PROFILES: Marie King

Who is Marie King?

Marie King is a Canadian traveller and writer with a focus on minimalist living and veganism. These days, she can be found hiking, biking, climbing, or just hiding out somewhere near the Canadian Rockies. For tips and guides on living minimal and travelling in Canada and abroad, follow her @MarieAway on Twitter and Instagram and visit her blog at www.marieaway.com.

"Firstly, I always start with the same question. What makes you happy?"

"My idea of happiness seems to change and evolve all the time. Right now, it means being able to appreciate the free and privileged life I have. To feel good about the way I spend my time and use the voice I've been given. To be aware of what's happening in the world, of social issues, and to know that my actions reflect this awareness. To feel as though I am constantly growing and improving myself. Above all, to be content with each moment and know that I am doing my best in life."

"After a long day, how do you relax?"

"I adore cooking and trying new recipes. I am vegan, and I feel like having some restrictions has really allowed me to get creative with cooking. Honestly, I love grocery shopping. Of course, I'd be lying if I said my perfect evening of relaxation doesn't also involve a bottle of wine."

"Who are some people you look up to?"

"I look up to a lot of people. It's hard for me to not get cheesy with a question like this. So, I'll just say that the person I look up to above all is someone who can remain positive in tough situations, who knows that there is a lot of bad in the world and still chooses to be happy."

"If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?"

"I know you think that one day you'll move back closer to home, but the truth is that your old apartment stuff is just going to take up space in your parents' basement for years. Do them, and yourself, a favour and just sell (or donate) it all before it goes stale in boxes.
This is pretty specific, but I think it can be generalized like this: don't get too attached to things. Get attached to people. Don't worry about missing places, but miss the people that belong to those places."

"Your website's slogan is "travel. minimalist living." What does living minimalistically mean to you?"

"I used to keep a lot of stuff and my life was a mess. After years of moving constantly and travelling long-term, I realized that I could live without (and actually forgot about) so much of the stuff that I thought was so important. These days, I find it pretty easy to live out of a suitcase. When I think of buying something, I imagine having to carry it around with me. That helps me decide whether it's really worth it. By “minimalist living,” I really mean living simply, slowing things down, and sticking to the basics."

"How do you describe your blog to someone you just met?"

"It's basically a collection of posts focussed on the lifestyle of being a minimalist traveller. You'll find tips, guides, feature articles, along with more personal updates scattered throughout."

"Veganism is an important topic on your blog, what do you think people get wrong about eating healthy?"

"People overcomplicate and judge each other's diets too much. I try to focus on eating well—that means good for the environment, the animals, and myself. Maybe you can be healthy while eating animal products, but it's 2016 and you don't have to eat them to be healthy and live well. Everything you purchase directly supports a certain industry or practice. It's important to consider that while you plan your diet."

"Do you think it's easier to eat healthy while you're home or travelling?"

"Definitely at home. Because I'm vegan, and I travel to countries that have meat-centric diets, it's always easier to cook for myself. I'm definitely not the healthiest person, but I love cooking and I like knowing what's in my food."

"You've been to quite a few countries, where felt the most like home and where felt the most foreign to you?"

"When I look back, South Korea always feels most like home (outside of Canada, of course), simply because I lived there longer than I've been anywhere else. That said, it also probably feels the most foreign, because it's the place that I've had the absolute most difficult time communicating.
If I'm comparing on more of a surface level, I'd say Australia and New Zealand felt more culturally like home (Canada). Cambodia was probably the most drastically different."

"Both of us have used Workaway, a work-exchange program, what was your experience like?"

"I loved it! The work was hard, of course, but I loved being out in the sun and heat. I was in a rural part of Chile with my own little house on an organic vineyard. I loved the simplicity. I drank wine, cooked all my meals, and hung out with five dogs every day. I am grateful for how positive my experience was. That's the kind of life I'd like to live more of."

"On your website are articles, videos, and photos of your life and travels. What piece are you most proud of?"

"This is tough! I feel like I'm constantly growing, so when I look back, I almost feel like a different person wrote my older posts. My favourite pieces are not the most popular posts, but they are quite honest:
http://marieaway.com/unhappy-traveller/
http://marieaway.com/traveling-anxiety/
http://marieaway.com/how-to-deal-with-coming-home/

"When you get a case of writer's block, how do you fix it?"

"I just write something. It doesn't have to be good, or used for anything. If I'm really stuck, I'll read other people's blogs and articles and usually something will pop into my head. I'm probably a bad blogger because I don't stick to my niche all the time. I'm sure I'd have a tougher time if I limited myself more, but I love writing and exploring different topics. I'm happy with it."

"Where do you think you'll be in 5 years?"

"In 5 years, I'll be 31. Hopefully by then I will have figured out the answer to this question! I really just want to be happy, to feel like I'm living a good life. I expect that I'll be living in Canada and travelling as much as I can."

Thanks for the terrific answers Marie, good luck.