Kayti Burt is a television and travel blogger who subsists mainly on stories and espresso. Shows she covers for Wetpaint Entertainment include: The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, The Originals, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. She is also a regular contributor to the Go Girl Travel Network, where she writes a column on traveling as an introvert.
Kayti Burt and I met as a happenstance in a study abroad program in Prague, Czech Republic. We became friends and bonded more closely after an additional and particularly difficult personal happenstance. Since Prague, those many moons ago, we haven’t seen each other much. But we write sometimes, and I still love her, and we still support each other. She has been writing true gems for Go Girl Network, which “is a community of 10,000 women in 110 countries around the world — and growing. We tell stories and share tips about places we’ve been, we network with one another both in person and online, and we encourage the women of the world to be bold, brave and adventurous. We are pioneers, even in the smallest of ways. We live to challenge our mindsets, expand our horizons and embrace our world. And Go Girl is the community that connects us together when the earth is perhaps too big to cover completely on foot.”
With permission, I am re-posting the openings from some of my favorites of Katyi’s “An Introvert Abroad” column. Titles are hyper-linked so you can continue with the stories on their site. An introvert perhaps, but Kayti sure is one fierce feminist.
Traveling can bring the best and the worst out of people. It can also bring the best and worst out of your most important relationships. Over the course of a backpacking adventure, friendships have died. Romances have ended. Cities have fallen. (That last one probably isn’t true.) Regardless, choosing a traveling companion can be the most important part of your planning process — especially for an introvert more interested in cultivating long-term relationships than finding drinking buddies. Pick the right person, and you’ll have enough shared memories, inside jokes, and secrets to last a lifetime. Pick the wrong person, and you might not make it back alive.
Growing up in a working class family in rural America, I didn’t get many chances to travel as a child. Instead, I found my adventures to faraway lands the old-fashioned way: through stories. As is the habit of would-be travelers everywhere, I pored through National Geographic and consumed television travel specials — but I picked up my true travel education in fiction. We humans make sense of the world through narrative, through the cause and effect of life, and the emotion and empathy a good story demands. I always knew that, one day, I would travel the world. I made that an abstract-yet-official dream, promising myself world-hopping adventures of my own. In the meantime I lived vicariously through the stories of the girls and young women in my favorite books, movies, and television shows. Here are three fictional female travelers with whom I especially enjoyed catching a ride…
In the summer of 1972, my 23-year-old mother packed her bag, grabbed her copy of Arthur Frommer’s Europe on $5 A Day, and took off across the Atlantic. She was about to spend eight weeks backpacking across Europe with her sister and two friends. Three years later she would traverse the United States in a Volkswagen van. She was a Go Girl before it was trademarked, jumping off of trains in Swiss railway stations and getting food poison from bad lamb in Greece, camping on the Vegas strip and losing her brakes in the Rocky mountains. In last month’s column I wrote about three fictional women who influenced my insatiable need to travel. This month I am writing about a very real one who continues to inspire me: my mother.
To read what Kayti Burt inspired me to write, please visit Part I: The Introvert and Me.