Instatraveller: Burma the Adventure Cat
This month's Instatraveller is the beautiful @BurmaAdventureCat, who travels around the USA with his owner Stephen. Here we catch up with Stephen about how his lovable moggy has become such an Instagram sensation, with 50,000 followers and counting:
So, how did it all start?
In 2013 my dog Puppi and I were living out of our Jeep in Oregon. I was having a difficult time with PTSDand depression, so we were spending a lot of time in the remote mountains exploring and hiking – it was good for us to be active. One day in April we were sitting outside a grocery in Grants Pass having a sandwich when a homeless girl came up with a box of kittens to give away. I asked if I could see them and when she handed me Burma I knew I was keeping him. I wasn't sure how I could raise a kitten while living on the go in our Jeep and spending more and more time in the wilderness, but I was determined to give him the best life a cat could have. It was a big responsibility that gave me a lot to do and lifted my spirits.
Burma had spent his first eight weeks of his life in a damp tent during the cold rainy Oregon winter, so when I got him he was a very rugged, confident and outgoing cat; he loved living in our Jeep and exploring the outdoors with us. I loved having him with us and being part of our pack. He looked up to Puppi and followed her along too. It breathed new life into our situation. I already loved taking pics of the beautiful Oregon landscapes so when Burma was with us and he was in the pictures it was a really unique sight: exotic places with a kitten playing and having fun in them. I hadn't posted to Instagram much before, but I had an account with a handful of pics so I started posting his pics there, changed the name to @burmaadventurecat and, as he grew that summer, his account started growing too, getting more and more followers.
And where did the name 'Burma' come from?
When I called my mom on the east coast the night I got Burma, I told her that he was brown and that I'd never seen a brown cat before, so I figured he might have Burmese in him. The next day my mom told my sister the story and they both started referring to him as Burma. When she next called me to ask how he was, she asked 'how is Burma doing?'. It seemed like the perfect name.
What's your favourite picture of him?
I'm not certain I have a favourite image of Burma – I literally have 30 or so SD cards full of thousands of pics and videos from the first two years when we were living in the wilderness of Oregon, most of which I've never posted. Some aren't the best pics but they're sentimental for one reason or another, so it's not easy to pick just one.
What destination has worked best?
Burma is at home almost anywhere, but maybe more wide-open places such as the high desert were the best when he was growing up; it was safe as long as I kept an eye on his whereabouts and kept him relatively close. We enjoy the simple country life when visiting and staying with my parents in Virginia as well.
The Kalmiopsis Wilderness in Oregon was our favourite place out west – it is one of the most remote and rugged places in the USA. Generally, we've been blessed with the chance to have fun and explore in many unique and mind-blowing places across the east and west.
Tell us about Burma's travels and your most thrilling adventures together...
Burma was born in Oregon and has been in 30 states from east to west, as well as Canada last fall.
Some of the more extreme places he's been are the top of Mount Thielsen in Oregon, a 2,799m volcano that has an almost vertical spike at the top. I'd bet almost anything that he's the only feline, wild or domestic, that has ever been on top of that mountain. Another is the top of 4,322m Mount Shasta in California, another volcano. That's the highest he's ever been and another place where he's likely the only cat ever to have been up there. That was our roughest climb together, particularly for Puppi and me.
Mount Washington in New Hampshire is another iconic mountain we are really happy to have climbed, while the Trinity Alps in Northern California were some of the most exotic and rugged mountains we've been in.
What's the reaction been like to your Instagram images?
The reaction on Instagram has always been good, Burma is a very unique looking cat with his brown fur and rugged tomcat looks. He looks like he belongs in the wild so, combined with the beautiful places we've been, we've had some awesome pictures and videos to post.
Where will your next adventure be?
We've been spending a lot of time in the last year in New York with Monk and Bean and their cat mom, my girlfriend Nicole. She lives in Long Island and we enjoy travelling upstate to the Adirondacks, as well as into New England and along the coast. These are different but beautiful types of adventures and, if we're not there, we've been at my parents in the Virginia countryside. Hopefully we are going to take a trip out west soon, back to Oregon, to see lots of the places we love.
Where is home for you?
In Burma's first years our Jeep was home and wherever we were at the time – mostly Oregon then, Virginia at times, and now we spend more and more time in New York. We've been searching for a place to really call home for years. Hopefully we're close to having one.