and began what I consider my life adventure as a traveler, rather than as a tourist. To this day my little icon remains in my pocket wherever I travel. I guess it has become a good luck charm, as well as a fond memory to smile upon.
• Where are you off to next and what are hoping to experience, eat, see and/or learn?
My next trip is actually taking me to Guatemala! I am super excited for this as it always seems to be a clear favourite amongst traveler’s drifting through Central America. It will also mean I have explored a little of every country on the continent!
I am hoping to experience the famous ruins of Tikal, the colonial town of Antigua and to enjoy a couple volcano hikes.
Perhaps fit in a jungle rave at Zephyr Lodge as well as a swim in Semuc Champey. I am also looking forward to practicing my Spanish, and enjoying some solid Central American Pico de Gallo!
swimming in Cenote Chikin-Ha, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- Awesome, chatting with you Kimmie. I totally look forward to reading more of your wilderness travels and perhaps doing a little local blogging here in Toronto!
You can connect with Kim here:
Using the latest travel apps, technology, and gear, I take a city; see the sights, taste the food, smell the roses, hear the stories and feel the love. All in 48 hours. Then, using videography & editing, photography and writing I retell and share those stories with my readers and viewers.
I'm Christopher Rudder and welcome to Rudderless Travel.
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