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Introducing TST’s New Staff Writer: Kay Rodriguez

Changes had been afoot on the site for awhile now, and today I am REALLY psyched to tell you guys about the newest step in Twenty-Something Travel’s evolution:

For the past five years I have been writing about my adventures traveling the world as a twenty-something. While I plan to continue to do that (even after I hit that big 3-0 later this year), it has long been my goal to portray a wider range of perspectives and experiences. After all, traveling as a twenty-something comes in so many different forms, I feel it would by myopic to just show you my one side of the story.

So while I’m not going anywhere, I want to turn the stage over at least once in awhile to a couple of hand-picked, fantastic writers who are doing interesting things. These writers will contribute a handful of articles each month and hopefully you will get to know and love them too.

So, with that said, I’m very excited to introduce you guys to the first new Twenty-Something Travel writer, Kay Rodriguez. I met Kay at the Toronto Bloghouse  and was incredibly impressed with her drive and energy. At just twenty years old, Kay has traveled more than many people do in a lifetime. She’s also a full time student and runs a great travel blog, The Kay Days. I could go on, but instead I will let Kay tell you more about herself:

Hey Kay! Can you introduce yourself?

Of course! I am a 20-year-old full-time college student at Rice University and also an avid traveler. Basically, when I’m not in school, I’m on the road (or in the air, or on a bus, or on the water…). As my friends tell me, I’m “always everywhere.”

When did you start traveling, and why?

I’ve been extremely lucky to have a family that is supportive of international travel. Since I was young, my family went on trips to places like Spain, the Philippines, Mexico, and England. My sister and I would always follow my mom and dad around as they took winery tours, explored historic sites, and photographed beautiful landscapes. As I got older, though, the family travel subsided as orchestra rehearsals, play practice, and figure skating lessons began to pile up.

For my high school graduation, my mom gave me a plane ticket to London and basically had me figure out the rest. During my time there I sneaked into the Harry Potter 7 world premiere, got caught in the rain dozens of times, met up with a long-time photography friend, and scored a “behind the scenes” tour of Parliament. Thus began my solo travels and my intense love for exploring the world on my own. Since then, I have used every spare paycheck and break from school to travel.

What would you say your travel style is?

Recently, my travel style has taken a bit of a turn. I used to travel solo everywhere I went, but now that there’s a relationship in the picture, I would say that my travel style is about half solo travel and half with my significant other. Since I am a college student, I have to fit my adventures into odd amounts of time, primarily during my school breaks, so that definitely impacts the way I travel and how I strategize my trip planning. I’d also classify my travel style as “immersive” – I’m always trying to meet locals, learn new languages, taste amazing food, and see the true, hidden gems in every place I go!

Tell us a little bit about where you’ve been. Where has been your favorite destination so far?

Since my first solo trip to London, I have backpacked through Eastern Europe, volunteered in Guatemala (twice!), sold my car and gone on a two-month trip to the Philippines, and studied abroad in Brazil. I have also taken short trips to Canada, Argentina, and Chile in the past few years. I’m inclined to say the Philippines is my favorite destination because it’s part of my heritage (plus, it’s absolutely stunning). Outside of that, I loved my time in Jericoacoara, Brazil, a small beach town with no roads or cell service, situated in between miles of glowing sand dunes and the Atlantic Ocean.

Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Where are you dying to go?

The first week of March, during my spring break, I am headed to Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey – I have heard amazing things about Turkey and I have been dying to go, so as soon as I found cheap flights from Houston, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Luckily, I found a free Turkish language class at my school that I’ve been attending to get a feel for the language and culture. The week after spring break, I will jet off to Chicago to speak at the Women in Travel Summit.

I have always been dying to go to Iceland, New Zealand, and Cape Town, so hopefully those will also be in store for the near future. There was once a time that I tried to learn how to speak Icelandic in the event that I did end up going to Iceland one day…unfortunately it is quite a difficult language to learn!

What do you do when you’re not traveling?

College is basically like a full time job and a social life all combined into one, so it keeps me pretty busy when I’m not traveling. I have one major and two minors so my coursework is pretty heavy! Other than classes, I work to save money for my travels and participate in many different extracurricular activities. I also play ukulele and violin and teach lessons, too. And, of course, when I’m not traveling, I’m usually planning out where I’m going to go next.

You only recently entered your twenties. Why do you think this is an important time to travel?

As a 20-year-old, I see this time of life as one of the most critical for personal development and learning. Of course, we gain a lot from going to college or working, but travel teaches lessons that can’t be learned from either of those things. Once people settle down in regular jobs and start paying rent and bills, it’s a lot harder to find the time or finances to travel. When you’re young, there are so many resources and scholarships for free or inexpensive travel, and it is a lot easier to get out and see the world before your life’s serious commitments start to pile up.

Tell us a bit about the Kay Days.

The Kay Days actually started off as a diary to record my summer-long trip to the Philippines, the country where my extended family lives. After the summer, I realized I had hundreds of subscribers and realized a long-lost passion for writing and storytelling. Since I’ve incorporated travel into my highest priorities, The Kay Days has become a part of the journey. Now, it mainly serves as an outlet for telling my travel tales, giving advice, and sharing personal experiences that I think the average young traveler can relate to.

What do you hope to bring to Twenty-Something Travel?

Since I’ve just entered my twenties and am still in college, I’m hoping to bring a fresh perspective to young travelers, both through sharing first-hand advice as well as stories, however crazy they may be. My travel style focuses on fitting in travel during school breaks and holidays, so I think that people who only have a few free weeks at a time can relate. I’m hoping to use Twenty-Something Travel as my outlet for reaching out to and getting to know young and ambitious travelers around the globe, and sharing snippets of my story with them as well. After all, that’s one of the most beautiful aspects of travel – the continuous cultural exchange between people who want to broaden their horizons.

Any other weird facts about yourself to share?

I once won a contest that gave me a free trip to Europe.

How?

I wrote and recorded this:

(So basically, I’m a pro rapper. Just don’t ask me to freestyle…)

26 Responses to Introducing TST’s New Staff Writer: Kay Rodriguez

  1. Stef March 3, 2014 at 12:38 PM #

    That video is awesome! What a great idea and welcome to TST! I’m curious to read more stories from your travels.

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM #

      Thanks Stef! I really appreciate you following along on the journey 🙂 I have a lot of awesome ideas to bring to TST and I’m excited to share them with you!

  2. Bianca @itsallbee March 3, 2014 at 2:33 PM #

    She sounds really cool! I love that video!

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM #

      Thanks Bianca! Glad you liked the video 🙂

  3. Mary Beth March 3, 2014 at 6:28 PM #

    love her!! so excited to read about Kay’s adventures 🙂

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:49 PM #

      Thank you so much Mary Beth! I’m excited to bring you along on the journey 🙂

  4. Colleen Brynn March 3, 2014 at 6:45 PM #

    A woman after my own heart. It’s nice to read of another traveler who is also proudly a student. I have been a student my whole adult life and I’ve been working my butt off to get through school and save enough to travel in my time off. We are proof that it can be done and that education comes in many different forms!

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:49 PM #

      Yay for student travelers! I think it’s awesome to meet other student travelers because, let’s face it, travel and education definitely go hand-in-hand!

  5. Travelogged March 3, 2014 at 8:04 PM #

    I met Kay at the New York Times Travel Show last year and was very impressed!

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:50 PM #

      Aww thanks, Liz! I remember being so excited to meet you at the NYT Travel Show. Hope to see you again soon 🙂

  6. Audrey March 4, 2014 at 4:56 AM #

    I’m subscribed to this blog for a while now. Then, you suddenly featured a travel blogger who is of Filipino descent. I was pleasantly surprised. All the best TST!

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:50 PM #

      Thanks Audrey! Filipino pride 😀

  7. J in Beijing March 4, 2014 at 7:29 AM #

    Congrats to both you and to Kay on the new step for 20 something travel! Looking forward to reading more of her posts and catching up on her own blog too.

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:51 PM #

      Thank you so much. I’m really excited that you’ll be reading and following along – I’ll try to keep things interesting for you 🙂

  8. Flora March 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM #

    Great to hear you’ve taken Kay on board, Steph! I looking forward to hearing more from her 🙂

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:51 PM #

      D’aww thanks Flora 🙂 Can’t wait to see you again!

  9. Taylor March 4, 2014 at 9:22 PM #

    I loved the video, it was very creative 🙂 can’t wait to read your posts!

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:52 PM #

      Glad you liked the video 🙂 Thanks a ton, Taylor!

  10. Sammi March 5, 2014 at 11:17 AM #

    Ha! I remember that rap from nomadic matt’s site, haha! love it!

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:53 PM #

      Hehe, it was a one-hit-wonder for sure! Glad it was memorable 🙂

  11. Jo March 6, 2014 at 4:51 AM #

    I think this is a really good direction to go with the site! Looking forward to reading 🙂

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:53 PM #

      Thanks Jo! I’m really excited to see where it goes too. After all, I still have 10 more years in the twenty-something range 🙂

  12. Rachel March 13, 2014 at 9:50 PM #

    She looks like a great choice!

    Weirdly I’ve watched the video on YouTube before and remember thinking I really like this girl 🙂

    • Kay March 20, 2014 at 5:54 PM #

      Haha that’s so funny that you already saw the video! I’m glad you liked it. I’m hoping to do more fun (and maybe slightly embarrassing) things with my blog in the future so stay tuned 🙂

  13. Alex Bellink March 20, 2014 at 9:59 PM #

    Kay, this is awesome! I just graduated from college and also spent my college breaks and weekends traveling. My friends always were asking where I was. Half the time I didn’t know. Gonna bookmark your blog! 🙂

    • Kay March 21, 2014 at 12:22 AM #

      Thanks Alex! Really looking forward to having you along on the journey 🙂

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