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My Journey and My Mission

Kate Thomas Paris Chez Prune

I love to travel. Who doesn’t, right? I love it so much that I want to make it my job and a huge part of my everyday life. And what’s more, I want to help and inspire others to seek meaningful travel experiences. But what is travel anyway?

I think that foremost it is a state of being. It is a place I reach where I’m my best, where I am truly alive and ready to experience the extraordinary. It is like falling in love with a place and with life itself. When I travel, everything is new – and so am I. I feel new because I can look at my life from a different perspective and I can reflect on what I appreciate and what I don’t appreciate. And I can see what I want to change. Beyond that, traveling has provided me with the most exciting experiences of my life.

What a gift travel is. And it is something that everyone can do.

I discovered travel when I was 18. My boyfriend at the time invited me to Italy during the summer before college. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

And once I got there, it was shell shock. I’d never spent time immersed in another culture. And lucky for me, my boyfriend, who had family and friends there, led me around and served as my liaison into the Italian way of life.  We spent a week in Torino (Turin). We ate the most fabulous food (the gelato, ugh), toured the countryside by motorcycle and, most exciting to me, I got to see a real authentic side of Torino.

One of the greatest parts of the trip was that my boyfriend introduced me to his group of friends. And immediately, they welcomed me in like I was already part of the gang. All of them are artists, dj’s, and singers. They had a following and the teens in town would go to see them perform drum and bass music in underground clubs. And they let me be up on stage with them where I’d look out over the youth of Torino. But what impressed me so about this group of friends was that they were doing what they loved and there was no preoccupation about making it.  They were simply enjoying themselves. This, to me, was a new concept.

Another outstanding part of the trip was staying with my boyfriend’s uncle who is a very talented interior designer and architect. His house is decorated in a modern and minimalist style but it is wild. Like at the door, you are greeted by a 15-foot painting of a red serpent in a large great room. And the uncle himself was Mr. Cool with his black jaguar with a skull stick shift, sleeve tattoos and tough-guy attitude. He was also a wonderful host who made me feel right at home. But as far as the image he gives off, he is who he is, and there is no apologizing and no censoring himself.

It felt like everyone I met was like that. Not that everyone was badass but they all seemed to be so authentic to themselves. They all seemed so present and active in their passions. There was no American Dream they were chasing or prescription for life that they strove to fill. I’d spent my whole life trying to force myself into a mold. And here were all these people casting their own.

The trip awakened me to the existence of other life, or better, of other ways of living life. I found myself toying with the concepts of no longer being bound by the society in which I was raised. For the first time I thought, “What would it be like if I didn’t make decisions based on the expectations of my family? What if I dropped the pressures of needing to fit in with a certain crowd? Or what if I decided to live my life according to my own standards and not according to what my American society told me to do? What, then, would my life be like?

Suddenly, it hit me, I can be the master, the artist, of my own world. And I realized my life can be more fulfilling than I ever imagined before.

The seed of wanderlust that was planted in me on my very first trip to Italy led me to later live in Florence, then Paris and road trip across Spain. It took me to places as varied as Egypt and Lebanon, Australia and countries throughout South America, the Caribbean and more.

Along the way I discovered something really exciting. I found that not only do I like travel because it is a great escape and gives me the space to reflect constructively on my life but it is also profoundly enriching to me. I immerse myself into other cultures and other ways of life and I come out the other side with my hands full.

By that I mean, I have acquired new skill sets, learned invaluable life lessons and experienced the extraordinary. I learned how to speak French, Spanish and Italian. I’ve become an avid salsa dancer. I’ve tasted exotic foods, grooved to all sorts of music, seen the most beautiful vistas, and learned how to become a cultural chameleon seamlessly slipping into other worlds. And I’ve collected a group of friends spanning across the globe with whom I’ve shared very special moments.

On this blog, I post about my travel experiences past and present. I provide cultural features about dance, music, food, design and festivals. I post videos with travel tips I’ve picked up along the way. And I feature my web series, Travel with Kate highlighting interesting locals who give their unique perspectives in my destinations domestic and international.

My goal is to inspire you to travel in a meaningful way. I aim to provide tools for you to travel with ease and confidence. I want to empower you to refine and optimize your life’s journey with travel.

I’ll leave you, for now, with this quote from Pico Iyer, “if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.”

That quote gets me every time!


Learn more about how I got to where I am today in my post: How a Night in Paris Changed my Life.

Find out about my professional endeavors on my About Page.

  • Jessica
    November 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Way to go Kate!

  • Antonio Neves
    November 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Travel: “It is a place I reach where I’m my best, where I am truly alive and ready to experience the extraordinary.” Well said.

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