Out of the comfort zone : Featuring Katie McKnoulty



Out of the comfort zone : The Interview series with Katie McKnoulty from The Travelling Light

I decided to dive deeper in the topic of getting out of the comfort zone by interviewing some of the most inspiring people I met personally or got inspired online because of their courage of living a life they love and that challenges their comfort zone daily. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did chatting with them!


Hello there :-) I hope you have enjoyed the Easter weekend and had a lot of fun doing the things you love and connecting with the people of your life.

As you may remember in February I shared a bit of my own story and some tips to start your way to take the leap and live a more fulfilled life, but I wanted to hear the opinion and experience of some amazing people I met on my path.

Today's guest is an amazing lady , Katie McKnoulty from the blog The Travelling light , which is Katie's ever-growing collection of special, secret, soul-filled places to visit around the world.

I discovered her blog last year while browsing on Instagram ( my not-so secret addiction ;-p) and I fell in love with her natural photos and most importantly her style of slow traveling, which is all about discovering the hidden gems of a city, taking the time to meet the locals, all while respecting the environment and really soaking up the magic of a place, what a bliss!

Katie's is a nomadic freelancer, and because I was studying marketing at the time I saw her blog sent her an email to know more about freelance marketing and by surprise she immediately answered me with enthusiasm and gave me so many tips and said she was moving for few months in Paris! And so it happened that we finally met in person in Paris and had so much fun connecting and discovering the city together, a beautiful friendship was born and I feel so lucky for this online world for connecting me with such a creative and humble soul.


What is your definition of getting out of your comfort zone? 

I would define it as doing something that scares you but also excites you at the same time, something you know you'll feel really good about having accomplished afterwards, something that will almost act as a bridge up to the next level in an area of your life...but yes, it terrifies you a little at the same time as it's not what you know, it's not something you've done before or rehearsed or know you are good at.

At the moment, I think weirdly I have found a sort of comfort zone within my travels, with the places I visit and people I spend time with, I've found a nice little zone but I think it might be time to try some things that scare me e.g. public speaking, travelling somewhere really crazy like India or Africa, launching new areas of my freelancing/blogging business.

Is there something you did in the past that looked very brave from the outside, but it was actually "comfortable" for you?

I think from the outside, 'launching a freelancing career' sounds very brave, but actually the way it happened was very supported and comfortable. I became a freelancer very gradually and gently so it wasn't that scary at the time. I initially quit my job thinking I would find another one but it just wasn't happening as I was on a limited time frame with my visa. A close friend who was coaching me at the time offered me some freelance work in branding/marketing so I started doing that which I loved, I had a few other little projects on the go too. So I remember at some point saying to my parents 'ok I think I'm just not going to look for another job anymore, I think I will just do this as long as it works out' and it has mostly just kept working out since then.

I guess looking back or looking at other people's achievements, it can all look very big and scary/impressive but really, life guides you and supports you towards where you need to go, it's a lot slower and more organic in my experience.

But I definitely have a lot of moments of being overwhelmed by fear of uncertainty, wondering what on earth I am doing with my life, but those are just low moments you have to weather.

When is the last time you did something out of your comfort zone? What was it?

I think everytime I go to live somewhere new, with someone new (I always just rent a room in an airbnb sharing the house/apartment with other people) there is always a period of feeling a bit icky and out of my comfort zone. I don't feel relaxed around the people yet (I'm kind of introverted), I don't where to find anything so I have to ask lots of annoying questions of my housemates, I don't have a dynamic with the people yet, I don't have outside friends yet. So there is always just this like 10 day to two week period when I first arrive somewhere of feeling a bit out of place and uncomfortable but it always passes and then you feel good as you've accomplished something you previously found hard.

Out of your comfort zone series

Do you have some rituals / routines helping you build up courage in these moments ?

YES! I just have a chat with myself and say :

'OK Katie, so let's find the supermarket, a workspace, get a train/bus pass, wash your clothes, find a yoga studio and you'll be fine.'

The absolute best thing when I'm feeling overwhelmed and scared in those moments of being new in a city is to buy food for the fridge/cupboard, as having food in the house makes me feel very safe and grounded. I also just make sure to meditate regularly and go to a yoga class too as that makes me immediately feel a part of a community, which is another thing that makes me feel safe. So I suppose to build up courage, I try to do things that make me feel safe, so I have a foundation to leap from!

What are you secretly scared about? Something that may seem small in your daily life, but you know it would make a big difference in your life?

I'm secretly scared of putting myself out there with my freelancing work I think! All the projects I've worked on have come from friends, family or word of mouth, I've never really tried to advertise or shout what I do from the rooftops. But I think if I did I could be a bit more successful in that realm, challenge myself more, learn more on different projects,make more money. But it's scary to put your offering out there into the world for some reason. Maybe subconsciously it's a matter of thinking that if you don't fully put yourself out there, you haven't exhausted all your options so you have an excuse why your business/blog isn't working. It's not you, it's just that you haven't had time to do everything you can. If you do everything you can to promote yourself, and you still fail...well then there are no excuses, it's just you and your offering that's not working. I think that is my subconscious fear that I have to get over lately!

In the last few years you have been a digital nomad travelling around the world and you have created your own career and lifestyle around it. But living on the go it's not always so easy and pretty as it looks, and it challenges you on a daily basis to overcome the borders of your comfort zone. What is the step of your journey you're most proud of so far and that had challenged you the most? And what was the motivation to finally take the leap and make it happen?

I think when I started travelling three years ago, I was just kind of sounding it out, seeing what happened. But then a year later, in 2014, I had spent a few months at home and it seemed like a giant leap to go travelling again,

People kind of expect you to just do the travel thing once and then get over it and settle down like a normal person.

It seemed to make no logical sense for me to just pick up and head to the USA. I had only just started my blog, I didn't have much regular freelance work on, but I think listening within and with some encouragement from the people around me, I just decided I would do it. My Mum and I always said the worst case scenario for me would be I ran out of money and would have to come home. But that hasn't really happened since, though there have been some tight moments. So I'm proud I took that first big step because it's brought so many opportunities and experiences and it's given me the courage to keep going on that path. But I remember being pretty scared at the time.


Katie's story is so inspiring for me, in particular I love how it all unfolded naturally and organically, and I share her view of the universe supporting you when you need help, every step of the way!

Now it’s your turn : What were the highlight of this interview for you? Will you apply any of these tips in the near future? I really hope so, it will change your life!

With love and light,

Alessia xx 

Something more about our guest :

Katie McKnoulty is a nomadic freelancer seeking to find the light around the world. She is  a freelance brand + marketing consultant, writer, designer and photographer, and the creator of the traveling website The Travelling Light.

You can currently find her in her home town Brisbane, Australia and online :

  • Writing her wonderful blog : http://www.thetravellinglight.com
  • Sharing her travel and life on her very successful Instagram account :https://www.instagram.com/thetravellinglight/
  • Also on Twitter and FB