Every Thursday, A Dangerous Business will be shining the spotlight on a world nomad, travel blogger, armchair adventurer, or just someone really cool in the travel world. This week, the traveler is Kat Lonsdorf of katlonsdorf.com and Project Explorer. Originally from Wisconsin, is a travel host and writer living in Los Angeles. She is currently part of the ProjectExplorer.org team, teaching students about anything from the biodiversity of Costa Rica to the history of the USSR in Azerbaijan.
1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?
A traveler is someone who wants to learn from where they are, no matter where they are. A traveler recognizes they are a visitor, takes the time to be humble, and finds comfort in being out of their comfort zone. Yes, of course I consider myself a traveler! But I also think that it is a characteristic I am constantly developing; one is not simply born a traveler, you practice becoming one.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
This it tough, but I think one of my favorite travel experiences was a recent trip to Bali. I felt peaceful there. I didn’t want to leave.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
Getting on a plane when I was 17 to live in Japan as an exchange student with a family I had never met. That took guts, even if I didn’t think much of it at the time.
4. Have you had any travel mishaps or bad experiences? If so, have these influenced how you view the place where they happened? Would you go back?
I’ve had a few. Most notably — and most upsetting — was when I got abducted and seriously assaulted by a taxi driver in Amman, Jordan when I was 20 years old coming home from school by myself. It was a rough point, to say the least — and continues to play a role in how I feel about solo travel as a woman (i.e. uneasy). It happened in the second week of my year-long study abroad experience in college. I stayed, and I’m really glad I did, because I learned a whole lot in that year I was abroad. Needless to say, I would go back to Jordan in a heartbeat — bad things can happen anywhere, at any time. I just don’t know if I would do it alone.
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
A camera. I love taking pictures.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
I have learned that we’re all human, and there are way more helpful people in the world than harmful.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I can’t say I’ve been everywhere to make an informed decision, but of the places I’ve been — Bali. Life felt calmer there.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
Bhutan. I really, REALLY want to see Bhutan.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
I wish someone would have taught me how to pack light. It’s a constant struggle.
Are you a travel blogger who has something to say on these topics? Do you know of somebody really interesting in the travel universe that you’d like to see interviewed? Speak up! The Thursday Traveler needs some interview subjects.