#FriFotos: New

Our new office

Our new office.

These are some photos of my new home.

Our new bedroom.

Our new bedroom.

Our old apartment was flooded with three and a half feet of water during Hurricane Sandy.  We lost some things, gained some things, but we knew that as long as we had each other, it would be okay.  Perfecting the art of “suburban vagabonding,” we drifted from home to home in search of a place to settle down.  Now we’ve found it, we’re moving in a few days, and we can restart our lives once more.

Our new living room.

Our new living room.

A life of travel is uncertain and unstable, but that’s part of the bargain – nomading your way around the world with no expectations because it’s about the journey, not about the place.  When you know there is no home to go home to, you just keep going until you want to stop.  For us, it was different – we knew where we wanted to be, but couldn’t get there, so the uncertainty and instability was crippling. It’s not like “If Jaipur sucks, that’s okay, I’ll just head to Chennai.”  If a friend’s couch or a relative’s air mattress sucks, we had to deal with it, because we still had to go to the same job and the same school and see the same people as though our lives were never affected by a devastating act of nature.

Our new basement.  This is clearly where the disco parties are going to happen.

Our new basement. This is clearly where the disco parties are going to happen.

I’ve never thought much about the idea of “home” until I lost mine.  Like many on Long Island, all I could think of was the day I’d walk through my own door and eat dinner at my own kitchen table and read my own books again.  Simple things we take for granted.  I am happy to say our new home is even bigger and better and we are looking forward to rebuilding and we are not going to move, from the couch, or the community, for a very long time.

NaNoWriMo Update: The Home Stretch

I did it! Hooray!

Word count: 44,253  Goal: 50,000

One more day to reach 50k! Although NaNoWriMo has definitely been harder than I thought, I think I’ll finish on time. Writing the content is the easy part, it’s finding the time to write that is the issue. After all the personal challenges I’ve faced lately I am proud that I’ve gotten this far, and created something very special.

I’m just pissed though, because I only discovered the NaNoWriMo website the other day. I could have been tracking my progress, connected with like-minded WriMos, participated in local write-ins and more. Oh well – now I’m registered and I can be more proactive next year.

So now that NaNoWriMo is over, I can concentrate on bigger things – like my new website! Be on the lookout for katkatravels.com, where you’ll find a more personalized version of this blog, along with some more professional information and links to other sources. Yay!

Did you reach your NaNoWriMo goal? Are you a part of the NaNoWriMo community online? Let me know your user name and we’ll become buddies!

NaNoWriMo Update: Losing Steam



Word count as of today: 41,006 (out of 50,000)

I’ve fallen behind on my NaNoWriMo schedule.  The past few days were filled with several events that kept me away from computers for a majority of the day and I wasn’t able to meet my goal of 5 pages per night.  I have a lot of catching up to do.  I’ve also been engrossed in several projects, professionally and academically, which of course have to take precedence.  I know it’s cliche, but there really aren’t enough hours in a day to do all of the things I need to do!

I’m satisfied with the work I’ve produced thus far however.  Every day something new happens that I can add to my story and make it authentic. What I’m hoping arises from this project is how amazing people really are.  The amount of resilience, kindness and power people have offered during this tragic time is truly astounding.  It’s been almost five weeks since the storm hit but for many, their lives are starting to get back to normal thanks to help from others.  People just want to help, and I, along with those in more need, are eternally grateful for this.  It has really restored within me a sense of hope and acknowledgement that yes, there are assholes out there but when the time calls for it, people really band together and make good.

So I have to be more diligent about my work and try to cram in a page or two whenever I get a free moment.  I’d really like to make a significant dent in this project just to prove to myself that I am capable of writing something cool within a short amount of time.  Whether or not this goes on to be published, I don’t know, but at least I’ll be able to say to myself “You did it!  Congratulations!” and maybe buy myself a drink.

Have you had any trouble with your NaNoWriMo process?  What have you done to remedy the situation?

My Latest for Matador Network: 5 travel lessons that got me through Hurricane Sandy

My latest article for Matador Network

People whose homes were not annihilated during Hurricane Sandy still freaked out a bit. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I’M LIVING WITHOUT ELECTRICITY/HEAT/WATER/GAS FOR TWO WEEKS? HOW AM I EVER GOING TO DO ANYTHING EVER AGAIN?!?!?!??!”  People lamented and “woo is me”d until the the magic lights came back on and suddenly, everything was fine.

What most people don’t realize however, is that there are people all around the world who live without basic amenities every day – sometimes, for their whole lives.  This is something you would only be able to know by traveling the world and exposing yourself to the way other people live.  It’s one thing to see it on the news, it’s another to actually live it.

No power?  No problem.  I wanted to write an article about how it’s alright to live without the things we take for granted, as long as we are resourceful in other ways.  I love learning how I an improve my life from watching another way of doing things.  For example, I never would have known what to do with myself in the dark if I hadn’t lived through continuous blackouts in Ghana.  And I never would have figured out what I could and could not eat if I hadn’t been without a fridge in Slovakia.  We learn as we travel, it changes us, and it helps us grow in other ways.

Before the next natural disaster hits, check out my survival lessons I applied to Hurricane Sandy.  You’d be surprised how easy it really is to live without technological innovations.

5 travel lessons that got me through Hurricane Sandy

What were some travel skills that you were able to use to get you through the storm?

How To React When Your House Is Destroyed By Hurricane Sandy

I wrote an essay on my recent experience with Hurricane Sandy, and it was published by Thought Catalog!  Thought Catalog is a series of articles, essays and funny quips largely relating to millennial 20something culture.  Writing this essay, for me, was very therapeutic and helped me put things into perspective.  I hope it will help others the way it helped me and inspire people to write their own versions.

Listen to your fellow LAWN GUYLANDERS talk about their harrowing experiences. A woman with big, blond, bushy hair nervously chatters about losing the first floor of her home in Bellmore, including her bedroom, after the tidal surges. She’s currently sleeping on the floor of her 3-year-old daughter’s room. Her laundry companion relents about taking the bus to the laundromat on account of her car getting flooded; she had just paid off the auto loan, and now it no longer works. A man from Lindenhurst is interviewed by the news on the laundromat’s television. He talks about how he left his laptop above his television cabinet “because I didn’t think the water would get that high.”  When he came back, his entire house had fallen into a canal adjacent to his property.

Realize that although your life sucks right now, there are people out there that have it way worse.

How To React When Your House Is Destroyed By Hurricane Sandy: My First Essay for Thought Catalog