Cork woman writes book about adventures in 23 countries, 20 islands, across 7continents

Cork woman Kate Manning visited 23 countries and 20 islands across the seven continents. She tells CHRIS DUNNE about her new book detailing her adventures
Cork woman writes book about adventures in 23 countries, 20 islands, across 7continents

Kate Manning with seals at San Cristobal Island, The Galapagos.

IF you are delaying starting the things on your bucket list, perhaps Kate Manning will spur you on to action.

The east Cork woman, who lives near Inch beach says “life is an adventure”. She gave up her full-time job in IT and took off around the world in 2019, visiting every continent before she was 27.

“I always had a dream to experience the world and see its natural beauty and natural wonders before it changed or it was destroyed by climate change,” says Kate, who was brought up on a farm.

Kate Manning from East Cork took off travelling in 2017 and planned on visiting every continent before she was 27.
Kate Manning from East Cork took off travelling in 2017 and planned on visiting every continent before she was 27.

“I am fascinated by our planet, by our natural world and by animals. 

"I had a desire and a thirst to see the whole world.”

Kate quenched her thirst by taking off on a 14-month journey where she saw many wonders throughout the world in 23 countries and 20 islands. Her book, Wild Adventures, takes readers on a journey through our natural world to draw attention to climate change.

“I was advised not to go to very remote places or to dangerous places like El Salvador, which is known as the murder capital of the world,” says Kate.

“People said not to go there. Sometimes what you see or what you read is not always true. I met some of the loveliest people in South America who hosted me and thanked me for visiting their country.”

What else did people say when Kate was taking off on her travels?

“They said; ‘are you mad going off alone, are you crazy’!”

Kate followed her heart’s desire.

“Sometimes my heart was pumping in places where death and murder was commonplace. We are in no danger here at home.”

Kate Manning is back at home now, living near Inch beach.
Kate Manning is back at home now, living near Inch beach.

Kate was 18 when she went to Belgium and caught the travel bug.

“I was studying linguistics and I lived in Belgium for a year,” she says.

“That was a great test run. I learned so much, 100%, that year on how to survive on your own.”

You need a bit more than the lingo to take off into the unknown.

“It takes courage!” says Kate, who saved up for a few years before embarking on her wild adventure of a lifetime.

“You have only one life,” adds Kate, who travelled to Australia in January, 2018, where she saw amazing coral reefs.

“When the opportunity comes along, just do it!”

What did her nearest and dearest think of her heading off to faraway destinations?

“They were a bit worried,” admits Kate. “I didn’t tell my parents until the last minute when I was ready to leave home.

“They were a bit nervous, but they trusted me. I was going to countries like Honduras and Brazil. Even my Brazilian friends were telling me I shouldn’t go there on my own. So I didn’t tell them until I was actually there!”

Kate trusted herself and she trusted her gut instinct that she was right to fulfil her dream seeking out the world’s glaciers, icebergs, coral reefs, mountains and volcanoes.

“I had to trust that I would be fine,” says Kate.

She had her head screwed on.

“I had little rules, so I wouldn’t go out on my own after dark. When I was in a hostel I always had a lock on the door. I was street-wise.”

She didn’t often stay in hostels.

Kate Manning said she saw Mother Nature at its best. Her breath was taken away in Antarctica.
Kate Manning said she saw Mother Nature at its best. Her breath was taken away in Antarctica.

“I was hosted by the locals almost everywhere I went!” says Kate.

“And the couch-surfing community is amazing!”

Kate was travelling on a wing and a prayer.

“I had saved hard for the trip, but I knew no one, I had no accommodation booked, I had no return flight and I didn’t speak the languages.”

Kate said she wasn't home sick, but did miss her dog Lily.
Kate said she wasn't home sick, but did miss her dog Lily.

There were other concerns.

“I was alone, I was female and I was blonde! Once, a person came up to me on the street and rubbed my hair!

“At a museum I was pointed out in the queue and photographs were taken of me!”

Kate also had her passport stolen in Mexico at one point, but fortunately was able to sort the issue out.

“I had to constantly re-encourage myself that I had made the right decision.”

And she did, adding: “Boy, did I have the journey of a lifetime!”

Kate came across people she never thought she’d meet.

“Some places I visited, like the indigenous communities; they had their own language so I couldn’t communicate with them.”

Kate Manning diving in Cozumel Island, Mexico, during her travels to the seven continents.
Kate Manning diving in Cozumel Island, Mexico, during her travels to the seven continents.

She was still made to feel welcome thought.

“I was, for sure,” says Kate, who had another reason to see the world apart from her natural curiosity about it.

“I also wanted to promote environmental awareness and I have really been sharing a lot about that since I got home.”

Far from home, Kate spent some time volunteering; teaching English and other languages along the way.

“I worked on a Fairtrade coffee farming in Colombia and I learned a lot about the importance of coffee and cocoa to the economy.”

Kate also worked as a translator for tourists visiting the farms.

She saw wonderful sights.

“Ushaai in Argentina is the southern-most town on the planet,” says Kate, who travelled remote deserts, palm-treed valleys, sandy coral beaches, jungles and rain forests as part of her adventure.

“Medillin, in Columbia, was once a notorious drug-ruled centre,” says Kate.

“Now it is transferred into a city of beautiful art, music and dance.”

Kate hiked, swam, surfed, dived, para-glided, camped in, and couch surfed across continents.

Kate tried to stay with local families where she was and also taught English during her travels.
Kate tried to stay with local families where she was and also taught English during her travels.

What was the highlight?

“I would have to say Antarctica,” says Kate. “The giant penguins were spectacular; they were almost up to my waist!

“They were just heart-melting,” adds Kate, who documents these fantastic sights in her photographic memoir, Wild Adventures.

Her breath was taken away both by the beauty of nature and seeing it in of all its glory.

“The silence in Antarctica is both eerie and beautiful. I still dream about it,” says Kate.

“No natives live there, scientists, ecologists and explorers frequent the landscape.

“I loved the Galapagos too and seeing the giant turtles bury their eggs in the sand,” says Kate.

“I saw whales surface the water and blow water, smashing back into the waves again. Elephant seals came up close, opened their jaws and ran away again!”

She saw Mother Nature at its best.

“I took loads of photographs,” says Kate. “And I had an underwater camera as well.”

She was often surprised by the different landscapes that she encountered on her travels.

Kate took lots of photographs and has launched her book Wild Adventures on her return home.
Kate took lots of photographs and has launched her book Wild Adventures on her return home.

“I stayed in a house where five people slept in hammocks in the same room, which was their kitchen and living room.”

They were happy with their lot.

“The people were so happy and so hospitable,” says Kate, who appreciates her home in Ireland.

“We are so lucky where we alive with wide-open spaces.

“Here, we have it all, so much space. Just breathing in the air is spacious.”

Kate made life-long friends navigating the world on her own.

“I made the ‘bestest’ pals,” says Kate.

She met happy people.

“In Latin America people love to sing and dance; I learned how to do the salsa at the fiesta. The friendships I made and the fun I had was fabulous. So much came out of my trip; so many rewards.” Her book came out of it.

“Now I am an author, a podcaster, and a photographer!” says Kate.

“Sharing my travels in Wild Adventures was a lovely project. 

"Our planet is changing so fast; we need to be aware of it and be kind to it.

Living sustainably can help our planet.” 

Kate Manning visited Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina, with the mountains in the background.
Kate Manning visited Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina, with the mountains in the background.

Down on the farm, Kate is in good company with ducks, hens and busy-bees.

Is she glad to be home?

“I was never homesick but I missed my dog Lily something awful,” says Kate.

“But I know she was well looked after. And missing my nieces and nephews; it was lovely to see them again.” 

Lily often goes on an adventure with her mistress.

“We walk the cliffs together exploring nature.” Kate says we should all try and protect our home.

“The planet is our home and being aware of how amazing planet earth is can help us protect it and restore it back to balance for future generations.” Has Kate any more travel plans for the future?

Kate is now an author, podcaster and photographer.
Kate is now an author, podcaster and photographer.

“I’m always looking for an adventure!” she says.

Adventure is always beckoning.

“I’d love to go to the African Plains where wild animals roam free or travel to the Arctic where huge Ice-bergs float on the water.” Kate has her feet on the ground after living the dream.

“The biggest motivation for my travels was to see the planet in all its beauty before it was destroyed by climate change,” says Kate.

Kate was inspired to write a book about her travels to encourage people to become environmentally conscious.

Wild Adventures is a photographic memoir journeying from Latin America to Antarctica.

“I wanted to create something with beautiful photos and hopefully inspire changes and maybe take actions with how we are living.” Kate knows life is for living.

“Life is short. If you have a dream; just do it!” 

Wild Adventures costs 23 euro go to Kate’s website: catchcait.com and on instagram

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