Kathryn Cooper

Living with remote mountain tribes in Thailand, rock climbing in Malta, and photographing natives in Malaysia—these are just a few of Kathryn’s not-so-normal experiences from her work and travel abroad. As a New York City-based creative freelancer, she has worked in the writing, photography, innovation, television, and nonprofit fields from California to Vietnam.

Kathryn is not afraid to go where no foreigner has been before, whether it’s hiking with 5 Nepalese porters, 16 cows, and a yak into the Himalayas, or crashing a wedding in India only to end up as an impromptu, clueless palm reader with a line of eager customers snaking out the wedding tent.

She enjoys spontaneous road trips, scuba diving, cooking, being sarcastic, camping, eating, hiking, riding roller coasters, finding free food, playing board games, sliding down waterfalls, exploring new cities, learning random skills (she’s semi-deadly with a slingshot), and much, much more.

A lover of outdoor adventure both above the water and below, Kathryn probably won’t be found sitting down; instead, she’s likely to be out cliff jumping, hunting down bizarre bugs in the jungle, or diving in and out of mysterious underwater wrecks.

You can work pretty much where you want to – on the road, do you find it hard to work or do you just have fun and work when you come back home?

It's harder to concentrate with so many alluring activities offered while adventuring, but as a paid travel journalist (and travel blogger for my own site as well), I have no choice but to work on the road! Am I more productive at home? Sure, but am I as inspired? Absolutely not.

Do you feel many people are envious of your lifestyle?

Absolutely. People tell me they are, write to me that they are, and make it a point NOT to write to me that they are -- I had one friend "unfriend" me on Facebook since I appeared to be living a lifestyle too carefree. Seriously.

In which countries have people recognised you, even when you thought nobody would?

I was famous in India because, well, I'm extremely pale. In Malta one man I was interviewing asked me if I was the travel writer from AntiTouristTraveler.com (he'd heard I was living on the island). How funny!

Which three items would you never travel without?

My DSLR and prime lens (for taking travel portraits), my swimsuit (I'm old-fashioned and wear a one-piece so I can cliff jump and dive worry-free), and a notebook for writing down my days, my thoughts, and my contact information for the interesting folks I meet.

Are there any specific souvenirs or other things you collect from the places you go to?

Odd snacks and seasonings, such as [unpronounceable] spices from Asia, chile-dusted mango pops from Latin America, and honey or truffles from Europe. Coins and bills from every country. Collectible spoons. Some silver jewelry or gems from that area (I actually went gem mining with a bunch of old men in Cambodia once!). Something normal, but that has significance from a specific place, such as prayer flags from Nepal, or handmade wall hangings used for good luck in northern Thailand.

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