Boarding Pass – Katie Spearman

boarding-pass-2Katie and I were always acquaintances in college thanks to rowing, but it wasn’t until I’d go up to New York – where she was working on Wall Street at the time – to visit that we really bonded. I remember the moment she brought out her “travel” folder of odds and ends she had collected of dream vacations to follow. I think it was at that moment we were destined to be good friends for life. And ever since [voluntarily] leaving NYC, it’s been great to see her make so many of her travel dreams a reality. Katie was surprised when I first asked her to participate in Boarding Pass, saying “I’m not really the creative/designer type… just someone who loves seeing the world and connecting with people!” But that’s exactly what this column is all about – seeing the world in different ways. {Thanks, Katie!}

last trip taken:
In March, we spent a week in Switzerland visiting friends, first in Zurich for a couple days and then we headed to Nendaz, a village in the Swiss Alps for some skiing and snowshoeing.

{With friends in Cannon Beach, Oregon}

next trip on deck:
Des Moines, Iowa at the end of May to visit some girlfriends and then to Vancouver Island, British Columbia in August and (hopefully) New Zealand in December!

{Going for a hot air balloon ride with my sister in Hunter Valley, Australia}

one place you would go back to again and again:
Such a difficult question – there are so many wonderful places in the world! I’ll have to say that first place goes to Germany. I was an exchange student in high school for a year in southwest Germany, so I’ll take any chance I can get to go back and visit my German ‘family’. Runner up is Switzerland.

{Cook’s Bay, Moorea}

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
It depends on the friend! For the outdoorsy type – Switzerland, for the beach-loving-type – Australia or Moorea, for the culture-loving type – Morocco, for the foodie – San Sebastian or just about anywhere in Italy.

{Me hiking along the Haute Route, Switzerland}

preferred method of transportation:
My own two feet!

{Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland}

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
My top three list is (1) New Zealand (2) Patagonia (3) South Africa

place you’d never go back:
Arkansas. When I was in college, I drove cross country to backpack through Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and the Tetons for a month. On our way back we were driving through Arkansas, our air conditioner wasn’t working, and it was so stinking hot. We stopped some place to camp and at 2 am we were woken by a flashlight shining in on us, and it was the police. They told us that it was not safe for us to be there. I’m sure that there are some beautiful, nice safe places in Arkansas, I just have bad memories of driving through the state.

{Walking down to Sycamore Gap along Hadrian’s Wall Path, Northern England}

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Oh goodness, every trip is special for some reason! If I have to pick just one, it would be the over-the-top-wonderful 2 month backpacking trip through Europe (and Morocco) last summer. We traveled through 7 countries and did everything from trekking to volunteering in an orphanage in Morocco.
how do you prepare for a trip?
Plan, plan, and plan. I try to be spontaneous, but I’m really a planner at heart. I’ll scour every source I can find for the best places to stay, best places to eat, most unusual/unique experiences, what the locals do, etc. I also will check out sources for good books – both fiction and nonfiction – to read about the history and culture of the place. In terms of packing, I try to be pretty minimalist.

{Lake Como, Italy}


how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
Through photographs. I always bring a journal, and I’ll sometimes write a little, but usually I’m so distracted by the people I meet and the scenery that I don’t take enough time to write it all down.

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
The landscape, anything that captures the spirit of the place or of the experience

on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds…

{Polo Match at King Family Vineyards outside Charlottesville, Virginia}

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
I have two cameras – a Nikon D60 and a Canon Powershot SD1100
what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
I upload all my pictures, sort through them and organize them in some fashion. I usually do this the minute I get back, even before I unpack (which is one of my least favorite things to do in the world). I’ll organize the pictures into some kind of album so that I can show family & friends my adventures.

{Rabat, Morocco; [right] A busy evening along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France}

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I usually just take lots and lots of photos. If I buy something, I’ll usually buy something for my home, even if it’s very small. I love having little reminders of each trip around me. It always makes me smile.

CLICK HERE for all the past editions of Boarding Pass, or see the complete list in the column on the right.


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