Writer Wednesdays – Meet Kim
When I first stumbled upon Kim Dinan’s site So Many Places I was in awe and inspired by her drive and determination to live the life she always wanted. If you love adventure, exploring the great outdoors and being inspired to live life to the fullest then you’ll love Kim!
Writer Wednesday would like to introduce you to Kim Dinan!
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Kim. Back in 2012 I was your average 30 year old. I was living in Portland, Oregon with my husband Brian. We had a mortgage, 9-5 jobs, two cars, and closets full of clothes. We had a really great life and, mostly, I was happy. The problem was that I had a dream that I wanted more than anything and that dream wasn’t conducive to the life we were living in Portland.
Every since I was a child I’d dreamed of seeing the world and of writing for a living. But somewhere along the way those dreams were relegated to the backburner. While most of my life was moving along just swimmingly, that dream I’d be harbouring since I was a little girl was dying. And I just couldn’t bear to let it go.
So I proposed an idea to my husband: what if we sold it all and traveled the world while I took a shot at writing? You can imagine how my husband reacted at first! But over time he actually began to embrace the idea and we put the wheels in motion to make it happen.
It took three years but when the time was right we sold our house and almost all of our possessions, quit our 9-5 jobs and set out with the goal of traveling the world and writing about it.
How many countries have you visited?
Since we left our home back in 2012 we’ve visited 20 countries on five continents. We’ve also visited all of the lower 48 states in the United States
What is your favourite place and why?
Oh, this is such a hard question because there are so many places that I love. But I think if I’m forced to name one country I’d have to say India. I absolutely fell in love with that country. I love it because it is so present. The people are wonderful and friendly. There is a very strong and calming spiritual element. It’s just so fascinating and different than what I am used to. I couldn’t get enough of India when I was there and I think about going back all of the time.
If you could describe your method of travel in one word, what would it be?
But I really have to qualify that. Our favourite way to travel is to travel slowly. We didn’t know this about ourselves at first. When we set out on our trip we moved way too fast and we ended up running ourselves into the ground. We wanted to see everything everywhere. But that sort of travel isn’t sustainable. What we realized is that we were happiest renting an apartment in a town for a few months, taking local buses, finding our favourite local restaurants, and really feeling like we are living in a certain place, not just passing through.
What is your must have travel accessory?
Packing cubes!! One of the most annoying things about travel is living out of a backpack. There are days when I feel like I will scream if I have to dig through my backpack one more time.
If you think of your backpack as your dresser than packing cubes are your drawers. They help you stay organized and will help you easily locate your clothing/underwear/socks in your bag without spending ten minutes digging for what you’re looking for.
What is your most memorable travel moment?
This is another hard question and one that I can’t possibly answer. I have so many!! Swimming with sharks and sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, trekking through the Himalayan Mountains, driving a rickshaw through India and walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain are some of the highlights. That said, the biggest blessing of travel has been the amazing people we have met all over the world. Travel gives you so much and all it asks is that you be brave enough to step out into the world with an open heart and mind.
What is your dream destination?
It changes all the time. Right now I’d like to walk the fjords in Norway. I’m choosing Norway because I can’t afford to travel there- it’s too expensive!
Do you have any upcoming trips? If so, to where?
My husband and I are wrapping up a 7-month road trip through the U.S. We were on the road working on contract for Backpacker Magazine. Our contract is up at the end of October and we are headed to Mexico for five months.
We’ve driven about 35,000 miles in the past 7 months and we are ready to settle down for awhile!! We are going to unpack our backpacks and get some work done. I’m working on my next book and my husband is launching an e-course called Travel School. I’m also working on building my blog coaching business. We’ve got a lot to do.
How has travel changed you?
Travel has changed me so much that it’s hard to remember what I was like before I set out on the road. Travel has made me more adaptable and more laid back. Travel has reaffirmed my belief that people are good and kind the world over. I’ve learned so much because travel is the best education. I’ve never learned well in a classroom. I need to see and touch and smell a place in order to know it and travel has given me that.
As a writer do you feel you see the world and approach travel differently than if you didn’t write?
I think the job of the writer is to put to words the things we all feel but have a hard time articulating. My favourite writing is the kind that exposes the human experience and makes me think, “Oh, it’s not just me!”
There are times when I am experiencing something that moves me and I think, “remember this.” I generally carry a pen and pad of paper in my pocket at all times, so I will frequently jot down notes in order to be able to relay the information later in my writing. It’s hard for me to say if I would approach the world differently if I didn’t write because I also have always been a writer. All of my life experiences affect my writing.
How long did it take for your first book to come to fruition?
My book, Life on Fire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Living Your Dreams marinated for a long time inside before I put any words down on paper.
I get so many emails from people that want to do what I am doing but they don’t know how to start. I knew that I wanted to create something that would give people tangible steps towards building the life of their dreams and also encourage and cheer them on along the way, half action plan and half inspiration.
I outlined the chapters of the book over the course of about a month and then began filling out the topics. I had about six weeks of intense writing before the first draft was complete. I spent another three to four months with drafts and edits. Overall, the process was about six months long—but it’s a fairly short book!
What do you hope your readers walk away with from ‘Life on Fire’?
I hope that my readers walk away knowing that THEY are responsible for their dreams and in many ways obligated to live their biggest life in order to make the world a better place. Nobody owes them a thing but they owe it to themselves to make their dreams happen and my book will give them the guidance to see their dream through to fruition.
Have you had any memorable responses to your writing?
I’ve had such a wonderful response to the book. I’ve received emails from people thanking me for writing it and saying that it’s given them the confidence to continue to walk towards their biggest dreams. The book has helped them know that they are not alone and that the things they’re fighting- fear, resistance- are normal. Knowing that the book has had a positive impact on people’s lives is humbling. It makes me incredibly proud.
Do you have any new books on the horizon?
Yes! I’m working on a book called The Yellow Envelope. It’s a true story about the most amazing gift that has ever been given to me. I’ve worked on this book off and on for about 18 months but soon I’m headed to Mexico for five months and my main objective is to finish this book. I’m so excited to see how it turns out.
I’m also going to release a book that is a compilation of my favourite blog posts. My blog has documented the ups and downs of this incredible journey and I want to piece the best stories together in a narrative that captures the big picture.
What’s your cure for writers block?
Is there a cure? If there is a cure please tell me! No, realistically, the first thing I’ll do is go for a nice, long run. I find that stepping away from the work can usually go a long way towards curing writers block. If I find I have writers block for days and days I’ll usually give myself permission to take it easy on myself. I’ll read books or watch videos that inspire me. I’ll light a candle and write in my journal. I’ll try to give myself enough space to let that truth and creativity shine through again.
What is your favourite travel book?
I’m not a huge fan of travel books but I do love books set in other countries. Shantaram by Gregory David Robers is a good one. I also really liked The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.
What is your favourite travel quote?
It’s not a travel quote, per se, but just sort of my motto in general. It’s a line from a Mary Oliver poem:
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.”
I’d like to thank Kim for sharing her time, stories, fantastic photos and for being such an inspiration!
If you’d like to see more of Kim check out her website So Many Places
And don’t forget to buy her book – Life on Fire !