I'm Tara, and I've always been a nomad.

  SLK documents the adventures I've had across 5 continents and who I've become along the way. 

a little about me

I was born in the U.S., but New Zealand is the place my heart calls home. I started this blog in 2011 before embarking on a semester abroad at a University in New Zealand. What started as a silly little diary slowly morphed into a space on the internet filled with travel tips, brunch guides, and stories from my suitcase. I realized I was documenting more than my travels, as a matter of fact, most of the places I’ve been too I haven’t even written about on this blog. I was documenting who I was becoming.

I like reading Pablo Neruda and Harry Potter, equally. I've watched the entire Sons of Anarchy series about 17 times through and I am obsessed with all things Caroline de Maigret. I believe that connections to people {love} makes life worth living, and that's why I write often about the humans I meet on my many journeys . I'm passionate about human rights and the environment. I listen to too many podcasts. When I am in one place for any elongated period of time, I'd bet I'm watching a documentary. 

a little about my journey

There are three places that stick out in my journey around the world as destinations that fully transformed me: England {or, rather, my time growing up around Europe}, New Zealand, and Laos.

Born into a military family, we traveled around as often as we breathed jumping at every opportunity to spend Winter vacations in Switzerland or ring in the New Year in Paris. Whilst living in Europe for those {nearly} 7 years, I cultivated a deep love of travel. England was the first place that felt like it might be home and, admittedly, it was for a long while. It was living a life of constant movement while in Europe & the UK and that’s what cultivated my affection for travel. 

In Europe, I found my curiousity and my love of travel. 

Heaps of passport stamps later, in 2011, I set out to study abroad in New Zealand. That's when I started this silly little blog. However, my 'travel blog' quickly became a silly little diary of sorts. One that not only documented what I was doing in the places that I was going, but the person I was becoming. Through writing and traveling in and around New Zealand, I gained my sense of self and the confidence to pursue a life traveling in whatever direction my heart felt pulled, following no path except one I'd carve out for myself. I also met my very best friends in New Zealand and fell in love which altered the trajectory of my life a whole freaking lot.

In New Zealand, I found my soulmate and a place to call home.

I fell so in love with New Zealand {and a boy} that I went back in 2012 for Christmas... and then again in 2013 to live for a year through 2014... and then back again in 2015 for a month…and then again at the start of 2018. It’s quite literally the home my heart picked for me, though it would be a lot easier if I could just suss out a permanent visa there, aye?

During a stint volunteering in Laos in 2015, I realized fully what I wanted to do with my life. I always knew I wanted to help people + leave the world better than I found it, but I never knew how to use my strengths to do that. In the sticky, golden town of Luang Prabang, I helped bring educational opportunities to disadvantaged women + that's when it all clicked. I knew I wanted to use my love of travel, writing, and giving back to share stories and inspire other people to get out into the world.

In Laos, I found a need to give back and my love of words. 

I continue to travel to this day, never without a boarding pass booked + my passport on hand. In my journeys across 5 continents, I've found my own voice rooted in traveling responsibly, having a local experience, + understanding the privileges that come with a passport. I don't want to just collect stamps or write for the sake of a social media following.  I want to experience the world + share my story-- all of it.

At lot has changed over the last 7 years since this blog's start: my personal style, my life philosophies, the way I see just about everything. But even after all I've seen and experienced, one thing remains:


I'm still just a silly little girl who likes to go places + share her silly little stories. 


 

 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHY IS IT CALLED 'SILLY LITTLE KIWI'?

In 2011, way back when I started this site before blogging was a thing, I was preparing to keep my family and friends up to date with my travels during my semester in New Zealand. I couldn't think of something that didn't feel super cliche. 'Tara's Travels' was thrown around along with a few other alliterations, but ultimately it was something a friend in Montana {shoutout to you Brandi!} said in passing that stuck: "You're gonna be the cutest little Kiwi ever!" I changed cute to silly since I'm obviously hilarious, and the rest is seven years of online history. 

WHERE ARE YOU ACTUALLY FROM?

My dad was in the military, so we moved every few years from Missouri to New Mexico to England and on and on until I decided to go to University in Montana. I then studied abroad in New Zealand and life changed. I fell in love for a time and moved back, traveling around Oceania and Asia. Technically speaking I'm a born American but all my closest friends {who I consider my family and the loves of my life} live in New Zealand. So, in a way, that's more like home than I've ever known. 

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION?

I don't think I could possibly pick a favourite. However, exploring Patagonia in South America was a major bucket list moment for me. I'm desperately in love with its blue waters and incredible mountain landscapes. New Zealand has beaches and mountains and my people, so it's kind of unbeatable in terms of physical beauty, delicious coffee culture, and banter. Laos also holds a special place in my heart thanks to the volunteer work I did there and the Women's Empowerment Project I was the coordinator of for a time. 

HOW DO YOU AFFORD TRAVEL?

I save money-- simple as that! I also try and find ways to earn and save while I adventure. I do freelance writing work. I've worked for charities overseas and worked as an au pair. 

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR PERSONAL POSTS?

After a conversation with someone who was the most significant person in my life in an era, I decided to archive them away so that only those with a password could access them. I want to honour the moments I wrote about and save them for the people I shared those moments with. All the valuable travel content on this site is still fully accessible to everyone!