Why I RV and Rock Climb

Van Living with Kathy Karlo

Kathy Karlo loads up climbing gear in the back of an Airstream camper van

Kathy Karlo climbing up a mountain

What do you like about "trad" climbing?

I think traditional climbing is much more about exploration than any other solid climbing because you are venturing off into the unknown. There's no map for you to follow and no holds marked with colored tape like they have in the gym. It's vastly different from any other style, because again, all the decision-making is in your court. Ultimately it's you venturing up until you get to the top. I that part is pretty cool. 

Kathy Karlo holding up climbing gear while sitting on a rock

What does climbing bring to your life?

Climbing has brought an immense amount of joy to my life. In a lot of ways it's given me more focus, and it's also given me more purpose. Everything that I do because of climbing is a new avenue for me to explore, whether it's professionally or through relationships.

Kathy Karlo prepping climbing gear outside of an Airstream camper van

What makes van life so attractive to climbers? 

I think that the freedom of van life is what's so attractive to climbers. It's not just the freedom to roam about, but also just the freedom to just be yourself and express yourself the way that you want. It is that kind of ultimate joy that I think that everybody wants to have, but we feel so obligated to follow other paths.

Kathy Karlo driving an Airstream camper van

Where does your spirit of adventure come from?

I think that I've always kind of had this spirit of adventure. It stems from curiosity of the world around me and the people who live in it, and ultimately wanting to connect with them. The more people I meet in the more places I traveled to, the more I see how I fit into all of that and how I relate to the rest of the world too.

Kathy Karlo reading outside of an Airstream Camper Van

How does travel influence you? 

Travel impacts the lens that we look through. The more places you're able to live in, see and experience, the wider that lens becomes. Overall, it just helps you connect with people that you may have never otherwise have known or met in this lifetime. Ultimately, I think it makes me a more compassionate person because of it. 

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