This week’s Go! Girl is a television producer, actress, yogi, and world traveler. The woman behind GRRRL Traveler shares with us insights into maintaining travel balance, how a career in media shapes her perspective, and more.
GGG: What’s your name and where are you from?
Christine Kaaloa from Aiea, Hawaii.
GGG: How did you get your start traveling internationally?
My first trip abroad was to France. My grandmother died, I had just broken up with an ex, etc…it was a stormy period in my life. I needed an escape and I wanted to do something unpredictable and impulsive.
I remembered I had a girlfriend teaching English in France. So, the next day, I bought a passport, found a cheap ticket to Paris and flew out a week later!
That trip transformed my perception of travel: I developed a love for experiencing foreign cultures and it ignited a new passion for photography. I was hooked! Sometimes, challenging times can force the best life-altering decisions you’ll ever make.
GGG: Absolutely! How has your professional experience in the media and TV production shaped your travels?
I traveled a lot when I was working in TV. Much of my work shoots were based in the U.S. and many of them were in small cities or offshoot towns in middle America.
Having lived in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, I was a bit of a travel snob; so sometimes, I’d be disappointed with the more remote location assignments. But then I noticed that often, these remote or rural regions had their own unique cultural quirks…an interesting lifestyle, which felt foreign to a city dweller like myself.
I distinctly remember one night when my GPS got me lost in the backwoods of Ohio. John Deere country.
It was all farmland, you can drive for stretches without seeing house lights or a street lamp, but speeding isn’t advised. That evening, I had to stop for a deer, then a few goats, chickens and finally a pair of horses taking their time crossing the road!
That’s when I started seeking more off-the-grid places for travel adventure and change.
GGG: I love your blog’s honesty, especially about the realities of traveling solo as a woman. What is one of your favorite things to do to get re-balanced if travel burnout or solo blues struck?
I usually have at least one day where I crash out and do absolutely nothing. I stay in my room, sleep, watch tv or play on the internet. I don’t go out, unless I need food. That helps reset me.
Also, feelings of homelessness can really wear on me. Rooting down in one spot for an extended time helps.
Sometimes, I like to revisit a city I’m on friendly terms with like Bangkok, Delhi or Daegu. Knowing a city and navigating it with confidence or having a favorite guesthouse, neighborhood or restaurant are all grounding.
GGG: During your time abroad, you got a yoga teacher training certificate. Are there any lessons yoga has taught you while on the road?
Yoga, travel and life are all inter-connected for me. When I was traveling India, I interviewed a fellow solo traveler and yogi, Chiaki. Her answer to this question was that yoga taught her to live in the now…the present. I have to agree.
In addition, it’s taught me to trust my instinct when surrendering to the unknown; it often leads to new insights and awakenings.
Travel can be unpredictable and with traveling solo, you never know what’s ahead until you get there. My underlining concern is always- Can I deal with situations, should they arise? What I love about travel is that things happen so quickly, leaving you only enough time to react on the spot.
Life throws you a situation, which upsets your path and then your survival instinct kicks in, leading you to change and forge a new direction, usually for the better!
GGG: Now that you’ve checked a role on Hawaii Five-O off your bucket list, do you have any other television or film opportunities at hand?
I hope there are more projects in the future! Putting Five-O on my bucket list was a bit of a travel writer’s joke that I think most people got.
Acting is actually on my ‘life bucket list’. It’s a pursuit I’ve always been drawn to, but ended up putting it on the backburner for a career and then, to live and travel abroad. I knew I’d eventually return at some point, but I didn’t know when or how.
After Five-O, I landed a commercial and a part in an independent film. I was supposed to shoot a documentary film about teens pursuing their K-pop dreams, but instead, ended up selling that concept to another production company. It’s an okay start considering I’ve been abroad for almost two years.
GGG: Where are you now? What’s next on your list of travel and moving forward?
I’m in Hawaii, sorting out where I need to be next. Initially, I had expected to return to Korea this past winter, but the acting bug took me by surprise, so I’m indulging myself at the moment.
Travel is on my plate for this year though. I’m not sure what shape it’ll take yet, but I’ll be moving my life forward and it’ll be one GRRR adventure!
We look forward to seeing what that adventure will be! Thanks, Christine! To read all about Christine’s GRRR adventures, check out her website, GRRRL Traveler, follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook!
All photos in this post are courtesy of Christine Kaaloa.