Navigation Menu

Karisa Blake is another incredibly inspiring traveler.  While making the international move from the US to Thailand was one of the biggest challenges she has faced to date, she has since been accumulating the most rewarding experiences all over Southeast Asia – like making friends with Burmese Monks!

She is an urbanite at heart but can be easily tempted by beaches and mountains; she encourages others to travel because it will “change you forever”.

What do you love the most about travelling?

My favorite part of traveling is learning about the world! I think that every country, city, neighbourhood is special and I love discovering why! When I travel, the world opens up for me.  It challenges what I always thought was true and shows me a world full of beauty and diversity.

Learning about the world!

A hands on approach to learning about the world!!

What inspired you to start travelling?

I definitely have my family to thank for inspiring my wanderlust. When I was a kid, we spent our summers traveling around the East Coast US, visiting family, going to the beach, learning about historical sites and exploring our country. From a young age I’ve had a love of travel, history and going places I’ve never been before.

What is “KarisAbroad” all about?

KarisAbroad is my colorful travel blog where I share my love of world travel. My current focus is Southeast Asia, although I have my heart set on seeing the whole world! My articles focus on my favorite aspects of travel: history, culture, art, architecture, style and night life.



 Describe your travel personality.

I like to call my travel style ‘boutique travel’ (or better yet, ‘boutique on a budget!). I want to discover what makes each place special, from food, culture and history to fashion, art and architecture. I’ll take unique, trendy hotels over chains and hostels. I’m an urbanite at heart but I can be easily tempted by beaches and mountains.  I like to have fun and make the most of life!

How do you afford to travel – are you rich?!

Unfortunately, I’m not rich! I work as an English teacher and burgeoning freelance travel writer. Being an English teacher enables me to travel the world because I can work anywhere and travel at the same time. I’m currently teaching in Bangkok, Thailand, which is a great hub for Southeast Asia travel. With a good savings plan I’ve been able to live well in Bangkok and also travel to over 4 countries in the past year.

One thing which you don’t like about travelling?

Traveling is a great way to meet people – I’ve meet so many interesting travelers and also locals from many different countries. However, while I’ve made these amazing bonds on the road, I feel like some of my friendships back at home have become more and more difficult.

It’s understandable that our lives are very different now and it may be difficult for them to relate to me and for me to relate to them. For example, when skyping my friends, I just want to gush about Asia and they just want to gush about their hometown boyfriends. It’ll be interesting to see them in person when I return home!

The coolest person you have met on your travels?

I made friends with a few Burmese monks while visiting the ruins of Ayutthaya in Thailand. My sister saw them walking around the temple complex and wondered if we could take a photo with them. Not wanting to seem pushy or offensive, I advised against it. Imagine my surprise a few minutes later when the monks approached us and asked for our pictures! I was shocked but also happy to have the opportunity to get to know the friendly monks a bit more.

 ruins of Ayutthaya in Thailand

Ruins of Ayutthaya in Thailand

Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?

When I arrived in Thailand, I was shocked to see the American flag everywhere! I saw it on purses, printed on leggings, on t-shirts and advertisements. I guess we Americans tend to think that people around the world dislike us? I’m sure there are things about American governmental policies that people disagree with but that doesn’t stop them from looking to the states for trends, celebrities and fashion!

The greatest challenge you’ve faced while travelling?

Moving to Thailand in general is the most challenging thing I’ve ever faced travelling.  I knew that moving to a country so different from the US would be difficult and that’s one of the reasons why I chose to come here!

I knew the language would be challenging, the heat would be challenging, the spicy food would be challenging and that making a life here would be challenging. And believe me, it was! But after all the struggles to perfect my Thai tones, amp my spicy food tolerance and make friends, I feel really proud of myself and ready for more travel challenges.

Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?

I’ve had a myriad of embarrassing moments here in Thailand, from strangers laughing at me when I attempt to speak Thai to almost falling off of a motorcycle while riding side-saddle in a dress. I don’t think I can even chose a most embarrassing moment. Suffice it to say, after having daily awkward and embarrassing moments, they hardly even faze me anymore!


Karisa abroad!

Three things you can’t travel without?

My kindle, the internet and nail polish remover!  How could I travel without non-chipped nails, books for long flights and skype and twitter!?

Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?

More specific than the entire world? Hmmm. Really, I want to see every single corner of this world, so let me narrow this down by my top two continents!

I’m fascinated by Northern Africa and I’d love to practice my French in Tunisia or imagine I’m Ingred Bergman strolling the streets of Casablanca! The more I see of Asia the more I need to see of Asia! Right now I’d have to say that China tops my Asia bucket list. I can already imagine the chills I’ll get when I first see the Great Wall of China!

Most practical piece of travel advice?

Travel now! Throw away all thoughts of “if and when” and just do it now. If you keep waiting for the car to be paid off or your job promotion to happen then you could be waiting forever. There will always be some excuse for putting off travel. Just go now or you may miss your chance to see the world.

Why should people travel?

Travel because you will be a different person after you stand like an ant before the Great Pyramids. Travel because you’ll be more mindful of your spending after seeing small children selling post-cards at Angkor Wat.

Travel because you’ll be more excited about life after snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Travel because you’ll appreciate your family and friends after being a world away from them. Travel because you’ll feel more connected to the earth’s plants and animals after making a pilgrimage to Costa Rica’s cloud forest.

Travel because it will change you forever!

My Hot Pink Passport is a website dedicated to tales of an American girl out to see the world! Follow Karisa for resources on Women’s Travel and Boutique on a Budget.

You can find her on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Another interesting traveler’s tale. Thanks.

    • Thanks Steven – I love interviewing other travelers and hearing different stories from around the world!

  2. Thanks for the great interview, Megan! :)

    • Right back at you!

  3. Great interview. Karis sounds like a well balanced individual who really appreciates the opportunities that travel opens up for you.

    I also agree that kindles and the internet are almost essentials for the modern day traveller :-)

    • I couldn’t travel without my kindle or internet either :D I would have withdrawal symptoms!!

      Karisa is great – really inspired by her and her travels :)

  4. Awesome interview! I love reading about other travelers/expats.

    • Thanks Sally! Love reading and hearing about other people’s travels! Lol normally gives me ideas for my own :D

  5. Lovely interview, i’l definitely check her site.

    • She’s great – has a really great blog as well!

  6. One of my embarrassing travel memories happened in Thailand too! I was near a market where someone was trying to sell me bird food to feed the many nearby pigeons. Once, twice, three times, I politely said no thank you and after that point, when it continued, I got a little bit visibly irritated. The man looked annoyed that I hadn’t bought any but 2 minutes later, as I was walking away, guess what lovely pigeon-related stuff landed in my hair?! #karma

    • Lol ouch!! Don’t you hate it when karma comes at you like that!! I’ll remember to make sure we feed the pigeons on any future trips through Thailand :D!!

  7. Great interview! I love learning about other traveler’s experiences! Travel is the best education there is! I have learned more from the world in the last 2 years of full-time travel than I ever did in school!!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Kaitlin! ABsolutely agree with you that travel is the best education there is – so glad you’ve also found it to be true!

      Happy travels – stay awesome and keep learning as you make your way around the world! Never stop learning! Travel is amazing food for the brain :D!

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *