What’s the story?

What makes a person who has never lived outside their home state, never lived abroad and never even visited Asia, want to quit their job and move to China?

My travel addiction begin in 2008 when I spent a month backpacking Europe after college graduation. Since then, I traveled as much as I could while maintaining a normal lifestyle, but limited vacation days didn’t allow for much global exploration. I had a good job and an awesome personal life in South Florida, but as I trudged through the monotony of a 40+ hour workweek, I kept thinking that maybe I was settling for mediocrity instead of being brave enough to do something different.

oia santorini greece mule

Santorini, Greece, 2010

My desktop background rotated images of places I dreamed of going one day when I have time and my office was decorated with my favorite travel memories. As more of my friends began to get married and start families, I realized that this is not a drill- I’m already living my one precious life and it’s now or never. So I finally decided to stop talking about my dreams and take action. I said goodbye to the office window I spent so many days staring out of, sold or donated most of my “stuff” and jetted off to Asia.

interlaken switzerland

Interlaken, Switzerland, 2008

Since travel is my priority, teaching English in China is the perfect springboard. In the first nine months alone, I was able to visit six new countries, not to mention the incredible cultural experience gained from living in a society so vastly different from my own. Travel is truly the best educator- there’s no better way to learn than by visiting the places you read about in textbooks and meeting the people you never even dreamed might exist.

great wall of china

Great Wall of China, October 2014

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” -Thoreau

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” -Ernest Hemingway

15 thoughts on “What’s the story?

  1. Good for you, Kate! Live your life to the fullest and chase your dreams wherever they may lead you!

  2. Hi: I used to be a sister in law of your cousin Chris Lee. She dumped her husband Dick, and his brother Bob left me after 35 years and married my best friend! As it turns out, we’re both better off! Enjoyed your travel notes. Be bold be bold be bold. And have a grand time!

  3. You’re on your way I believe. Its nice to “go there with you” a bit. I’m a friend of Chris Lee of Ft. Lauderdale. We have visited there twice(Kat and me-Stef). We are now from Oakland, CA. 19 years here. We both spent some years traveling the globe before we met here. My sis was practicing Acupuncture for 10 years here after travel and study in China and here a few times and years. Thank you for your stories.-Stef

  4. This is great! I am so proud of you, cuz! You need to come back eventually though.

  5. Kate,

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful moments in China. It brings back great memories of my time in the United States Peace Corps 94-96 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    Just love your Kate Abroad Blog!!

    Be Safe, Be Happy, Be You!

  6. Kate,
    My daughter who is an FSU grad told me about your blog. I have lived in Chongqing since 2006 and consider this to be the BEST big city in China to live. This is a city with fewer foreigners yet modern. It is what Shanghai was in 1992 — the place to be. So happy to follow what you are doing.

  7. Thanks everyone for your support! Roy, I agree – we definitely get a much more authentic experience, but life is a bit more challenging and it’s certainly a bigger adjustment for us newbies!

  8. Hi Kateland. I serve with your dad at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale. I think it’s so great that you are living and working in China. And I’m so glad you’ll be seeing your dad and brother soon in your new environs. May you all celebrate the new year together.
    God’s blessings, Tim

    • Chris, it breaks my heart to say that I won’t make it to the Harbin Ice Festival this year. It looks amazing and is definitely on my list for the (near) future!

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