Why Do You Travel?

Periodically, my employer runs a staff member profile on our company blog and I was recently the chosen one. (:

The questions were fun food for thought and made me realize, once again, why travel and seeing the world is so important to me. 

Here’s the interview! 

We recently sat down for a Q&A with one of our colleagues, Kim Karalekas; who, on top of acting as Director of Web Development, travels much of the year both professionally and personally. So we wanted to know:

Q: Kim, why do you travel?

A: I’m a pretty big fan of choosing experiences over things. There’s no denying the short-term fulfillment that comes from purchasing a new gadget or article of clothing, but those feelings are fleeting. Experiences such as traveling provide an everlasting, deep-within-your-soul type of fulfillment.

While I do travel to learn about other cultures, new languages and customs, to see sites and try new foods, I also travel to learn about myself. Traveling allows us to experience ourselves in unfamiliar environments. It forces us out of comfort zones and provides new challenges. It offers perspective and the opportunity to adapt, evaluate, reflect and ultimately grow into better versions of ourselves.

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Q: As someone who travels for a living and lives very far from where you are from, how do you define home?

A: After I moved to Austin, my parents moved from my childhood home to a new house in a new state. After the move, I planned a trip to visit my parents and wondered how it would feel to go “home” to a new house in an unfamiliar place. Upon arrival, I felt at home almost immediately and at this point, I realized that home isn’t necessarily about a place but rather about the people who make a place feel like home.

Q: You’re about to head off to Colombia for vacation, but you’ve already been away for so long. Does traveling for work take away from traveling for fun?

A: I suppose my first answer would be that work travel and vacation travel are a little different. (: I’m certainly ready to be home and not see another airport or hotel for awhile, but that hasn’t affected my excitement for Colombia!

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Q: What is your favorite/least favorite part of traveling for work?

A: Favorite parts? See above. (: I also enjoy having the opportunity to connect with friends and family who live across the country and see so many new places. My least favorite parts? Working consecutive 16 hour days, having difficultly finding quality food and/or being away from home for weeks at a time. With this said, the pros do outweigh the cons, which is why I still do what I do!

Q: What’s something great you’ve encountered while traveling/something terrible?

A: The greatest travel moments have been reuniting with friends and family I haven’t seen in years and seeing new places. I also really value (most of) the conversations had with people I cross paths with along the way. Terrible? Thankfully nothing completely terrible has happened, but I’m never a fan of having to drive in icy/snowy weather.

Q: You are a person of many hobbies, hobbies that don’t exactly travel well, but specifically a musician who can’t exactly travel with their instrument. How are you able to balance travel and still enjoy the things you love to do and/or continue your practice and love of music while away.

A: As I type, I’m actually sitting in an airport with my violin by my side! Thankfully, my violin travels well as my carry-on and I haven’t had any issues thus far (knock on wood!). To be honest, it’s challenging to balance work/life, play with groups and spend much, if any, time on hobbies during the busy travel season, both for reasons of time and also because I’m frequently not physically in Austin. Of course this isn’t ideal, but it’s important to remember that there are also many aspects of the travel that I enjoy, which is why I still do what I do. At the end of the day, we must put everything in perspective and understand that there will always be pros and cons to each and every decision, commitment, etc. The best we can do is evaluate our options, understand the value (and meaning of) compromise and make decisions that can help us achieve our goals, whatever those might be!

Q: What do you love being able to leave at home?

A: Everything else! It feels nice to only have a suitcase full of stuff.

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