Rockstar Interview: Kat Butler’s Quest For A World Wide Honeymoon—And how she’s helping others find theirs!
I recently got to dig deep with Kat Butler, the travel junkie behind “World Wide Honeymoon” on the ins and outs of pulling the plug on the “typical” day job. I’ve known Kat for a couple of years now, and her enthusiasm and passion are truly infectious! She digs into the motivation for change that led her to ditch the 80-hour workweeks. We talk about the highs, lows, and the in-betweens that come with such a huge life change. Check out the conversation below and show Kat some love! Links to where you can find her follow the interview!
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Give Us The Quick Backstory & Lowdown On Your Current Situation. Then We’ll Dig Into The Details!
KAT: A couple of years ago, I was working way too much at a job that I hated, and tried to travel as much as I could on the side. I’m a newlywed who just got married in September of last year and we have a home base in Cleveland, Ohio. We travel as often as we can on romantic, honeymoon-inspired trips around the world.
I travel about a third of the year. I travel blog full time as well as create a podcast that Chris, my husband, and I host together. We also have an adorable and friendly cat named Professor that we are way too obsessed with.
What’s Your Modus Operandi?
Q: What kind of makes up your daily operating DNA and how does that typically play out in the way you roll?
KAT: I am a super planner! Call it being a Capricorn. I will oftentimes look at Chris and ask what his travel plans are for years in advance and start planning our dream vacations. Like South Africa in 2021 or Argentina for November of 2020. What?! Who does that?
I live by a planner, and while I may be slightly type-A, once my work is done and that checklist scratched off for the day, I love to relax. I enjoy kicking back, having a glass of wine, cooking, talking with friends, reading a book, you name it.
I’m also anxious. I’m anxious on airplanes, about work (even as a blogger), I’m even anxious when I run late…which I definitely do occasionally. If it isn’t a formal business meeting I’m typically 5-10 minutes late perpetually. It’s who I am as a person.
Where There Major Friction Points Before Making Your Big Life Change—Things You Were Looking To Break Free Of?
KAT: I would definitely say that working all the time at a job I didn’t enjoy motivated me to break free from a conventional career.
The Straw That Broke…
Q: What was the straw (or straws…) that broke the camel’s back? The final motivation for change that made you take the leap?
KAT: A couple of years ago, I was working at a Big 4 public accounting firm and hating life. I worked 80+ hour work weeks during the busy seasons and had multiple busy seasons per year. It wore on me. I never saw Chris, I was never home, and my health rapidly started deteriorating. I had terrible anxiety, I would have breakdowns before going in to work, I got heart palpitations every day, and I was constantly tired and could never concentrate.
It was when I switched jobs to work in-house at a manufacturing company in their accounting department that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that changed my outlook on life forever.
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It Caused Me To Question Everything About My Busy Career.
Why the hell was I doing something I didn’t care about? And why was I giving my (literal) heart and soul into it?
Even during my job interview I at the company I was working for someone asked, “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” I blurted out without thinking, or knowing what I wanted, “To be a professional travel blogger.”
If that is what I really wanted, why the hell wasn’t I fighting tooth and nail to make it happen?
Finally Pulling The Trigger…
Q: How hard was it the moment when you finally pulled the trigger? Did those feelings change over those next few days or weeks once you made the decision?
Kat: Chris has always been endlessly supportive. He encouraged me to do this before I ever started a blog because he hated seeing me so miserable at work. My family and friends, knowing how passionate I am about travel, were super-supportive as well which always helps.
Nobody at my job even knew that I had a blog, much less was planning to quit my job and do this full time. I cried when I told my manager and was super nervous. But after it was out, I was more than happy to walk away from accounting and never turn back.
While nervous at first, I’m very happy to be sitting here writing and doing what I enjoy. Even if it is flexing some creativity muscles I never knew that I had. It will always be 1,000 times better than working another busy season.
Resistance To Change…
Q: Did you notice any extra outside resistance to your change, other than your inner monologue? How did you deal with it? Have those things changed since?
Kat: While I had a lot of support from family and friends, the biggest reasons I was able to quit my job are:
- We saved up a crap ton of money and definitely downsized our lifestyle.
- Chris still works full-time. Of course, I didn’t quit until I started pulling in my own income, but this is how I was able to quit when I did.
And while my family and friends respect and admire what I’m doing, I had quite a few coworkers who loved saying that I didn’t have to work any more thanks to my husband. That what I’m doing is just a hobby. That sucks to hear, especially as you know how much work goes into this.
What Are You Doing Now?
Kat: Now, I’m doing this full-time! I love it. I am finally using a creative side of me and editing photos, writing more (even a little freelancing), creating posts, and now editing and recording a podcast. It’s a lot to juggle, but it’s much more fun and enjoyable than my old life.
I’m also traveling more! Something I’m extremely passionate about! This year alone we’re planning to go to various states across the US. Like Maine, Oregon, California, Arkansas, West Virginia, etc. as well as Peru, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria. There’s no way I would’ve been able to do this while working my full-time job and getting 2 weeks off a year.
I have more time to focus on what I love but also spend more time with family and friends.
Is Your Life More “Fluid” Now?
Q: Have you noticed that your life track is a lot more flexible or variable now? Say compared to before your change? For instance, even when you think you’re going in a direction that you think is right, you’re more likely to adjust and shift towards an even better destination?
Kat: I am much more flexible now. I have a rough plan for the year and goals to hit, but I plan around trips we’re taking so that I can maximize work while not traveling and relax and disconnect while traveling.
Do You Find Yourself Saying “Yes” More Often?
Q: What are some of the things you’ve done recently that you may have never imagined doing “back in the day”? Have you noticed a massive shift in the inclination to “just say yes” to things since then? Is there anything just super badass that you’ve experienced lately? How’s that feel if so?
Kat: I never thought I would be learning how to edit audio and input music and create an MP3 file, but I just did that this past week! I also never thought I’d be a writer. I hated writing research papers in school, but now I have days where I long to write about a cool place we just visited.
Something badass that I’ve experienced is when I get feedback from strangers who’ve found what I said helpful. Nothing makes me happier and feel like what I’m doing is worthwhile than someone reaching out and appreciating what I do.
Do Some Things In Your Life Seem Easier Now, Since The Change?
Kat: In some ways, yes. I have more control over my life and time which feels amazing. Many of my tasks are easier now that I’ve been blogging for a while.
Kat: I’m learning new things every day, which is challenging. I had no idea what SEO even was a year ago, much less email marketing and lead magnets. I had no clue how to even work WordPress. And while I feel much more comfortable navigating those, I find that I have more to learn every day.
I’ve found that a huge help is having a community. Location Indie, Superstar Blogging, various Facebook groups on travel, podcasting, blogging, etc. have helped me when I have questions or need support. Don’t do this alone, everyone needs help.
What Does Your And Your Husband’s Future Look Like?
Q: What do you think your life might look like in 5 years? Will you be living similarly to the way you have in the past, the way you are now, or do you see more unique things in your future?
In 5 years, I’d love to have fully replaced any income I used to make as an accountant. Whether it’s through creating some courses, Ebooks, marketing, sponsors… that part I’m still working out. We still love our home base and may not be fully nomadic, but we’d like to live abroad for a year or so.
I’m excited to see where the blog and podcast go in the next 5 years and the people it reaches. But overall, I hope to keep a good balance and do what I love.
Advice For Others On Making A Major Life Changes
Q: What advice or knowledge bombs would you give someone that’s looking to make a major life change similar to what you’ve done?
Kat: Don’t doubt yourself and do it. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t. I used to think I couldn’t do anything other than accounting because it’s all I’ve ever done and was taught to do. You can learn to do anything.
The internet is great because it creates an opportunity to work from anywhere, but it is a wealth of information. I also have a Master’s in Accounting and thought “Why would I give up a college-educated career to do something I didn’t even need an education for?” It isn’t worth your happiness.
I try to limit my work to 40 hours a week, take off on weekends, and finish up around 5 pm each night. Then I can spend time with people I care about and get things done in my own life. I plan out my blog and podcast well in advance so that when I’m traveling I actually don’t have much work to do and can relax, enjoy, and be in the moment. You are worth prioritizing as well as your business.
Where Can We Find You!?
Other Resources & Wrap-Up
Kat is such an upbeat inspiration, and I’m so glad she took the time for this interview! She mentioned work/life balance, so if you want to read more about making sure to balance and pay attention to your whole world, maybe you can do a digital detox every once in a while to recharge. Also, Location Indie is an amazing network of people around the world challenging the typical work track and supporting each other in the process. Check them out here!
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Travel Planning Tips
Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there…
I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking …or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.
Figure out where you’re going to stay…
If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb, VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above.
Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally…
Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing, World Nomads, or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency!
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