When I think of a woman who can really do it all, I think of Katie Cook from Hope Engaged. Whether it’s serving children in a poor neighborhood, helping women in Nepal recovering from human trafficking, overcoming a serious disease, or taking someone’s wedding photos, there is nothing Katie can’t do.
Through her faith, Katie has been able to travel and see the world, while serving others with and without her husband Kevin. Katie comes from an adventurous family and her first adventure abroad was to Costa Rica when she was only 14.
I still can’t believe my parents put me on an airplane by myself, but I think I get my adventurous gene from them.It was an amazing trip and opened my eyes to the diversity and richness of another culture.
Katie has interests all across the map (literally). She has a photography business which was inspired by her and Kevin’s life in Nepal during 2013. During their time there, Katie knew that she wanted to document their adventure in a deeper way. “This led me to researching and purchasing a professional camera before left, and practicing around the colorful streets of Kathmandu,” Katie said.
I loved the way I was able to capture a moment and tell a story through the medium of a lens. From the smallest details to large panoramas, I felt as though I was better able to communicated the world I was experiencing to my friends and family back home!
Throughout her time in Nepal, a nepali couple found her photos and asked her to shoot their wedding. She was over the moon and had a wonderful time doing it. In Katie’s words,” the rest is history!”
As if serving, traveling and photography aren’t enough, Katie is also currently finishing up her masters in Marriage and Family Theraphy (MFT) and is seeing clients full time. After she graduates, she will be a full time MFT intern. Katie spent the first 8 years out of college working in the international non-profit field (traveling around the world working for different development organizations). While she lived in Nepal, she felt called to go back to school and enter the field of counseling.
I feel so honored to work with my clients as the process their life and reach their goals and dreams. This field brings so much joy into my life, and I’m excited to graduate soon.
Here is my full interview with the amazing Katie Cook:
What made you decide to start blogging?
I love writing and sharing stories. Right after I got married, I was working full time for an organization that did holistic development work in Africa, and felt like I needed a creative outlet on the side to express myself. I loved sharing my life and building a community of amazing women.
There is such a fullness I experience when I travel. Travel enables me to meet new people that offer me a glimpse into another world…a world that expands my mindset and allows me to be more open minded and compassionate. I get giddy when I arrive in a new place. I feel alive when I get to explore and feast my eyes on such fascinating architecture, taste new foods, and just get caught up in hustle and bustle of daily life!
How are you able to travel so often?
Great question! I actually wrote a whole post entitled “How to travel when you work a 9-5pm job.” In this post I talk all about how Kevin and I were able to maximize our vacation time to visit a slew of countries while we were both working a 9-5 job
How can you afford travel?
I actually wrote a whole series on this which you can read here. The bottom line is that Kevin and I have made travel a priority. We save our pennies to put in our travel fund, use travel credit cards, stay with friends and family abroad, and maximize our vacation time!
Where has been your favorite travel destination, and why?
Oh man, this is so hard!! Here are a few of my absolute favorites:
- Hoi An, Vietnam: This is most adorable little french colonial town on the beach in Vietnam. It is clean, adorable, and feels a bit like Disneyland with music playing on speakers around town. The food scene is incredible, as are the people! In the evening, the town is dazzling in a thousand lanterns that light up the night!
- Dingle, Ireland: The Dingle Peninsula in Ireland is so cozy and quaint. Stay in the town of Dingle, and then take a rental car around the peninsula to see the breathtaking sights! At night, pop into a pub and listen to incredible Irish music.
- Santorini, Greece: This is a classic “favorite” by many, but you just can’t beat the incredible views and the idyllic white washed town of Oia. It just oozes charm!
Of everywhere you’ve traveled, where is the one place you could see yourself settling down?
Hmmm…there are so many places! However, I’ve always dreamed of living somewhere in Europe. I absolutely love many quaint little towns in England, such as Oxford and York. I would also love to go back to Italy, and brush up on my Italian … So maybe Siena (where I used to live!).
What is your favorite part about traveling?
My favorite part of traveling is discovering new ways of life. Every country, city and household has a different way of doing things, and it’s fun to be pulled out of my routine into something exciting new! When I lived with a family in Siena, Italy, I was pulled into the world of the Palio … A huge horserace that happens twice a summer in the main piazza. Each neighborhood (or contrada) has parades and dinners in the street, and everyone is fiercely patriotic to their contrada. I was able to experience this, cheering for my contrada’s mascot, the porcupine! When I lived in Thailand, I learned how to eat on mats on the floor and to wear my King shirt on Fridays. In Nepal, I learned how to eat wrap and wear a sari, and how to pump water from a well! Traveling has opened my eyes to avenues of pursuing life!
What do you enjoy writing about most?
I just love writing about my experiences encountering a new culture! My vision and heart behind travel writing is to inspire others to seek out the unknown and experience for themselves the adventures that have made my heart come alive!!
What is the one thing you need to buy on your travels?
Kevin and I always pick up a post card, which we put into a book that sits on our coffee table! We also pick up a magnet that we can put on our fridge!
What is the one thing you cannot travel without?
The first thing that came to mind is snacks!! I love to pack a whole bunch of snacks in my suitcase. I’m gluten and dairy free, and often snacks are the hardest thing to find in other countries that are suitable for me to eat. I’ll pack nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky, and different fruit bars!
What do you like most about being in a new place?
I love sampling local foods, experimenting with their unique transportation systems, feasting my eyes on the unique architecture, learning and soaking up the history, and of course, meeting new friends!!
What’s next for you? What are your future travel plans?
I’m leaving for Haiti in a week! My best friend and her husband live and work there, so I’m excited to visit them and see more of Haiti! This summer, Kevin and I are throwing around the idea of traveling to Sweden, where my family lives!! And hopefully this Christmas break we’ll be headed somewhere as well!!