Boarding Pass – Kaitlin King

Kaitlin King is a globetrotting anthropologist and artist currently based in Costa Rica. I love the colors that emerge from her Latin American-inspired travels and the way she creates colored collages at the end of a trip. Her travels are interesting too because they often take a “volunteer” spin as she is on a constant search for what is “real.” Thanks, Kaitlin!

{Snapshot of me traveling in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile}

Last trip taken:
Panama City, Panama
{As a designer, I adore exploring different typeface, and Panama City had the coolest mix of hand-drawn, vintage print, and stenciled fonts all over the town (also, more collage obsession).}

Next trip on deck:
Dominical and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

One place you would go back to again and again:
San Francisco, California

Place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Santiago, Chile{My favorite shot of my most recent trip to Panama of an interaction between a mischievous child and his caretaker I witnessed on the streets of the old Casco Viejo. It’s shots like these that make it worth it to carry around your heavy SLR on your neck when walking the town.}

Preferred method of transportation:
On foot, with the freedom to stop, go back, wander and explore the beauty in every inch.

{Hand-drawn map, Santiago, Chile}

Place you’ve never been but dying to go:
Paris! I live vicariously through Prêt à Voyager.

Place you’d never go back:
Junior high! Well, I would say the island of Chiloe, Chile in the winter, however there isn’t necessarily one place I would never go back to, because the difficult or not-so-exciting places are important to the well-rounded gallivanter.
{My senior thesis for painting was a series based on magic realism I encountered while in Santiago. Attached is one of the paintings from that series based on the winter “infestation” of tropical birds that escaped from a pet store in my neighborhood of Macul, Chile.}

Most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Interning for an NGO in the Philippines for a summer in college, I learned to maneuver around metropolitan Manila alone, expanded my understanding of social justice, and returned to the US humbled, plump, and ravenous for meaningful travel.
{Collage love, this time a triptych of a bit of commentary from my internship in the Philippines.}

How do you prepare for a trip?
First I ask around to friends, family and co-workers and then I check online travel blogs, New York Times travel recommendations, and

How do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I love listening to the city’s symphony of street noises, radio stations, and sidewalk conversations, and making a mental soundtrack. More practically, I take tons of photos, write down memorable tidbits, and draw.
{I love making collages of my photos in general, but I especially love these I made at the end of my stay in Chile, organized by color, that sum up my many adventures there.}

What is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
People that for me typify or represent the place, like friends I meet along the way or my favorite taxi driver, vendor, or bakery owner, for example.

On an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
For a week trip, with all of my cameras combined, I usually take over 800.

{My journal during my 6-month stay in Santiago}

What’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
My Canon Rebel, 7×9″ Moleskin drawing notebook, 2B Pencils.
{I have a very personal connection to Mexico, and every time I go I am inspired by the renditions and interpretations of La Virgen de Guadalupe, the patron saint, that pop up on building walls, t-shirts, signs, and tattoos. This is my own portrait of her that my friend has above his entranceway to bless his home.; right: I wish I could say I collected old mannequin hands, but really these were just awesome finds at a Santiago flea market, and it’s one of my favorite photos from there.}

What do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
Editing my photos takes the longest divided up in sessions, which is usually 1 week. I like to blog throughout my trip, but usually post a summary and Flickr slideshow when I return home. Most of my personal reflection in the form of journaling comes after as well.
{It might be cliché, but I collect sea shells; I started when I was 7 and visited Florida for the first time, and have been picking them up from beaches all over the world ever since. The variation in color, texture and shape from ocean to ocean is fascinating to me. This photo was taken in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.}

Favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I am such a collector, and always bring back scraps of paper with inspiring graphics, or invitations or advertisements, or found handwritten notes. I have these kinds of scraps from all over the world and I’m just waiting to see what I will make of them. I also love bringing back handmade textiles, jewelry, and again, little gifts that typifies a place.


Boarding Pass is a weekly column exploring the creative ways people travel.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *