About Me

I am Katherine. I write, I play, I listen, I plan. I am an improving and improvising writer. Once, I studied calculus and engineering, but integrating those fully into my life has yet to prove its worth. With my happiness slipping away, I stopped blocking the holes in my imagination and instead starting writing every picture and piece and letter that seeped from the cracks. My aim is clear: to connect people with words.

One step of my goal is encompassed in studying abroad with Semester at Sea. I have determined that I have to see the world in order to (1) gain a better perspective of the world, (2) determine ways to connect people around the world, and (3) find and record stories that anyone can identify with.

While on Semester at Sea, I plan on compiling as many stories as I can to improve my writing. Primarily, I wish to focus on stories/poems surrounding depression around the world, because, while I have been working through my depression, I have found that the feeling of being connected with others anywhere in the world improves my mood immensely. Following my journey, I aim to complete an anthology of depression around the world.

With my place already held within the Fall 2015 voyage and my application for the Spring 2016 voyage submitted, I am now in the How The Turd Do I Pay For This stage of planning. I do not embark until September 13, 2015, but I need to start raising money via scholarships/loans/donations/whatever I can think of/selling homemade beef jerky (I tried to do this once… but instead I ate all of it, so I don’t think it’ll work). I figure since I have this blog going already, I will start including my traveling plans and whatnot as things unfold.

Here is what will unfold as funding permits:

Fall 2015: Atlantic Exploration: 100 Days, 11 Cities, 10 Countries

Starts: September 13, 2015; Ends: December 21, 2015

  • Embark: London, England
  • Civitavecchia, Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Piraeus (Athens), Greece
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Casablanca, Morocco
  • Salvador, Brazil
  • Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Panama Canal Transit, Panama
  • Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Debark: San Diego, CA, USA

Spring 2016: A Voyage Around the World: 114 Days, 14 Cities, 11 Countries

Starts: January 7, 2016; Ends: April 30, 2016

  • Embark: San Diego, CA, USA
  • Hilo, Hawaii, USA
  • Yokohama, Japan
  • Kobe, Japan
  • Shanghai, China
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Rangoon, Burma
  • Cochin, India
  • Port Louis, Mauritious
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Takoradi, Ghana
  • Debark: London, England

To say the least, this is an adventure of epic proportions. Here is the cost breakdown of each voyage:

Fall 2015: $23,950; Spring 2016: $23,950

Included in this is the following:

  • Tuition – up to 15 semester credits
  • Housing (pricing varies by cabin category. I aim for the cheapest one.)
  • All meals aboard the ship
  • All academically required field labs
  • Other academic stuff like advising and whatnot

Extra costs that are not included that I still need to get money for:

  • Travel and overnight stay to London for embarkation
  • Travel visas
  • Textbooks
  • Vaccinations
  • Snacks aboard the ship
  • Food while off the ship
  • Laundry
  • Independent travel
  • Any additional field programs that I want to take part in
  • Travel and stay in USA between voyages
  • Return trip from London

So, I’m going to say I need about $60,000 before doing any intense budgeting. That sounds insane, but there are many scholarship options, so I’m feeling confident. I also am accepting donations! Below, you can click to donate via PayPal in case you are (1) feeling generous and (2) in full support of me and my goal with SAS. Every penny counts! Thank you.

Donate Button

If you know of any good scholarships for study abroad, SAS, or for English majors or have any other funding/travel/writing/anything suggestions, just let me know. It would be greatly appreciated as I continue my planning!

Thank you so very much!

Best Wishes,

Katherine Z

Demons & Writing

In high school English classes I wrote essays about my future as an electrical engineer. I would shape the world. The inventions I would design would find their way into your smartphone: your pockets and life. I would be financially secure in this field of work. I would be prosperous.

In the midst of a growing depression and tedious college courses, I realized that engineering would not bring me happiness. I would never design and create the things I really wanted to: the time machines, the infinite and clean power sources, the space ships, or even a “Jurassic Park.” If I became an engineer, my imagination and creativity would die on the doorstep of the company that I chose to work for. I would not be able to travel and adventure and live as I pine to. Instead, I would live for the sake of filling my pocket with some gold to spend on a typical house with a typical white picket fence in a typical world.

I don’t want typical. I do not even hold onto a desire for a house. And the bureaucratic nonsense surrounding engineering and science and technology is ridiculous.

I told God my plan to be an engineer when I was ten, and, inevitably enough, he laughed at me and put me in a different direction eleven years later. A number of pieces collapsed within my head and all around me and I found within my mind’s eye a knot, a knife, a gun, or maybe just a jump. In the end, my keyboard is actually what won. While I was supposed to be studying electrical circuits and differential equations and Japanese, I instead wrote pages and pages of pathetic pining and whining that I will never share that tell of chemical imbalances and complete changes in perspective.

And so, I write because otherwise I will die. I write because I want my life to be marked with the honest communication that I share with people, not a small contribution to some electrical equipment. And I am going to continue to write until something comes out right and I find whatever it is that I am looking for. I am going to write about worlds that don’t exist so I can take myself and others away. I am going to mold my own path and find my own way without trying to reach standards society asks of me. I write to beat the demons inside of me.