Take an Icelandic dad and a Guyanese mom, and it’s not surprising if you come up with a globe-trotting daughter.
That’s the case with local world traveller Katrin Einarsdottir.
“You start in Iceland and Guyana, and then you want to see what’s in between,” she said while back in Chilliwack before setting off again on an Alaskan cruise and then a two-month tour of Central America.
At age 23, the Sardis secondary grad has already been to 53 countries, and her goal is to visit 200 before she turns 30. Toward that end, she even has an Icelandic flight search-engine website, dohop. com, sponsoring her travel blog and funding at least part of her travels.
Not that Einarsdottir has ever let a lack of sponsorship keep her from seeing the world.
“I’ve just sort of always saved money for travels,” she said. “The money’s always being put in the bank for that next trip instead of a new car or rent.”
Since catching the travel bug during a month-long homestay in Japan when she was just 15, Einarsdottir has earned travel money by working summer jobs — including acting and modelling in Vancouver and guiding horse tours in Iceland — between years at high school and university.
Together with travel scholarships and, more recently, the money from dohop. com, it’s been enough to get her to all seven continents already. (Antarctica in January and February was the latest.)
What draws her abroad is novelty.
“Everything’s always new,” she said. “Every day you meet a new person or hear a new language or see a new place. It’s the constant novelty of seeing and experiencing something brand new.”
Coming back to Chilliwack and the 11-acre hobby farm she’s called home since middle school is all the sweeter after a long trip.
Einarsdottir’s travel-writing break with dohop. com came about a year and a half ago, when she was working on a master’s degree in nature tourism at the University of Iceland.
The company had sent out an e-mail to the school looking for travellers interested in blogging their experiences for the website, and she was a natural fit. With 147 countries still to visit in the next seven years, she’ll definitely have plenty of material.
“Politically there aren’t even 200 countries,” she said, “but that’s because places like Greenland are still politically Denmark, but I count Greenland as its own place.” (Yes, she’s been to Greenland.) Going by politics and geography, Einarsdottir figures there are 206 “countries,” but there are some she’ll probably be giving a miss — like politically impenetrable North Korea, remote South Pacific Vanuatu or the downright deadly Democratic Republic of Congo. Her mom is already skittish enough about her travels.
“She’s always a little worried, but she’s supportive, and my dad thinks it’s great,” said Einarsdottir.
“They worry about my safety a lot because it’s hard to travel alone as a female depending on where you are, and I’m often in places with no Internet or no phones.”
It may not always be easy, but one goal of Einarsdottir’s blog is to show would-be female travellers it can be done. And what will she do once she’s proved her point?
“When I’m 30, I think I’ll want to maybe settle down and meet a guy and do the other things you’re supposed to do in life,” she said. “But between now and then I just want to be totally independent, travelling.”
To read all about Einarsdottir’s travels, visit katrin. dohop. com or follow her on Twitter @katrinsif.
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