Travel done well can be a catalyst
for positive change in our lives and in the lives of others.
This on-going series of interviews looks at how that happens.
Today we’ll meet Cate Brubaker, part-time global nomad who has lived in Germany and the US and traveled to 35 countries. Cate is the Founder and Chief Re-entry Relauncher at SmallPlanetStudio.com, a personal and professional development company for global adventurers in re-entry.
Thanks so much for talking with us, Cate! I love the ways you support others to live their global visions, and it will be great to learn more about your own experiences. Let’s dive right in. Tell us, what are the most profound ways that travel has impacted your life?
How much time do you have? Ha! I feel like I could spend hours unpacking this question. My short answer is that travel has made me more adventurous, independent, resilient, educated, open-minded…simply put, travel has made me who I am.
Share an aspect of traveling that felt like a struggle but that you learned to manage.
I used to really struggle with being present. I’d arrive in Paris and after a day I was itching to hop a train to Madrid. I wanted to consume as many new places as possible. Over time, I learned to slow down and focus on where I am. I’m now better at balancing appreciation for where I am with anticipating where I’m going next.
Tell us about the best journey you've taken as a solo traveler.
Just one? This is hard! They’re all the “best” in different ways. When I really think about it, I have to say my first one was the best because it set the stage for a life of travel. When I was 16 I moved to Germany to live with a host family and go to school for a year. That year was filled with so many firsts – first time flying alone, first time away from home, first time outside the US, first time making friends in another language, first time community to school via subway, etc. I always knew I loved travel but after that year abroad I knew without a doubt that I’d always live a global life.
What's the most delicious food you've discovered in your travels?
It’s a toss-up between the cookies my German host mom made at Christmas, red lentil soup in Turkey, the chocolate torte I shared with a friend in Berlin (we really regretted only buying one slice), and the super fresh baguette I once bought at a bakery near my AirBnB apartment in Paris. Food is one of the best parts of travel, isn’t it?!
I’ve actually just launched the “Global Kitchen Project” on my blog. The first Monday of each month I’ll be sharing a delicious recipe from my travels. January’s recipe is Laugenbretzeln, tasty German soft pretzels. Get the recipe here: http://smallplanetstudio.com/global-kitchen-project-january-2016/
If people want to travel internationally, but feel afraid to do so, how would you encourage them?
Feel the fear and travel anyway! I’m often nervous before I hit the road but once I’m on the plane it turns into excitement. Don’t let fear hold you back from seeing the world!
What are you most proud of having contributed to others during your travels?
I’ve contributed to helping people see through stereotypes they have about other countries and learn about who they are as a cultural being.
On your website it says, "Make going home the best part of going abroad." That idea of travel as a catalyst for a great life is essential to At Home in the World. Talk to us more about it.
Most people don’t want to go home after living or traveling abroad! Home can seem boring compared to being abroad. Reverse culture shock can feel bewildering and unexpectedly hard. And sometimes it feels like nobody sees – or cares – how going abroad has changed you. Because of these challenges we often overlook the gift that going home gives us – the opportunity to intentionally create a meaningful, satisfying, and sustainable global life.
Whereas travel is active, re-entry is reflective. Travel is a spark and re-entry is the opportunity to stoke the global fire growing within us. Going home isn’t the end, it’s simply the next phase of your global journey! If you use re-entry as an opportunity to explore who you are and what you want your global life to be like, now that you’ve been abroad, you’ll make going home the best part of going abroad.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Cate! Your thoughts and your work are inspiring.
Hi, I'm Deidra
To me, transformative travel means traveling in a way that connects you to places and people in a profound way., being real and present with what is happening while you travel and recognizing the impact travel has on your life beyond your journeys.