Ok, before you read this interview with Katie Fielding, click over to Flickr to check out her photographs http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjfielding/sets/. Many of these shots were taken with her Grandpa’s film camera and it’s such a treat to see analog in this world of digital photography. Katie Fielding is incredible. She writes http://musingsovermilk.com – part travelogue, part photo-documentary, completely wonderful eye candy. When she’s not creating or traveling, she’s a high school science teacher.
Q: It looks like you’re never in one place – what do you actually do?
KF: I’m a high school science teacher. It gives me a chance to nerd out and talk about something I love: science. Just as importantly it gives me plenty of time off for travel breaks. I use my time off to the fullest!
Q: You have traveled all over the world. Can you share some stories about your travels and the deeper lessons that you’ve learned from exploring the world?
KF: As much as you learn about other cultures and places when you travel, you learn as much about yourself. When I spent five weeks traveling around Europe I found out I was a lot more flexible to change then I previously thought. Sometimes my plans during those 5 weeks completely upended and I just went with it. I used to be the one who always showed up ten minutes early to an occasion and was completely type A, now–I might just be on time (but still never late). I am also way more understanding when peoples plan change in daily life–even if it still inconveniences me.
Also, an American accent will get you very far with many people in a bar.
Q: I gleaned through your writing that you have some insight into Cystic Fibrosis. What does the world need to know about CF?
KF: Yeah, I have cystic fibrosis, I was diagnosed at age one. At the time my parents were told I would be lucky to graduate high school. Now here I sit at 32, with a profession, as master’s degree, and a whole lot of life still yet to go. I am lucky though–some people with CF are not so, and I live knowing my luck could change any day. This is probably what keeps me traveling all around and doing as much in as I can now.
While CF is the most common genetic disorder among Caucasians, a lot of people still don’t know much about it. A lot of people still think it is a childhood disease, which in some ways it is, but there are plenty of us grown into adults living full lives.
I was recently telling someone that I had CF, and I qualified it with “but it’s not the most interesting thing about me”. They then asked what was, and it left me thinking. I think I am interesting because of all the things I have done in spite of having CF, it has made me who I am. So, while I don’t let it define me per say, it does make me more interesting. But the most interesting thing about me is that I drink almost a gallon of milk a day.
Q: What are you most passionate about?
KF: Right now I am most passionate about traveling. Seeing new places, tasting new tastes, meeting new people, and capturing it all with my camera.
Q: What is your message for the world?
KF: Based on having CF, I have learned to live without taking each day and opportunity for granted. I would hope others would do the same. Say yes to every opportunity and don’t be afraid of new adventures—you never know where you are going to end up.
Q: What inspires you? Where do you find your greatest joy?
KF: I am really inspired by other people who are living loudly. I get bored of people who are wasting time and being lazy. Other people who are going after what they want, even if it is against social convention keeps me gobsmacked.
As for joy, I find that in simple everyday things like ice cream, cameras, and my niece Caroline.