Meet avid traveller – Katie McAlister

Katie has volunteered in an orphanage in Bolivia for seven months, volunteered at an underprivileged school in India for three months and is now living and working in Chiba (40km from Tokyo, Japan). There aren’t many things Katie won’t give a go.

Katie is one of my longest and closest friends who has always inspired me with her courage, positivity and ongoing belief to live life to its fullest. After all, life is for living. The world is too big for your cubicle. Literally.

Here is a glimpse into Katie’s travel experiences and how it has shaped her to be the person she is today.


Out of all the amazing places you’ve visited – do you have a favourite?
Tricky question! I’d have to say the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. It’s like a different world and unlike anywhere else I’ve been. I went on an AFS trip there for three days. We went on a tour and travelled in jeeps as the Salar is huge and there is so much to see – beautiful lakes with flamingos (also saw a fox) and huge white frozen lakes of salt.


Tell me about a memorable travel moment in your life.
Hmmm… Crossing the border from Nepal into India is quite memorable. When I travelled to Nepal with two friends we flew there from India but crossed the border back into India by land. The border town in Nepal is called Birgunj and it felt like we’d stepped back in time as there were horses, carts and rickshaws everywhere. We crossed the border at night on the back of a jeep filled with locals. When we crossed into India there was a power cut and we were led by some officials with flashlights into a dark building. It felt a bit spooky but they stamped our passports with no dramas.


How do you find currently living and teaching in Japan?
I love exploring new places as there is so much to do in Tokyo and Chiba! The teaching is really rewarding as I get to see the students improving and enjoying themselves in class. The challenge would be my commute and the working hours. I work in the afternoon and evening on Mondays to Wednesdays as well as on weekends.


How long are you planning to stay in Japan for?
I’ve been here for almost 11 months, but I’m thinking about staying on for another winter to go skiing again.


Do you have a bucket list of places you yet to visit?
There are so many places on my list. I’d love to go back to South America, go to Central America and do Europe. I also want to see more of Asia: Southeast Asia, China, Tibet..


What is it about travelling you love most, and how has it shaped you as a person?
I love the feeling of adventure and the great people you meet along the way. It’s definitely made me more open-minded and appreciative of the good things in life.