By Travel with Kate, on June 12, 2014

Traveling to follow a passion

The notion of a storybook inevitably conjures thoughts of princes and princesses, castles and horse drawn carriages. At the most basic interpretation, storybooks are tales of dreams fulfilled in happy-ever-afters. Recently, Expedia asked me to embark on my own storybook adventure. My assignment: To think of a travel experience about which I’ve always dreamed, plan that special trip, and go.

Immediately, I zeroed in on one destination that has been calling to me for years: Seville, Spain. It wasn’t long before I had the whole journey plotted out. But the truth is that this trip is part of something bigger; I’ve been on a path to this voyage for a while, and it really is only one chapter in my journey toward a career aligned with my passions. This career—doing what I love—is my happy-ever-after.

My journey here started during my college years, when I caught the travel bug during school breaks. I discovered passions about immersive travel and documenting my cultural journeys on video. One of my most formative experiences was when I studied abroad, in Paris, and lived with a local family. I filmed them and my experiences. And when I got home I edited those videos to show my family and friends what I’d lived.

Seeing the faces of loved ones light up as they watched this video was so rich to me. I knew then that I wanted to share not just my experiences, but also other cultures.

After college, I began working in television. The fields of entertainment and storytelling seemed like a good fit for me. But day after day, as I sat at my desk, taking notes on my boss’s calls and scheduling his meetings, I dreamed of being somewhere else. I fantasized about Paris. I mused about the countryside in Italy. I yearned for that feeling I used to get when I was exploring a new destination and had no idea what the day would bring.

Strolling through the Royal Alcazar of Seville

It was an inner struggle. Here I was, becoming a responsible adult, and I felt that I had to table my dreams to push forward with a solid career. At the same time, I remember looking at my boss and thinking that I’m not sure I ever would want his job or the lifestyle it requires.

After a year or so, I felt an undeniable need to move on. I decided to strike a compromise—maybe I couldn’t journey the world full-time, but surely I could find a safer, happy medium between my dreams and a sustainable career.

I decided to go back to school for broadcast journalism. With this training, I hoped I could build a career out of telling my stories. A few years later, as I wrapped up my master’s degree, it became all too clear that a career in traditional journalism would probably expose me to more negativity than I wanted in my life.

I realized then that I want to revel in my daily experiences. For me that means shedding light on the good in our world, the positive and passionate stories of humanity. I’m fascinated by the idea that we are all the same because we are all human, but different because of our geography and heritages. The way I see it, the best way to celebrate these similarities and differences is by talking about them. On video.

My interest in travel video storytelling wasn”t only about what I want to do. The medium is important to fostering understanding of new places and new people. It helps generate positive media coverage. It broadens perspective.

This is why I felt called to this profession, to work as a cultural storyteller, to travel regularly and to inspire others to seek journeys on which they, too, get to experience the world. So I started making a new reality. I created the Travel with Kate Youtube channel in which I feature myself traveling, connecting, and telling stories. I started without knowing where it would lead me. But I knew it was right.

Slowly, with sustained hard work and commitment, I’ve begun to turn it all into a career as an on-camera personality, filmmaker, blogger, and public speaker. Expedia has played quite a role in making my dreams come true.

That’s where this storybook adventure fits in. The opportunity enabled me to go to another place on this planet, document my journeys and share it with you. For my Storybook destination, I chose Seville, a beautiful town in southern Spain. As you’ll find out in the first video, my curiosity about this city was born years ago. And on my trip, I got to delve deep into the local culture to learn more.

Over the next four weeks, I’ll be putting up videos from my trip to Sevilla on my blog and here. On the surface, these videos will capture me exploring the romance of the city, the delicious tapas scene and of course, getting an in-depth dose of Flamenco. Behind the scenes, however, the videos capture me living my dream—a life aligned with my passions. That is my storybook. And I can’t wait to share.

 If you could take a trip to anywhere on Earth, where would you go and why?