This week, it was a pleasure to hear from the stylish wanderer, Christine Amorose, of C’est Christine. Read what she has to say about the beauty of street art, how to stay fit during hectic voyaging and more!
GGG: Bonjour! For those who haven’t checked out your site, C’est Christine, let’s get introductions out of the way. Who are you and what’s your travel back-story?
My name is Christine Amorose, and I’m a travel blogger and freelance writer. Since graduating with a degree in journalism in 2009, I’ve worked in PR in Silicon Valley, bartended in the French Riviera, backpacked solo through Europe, worked in marketing in Australia and explored Southeast Asia. This summer, I’m heading back to France, sailing through Croatia and taking a cross-country USA road trip—and then figuring out what the heck I’m doing next.
GGG: Sounds good! You’ve chosen to travel alone through the majority of your sojourns. What are some of your favorite aspects of solo travel that you want to share for ladies who might be nervous about it?
You can do whatever you want! My absolute favorite bit about solo travel is not having to compromise: I can wake up early, sleep in late, eat Thai food in France, refuse to eat any Western food in Vietnam, go to museums, spend all day reading in a sunny park—seriously, I can do anything I fancy. It’s awesomely liberating.
GGG: Awesome! In all that traveling, you manage to exercise on the road by biking, running and getting some yoga into your routine. Any tips on how to incorporate those habits into the chaos of travel?
I’m a total gym rat when I’m at home, but I try to work activity into my lifestyle when I’m traveling since I don’t want to waste precious time in a new city in a gym. I walk everywhere, I go on bike tours, I rock climb. It’s honestly less about incorporating habits than just doing what I like to do: I love being outside, staying active, exploring a city up close. Plus, it makes me feel less guilty about indulging in so many local specialties—and walking is free!
GGG: It certainly is! You’ve admitted your obsession of photographing street art. What was your favorite city for snapping great graffiti shots and why?
I love capturing that moment in time and place: one of the coolest things about street art is that it might not be there tomorrow. As a city, Melbourne is so incredibly supportive of its street art. There are plenty of graffiti alleys that are sanctioned by the city, and they’re incredible because they are constantly changing and evolving. I enjoy the surprise element of street art, as well as the layers of meaning: excellent street art isn’t only beautiful, it also acts as social commentary.
GGG: You’ve spent a lot of time in France. When you first traveled there on your own, were there any parts of it that didn’t meet your expectations (either in a good way or a bad one)?
I absolutely loved using the Metro whenever I visited Paris; then I spent a summer studying in Paris with a 45-minute commute at rush hour. Summer in Paris is humid, and the French aren’t exactly known for their stellar underarm hygiene. Add in two station changes with lots of stairs in each, and the charm quickly wore off. Paris might be the most romantic city in the world, but I learned that even here, commutes aren’t very charismatic.
GGG: Maybe commutes aren’t very sexy, but you manage to look super put-together in all your travel pics! As a very stylish traveler, do you have any essential items you never leave home without?
I always bring a scarf with me: they function as a neck warmer, a sarong, a cover-up in churches, a splash of color, a long skirt, a towel on the beach that dries incredibly quickly. I’m also a big believer in the power of jewelry: you can spice up a basic outfit—I swear by solid colors and simple dresses—with a fun necklace or big earrings.
GGG: Great advice! If you could pick any island you were to be stranded on (okay, it doesn’t have to be deserted), which would it be and why?
Oh my gosh, you could plop me down on just about any island with a beach and sunshine and I’d be happy! However, I do think that Phu Quoc in Vietnam is one of my favorite places in the world: I could eat prawn spring rolls, ride a motorbike through the national park, and sip fresh coconuts in a hammock/get a cheap massage/drink pina coladas on the beach all day. Plus, there aren’t any big waves to knock you over and it’s deep enough to take a nice swim—or go stand-up paddle boarding! And there’s fast wifi. Travel blogger paradise.
GGG: Sounds idyllic! At Go! Girl Guides, we believe that travel can be transformational. What are the top three things you’ve discovered about yourself while on the road?
I can be laid-back. Growing up, I was always stressed out about everything—but travel has made me so much more patient, more open-minded, more flexible. My friends barely recognized the hippie who came home!
I’d rather spend my money on experiences than things. I’ve always loved fashion and I feel much more confident when I’ve got makeup on, hair done, perfectly-planned outfit. My first backpacking trip was a shock: I honestly couldn’t shop because I didn’t have room to store new clothes! That trip, I stopped spending days in stores and instead went paragliding, canyoning, hiking—and I still have all of those memories, where that season’s clothes would have been long gone.
I’m not a picky eater. Growing up, I survived on cereal, pasta, fruit: I wouldn’t eat green vegetables, much meat, anything spicy. However, when my parents sent me to live with family friends in Provence when I was 16, my mother threatened me with a look of death to be polite and try everything on my plate: I ate avocados, olives, figs for the first time, and loved them. Now I’ll try anything, and am more and more daring when it comes to spice, exotic fruits, seafood.
All photos in this post are courtesy of Christine Amorose.