A Tribute To Kimmy Hayes
I cried myself to sleep last night, grieving over the loss of a friend.
When I first moved to the United States in April of 2013, Kimberly Hayes was one of the first friends I made. In a strange and foreign land where I knew no-one, Kimmy’s friendship was invaluable to me, and invaluable to maintaining my sanity.
Without a work visa for the first 3 months of my time here, I was essentially stuck indoors with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I threw my whole self into the creation of my blog; a project to get me through this rough transition period in my life. A project to keep me sane while my husband worked to support both of us.
I had thought up until now that it was this blog which had saved my life; but this simply isn’t true. It was the connections which were born from my blogging. It was the daily conversations and new friendships which began online with a select few who understood me, and shared my same passions and goals. It was my close friendship with Kimmy Hayes which saved my life. And I’m so incredibly devastated that I couldn’t save hers.
I still cannot accept that such a brilliant, vibrant and inspiring woman could be taken from this earth without warning or reason. She gave so much – everything she learned about the business of blogging she shared with others. Together we created a number of facebook support groups aimed at educating, bettering and inspiring beginner bloggers. She was a mentor to many, and admired by many more. She was a light within the travel blogging community, a truly selfless soul who helped and inspired hundreds to live their dream.
She was so close, two months out, from realizing her own before she was taken from us. She and husband Drew had worked tirelessly to pay off their debt, build a travel blogging brand which would provide an income while they were on the road, and were selling all of their possessions to kick the American dream to the curb and go after their own – they dreamed of traveling the world.
Over the past ten months I spoke to Kimmy daily. We would waste full days chatting about our upcoming travel plans, about our goals, our hopes and dreams, our personal ups and downs. It’s difficult to accept that she will no longer reply.
I spoke to her on Friday, hours before she was involved in a tragic car accident which ended her life. She husband Drew were traveling on I-84 in what authorities described as extremely icy conditions when they lost control of their SUV and crashed into a tree. Although both of them were wearing seatbelts, Kimmy was gone before the EMTs even made it to the scene of the accident. She was 37 years old.
Drew is steadily recovering.
Kimmy had an enthusiasm for life which was contagious, and a bright and bubbly personality which absolutely shone. Her dedication and determination to live the life of her dreams was inspiring, and many admired and looked up to her. Those who knew her personally, and even more who did not. She was making her “someday” happen. Tragically, it never did.
Kimmy’s death is a tragic reminder of how truly precious life is, and how NONE of us are promised our “someday”. But she didn’t need to die to remind us of that. She reminded us of that every day through her blog. She reminded us everyday through her passion and determination to live her dream. Each day she was here with us, was another day we were reminded to live our lives to the fullest. It was her mission in life, and it will forever remain her legacy.
I am incredibly grateful to have known this amazing woman, and incredibly fortunate to have called her a close friend. My heart goes out to her family whom she loved to dearly – I am truly sorry for your loss. Her dream was to travel to paradise – I pray she rests there now.
If you would like to support this family in their time of crisis, please join us in donating to Kimmy’s Memorial Fund.
“In the end your Life is made up of two dates and a dash in the middle, make the dash count!”
Though I’d never met Kimmy, I have looked up to her for quite some time. She was the administrator on a few blogging groups that I belonged to. She was always so kind and helpful. I always admired how dedicated Kimmy was to reaching her goal. It takes a special person to push so hard to “let go of the American dream.” It breaks my heart that Kimmy was taken away so early, so tragically and before she was able to reach her goal of traveling the world. I know Kimmy has inspired so many people to fight for their dreams and that’s such a fantastic legacy to leave behind. Kimmy will be greatly missed by so many. -Meagan LeAnne
I met Kimmy through a series of travel blogging websites and was immediately draw to her positivity and enthusiasm for life. Since last summer, she and I exchanged messages both personal and professional that showed me who Kimmy really was deep down: caring, considerate, kind, funny, motivated, exciting, hard working, dedicated, loving and passionate. I have to emphasize her passion because it’s something that will definitely stick with me. She was passionate about Drew, her family, Afterglobe, travel and most importantly, about life. I know I can speak for the entire travel community when I say that our hearts go out to her family during this incredibly difficult time. Knowing that our lives have all been changed by Kimmy, someone I never even had the pleasure of meeting in person, is a true testament to her character. I will miss Kimmy very much and will continue to pray for her family. – Phoebe Mroczek
I first came to know Kimmy about a year ago when I was invited to join an online community for travel bloggers. From the beginning, Kimmy was a strong leader in the group, constantly encouraging us, giving advice and helping us all become the best we could be. She had a beautiful spirit and it was evident in every blog post and personal message. I know that Kimmy has inspired thousands of people to live the life they dream of and to do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true. She leaves an amazing legacy and I am proud to have called her a friend. -Karisa Blake
Kimmy was instrumental in getting me involved in WTWB and opening me up to a whole new world. She had energy, passion and passed her love of life in bucketfuls to all around her, even virtually it was felt. Both personal and professional messages were exchanged between us and I was hoping to get to see her this summer if I could. I was thinking on the way to work today how much she loved living life. And she’d want everyone else to too. So that’s Kimmy’s legacy: live and travel your life like it’s your last day. Look up and around you and appreciate everything there is: the sky, birds, clouds, sea, sun. Thank you – Kimmy – for being you. – Rebecca Hall
I first started talking to Kimmy when a few of us set up the We Travel We Blog community. From the get-go we had so many laughs – she had a bright and bubbly personality with a hilarious sense of humour. The main thing I really admired about Kimmy was her sense of determination. While we in our blogging community are always around people who go against the grain and live their dreams, in the grand scheme of things we’re a small group and not many people think that way. Kimmy was a shining example of a human being who wasn’t willing to settle for anything but her dreams, something I will never forget about her. Herself and Drew worked to the bone to make sure their dreams came true, and it is a cruel injustice that this won’t be the case for Kimmy. If we can learn anything from this, we can take the example Kimmy set and live the lives we’ve always imagined, and never take anything less than that. She was an incredible advocate for living to the very fullest, and not letting anything get in the way of that. I’m very happy to have known her, and will take that fiesty spirit of hers along with me from now on. – Emma Higgins