“I love to travel because I get to figure out who I am in different places,” Kate Thomas told us. “It’s about stepping into yourself in a new location.”

We were not surprised to learn that Kate thinks travel holds the potential for self-discovery. We just didn’t know how closely Kate’s travel philosophy aligns with ours. 

This whole notion of travel as a vehicle to learning more about yourself is a theme that came up several times in our chat with our fellow Expedia Viewfinder blogger. That keen grasp of the power of travel–as well as her pursuit of authentic, local experiences–has made Kate a go-to resource for travelers and dreamers around the world. 

Kate’s zeal for travel began when she was just a teenager. One particularly profound experience was a trip to Lebanon to explore her family’s roots. In her early 20s, she also spent several months in Paris, France, where she had a completely immersive experience.

Serendipity seems to follow Kate. She told us she often finds herself in situations where locals serve as guides through their respective cultures. For example, on an extended stay in Torino, Italy, she cultivated relationships with peers and friends of friends–DJs, chefs, and artists–who provided her with a unique perspective on the destination and a distinctly local experience.

On a subsequent trip to Paris, Kate became fast friends with a salsa dancer. That friendship sparked a passion for salsa that followed her home to Los Angeles, where she was surprised to discover a thriving salsa scene. She also discovered the subject of her first documentary, a production that was picked up by Current TV. This also was the experience that first fueled her passion for video.

Kate, making a video in Vancouver

In addition to talking with Kate about her background and her perspective on travel, we couldn’t resist throwing out some fun travel related questions. We learned that:

  • Kate has an affinity for Europe, her favorite city is London, and her favorite beach is on Formenterra Island (near Ibiza). Drooling over her talk of a far away beach, we decided that we need to examine it ourselves in order to give it the NVR seal of approval.
  • Kate keeps it really healthy on long haul flights. Her nibbles of choice: Nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate. She also doesn’t drink alcohol at altitude. Instead, she sticks to water and tomato juice.
  • Kate does not travel without her iPad. We are the same way. Great minds think alike.
  • Kate is a morning person, and loves seeing the sunrise. Perhaps that is why she also said “a good cup of coffee” when we asked her to finish the statement “Don’t come between Kate and…” These responses qualify her as an honorary citizen of our caffeine-addicted home base, Seattle.

Overall, we loved Kate’s perspective on experiencing new places. “I like to figure out how one moves in a new place; how one finds ways to live like a local, even if just visiting a place for a short time,” she told us. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

We’re proud to have Kate as a colleague; her expertise and passion are clear and inspiring. Be sure to check out some of her travel tales here on Expedia Viewfinder, and have a look at her video work over at Travel with Kate.