My Next Adventure: Circling the Globe!

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I am thrilled to announce that starting in June, Mario and I are going on a journey around the globe!  And we’re doing it with a purpose: we are telling the stories of people around the world through Mario’s portrait photography project of five years.

We are spending a year on the road — just us, our cameras, our computers, and the world.

Is This Crazy?

You know, because I’m planning a yearlong trip with someone I’ve been dating for only six months?

Some would think so.  But believe me when I say that this trip probably one of the more sane and “normal” parts of our relationship.  (And we were planning it less than a day into our relationship.)  We get along brilliantly, and at the same time, our relationship is beautifully unconventional.

When I first met Mario, I spent three days running away from him because I was terrified — right away, I knew that he would change my life, and I was afraid of what that would entail.  Then I stopped running long enough to have a conversation with him, and after we got together in London, learned that he is more than I ever dreamed to hope for.  I literally thought that people like Mario didn’t exist.  How wrong I was.

And since we’ve been together, we’ve already traveled to Stockholm, Glasgow, Paris, Edinburgh and Berlin.  As this post goes live, we’re on our way to the US — our sixth country together, if you count Portugal, where we met.

(I was so nervous when he took this picture that I thought I might pass out.  Later, he told me he was just as nervous.)

The Someone Once Told Me World Tour

Mario runs a site called Someone Once Told Me.  Every day for nearly six years, he’s put up a new black and white photo of a person holding a sign featuring a quote that someone once told them — something that they’ve always remembered.

Sometimes they’re funny.

Sometimes they’re sad.

But they are always meaningful.

I call Mario the Keeper of Our Secrets.  People open up to him in seconds and often tell him things they’ve never told anyone else before.

For years, Mario has dreamed of taking photos for Someone Once Told Me around the world.  As a journalist at the BBC, he has the option of taking a yearlong career break and his job will be waiting for him when he returns.

This was always going to be Mario’s dream project, and the fact that we met when we did was incredibly fortuitous timing.  It’s morphed into a joint adventure between us.  I love a challenge, and I’m thrilled to help him get 1,000 new pictures from around the world.

We Need Your Help

This trip is a collaboration between Mario and his SOTM fans.  Through much of the trip, we’re staying with SOTM readers, meeting their friends and families, and getting as many people involved in the project as possible.

To make that work, we need your help.

  • Will you be living in any of the destinations we’re visiting?  Could we photograph you for Someone Once Told Me?  Could you bring your friends?  Could you show us what makes your hometown special?
  • Do you have a group we could photograph?  Mario constantly goes to group events here in London to take photos because it’s efficient to get several people at once.  Do you have a group of friends we could meet at a bar?  Could we attend a meeting of an organization you’re part of?  Could we perhaps visit your office?
  • Could you come to our meetups?  We’re holding casual meetups in a variety of cities, promoted through Couchsurfing and local groups.  We’ll take people’s SOTM pictures in a popular and photogenic location in your city, get everyone’s stories, and head to a bar or cafe afterwards.
  • Do you work in media?  We’re looking for the SOTM Tour to get coverage in the destinations we’re visiting and beyond.  Could you feature us?

If you’re interested in any of this, please feel free to contact me or contact Mario.

To keep updated: Follow Someone Once Told Me and Adventurous Kate on Facebook, follow Mario and me on Twitter, and sign up for my newsletter.

So, Where Are We Going?

Here comes the good stuff!  We’ll be hitting around 20-25 countries total.  And as always, this list could change significantly.

Valletta under evening clouds

Part I: Europe (June-mid July)

Leaving from London, we’ll be making stops in Paris and Geneva before heading down to Bologna for a full week in Blogville Emilia-Romagna (and the tiny nation of San Marino).  Next it’s up to Augsburg, Germany for Josh & Daniel’s Wedding Part Two, then Zug, Switzerland with a day trip to Zurich.  After that we will take what I think is one of Europe’s most beautiful train journeys — across all of Austria to Vienna. I might visit Bratislava for the day as well.

From Vienna we fly direct to Malta, the island where Mario grew up and the place that he loves beyond measure.  We plan to spend around ten days in Malta.

Pyramid panorama

Part II: Middle East/Africa (mid-July to early August)

Next up is Egypt!  The current plan is to spend around five days in Cairo.  At that point, Mario will go to South Africa on his own, where he will be working with some charities in Port Elizabeth.  In the meantime, I’ll hang out in the beach town of Dahab and possibly visit Israel on my own.

We’ll reunite in Dubai just in time for my 29th birthday.

Day 025

Part III: East Asia (early August to late September)

Then comes a long flight to the land of the rising sun: Japan!  It’s a country both of us have dreamed of visiting for years and years and we’re massively excited!  After Japan, we’re heading to South Korea, then to China, overlanding from Beijing to Hong Kong with stops in several cities.

Inle Lake Fisherman

Part IV: Southeast Asia and Vicinity (October to early February)

From Hong Kong, we’ll fly to Bangkok, where we’ll be quasi-based for the next four months.  By then, it will have been two and a half years since I was last in Southeast Asia, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to be returning to this part of the world…and to take Mario to his first ping pong show.

During those four months, we will use Thailand as a springboard for visits to Bhutan (!!), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.  Also during that time, I have some gigs lined up in other countries, so I’ll be in and out of the region.

2 of the supposedly 12 Apostles

Part V: Australia (February)

Mario and I are fortunate enough to have many Australian friends, and we’re looking forward to visiting them on their home turf.  We’re somewhat terrified of how expensive everything is there (not to mention how bad the internet is), so our time in Oz will be limited — maybe three weeks, tops.  We hope to visit Sydney and Melbourne and see friends in Port Macquarie.

Painted Ladies at Dusk

Part VI: US/Canada Road Trip (March to late May)

After that is a transpacific flight to Canada, the land of poutine and polite people.  We want to start our North America journey in Vancouver, then head to Seattle and rent a car for a road trip.  We plan to do a giant U shape around the US, taking in much of the South, before finishing in Boston.  High on Mario’s list: San Francisco, New Orleans, and Macon, Georgia (hometown of Little Richard).  High on my list: the national parks in southern Utah, Savannah, and Portland (where I intend to spout Portlandia jargon nonstop).

Boston will be our base for the final weeks of the trip

We’re also toying with the idea of heading to Guatemala and Belize (me) or Mexico (him, as he wants to go to Guadalajara and lick the doorstep where Chicharito, his favorite footballer, grew up).

And then Mario will head back to London and the BBC.  I might go with him then; I might spend more time with my family in the States.  And then it will be time to move back to London, find a new place to live, and move on to the new step in our lives.

The Solo Travel Question

So now that I’m traveling extensively with my partner, can I still call myself a solo traveler?  Absolutely.  I fully intend on continuing to travel solo, and will be breaking apart from Mario on some of this trip to do my own thing.  I didn’t start traveling solo because I had nobody to go with — I travel solo, then and now, because I love the freedom that it brings.

In the meantime, the branding of my site will be altered slightly to be aimed more toward independent female travelers than solo female travelers.  As much as I appreciate and cherish my male readers, my female readers have always been the core of this site and I intend to continue to writing pieces that inspire women to travel.

I look forward to taking you on this journey!

Will we visit you on the tour?

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103 thoughts on “My Next Adventure: Circling the Globe!”

  1. Ah, this is so exciting! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m sad that our paths probably won’t cross but very much looking forward to seeing your posts on Bhutan and Bangladesh. I’m desperate to go to both!

  2. Yeah, Kate, that’s awesome! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m very sad, that I couldn’t meet Mario in Berlin and I’m very happy about your travel plans together. As a married travel blogger I was a little bit shocked, that so many other travelbloggers are single, and that apparently it is the only possible way.
    So please head forward and post your experiences on the road. I’m looking forward to it an wish you a wonderful time!

    PS: I’m living in Bregenz (in the totally west of Austria, between Zurich and Vienna) and if you both will stop in this town, please feel free to contact me. I would be glad to show you around (the city is very small BUT we have some nice ice cream and a wonderful lake ;-)).

  3. Hooray! As I told you once before, the solo travel label never leaves you. Even though I mostly travel with Mike now I’m perfectly happy to go do my own thing once in awhile. And he lets me because he’s awesome, just like Mario seems awesome.

    Can’t wait to read about the next year!

  4. If you add the Sao Paulo, Brazil area to you’re trip, you’re welcome to crash with us! We’ll be in Jundiai.

    Happy for you, and can’t wait to see how the project unfolds for both of you!

  5. If it’s not crazy, it’s not worth doing. Hopefully this will strengthen your relationship.

    As for Australia, definitely meet up with Sydney Travel Massive, the original meet up. There are some very well connected travelers who would LOVE to share their secrets. And I’m going to Macon, Georgia for the first time next week. If you pass through Atlanta, I will throw you guys a party ๐Ÿ™‚

    See you in Toronto!

  6. Hi Kate, what exciting news! And Mario’s website (i just peeked at it) looks like such a gem! What a lovely idea to connect people & get to know them better!!

    I came to say 2 things – 1) LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture of the San Fran painted ladies! I dream of owning a Painted Lady house someday but it’s a little (read: millions) beyond my budget!! Gorgeous pic!

    And 2) Not coming to Spore? We’re a diverse mix of ppl over here so I’m sure Mario would be able to find good fodder for his subjects! Just a suggestion!

    Either way, this looks like such an awesome year of travel – congrats on finding someone who shares your travel dreams but also gives you the freedom you love! Can’t wait to hear more!

  7. It seems that dreams can come true Kate! What an unbelievable year of travel with a man who seems lovely!
    I’m going to Australia in a few months and I’m terrified about the prices too!

  8. It’s not crazy! When you know-you know and it sounds like you guys are going to have an amazing trip. If it makes you feel more confident Ric and I started traveling together six months after we started dating, moved in together two weeks after we first started dating. Relationships on the road are totally random and give it all or nothing, but we’re still together three years on and happy as ever! Can’t wait to see this project. I love the idea of Someone Once Told Me. I’ll be in London until July if you need someone to photograph here and USA when you visit the following year. Hopefully some place warm. Best!

  9. Yay finally coming to Oz! Sydney & Melbourne are okay i guess but you will be missing out big time if you don’t visit Queensland!
    Ahh the beautiful land where every aussie wants to live (some of the most beautiful beaches, especially on kangaroo island). Although it can be expensive no trip to Australia is complete without snorkeling the great barrier reef in north queensland (Port Douglas-Cairns) Absolutely the most amazing site i’ve had the pleasure of setting my eyes on, i honestly don’t know how anything will ever top it! You must look into it:)

  10. Kate,
    We would love to host you guys in Colorado (if you are coming this way!), and I think we could get a group together for you!! This is such an exciting step for you, and such a wonderful idea for a book! I can’t wait to see where this goes – I’ll be following every step. Love this!

  11. Fantastic plans, how exciting to have a whole year of travelling planned out. Can’t wait to come along with you (through the blog) on this next adventure.

  12. Wow, what an amazing trip all of it sounds! Had to say my biggest double take was the mention of Macon, Georgia which also prompted me to read through the comments for any other mentions as I grew up about 30 minutes south of there. Beyond Atlanta and maybe Savannah or Augusta, you don’t really hear about GA. Best wishes on your future travels and thanks for the intro to SOTM!

  13. oh, I am so excited for you! What a great adventure you two will be having, and a great bonding experience too! I want to say, “good Luck” and “Have a wonderful and safe, but satisfying” journey! XO

  14. Very cool! Even though you don’t plan on coming my way for nearly a year and like you said, plans change all the time, feel free to add me to your SF/California stop. I’ll keep an eye on your plans too and give you a shout when the time gets closer.

  15. Sounds like an awesome trip! When you get out to California, let me know. Maybe we will finally connect sometime before then. If not, hope we can meet somewhere on the west coast!

  16. Shame he’s already done London! I have an abundance of friends who live the most ridiculous lives, would have been entertaining!! Goodluck with your adventure. I’ll be following.

  17. Wow wow wow! That sounds seriously A-MA-ZING! I’ve done that journey across Austria by train many times that you mention in your Europe itinerary, and it is indeed very beautiful. Mario’s site is seriously cool and I love the concept of his work. The best of luck to you both!

  18. Eeeee, how exciting! I don’t think it’s crazy at all – you two are lucky to have found each other, and I can’t wait to read about your adventures together!

    AND, if my own plans work out, I may just run into you in Southeast Asia…

  19. what an exciting journey you both are about to embark on – I can’t wait to read all about it – especially the road tripping through the US. Vacationing by car is one of my favorite ways to travel! I love the concept of Mario’s website – such a interesting idea.

  20. Kate! This is an amazing plan – I wish you and Mario all the best! As one other person mentioned in this post, “when you know, you know!” I am sure that you two will have a blast, and I personally cannot wait to hear ALL about it! ๐Ÿ˜€

    It is hard to tell where I am going to be in the world, but I would love to partake in the SOTM project. It would be great if one of these days we can actually meet up! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    One of my favorite travel quotes, “Live your life!” And girl, you most certainly are! Good luck with the rest of the preparations for the big trip! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, if I am stateside in my beach house in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – you and Mario have some place warm to visit – and you will have a lot of spring breakers to help with the SOTM project ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would like to add that stumbling upon this blog 2 years ago has really motivated me to travel solo – and I cannot thank you enough for this inspiration! ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. this sounds like an amazing adventure! I love the idea of the SOTM project. if you find yourselves swinging through Birmingham (Alabama) on your of the South, I’d love to participate. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Wow what a trip! I can’t wait for all the stories to come!

    You are fully skirting my hometown, but while you’re in North America, if you feel like stopping in Northern Ontario in Thunder Bay, you should. I’ll be there, I was born and raised there, and it is my “home” even as I travel the world. So if you want the rural Canadian lifestyle….Thunder Bay would help. haha But it is SO far off your intended route.


  23. If you are going to Vancouver then don’t forget Vancouver Island!!! I live in Nanaimo. Home of the Nanaimo bar. I would be happy to show you the beauty of our island life.

  24. What a year ahead you both have! Follow both of your blogs avidly so I’ll be interested to see how they develop over the year. Shame I won’t be in any of the places as you will be but I imagine I will live vicariously through you as I’ll be preparing for finals for the majority of the year. Bon voyage!

  25. This sounds like a great adventure! I also love the SOTM idea. And it looks like you already have your group of friends in my lovely chosen hometown Augsburg. Though I’m definitely not fitting your target audience of young independent traveling women (as I’m nearly double your age ;-)), I would love to run into you two if there is a chance … well, and if I’m not on an independent travel trip ๐Ÿ˜‰
    …and now I think I’m going downtown to have some coffee at the Pow Wow!!!

  26. This sounds absolutely amazing! Love the SOTM idea and will check out the website right after I finish this comment:)
    You won’t be visiting Belgium, where I’m living, but I do hope we get to mee some day.

  27. This is so great, Kate! How exciting! I am a Louisiana native, currently living in Nashville, TN. I can definitely help guide y’all through my favorite spots of New Orleans and get friends together for group photographs! I’d love to join a meetup as well! Similarly, y’all shouldn’t overlook music city: Nashville has so much to offer (and all of the above apply to this city as well)! I can’t wait to follow this collaboration and project!

  28. Hey Kate,

    I just discovered your blog recently and this is a great post to start on. I’ve been traveling with my girlfriend (also Kate) for about a year now and just started blogging myself. She’s not so into blog reading or writing but I’ll be keeping her up-to-date with anything here she may find interesting. But yeah, traveling as a couple is the best thing we’ve ever done. It really strengthens your relationship as you discover new things together.

    We’re gonna be in Romania all Summer, or as long as the weather holds out, helping to build and run a new campsite in a sleepy traditional Transylvanian village (with hobbit-houses and tree-houses!). If you’re ever in the region you should stop by, its a hell of a place.

    I look forward to following your new adventures!

  29. Im so happy your coming to Vancouver!! Its my hometown and so beautiful! Also I cant wait to read about Japan, where i hope to go someday, and China, where i will be going just after you in October!!!

  30. You should go to Sochi (Russia) in February during the Olympics! Hopefully I’ll be there, and would love to help you guys out and cover you on my vlog! Also, I may be in Seattle when you are!

    Either way, I’d LOVE to do a Google Hangout with you guys when you’re in any of your destinations, to show what you’re doing to my YouTube subscribers!

  31. You should go to Sochi (Russia) in February during the Olympics! Hopefully I’ll be there, and would love to help you guys out and cover you on my vlog! Also, I may be in Seattle when you are!

    Either way, I’d LOVE to do a Google Hangout with you guys when you’re in any of your destinations, to show what you’re doing to my YouTube subscribers!

  32. Incredibly ELATED to see that you’ll be passing by the Philippines in this world tour! I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for the longest time and I would love to be part of this project!! Really hope I could go to one of the meet ups! I’m sure my group of friends would love to be part of this as well!!

  33. Wow.. sounds amazing! Will be checking out Mario’s site and plan to follow along. Sad you are only going to a couple places in Australia and not going to New Zealand at all! NZ, in my humble opinion, is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Yes both places can be expensive but you can do things on the cheap sometimes… oh and not sure what you mean about the Internet! Nothing wrong with it down here ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. From one Kate to another,
    Nebraska is just a ways from Colorado if you go there! We’d love to host you too & are ripe with friends that would love to be a part of your mission. My husband and I met during my travels in Italy where he was living (originally from the Balkans) & we’ve began our own journey together in the middle of the US. Good luck on your adventures and love together!

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