Australian native, Katie McKnoulty sets our wanderlust off at full throttle with her tales of world travel. Blogging and sharing her photographs on Instagram under the moniker of The Travelling Light, Katie travels to places as far flung as Europe and Asia to seek out the most interesting destinations. From super hip rooftop bars in Berlin to cooperative working hubs by the beach in Bali, Katie has us dreaming of uprooting and buying a one-way ticket around the world! We asked Katie a few questions about her favorite places to explore, and where she is off to next.
What inspired you to leave home and set off on your travels?
I can’t really remember a time I didn’t want to leave home and set off on my travels, it’s just always been something I knew I would do. I didn’t understand in what capacity (in high school I thought I’d be an international ‘business woman’!) but I knew I had to do it. I’m from Australia but my family travelled a lot together growing up so it’s just always been something that was in my life.
I suppose that doing a three month exchange in Paris when I was 16 probably fueled my desire to travel and live abroad a bit. I remember being so terrified to go before I left home, I would sit up in the middle of the night worrying about it. It was a real growth experience for me, very challenging whilst I was there but when I came back I had this amazing sense of accomplishment, I felt like I could do anything, so maybe I got addicted to that feeling too.
Where is your all-time favorite destination that you have ever visited and why?
Well, I suppose you know that’s a tough question to answer. But I suppose I often come back to Portland, Oregon as one of my favourites. I went there not knowing what to expect, on a bit of a whim, and I just ended up feeling so good there and seeing the most amazing things. In the month I spent there, a newfound friend showed me around beautiful hiking spots, wild swimming spots, food truck parking lots, so many dive bars, really interesting and cheap (and vegetarian) places to eat. It just had a really cool vibe and everyone was friendly and open and happy. I loved it.
Where would you recommend visiting for:
- vibrant nightlife?
Berlin – they are so big on the nightlife there that they even have so many niches within the scene so whether you’re like me and you like quiet, chilled out bars or you like super clubs with dungeons, I think anyone could enjoy the diversity of nightlife in that city.
- beautiful beaches?
Queensland, Australia – this is my home state so yes I’m a little biased but most people I know from home say the same thing to me about beaches – we travel far and wide looking for beaches better than ours but we just never find them. Australian beaches are so natural, casual (bring your own beach chairs/towels), clean and beautiful.
- intrepid exploring?
Cambodia – Things are still pretty undeveloped here so every day feels like an adventure, it can be hard work getting around but it’s so un-touristy it feels very real and special. They have so many amazing national parks and islands too, not to mention the huge Temple of Angkor Wat outside Siem Reap.
- absorbing culture?
London – For starters most of the museums and galleries in this city are completely free so you can go wild on culture here, and they have a lot of it. I also think, because there’s been so many artists and creatives living in London previously (I’ve heard they’re all shipping out to cheaper cities lately) there’s also a lot of up and coming art and music and culture to be found in the city. There just always seems to be cool people expressing themselves in very unique ways in London in my eyes.
- delicious cuisine?
Le Marche, Italy – I have literally never found a bad restaurant in this relatively undiscovered region of Italy. They cook with the seasons, as most Italians tend to do, and because it’s not a region that’s built on the tourist trade so much, the restaurants cater to Italian locals mostly so I think no one even bothers with terrible, plastic tourist menus/food. They just seem to love food here! Plus they are big on truffles on everything…
What are your travel essentials that you always pack in your suitcase?
- Sarong that doubles as a scarf – everything I pack has to be multi-functional as I’m always packing for six months plus
- Yoga mat – this is a new addition but I now make room for a regular sized yoga mat in my suitcase – it stops me from filling it up with heavy things and means I can keep a regular yoga practice and move my body
- Trench coat – Need I say more? Travel essential.
What do you miss from home when you are traveling the world?
Family and friends and just the complete peace that comes with knowing your surroundings very well and knowing you’re safe and have people around you who’ll drive you to the airport when you need.
What would be your top three tips for someone who dreams of being a travel blogger?
- Start writing – Don’t put off starting your blog until you take off travelling, start writing now so you develop a sense of what you want to write about and how you want to write.
- Put in lots of hours with a camera or take a course – I learnt from just taking thousands of pictures so my pictures were not perfect when I first started my site but I think you have to work towards taking good quality pictures as so much of the lure of travel is through the pictures we take.
- Get really good at hellos and goodbyes – If you’re a travel blogger, you’re going to be constantly moving around and everything is changing out from under you all the time. So you have to get pretty good at meeting new people and accepting new places and situations for what they are, as well saying goodbye to all these things constantly, not to mention saying goodbye to family and friends at home. But it’s all part of the experience and it makes you a pretty resilient person I think.
Where will you be traveling to next?
I’m sticking around in Europe for a while now. Previously I was moving places every month but I got pretty worn out so my new goal is 2-3 months stints. Next up is Paris, my favourite city in the world!
Where is on your travel bucket list?
India & Guatemala – both recommendations from my brother and sister, they’ve both spent a lot of time in these places, on somewhat spiritual journeys, staying in ashrams, meeting amazing people and fellow solo travelers, going to sacred ceremonies and all sorts of interesting things so I really want to start doing more of this type of travel next year.
What would be your top picks from A Common Space for taking on your travels?
- Buttoned-Down Boyfriend Shirt - it looks like it would travel well and I always pack at least one button-up because they can double as a shirt as well as a light jacket.
- Kaleidoscope Print Knit Top – this would work well with layering so I’d definitely take it with me. I always like to travel with prints to break up the monotony of my limited wardrobe.
- Olive Relaxed Fit Trousers – I’d love to wear these on a plane or on a big day out walking and taking photos in a city!