Hi, I’m Ketti! After toying around with a bunch of different international careers, I’m now a full-time travel and sustainability blogger. I also consider myself a serial ex-pat. Every single job I’ve taken since college, I’ve taken because it allowed me to move to a new country. So I really had no choice but to build my own job that I can take anywhere! But my interest in sustainability came much later than my love for travel, and after completing my Master’s in Sustainable Business and Energy, my passion is combining that knowledge with the travel industry. Because we spend so much money on travel. So spending it better – with companies that are ethical and responsible – is a powerful way to change the world. I grew up in very rural Montana, and now I can honestly say I’m as comfortable sleeping in a tent in the mountains as in a five-star hotel in the city.
Why do you travel and look for adventures?
Because ever since I was a kid, I’ve felt more like myself when I’m traveling than I do staying home. It’s what makes me feel alive.
What kind of adventures do you look for when you travel?
Mountains to climb, new foods to try, and ways to meet people and break out of my comfort zone – sometimes way out.
What’s your go-to travel hack?
Don’t expect things to be the same as they are at home. That may sound obvious, but I see people getting frustrated on their travels all the time for reasons that essentially boil down to, “why doesn’t this work the way I’m used to?” The only point of travel is to see places and experience ways of living that are different from what we know. You have to really make a conscious effort to be open to that, even when it feels uncomfortable.
Got any gear you can’t travel without?
All my favorite plastic-free toiletries, which also make for much easier packing and one less security hassle! Shampoo and conditioner bars, powdered face wash, solid serums, and cosmetics in cardboard packaging.
What destination are you eager to go back to?
Cambodia. I love small countries – I think they’re easier to love because their cultures and politics aren’t as well-known (or at least, not as famous) as the really big, powerful ones. Plus, the places I visited in Cambodia, and the super cheap way I was traveling there made me feel like I was practically living with the locals.
How do you stay safe when you’re travelling?
I have a rule for this, and I definitely have times when I break it. The rule is: “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home.” I break it for lots of things – skydiving, trying new kinds of foods, staying in strangers’ homes (homestays and Couchsurfing have been some of my favorite travel memories), and being open to lots of other adventures. But use your common sense, and when your gut is saying, “hmmm I’m not sure about this,” listen. Beyond that, I honestly think that we’re often just as safe traveling as we are at home – we’re just more used to the risks at home, so we don’t notice them. (This is especially true for any fellow Americans reading this – the risk of encountering a mass shooting when you’re not in a war zone is pretty unique to our home country. In that sense, I definitely feel safer abroad.)
What’s the best way to experience a destination like a local?
As I mentioned before, homestays are a powerful travel tool that let you live with locals – it’s far beyond the “local experience” of an Airbnb, which at this point is really just marketing. (I recently wrote a blog post about lots of great Airbnb and Couchsurfing alternative platforms, which you can find here: https://www.tiltedmap.com/airbnb-alternatives-vacation-rentals-homestays/ ) But staying in a local person’s home – even just for a night or two of your trip – helps you really see things from a perspective you never would have even thought of on your own. (I know this because I’ve been shocked by how much I’ve learned every single time I’ve done it – in China, Spain, Italy, France, Poland, Chile, Nicaragua, Guatemala…. the list goes on, and I keep coming back for more!)
What’s your favourite word in another language?
This is a hard question! I’m a huge language nerd, and I speak several languages well enough to get around. (Italian and Spanish fluently, then different levels of French, Portuguese and Mandarin.) One word I love is “beleza,” which literally means “beauty” in Portuguese, but in Brazilian slang it’s used to sort of say, “okay, all good.” I learned it from some of my Capoeira instructors (a Brazilian martial art that I’ve been playing for years) and I just think it’s both so much fun to say, and so lovely to use such a positive word to simply say you agree.
When and where are you next travelling?
I have a busy few months coming up! I’ll be staying in North America for a bit, and visiting Miami, Montreal, Vancouver for some hiking, San Francisco and some organic vineries in Napa Valley, and then likely heading back to Italy for an Italian Christmas, before an extended winter stay in Mexico!
Since Day 1 Travel with Jane has been about levelling the playing field for women in Australia. In 2020, we’re taking the fight global. Stay tuned to learn how you can support the women who tackle the gender divide here and abroad.