Who am I and what on Earth is this?!

Hello there, I'm Katie Featherstone and if you hadn't worked it out yet, this is Feathery Travels- a blog about some seriously budget travel and the experiences, art and music I come across en route. 

 

If you want to know more about me there is some rambling information

here, otherwise my most recent entries will appear below and a loosely organised archive is in the tabs up the top. 


Tue

21

Jun

2016

Storms, sea shells and sand boarding in Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Mui Ne beach, Vietnam

 

After over a year's waiting and saving, I'm soon setting off on another adventure. I couldn't be much further from travel burn out right now, but somehow this sprung to mind...

 

Trying to loop through the North of Thailand, floating along a portion of the Mekong, through Laos and down the entire length of skinny Vietnam in just a few weeks, had turned into somewhat of an ordeal. Vietnam is a beautiful country, with some of the most impressive sights in South East Asia, but after spending around one hundred hours trying to sleep on hard train benches, sweating on endless busses, occasionally getting shoved and ordered around by unfriendly men and fighting off moto drivers, the continuous traffic noise and incessant beeping was beginning to grate.

 

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Tue

14

Jun

2016

Illustrator Laura Wilson on art, feminism and the odd mermaid.

 

Floating around the restaurant with an enviable aura of calm, Laura never seemed repressed by the sometimes stiflingly misogynistic atmosphere of our work place half a decade ago. After her smile, I first noticed her tattoos- a tall ship, mermaids and an intricately twined circle on her back. Getting to know her a little better, I learnt she designed them herself. I've been in awe ever since and could not be more excited to introduce you. This is Laura Wilson. 

 

Were you artistic as a child? How did you get into illustration?

 

I wanted to be an artist from a really early age! Art was my favourite subject at school from when I was very young, and it was something I’d spend hours each evening doing. I drew an awful lot of mermaids! I had a few years during my teens when I gave into the ‘art isn’t a viable career option’ rhetoric that sensible adults were telling me, but eventually I decided that following my passion was worth not being as financially stable as I might be if I chose a different career path! 

 

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Sat

11

Jun

2016

Hitchhiking, camping and other less advisable adventures on the island of Milos, Greece.

Agios Ioannis, Milos, Cyclades, Greece.
Agios Ioannis

It was a cold, soggy winter in Southampton when we found ourselves dreaming of an adventure. My friend Bryony and I had been struggling to find any inspiration in our grimy university accommodation and imagined spending long days painting on quiet beaches; I bought a map of the Cyclades and we began to highlight dots to aim for.

 

Milos was so beautiful that our island hopping adventure didn't end up as extensive as we imagined, but I                                                                                          haven't regretted it for a second.

 

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Wed

01

Jun

2016

Five ways in which I'm still stubbornly refusing to join the 21st century.

 

As a child I used to take my Mum’s accusations of stubbornness as a compliment. Without the thought process to understand that my 4, 7, 16 year old self might benefit from a little open-mindedness, I believed it insinuated I had some sort of unbreakable iron will; the sort of perseverance that a suffragette would have needed on hunger-strike or what made Rosa Parks stay on that seat. Not yet appreciating that the vast majority of the human race believe themselves to be right at all times, I imagined that this sort of attitude would eventually result in justice. 

 

Having absorbed enough contradictory information over the last decade to understand that there is rarely a reliable answer to anything, I'm more confused by the world than ever, but can't help retaining a trace of that original pigheadedness. A mystery to the most of my friends, these are a few quirks that I am for some reason trying to swim with against the tide of the 21st century (and maybe adulthood?). 

 

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Thu

19

May

2016

Dan's birthday on Dartmoor.

Dartmoor, Devon

 

I've been rotting indoors for months as we "prepare" for an as-of-yet unspecific adventure elsewhere in Europe. I bounce resigned from one box to another, staring between screens and sitting so badly; my back is aching. Wild camping for Dan's birthday has become somewhat of a tradition and as the weather is starting the clear up again, we ventured out to Dartmoor to absorb some wilderness as an antidote. 

 

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Thu

12

May

2016

Tips for women planning an adventure in Morocco.

food, Marrakesh, Morocco, Africa

 

Drunkenly booking myself a one-way ticket to Marrakesh, age 20, was undoubtedly one of the most impulsive decisions I've ever made. I had some idea of what Morocco might be like, but the more I researched solo-female travel there, the more I began to wonder if I had made a giant mistake. As the weeks before my departure flew by, I got increasingly nervous and tried to arm myself with as much information as possible.

 

In hindsight I had no reason to worry, but these are the tips I wish I'd read before I left...

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Sun

01

May

2016

How to survive an English music festival.

Secret Garden Party mud
Secret Garden Party

 

Mention you're from England to any continental European and after mocking you for your cooking, they will most likely mention the weather. Although our continuous drizzle is often exaggerated, several days of downpour have the potential to make life very miserable if you're sleeping in a tent. After several summers of English music festivals, these are my tips for embracing the mud and enjoying the party regardless...

 

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Sat

16

Apr

2016

Architectural details of Vienna, Austria.

The Neptune Fountain, Schönbrunn Palace
The Neptune Fountain, Schönbrunn Palace. Note the two merlegs needed to straddle this type of seahorse.
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Sat

09

Apr

2016

"Building" in the new Dunkirk refugee camp, France.

Double rainbow Dunkirk refugee camp, France
Double rainbow over Dunkirk, France. Photo from my building friend Elizabeth Nixon.

 

After two weeks of stumbling through our daily reality, Dan and I were struggling to find any purpose. Stretching the Easter bank holiday weekend, we found lifts over to Calais and were quickly back in the build team. With its regimented streets of chicken coops, Dunkirk couldn't be any more different to "the jungle". Having never seen the old camp, I can only repeat other volunteers' stories of children trying to play in a wood turned swamp. No building materials or tents had been allowed in for months and Winter conditions must have been nearly impossible before the move.  

 

Overshadowed by the jungle, Dunkirk was just one of many forgotten refugee camps in Europe. I'm struggling not to get too political, but the new camp, set up by MSF and volunteers, at least gives a small amount of dignity back to the thousand and a half people it has space to shelter. There are toilet facilities, showers, somewhere to wash clothes and food distributions from the other charities involved. It hasn't solved their long term problems, but hopefully eased a bit of suffering in the mean time.

 

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Thu

24

Mar

2016

Camping spots that make you wonder why we ever sleep indoors.

Sapphire Coast Australia
Sapphire Coast Australia

 

This collaboration of magical camping spots has taken an embarrassingly long time to put together, but I can't help but feel proud of the result. With some of my traveller idols, friends and even family involved, it's hard to decide if I'm more excited by the contributors or the places they have written about. If this doesn't persuade you that you don't always want to sleep with a roof over your head, then I'm happy to keep the wilderness for myself. 

 

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Sat

19

Mar

2016

Volunteering for l'Auberge des Migrants in the Calais "Jungle"

Calais jungle, refugee crisis, street art
Photo credit Holly Walter.

*If you haven't got time or energy to read my waffle and are simply interested in the logistics of

volunteering, slide right down to the bottom and read the useful information section.*
**These photos are borrowed from the friends I met in Calais. Thank-you in advance.** 

 

 

I'm struggling to find the tone of this article; shying away from self-congratulatory or callous, and after only a week there acutely aware of my naivety. On leaving, nearly everything in my normal life seems pointless and yet I still bumble along as if before. 

 

I've been wanting to help the people stuck at Calais since early last year, but excuses tumbled over each-other and it wasn't until last week that we finally sorted ourselves out enough to spend a little time around "the jungle"*. 

 

*The name made me uncomfortable before we went out, but since meeting a few of the refugees, I begin to think of it as a dark in-joke between those who've been forced to live in a situation that many of us wouldn't wish on our pets. 

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Wed

02

Mar

2016

Artist Louis Masai on the environment, music and travel.

 

Trundling along on the megabus, somewhere between Bristol and London, I only started talking to Louis Masai after we broke down. Far from the usual delays, we were entertained by a teenage dance troupe and previously unconnected folk band who just happened to be travelling back from Plymouth together. I felt the hour slip by with little resentment and only once back on the bus realised how close I was coming to missing my connections to Vienna that night. Ice broken by the bizarre situation, I began to learn a little about Louis' work. After nearly a year of following him on social media, I recently decided to ask him for an interview. This is what I learnt...

 

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Mon

22

Feb

2016

Panama- a budget travel guide by Jess Signet.

 

I've never had a guest post on FeatheryTravels before so this is new for me, but when Jess offered to write me a guide to Panama I thought some of you might find it useful. She seems as genuine and down to earth as I try to be here and I think her advice will be invaluable for anyone heading that direction "on a shoestring" in the future...

 

Isla Iguana
Isla Iguana - Shelly McCullough www.sellallyourstuff.com
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Sat

13

Feb

2016

An interview with artist Olivier Leger.

Olivier Marc Thomas Leger, Whale Song, illustration
Whale Song, pen on paper, 57 x 62 cm, 2014

 

After discovering his impossibly detailed pen and ink drawings, doodles I could get lost in for hours, I'm incredibly excited to introduce Olivier. His intricate layers of disproportionately sized wildlife weave together into the masterpieces you can see below. Though this website is never going to do his pictures justice, the playful twist on an environmental theme 

seemed perfect. I'll hope you'll enjoy getting to know the artist a little better as much as I have.

 

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Mon

01

Feb

2016

Thirteen great reasons to visit Gozo this Spring- Malta.

The Azure Window and Blue Hole in the foreground. Gozo, Malta
The Azure Window and Blue Hole in the foreground.

 

Something I wrote this time last year...

 

As the second time our family had ever gone abroad together, my Mum chose well with Gozo. Visiting in the Spring, it was warm (but not roasting!), the flowers were blooming and most importantly for the Featherstones, we almost had the beaches to ourselves. 

Gozo is one of the Maltese Islands, little dots in the Mediterranean between Italy and Libya...

 

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