Through this interview, we are travelling to the other part of the world chasing the light. The light that speaks for itself. The magical light. The travelling light.
Katie McKnoulty is our guide for the Brisbane chapter part of the rubric On a visit to… . She will enchant us with her wonderful stories and photographs. She will make us feel cozy and welcomed in a totally unknown city (at least for us) showing us the Australian state of mind.
Katie is a traveller, a digital nomad and an amazingly talented photographer who is behind the blog The travelling light, an adorable visual-piece of art with alternative tips and tricks for travelling around the world and finding the hidden gems in the different cities. It such a delight to have this girl as a guest here on the blog. Maybe one day we will cross our paths somewhere across our lovely Planet Earth.
How do you imagine the ideal “om trip”?
Lots of time to myself, lots of time in nature wherever I am, lots of quiet, connecting with a local community somehow too and eating lots of good quality local food that makes me feel nourished!
Is it possible to take an “om trip” to your hometown of Brisbane, Australia?
Yes definitely! Brisbane is a gateway to so many incredible experiences in nature, both right on the city’s doorstep and up to about an hour’s drive away. There are lots of great hikes you can do like in Mt Coot-tha, Mount Tamborine, Springbrook National Park, Lamington National Park plus there are some nice walking/cycling trails all along the Brisbane River. We have some amazing beaches about an hour away too! And the suburb of West End provides lots of interesting opportunities for ‘om’ ing – yoga studios, healthy and delicious cafes, alternative therapies, parks by the river and not to mention the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern art for some creative inspiration time.
Three things which we absolutely have to take with us when we travel to this part of the world.
A hat, sunscreen and sunglasses, oh and your bikini – I know that’s four…Brisbane is sunny so many days of the year and even in winter, the temperatures are pretty summery as the city enjoys a sub-tropical climate so be prepared for lots of sunshine, swimming, and humid air.
How to look like the locals?
Wear short and thongs (or flip-flops as they’re more commonly known around the world) wherever you go and always have your ‘sunnies’ or sunglasses on your face or perched on your head.
What should we absolutely try when we’re there?
The local mangoes in summer! They’re huge, bright yellow and very delicious. We also just have incredible produce in Brisbane and Australia in general so try all the fruits and vegetables in the right seasons. And if you eat seafood, Brisbane has some pretty amazing king prawns, probably the biggest you’ll ever see on your plate.
Where would you take us to have a cup of coffee?
I’d take you to somewhere that also served some good teas or turmeric lattes as I don’t drink coffee 🙂 so I’d try to find somewhere that served both – Plenty Cafe in West End is great so we’d probably go there and split a piece of cake.
The place you’d like to share with us.
The West End markets – they’re held in a huge park in this suburb on Brisbane on the river and the place just comes alive every Saturday morning when the markets are held. There’s really great live music that everyone stops to listen to, good coffee and hot drinks and a real ‘hippie’ kind of vibe with the stalls and food on offer. I love going here every Saturday morning with my Mum when I’m in town.
We can’t travel around without stopping by some galleries and museums. Tell us which are your favorites?
The Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery are amazing with world-class collections and exhibitions as well as really interesting buildings right on the Brisbane river. The Gallery of Modern Art in particular just has the most interesting exhibitions so you’re always sure to catch something inspiring and exciting visiting there.
Which book do you think will be most suitable for our trip to Brisbane?
The Girl Most Likely by Rebecca Sparrow is set in Brisbane and was one of my favourite books growing up, it tells the story of a travel writer who’s come back home to Brisbane after a life crisis, living in her childhood home and bedroom again and just generally having a meltdown. I feel as though I’ve lived that story a few times on my stays home in Brisbane!
You travel a lot around the world. Which is the main difference between Europe and Australia?
I’ve found so many really interesting differences between the two over the years! The ones that stick in my head lately – Australians are incredibly positive (maybe a little too much some times) and open whereas I find Europeans to be a little more contemplative, critical (constructively so mostly), honest and reserved – this has been a huge learning curve for me, instead of just putting a happy spin on everything which is my cultural tendency, being around Europeans has made me slowly change to consider things a little more and not be afraid of being critical in the name of changing things for the better.
In terms of the main difference between the places, Australia’s climate and surroundings mean it’s such an outdoor country, life is really lived in the outdoors, even in winter, which means you have such an easy connection to nature and a lot of the activities are based around hiking, going to the beach, sports, parks, hanging out in someone’s backyard.
On the other hand, Europe, at least in terms of the city life I’ve come to know, has such incredible culture and heritage and a bigger focus on the arts in daily life with so many amazing galleries and museums on your doorstep. Living in Europe you can’t help but spend more time indoors, whether at home reading a book or watching a film or at a gallery or an amazing restaurant or wine bar.
What do you miss the most from Australia, when you are on the road?
My Mum and my family in general of course! I also miss the beach terribly and swimming in the sea, I miss the sunshine a lot especially when it’s freezing cold and dark winter in Paris and all my friends from home are going to the beach every weekend in the Southern Hemisphere summer, those are tough times…I miss the cafes too I think there are more opportunities for really nourishing foods at the cafes in Australia than in Paris, we have really fresh food in Australia.
As a designer and photographer, the main part of your job is to create some visuals. What do you think has influenced you the most in shaping your unique style?
Probably a mix of Instagram and having access to so many amazing photographers, designers, creatives, bloggers, publishers on there as well as my love of magazines and books. I love looking at book designs on Pinterest and I love spending a long time in independent bookstores going through all the coffee table books, magazines, etc and just dying over the beautiful designs – my favourite bookstore in Paris is OFR – it stands for open, free and ready :). I’d love to publish my own book and publish other people’s books as well one day – I published my first travel zine earlier this year (check it out on my site here) and I was so in love with the whole process and holding it in my hands when it was produced was a very happy moment for me.
Can you describe your life here and now with just one photograph?
I’m living in rural Marche in Italy this month so this describes my life right now quite well!
Do you have a recipe for happiness? Can you share it with us?
Toe the line between figuring out who you really are and what you really want, aside from what everyone growing up and society has told you-you want, whilst simultaneously letting go of controlling your life, letting your heart and intuition guide you as much as you can handle – I think knowing who you are and flowing with life simultaneously and using those to guide how you live are my secret to happiness 🙂
Where should we go after visiting Brisbane?
You should go to the beach! Go to the Sunshine Coast North of Brisbane, I grew up going to Caloundra which has a really fun, down-to-earth Australian beach vibe to it, I love Dicky Beach, Moffat Beach, King’s Beach. Noosa and Sunshine Beach too are pretty gorgeous. And we have some amazing islands around Brisbane too – Moreton Island and Stradbroke Island are incredible and pretty untouched.
Who is Katie?
Katie is an Australian semi-nomadic travel blogger and freelance branding consultant, based part-time in Paris, part-time in the rest of the world with a particular love of Europe and Asia. She believes travel has the power to transform us and open us up to beauty, new perspectives, truth, and our deepest selves. Her blog, The Travelling Light, is for travellers, nomads and seekers, a collection of places, people, stories and things from life as a nomadic freelancer.
P.S. All pictures are kindly provided by Katie.