Taylor (TK) Klinefelter
I grew up in Tempe, Arizona, also known as “I don’t do snow.”
What do you do for TFT?
I’m a Trip Director in Europe and Africa during the summer and I do a little bit of everything for TFT’s content and program planning during the rest of the year.
What were you doing before you started working for TFT?
I was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the education sector in Cameroon. My primary project was as a secondary education teacher and I also specialised in training other education PCVs and their counterparts about combatting gender-based violence in their schools and communities.
What sparked your love of travel?
My first summer camp counsellor was a young woman named Lauren from Tasmania and as a ten-year-old I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. When I was 17 and was an assistant counsellor at the same summer camp, I made loads of friends from England, Wales, Scotland, Australia, and even Slovenia that summer, many of whom I have visited in their home countries since then. I even went to one of their weddings (ten years after meeting them!) right after finishing my final TFT trip last summer!
Your spirit animal:
Honey badger – any animal that bites straight back to the throat of whatever prey is trying to kill it (usually a lioness) is animal awesomeness to the max!
Is there something you absolutely love doing that is a bit touristy in each city that you visit?
Red bus tours…guilty as charged, though let’s just pretend that I said free walking tours because those are a great way to see new places too.
Strangest place you’ve ever lived:
To the average person…Cameroon. To me…Hungary.
What is the most adventurous thing that you’ve ever done while traveling?
Off-roading in a pickup truck to get to Big Daddy Dune in Sossusvlei, Namibia even though I wasn’t very good at driving a manual…and I was the only person not to get us stuck in the sand along the way!
Have you ever done a solo trip? Why or why not?
I’ve travelled alone more times than I can count, but it has always been to visit friends or family, so I was never on my own more than a day or two while at my destination. Last March I wanted to go somewhere for my birthday, so I went on Skyscanner to see where the cheapest international flights were to for that month and the first two results were Zanzibar, Tanzania and Mombasa, Kenya, so I decided to spend about one week in each. I also travelled via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to and from East Africa, so that was actually a lot of fun too! Both parts of the trip really challenged me to put myself out there and see what I wanted to see on my own but also meet people along the way and make plans with them. It hasn’t even been a year since that trip and I have already hosted one person who I met in Ethiopia and two people who I met in Kenya and also met up with one of them in London too!
Best local mode of transport you’ve taken:
Donkey. My friends and I toured a small community in Lesotho called Semonkong and also used horses to travel through the mountains. I definitely wish I had been wrapped in one of their traditional blankets for that – it was freezing!
Which destinations are next on your travel to-do list?
Do you ever hit the snooze button on your alarm when you are traveling?
When I’m leading a TFT trip? I set two different alarms. When I’m not leading a TFT trip? Occasionally!
How do you take your coffee? (Or are you more of a tea person?)
Most mornings I take my coffee black and throw in a little bit of agave syrup when I’m at home. In the evenings during the (surprisingly) cold South African winters, I love rooibos chai tea with a touch a milk and a yummy rusk!