BADASS WOMEN ALL OVER THE WORLD: KAILA FROM CONTENT CASTLE
The Female Travel Collective interviewed Kaila from The Content Castle
Kaila, a Canadian, having grown up on both ends of the country, from Toronto to Vancouver Island and back again, currently runs a content writing agency on Koh Samui, which combines her passion for writing with her entrepreneurial nature, as well as her passion for the beach, which is just steps from The Content Castle. She also has a quirky habit of being notorious a sand snob:
I usually rate sand on a scale of 1 - 10 based on its colour and quality (white powder being 10, obviously)
You’ve traveled a whole lot - what was your favorite trip and why?
I went to Lisbon for a weekend with my Mom when I was living in Brighton doing my Masters degree. We had such an amazing time, ate incredible food, saw beautiful sites, and made friends with locals. I’ll never forget it.
What’s your favorite thing about traveling? Is there anything you don’t like about it?
Learning and experiencing new things. Memories that you can look back on in your darkest moments that make you smile are worth 100X more than any material possessions. That being said, collecting unique household items from my travels is also a passion of mine!
I don’t like not having a base to call home. I like to travel, but it’s always nice returning home to my house and doggies and familiarity. In terms of living abroad (which doesn’t necessarily count as traveling), the hardest thing is being apart from your loved ones...particularly when they fall ill.
Now, you’re located in Thailand - how did you end up there?
Yeesh. Good question. I’ll try to give you the short version. I moved to Japan with my boyfriend at the time to teach English. We broke up and I grew to dislike my time there. When my parents came to visit, wanting nothing more than to get out of Dodge, I booked us flights to Thailand. We came straight to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, and I fell in love with the islands. I promised myself one day, I would live here. A year later, looking out of my dreary office window in Brighton, working a desk job that didn’t particularly inspire me, I made a decision to return to Southeast Asia.
I spent a year backpacking, trying to find something even better than Koh Phangan and Samui, but I didn’t.
I moved to Bangkok, where I got a great job, and then finally made my way back down south, where I always knew I belonged.
Back in Koh Samui you founded the “Content Castle” - what is that?
The Content Castle is a seven-bedroom haven for writers in Koh Samui. We created an inspirational space for writers to come for 1 - 3 months (should they pass our rigorous application process) to learn and grow in their trade. We provide real-world writing experience, along with real-world feedback, which helps prepare writers to go it alone as a digital nomad or in their freelance writing career, in exchange for a private room, meals, workshops, access to our facilities (including plentiful balconies with sea and mountain views, hammocks, meditation areas, an air-conditioned workspace, a comfy living room, fibre-optic WiFi…), and more.
That sounds amazing! How did you come up with the idea and why did you found it?
I always wanted to create a space where writers could come and hone their craft that wouldn’t cost them a fortune. So we built a space where qualified applicants can come and live and work for no cost, under a work exchange model, build up their experience and portfolios and leave with the tools they need to continue their career as a remote or digital nomad writer.
In the long run, I’m hoping to expand the model to eventually make it a worldwide springboard for people who want to launch their digital nomad or remote writing careers!
What has the journey been like so far?
Because we’re a brand new business model, it’s been challenging to get across who we are, what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. And people are now starting to grasp and embrace the concept, and we are getting more applications every day. It’s very exciting.
What do you want residents to say about it after a stay?
I want them to leave inspired and encouraged, with the tools they want and need to move on to the next stage of their writing career, whatever that may be. I want them to have made friendships and connections with their housemates that have helped them on that path as well.
Since probably many are asking themselves this now (me included) - how can one become a resident? What to keep in mind when applying?
We have an application page on our website that lays out everything we need from prospective residents. We prefer cover videos to cover letters, to give us a better idea of the applicant’s personality, and we also require a CV, 3 writing samples (published is preferable, but we’ll accept unpublished as well). Applicants should keep in mind that we do not just accept anyone who applies. We have a multi-stage application process, and those who do not take the time to read and submit the items asked for initially will be unlikely to make it to the next stage.
A little change of topic, what does Feminism mean to you? Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Feminism to me means equality. Of course men and women have different strengths and weaknesses, and that doesn’t make one gender “better” or “worse” than the other, just different -- ideally in a harmonious way. And yes, I would consider myself a feminist.
To what extent do you believe women can travel as freely as men? What are the conditions?
Women face more challenges traveling -- particularly alone. There is a lot that men can get away with that women ought not in many cultures.
For example, a single man can go and sit at a bar by himself and no one will assume he’s a prostitute.
When I was traveling alone, I was sometimes apprehensive of new, exciting experiences offered to me because I had to wonder if there was an underlying intention behind it. Men don’t usually have to think about things like that. Women definitely have to take extra precautions.
What are you experiences traveling solo as a woman?
When I told my Dad that I was going to backpack around Southeast Asia alone, he was convinced that I would be kidnapped and told me that I shouldn’t go because he couldn’t afford my ransom! Jokes aside though, I felt pretty safe most of the time. In fact, I would argue that I’ve felt safer in most of Southeast Asia than I do in most big cities in Canada.
Thank you so much for the Interview, Kaila! The best of luck with the "Content Castle" and if anybody applies after reading this, let us know and share your story with us! :D
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We are a team of four feminist travelers coming together from different parts of the world to share with you what we have learned from traveling, living, loving, and exploring all over the world. Join usand tell your story about female solo travel, relationships, mental health, city guides, or whatever else comes to your mind.