YourLocalKat: Bound to go Anywhere

I mentioned in the Writing Process Blog Tour post that there are some website changes afoot. This might not seem like a big deal as I often like to distract myself with website redesigns when I get hit with writer’s block, but, this is something a bit bigger than that, as it will essentially change the face of YourLocalKat forever…

Blogging in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Blogging as YourLocalKat from Siem Reap, Cambodia

…mostly because it will wipe it from existence.

Yup. As of next week, YourLocalKat will no longer exist. In its place, however, will be something better.

Enter Charlie

Some of you may have seen Charlie mentioned a few times. Charlie and I have been together for a few years now, and have done a bunch of smaller trips together (weekend tripsvacations to Mexico), as well as our three month road trip in the Little Red Gypsy through Italy, eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Camping outside of Prague, Czech Republic
First stop in the Little Red Gypsy: camping outside of Prague, Czech Republic

We both want travel as a lifestyle, and our Africa trip is the first one that we’re officially planning, packing and saving for together.

A bit about Charlie

The first thing you should know (since he no longer requires anonymity), is that his name is not Charlie, but Moreno.

The second thing you should know is that Moreno’s done some extensive traveling himself, the most notable of which was his 13 month road trip through South America, during which he himself had a website as well.

Moreno handling snakes in Venezuela.
Moreno handling snakes in Venezuela.

Moreno wanted to get in on the blogging, and as we realized it’d be ridiculous to be posting nearly identical entries on two different sites, we decided to evolve YourLocalKat into a site for both of us instead.

Anywhere Bound

In a couple of days, this will turn into AnywhereBound, the website where we’ll be posting anything and everything about our Europe and Africa adventures.

Ironically, there won’t be too many structural changes – it will literally be this site evolved, with just a quick colour swap and some minor things moved around to fit both of our needs.

I’ll also be updating the About Page, so you’ll be able to read more about Moreno, as well some of our trips.

Camping. Somewhere in northern Poland.
Camping. Somewhere in northern Poland.

What you can expect

I’ve learned from my mistake of not writing consistently on the road while in SEA, and am more determined than ever to journal online as I go. With both of us in the game, that split responsibility will relieve the pressure I put on myself to try to make everything so perfect that it doesn’t get done at all.  So huzzah! for more stories, entries, photos and information! 

Also, Moreno is much more social media prone than I – he’s very good at posting, sharing and asking questions, so there will likely be more communication on that front.

As for content, Moreno will bring with himself more technical knowledge than I can offer, as well as a deeper interest in native cultures. He’s into photography as well (his macro architecture shots are fantastic), so hopefully we’ll have more inspiration coming your way in photos as well.

Moreno fixing a suspicious flat tire. Slovenija.
Putting his knowledge to good use: fixing a suspicious flat tire in a parking lot in Slovenija.

What this means

  • For now, I’ll have routed to, but eventually I’ll close off that link so please bookmark accordingly.
  • If you are subscribed to the newsletter, you will stay subscribed.
  • If you are following the yourlocalkat facebook page, please follow the AnywhereBound facebook page.
  • If you are following yourlocalkat on twitter, please follow AnywhereBound.

It’s that simple! We will update you on any other changes as they come up.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for following along so far, and we’re looking forward to having you along on the trip!

My Writing Process Blog Tour

As much as I am not a fan of chain letters, I have to admit I like these ‘spread the love and pass on the blog-post torch’ things. I really like the opportunity to step back from the actual writing to reflect on how and why we do it, or on what it’s all about.

Katie Coakley of Katie on the Map who I did an interview about TBEX with invited me to join in on the Writing Process Blog Tour as a way to explore why we’re all writing. There are four questions to answer before I pass on said torch. I’m always up for a bit of insight, so if you want to know what my writing process is all about, read on!

1. What am I working on?

My current focus on the blog is rolling out as many Israel posts as I can from my time there as well as prepping for our upcoming trip to Europe and Africa at the beginning of August – packing lists, itineraries, updates…things I’ve wanted to do for all my trips but never got around to doing. There’s also going to be a big change happening to the site in the next couple of weeks, but I won’t get into just yet.

The bigger thing is trying to get over this block I have for sending things out to try to get published. Writing a travel column for a newspaper or magazine would probably be a dream job and I’m slowly wrapping my mind around doing something about it.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My answer from the Liebster Awards was “Stories versus service pieces. Design. Magic. And fun facts.” I still stand by that theory – some of my favourite posts fit that exact description, but it’s been hard for me to interject it into my posts throughout, largely because I’ve been struggling with this whole idea of a “niche.”

3. Why do I write what I do?

When I travel, I understand the world a little bit more. I understand why some people do the things they do and maybe why they are the way they are. At least, I am a witness to it. And writing is the medium through which I relate, understand, and absorb all my experiences. It is also the way I share; I’m not sure if my many journals will turn into advice, guides, or stories, but something is propelling me to disseminate what I’ve learned.

4. How does your writing process work?

When it comes to my travel writing, I almost always write in my journal first. I know that it’d be a lot more efficient typing these out from the get-go, but I’m old school. When it’s time to sit down and write, I flip through and take a paragraph, a scene, or a moment and then flesh it out with details as necessary.

The whole process will usually take forever unless I can sit down with a cup of coffee either bright and early in the morning or long after it’s gotten dark and eliminate all other distractions except for maybe some static or ambient noise tracks (they exist!). I basically work best when I can zone in – I can’t be half watching television.

Next up on the Writing Process Blog Tour

To continue the tour, check out the following bloggers next week:

Sara introduced me to the Liebster Awards a few months back, and I wanted to make sure to return the favour. Sara spent two years on a solo backpacking trip, worked in Sydney, and traveled home through Asia and Europe. She blogs about all kinds of travel, from backpacking to luxury. Sara travels as often as she can and shares the stories through her site, SaraHardmanTravels.

I met Jenny on one of my TBEX tours in Toronto.  Her blog, Idiosyncratic Journeys, is primarily focused on world travel and sharing broad insightful information, recommendations and suggestions about worldwide locations on any subject. The website also shares art, as well as other ‘idiosyncratic’ philosophical and other insightful and intuitive knowledge from experience about the world we live in and some cases even beyond that; which of course all will be related to world travel ‘in the long run.’

You can check out their answers next week!

A Day at Point Roberts

Moreno and I have been coming to Point Roberts to enjoy the waterfront for some time, but now that we have most of our Africa gear, and since we’re planning on doing a couple of multi-day hikes while we’re there, Moreno and I decided to take a multi-hour hike around Point Roberts to break some of our stuff in.

[google_maps id=”5026″]
Point Roberts lies on a 13km2 peninsula on the west coast of the United States. It is part of Washington State, but as it’s not attached to the mainland whatsoever (see map), you have to go through Canada to get there by land.

A day out to Point Roberts

09:34 The border crossing is quick – visitors are only Point Roberts bound – and this ease of access makes it an easy getaway for Canadians who flood the town during the summers swelling the population of 1,500 to three times that number.

09:45 On Tyee Drive, the two-lane artery that runs down the length of the peninsula, you pass a couple of gas stations and realize one of the main reasons for those from up north to visit: cheaper gas. Immediately on the right are a handful of post offices and shipping services on the right – the other big reason to visit.

09:50 You can see the marina up ahead, and beyond it, the ocean. Though small, Point Roberts is blessed with big vistas on all three of its coasts: coves looking out onto the ocean in the west, waterfront cabins facing Saturna and other islands to the south, and the forest viewpoints looking out onto the cityscape of Vancouver and Mount Baker to the east.

10:30  Off Apa Road to the east, the tide is low and the locals enjoy the sandy flats interspersed between the otherwise rocky shore. This area was once a favoured spot for the Cowichan, Lummi, Saanich, and Semiahmoo tribes, and the Salish Indians gathered together at Point Roberts to fish the salmon that came through during the summers.

11:45 Walking along South Beach, you reach another mudflat and take a left into the tall yellow grass towards the hill. The path veers under a small gathering of trees to expose a rusted boiler the size of a sedan, one of the few remaining signs of the cannery that resided here.

Walking through tall bushes in Point Roberts
In our safari gear it was like searching for lions

While the first Europeans came around 1791, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the government turned the area into a giant fishing district. A cannery was set up right on shore and was eventually bought out by the great Alaska Packers Association[1].

Now the only remnants are dilapidated boilers, rusted and discarded over the beach and fields.

13:10 After a short picnic under some trees lining the back of the cobbled beach, you decide against walking towards Birch Bay, and find a route up towards upper Lily Point instead. There is a barely visible path straight up the bush covered walls past the cliff face, and you lunge up a 45° path for the next hundred meters with the dirt shifting below you, grabbing on to branches you hope are attached to the earth, at times being chest to the ground.

13:15 It is hot, but you have made it onto solid, horizontal ground and are under the cover of forest. Lily Point Marine Reserve contains a series of trails (as well as a newly constructed wooden staircase to get up and down the hill) and preserves one of the most significant ecosystems in the region[2].  The lookout point is near the entrance to the Reserve and overlooks the Straight of Georgia and the beaches below. With the low tide and blue skies, Mount Baker is clearly visible and the ocean stretches out in front of you.

2:30 The walk along Apa Road back to the car is mindless, and you’re ready to relax with a cold beer and some snacks. Not too far is the Southbeach House Restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious and generous helping of the seafood salad and a quaint lawn terrace overlooking the cobble beach you had started on, but you opt for a refreshing gin and tonic with fish and chips at the Pier restaurant instead. Situated near Lighthouse Marine park on the opposite end of the peninsula, it offers a change of scenery and the opportunity to visit the Point Roberts Marina.
The vista from Lily Point - Mount Baker and beyond.
The vista from Lily Point – Mount Baker and beyond.

4:30 Stuffed and satisfied, you declare the Point Roberts day out a success. Your two choices now? Head back towards the border, or enjoy the beach as the locals do.

Fun Fact Trivia

Why Point Roberts is called Point Roberts?