When it comes down to it, I’m pretty outdoorsy, but that’s not about to get in the way of how I dress. When I took my first ski lesson at age five I refused to get out of the car unless my mom allowed me to wear my favorite dress over my ski pants, and I recently climbed a mountain in red jeans and Wayfarers. No zip-off pants for this girl! I love to read about travel almost as much as I love to travel, but I don’t really relate to the hardcore mountaineers or the resort-hoppers. Christine Amorose is a different story. She’s daring, she travels alone, she sometimes lives out of a backpack, but she also writes about what a relief it is to be able to straighten her hair in a foreign country. That I can definitely relate to.
Just skimming through Christine’s travel blog C’est Christine is enough to inspire major wanderlust. Not only does she post fantastic pictures of exciting destinations, but she also offers very level-headed travel advice, including how to pack like a backpacker without looking like a backpacker (perpetual tourists, take note). I managed to catch her in between a stay in France and a cross-country road trip to talk about traveling, writing, and keeping connected.
How did you start traveling?
When I was sixteen I was sent to France to stay with family friends for a summer, and I went over again to study in Paris for a month when I was eighteen. Then right after college I went to Europe for five weeks by myself. Nobody wanted to go with me and I was like, I’m going anyway.
Eight months after I graduated from college I moved to Nice. I landed a job in a gastropub working as an assistant for a cooking class. It was probably the best job I’ve ever had. I stayed there for six months and then I wasn’t ready to go home so I moved to Australia, worked for a Scandinavian furniture company in Melbourne for about ten months, traveled through Australia and then spent three months in Southeast Asia and a month in Europe.
At what point did you start blogging about it?
I started my blog right before I moved to Nice, in April 2010. When I started I had a very simple wordpress.com blog, no pictures and nothing really fancy because it was mostly to let my friends and family know what I was up to. But a lot of my friends ended up reading it and told me I should pursue travel blogging more, so when I decided to go to France I gave it an upgrade.
Do you find that the blog helps you stay connected with your family and friends?
Yeah I do. It makes it a lot easier to keep everyone updated on what I’m doing, although it sometimes gets a bit complicated because when I’m writing about a place I’m not necessarily there anymore. So when my friends and family can get really confused as to where I actually am.
Do you get homesick?
Yeah, I get homesick but overall the way the technology goes, I talk to my parents about the same as I did when I was working in Silicon Valley. I keep in touch pretty easily and now with things like WhatsApp and Viber I can still call and text the same way I would at home. But I’m an only child, I’ve always been pretty independent.
How to you find traveling by yourself?
I love it. If the absolute right person came along to travel with I’d go with them, but if I want to go somewhere or if I want to do something I’m going to do it and I don’t want to wait for somebody to come along with me. I like that I don’t have to compromise with anyone. But at the same time when I was in Europe this past month I met up with a friend in Paris for a week and I had a friend meet me in Croatia and it was awesome to have people there with me.
When did you start traveling by yourself or was that always something you were comfortable with?
Always, a little bit. It really started when I finished University and I really wanted to do a traditional backpacking trip, but I graduated in 2009 right at the height of the recession and I couldn’t find any friends who were willing to take the risk of not going straight into job-hunting, and my boyfriend didn’t have a passport. I didn’t want to give up on that opportunity just because I couldn’t find someone to go with me.
Do you ever get tired of traveling? What keeps you motivated to go new places?
I really like going to new places and setting up, getting a job and getting an apartment and finding a local coffee shop and a grocery store and having that experience. Three months in Asia was more than enough for me, I get burnt out having to constantly carry a backpack. I think it’s hard to sustain constantly traveling. It’s fun and something new every day but it is tiring.
But in the end travel is really fun. It always saddens me that in American only 1 in 5 Americans has their passport. It’s really a shame.
Do you ever find it hard to keep grounded?
Yes, it is. It’s easier for me to be in one place for an interval of time because the act of traveling is stressful. Sometime you have to give up a bit of independence to make sure you’re a bit more emotionally level. Traveling can sometimes be emotionally overwhelming. I had this one experience in Paris where the train to the airport broke down and then I was stuck between two families of crying babies for twelve hours, and when I got back to LA I was just so burnt out. But then again, the vast majority of the time I’m freaked out and then I get there and I don’t know why I was having a breakdown.
Is there anything you like to collect on your trips?
Jewelry is possibly my main thing. It’s something I can buy myself and something that I can justify the space for, there’s always room for another pair of earrings. And when I wear it I’m reminded of the trip.
What’s been your favorite trip so far?
I feel very lucky in that everywhere I’ve gone I’ve really enjoyed, and I would go back to every place in a heartbeat. My last trip was pretty awesome, when I went to Paris, Croatia and Nice. It was nice to go back to some places that were familiar, and then go to Croatia where I’d never been before and I’d wanted to go for quite a few years now. It exceeded all my expectations.
What do you have planned for the future?
I’m driving from Vegas to New York with one of my old childhood friends, and hopefully if I will be staying in New York. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find a job that will pay my rent there. I’m going to do New York for a bit and then we’ll see.
Whether you’re planning a backpacking trip or a vacation to Bali, Christine has probably written about it. Plus, she takes fantastic pictures of everything from sunsets to street art. Watch out though, she may make you want to book the next flight to Zagreb.