Presenting a talk at Charlotte Country Day School in North Carolina. Photo credit: David Lynn.

Presenting a talk at Charlotte Country Day School in North Carolina. Photo credit: David Lynn.

Maybe because I grew up vicariously exploring the world through books, until the Morehead-Cain launched me into the wilds and overseas myself at the age of 19, I'm deeply committed to sharing my wanderings and misadventures with others, whether through words, photography, or video––or, in the case of keynote talks, some (hopefully) entertaining fusion of all three. And when I'm speaking to high school or middle school kids in particular, I try to tell them what I most longed to hear at their age: that the world is wide, it is wild, and you don't need to own a bank to get out and explore it––only a bike. You never know how your words will hit people, but once in a while you get a hint that makes the whole effort worthwhile. Such as this email from Shelley Chen, a student at Charlotte Country Day School, where I gave three talks in two busy days last week. (Posted here with Shelley's permission.)

"I am a international student who is from China. After your speech on Tuesday, I am thrilled to learn about traveling to see things that people don't normally see. Thank you for bring back your experience and talk to us about it. I grew up in a city and barely saw the nature. And I've never been to Tibet, the roof of the world. The mysterious myth about it attracts me for a long time and hopefully one day I will get to see it with my own eyes. One thing that gave me a deep impression from your presentation is that the those pilgrims kneel down and pray to the sky. Their determination and persistence are so remarkable and strong. And I agree there should be no "walls" or "barriers" among countries and people. There is a connection among us, no matter how small the connection is. Intercultural Communication will bring us together. Even though we sometimes don't speak the same language, a smile and a nice gesture can really change a lot."

Here's to smiles and other gestures that break down walls big and small. Thanks to Charlotte Country Day School for bringing me in to speak, and to The World Affairs Council of Charlotte/Magellan Society for co-hosting my visit.

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AuthorKate Harris

Putting a new slant on the word "extremist." And in truth I'm a Canadian Curiously Abroad, but what are nations but fictions anyway? Some Cycling Silk writing is coming out in the Georgia Review's Fall 2014 issue....stay tuned! I'm excited to read these other travel essays as well.

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AuthorKate Harris

Check out the teaser trailer for "The Art of Wild," a six-part documentary film series by Lindsay Marie Stewart that explores the connections between athletics, art, and wild landscapes. I'm the gal on the bike, and you'll also meet my sweet dog Daniel, who's basically the star of the whole show.

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AuthorKate Harris
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Surprised and delighted to see that my essay "The Contours of Cold," originally published in CutBank and later reprinted in Drunken Boat, is mentioned in the "Notables" section of Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed and Robert Atwan. Just don't tell them I'm not American... (Nah, it's legit, I qualify because CutBank is a US-based literary journal.)

 

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AuthorKate Harris