“Not all those who wander are lost,” has become something of an overused axiom haphazardly slapped across Instagram memes and Twitter profiles, deployed by some as an excuse to pursue absentmindedness and misdirection. For others, the phrase— plucked from J.R.R. Tolkien’s famed The Lord of the Rings poem, “All That is Gold Does not Glitter”—is a clear rallying cry to traipse across all corners of the planet, find untouched earth beneath bare feet.
At least that’s probably the way Kristine Rutledge would describe it as she embarks on globe-trotting adventures to parts of the world both well-traveled and long forgotten. I spoke with Rutledge, (better known by her 32,000 adoring fans as @kruttles) about why she began this fantastical journey and how her boundless wandering means she’s anything but lost.
Where are you RIGHT at this very moment? Can you describe the scene for us?
I am currently in Quepos, Costa Rica in an Airbnb overlooking the town. Just had a visit from some squirrel monkeys.
How did you get started taking photos and writing about your travels?
A little over a year ago I got my first “real” camera (Nikon D3200). I have always loved taking pictures and started receiving positive feedback on my photos through Instagram. In October, I decided to really buckle down and put all of my extra time into learning about photography and growing my social media accounts. My husband and I have always enjoying traveling and thought it would be fun to start up a travel blog, Passports & Pints.
What’s one piece of advice you would give the would-be travel blogger who has no clue how to even go about beginning this sort of thing?
Personally, I got into blogging AFTER having a large social media following. It is best to focus a blog and provide unique content that is different from the rest, something that makes your blog stand out. Also, the biggest part is working on giving your blog exposure by networking, using social media and collaborating with others so people can actually find it!
Where’s the most surreal place your feet have fallen?
Milford Sound, New Zealand.
Your travel images are absolutely stunning! When you first scan a new scene, how do you size up what to photograph?
I tend to grab my camera and go for a walk. Normally my pictures come to me while exploring an area and I just have to work the angles and start shooting.
If someone gave you a blank check to use on an airplane ticket to absolutely anywhere in the world, where would you fly?
That is a tough one! I have so many places I want to go right now! I’d have to say it’s a toss-up between Peru and Iceland.
I’m sure you’ve met some colorful characters during your travels. Anyone in particular stand out, days, months or even years later?
I have met some interesting folks along my journeys. One person who comes to mind is our tour bus driver from a Europe trip through Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. This was a choir tour for my husband’s high school choir, (he is a choir director). We had so many funny experiences with our tour bus driver but the one that stands out to me is when we sat down for lunch with him at Eggenburg brewery in Czesky Kromlov and he ordered an entire duck and liter of beer. He was chatting with us at the table and raised his glass and said “Prost!” then drank over half his liter all in one gulp! Impressive!
Let’s talk exotic food. Can you share a few standout dishes with us?
I LOVED the meat pies with t-sauce in New Zealand. Also, plantains with queso from Costa Rica were unexpectedly awesome.
Travel is a funny animal. We meet people who we might never encounter again and experience vistas our eyes may never yet again see. Do you ever find yourself feeling nostalgic about people or places you’ve stumbled on in your travels or does Instagram and our intimately connected digital world help with this wander-lusting sentimentality?
I pretty much wanted to go back to New Zealand as soon as I left! Instagram pictures and photos from friends who have gone to NZ recently just makes me want to go back even more.
You’re basically living every jet-setting, adventure capitalist’s dream. When YOU close your eyes at night, where do you go?
My dream job has always been to be a travel photographer, ever since I was little. I dream of how to make travel photography a full-time career as well as traveling and experiencing as much as possible.
Featured image by Kristine Rutledge of Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica.