Published on June 27th, 2012 | by Charu Suri3
Travel Blogger Spotlight Series: Katy Stewart from Starry-Eyed Travels
This week's travel blogger spotlight shines on Starry-Eyed Travels' Katy Stewart, who talks candidly to us about her life, decision to be a travel blogger, and other pursuits. Thanks for taking the time to be a part of this series, Katy!
BUTTERFLYDIARY: So, you're a travel blogger. How did this happen? Was it a decision you consciously or unconsciously made?
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KATY STEWART: It was quite accidental, actually. I was training to be a teacher when I got ill and had to stop my training for a while. I was at home feeling sorry for myself and I decided I needed to do something. I'd always wanted to be a writer, so I figured it was a good time to try. I wrote a few things for other blogs first and when they got accepted, I decided to set up a blog of my own. Starry-Eyed Travels is now over a year old and has gone way beyond the very humble aspirations I had for it – and this week I will finally complete my studies and become a qualified teacher!
BD: Congratulations! Which places have you visited that truly left a lasting impression on you? Why?
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KS: Oh, so many! If I have to narrow it down, I'd say Machu Picchu – the sheer majesty of it after the four day hike was completely overwhelming and I still can't believe I was really there. La Paz in Bolivia also has a special place in my heart – it's crazy, chaotic, exhausting and gritty, but I love everything about it. As a contrast, I will also never forget the view of New York City at night from the Empire State Building – that was a bit of a travel dream come true.
Machu Picchu. Credit: Starry-Eyed Travels
Atacama Desert, Chile. Credit: Starry-Eyed Travels
BD: Which celebrity would you pick to travel with? Why?
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KS: David Attenborough – because he is wonderful and has been to so many places, he would be the perfect tour guide to some more intrepid destinations. Also he has the best voice – I would love him to narrate my trips!
BD: Your favorite travel drink? Dessert?"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KS: Drink: a good local wine – Malbec from Argentina stands out as a particular favorite. Dessert: It depends: in Europe, it's hard to beat good Italian gelato, but in Peru, I adored mazamorra – sweet rice pudding with a purple corn coulis – it's the best.
Parade in Salta, Argentina. Credit: Starry-Eyed Travels
BD: What book (travel or otherwise) can't you live without? What's on your Kindle?
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KS: I try to read books related to the countries I'm visiting when I travel. Isabel Allende's Casa de los Espiritus (House of the Spirits) kept me going as I wandered around South America – it's quite a hefty tome, so luckily I had it on my kindle! It's one of those perspective-altering books which takes on some big social issues, but written in an exceptionally brilliant style. It was something of a challenge to read it in Spanish, so I felt a real sense of achievement when I had finished it. I'm now about to start on Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude, also in Spanish. On a lighter note, I will always credit Bill Bryson for helping me catch the travel bug – his books are works of comic genius.
BD: You win the lotto. Where do you book your next flight to and why?"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KS: Mozambique – there is a lot of Southern Africa I am desperate to explore and I would like to do a zig-zagging cross-continental trip in order to see as many places as possible. I am fascinated by the culture, history and, of course, the natural wonders, so as soon as I have enough money, that's where I'm heading.
BD: What do you wish there was more of in the travel blogging community?
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KS: Hmm, good question – there are so many good things about the travel blogging community. I suppose I would like to see more of an emphasis on high-quality writing – I care deeply about creating stories – true experiences, but good stories nonetheless – and I think that is something which should be highly valued and refined. Storytelling has been the key to communities throughout the world for thousands of years – we should try and keep that and treat writing as a real craft. Many bloggers do this already, but I think it is something which is being lost slightly in the fast-paced online world.
BD: Anything you'd change?
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Courier New"”>KS: If I could, I'd stop all the spammers and plagiarizers, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon! Of course I'm happy for people to quote my writing or share a photo attributed to me and linked back to my site, but too often, that is not the case. I come from an academic background, so I'm used to rigorously referencing anything I use that is not my own intellectual property, but that still seems to be a somewhat hazy concept in the online world.
Follow Katy's adventures at @KatyAbroad.
Thanks Katy! To participate in the travel blogger spotlight series, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.