Since Katrina Houston started traveling 12 years ago, she’s been to 52 countries – including spending a year teaching English in Daegu, South Korea, and working on a holiday visa in Sydney, Australia – and has no plans of slowing down. You can read more about her quest to see the world bit by bit on her blog, The Two Week Traveler.
NAME: Katrina Houston
OCCUPATION: Co-owner of an auction company
How have you made your life a “traveling life” and why?
Travel is my and my’s husband #1 priority, so we make sure that we take trips a few times a year. We’ll usually do two big trips, one-two weeks in length, each year, plus a few long weekends here and there. Even though we aren’t able to travel as much as we want, I think we do pretty good with the time that we do have!
Why is travel important to you?
Travel is so important to me because, as the saying goes, it’s the only thing you buy that makes you richer. I’ve learned more about myself and the world when I’ve traveled than I ever did in a textbook or at home. I love getting to see how other people live in different parts of the world, how they eat, what they wear, etc. I also really like seeing beautiful landscapes and animals, and love getting out of my comfort zone.
How did you first get the travel bug?
I was 13 and my family was on vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, when I first got the travel bug. We were on a ghost tour, and the girl who was leading us introduced herself and said that her goal was to go to every U.S. state by the time she was 50. I remember being so in awe of someone going to every state, so I decided I would do that too. A few years later, when I started traveling internationally, I changed my goal from visiting every state to visiting every continent. Six down, one to go!
What is your most significant travel memory and why?
My most significant travel memory is from my recent honeymoon to Southern Africa. I will remember every single thing about that amazing trip, especially going on safari and seeing all of the animals I’ve seen in zoos out living their lives in the wild. It was such a humbling experience.
Swimming with great white sharks in Australia is also up there. It was the #1 thing on my bucket list and I worked really hard to make it happen. It was also my first solo trip! Swimming in the Amazon at sunset with my husband was a great memory. It was kind of scary, kind of exciting and surprisingly refreshing! That was our first international trip together so that one has always been really special to us.
What are some misconceptions friends & family have about your travels?
That it’s dangerous to travel, and I am going to be killed/kidnapped/hurt. Okay, I’ve had a few tummy issues after eating at some sketchy restaurants, but besides that I’ve never been sick or felt unsafe and it makes me upset that people still worry when I travel.
What advice do you have for others who want to incorporate more travel into their lives?
You have to make it your priority. It’s easy to get caught up in life at home and spend your money on small things that will make you happy now, rather than looking at the big picture. If you want to travel more, you need to cut out some of the unnecessary things like new clothes or a new car every few years. And try to take a few weekend trips to break up the monotony of daily life in between your bigger trips!
Also, my biggest piece of advice would be to sign up for an airline loyalty program and try to fly only with them or their partners. Get a credit card or two that will allow you to earn miles when you spend. I even pay rent on my credit card. With signup bonuses and regular use, you can rack up lots of miles for free flights. We went to Asia for free last year, LA for free this spring, and we are going to Tahiti next year for free – all because of our miles!
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
It can be hard to balance “real” life with a life of travel, but it’s definitely possible, and you don’t have to leave home and your family, friends and pets to have meaningful travel experiences.
Banner Image: Katrina and her husband swimming in the Amazon