This week we chatted with Lindsey Tramuta, an expat living in Paris and the voice behind Lost in Cheeseland. Check out Lindsey’s tips for first-timers in France, the hidden gems of her adopted country, and more in this week’s Girls That Go!
GGG: Bonjour, bienvenue! Tell us a bit about yourself – Who are you, where are you from originally, and how did you get your start traveling?
Salut! I’m a food & travel writer and social media consultant based in Paris, originally from Philadelphia. I didn’t travel abroad until high school when I had the opportunity to visit France with a small group of students in my French class. That trip changed everything!
GGG: Your path is one a lot of women dream about! Study abroad, fall in love with a culture (and a person) and manage to move. Now that you’ve been living in France for close to a decade, is there anything you wish you could have told your younger self about becoming a transplant?
I would encourage my younger self not to panic during the first two years when my feelings about living abroad (and away from everything familiar) oscillated between constant sadness and excitement. The emotional fluctuations were hard but many expats experience the same highs and lows within the first year or two. And then the weight lifts, you settle in properly, you observe your new surroundings with studied curiosity rather than a reminder of all that you left behind. And that’s when things get interesting. So I would say, power through that discomfort – because that’s usually all it is – and get ready for bliss.
GGG: If you had to give three pieces of advice to newbies in France, what would they be?
Never stop working on your French, converse with locals even if you’re nervous, go exploring! It’s the only way you’ll crack the surface of your new home.
GGG: You run a fun weekly post on your blog called “Franco File Fridays.” What inspired you to talk to other expats about their experiences?
There are so many creative people who adore France and make it their home base for a time. I wanted to understand what made them different, what passions united them and have a collection of interesting profiles. I found them to be both inspirational and comforting.
GGG: We love the title of your blog! We can’t help but ask – What are some of your favorite French cheeses? Any we should try next time we’re in the country?
I go straight for the hard cheeses like aged Comté and Beaufort. But I also love the variety of goat cheeses available here and my biggest guilty pleasure: Brillat-Savarin aux truffes – a triple cream cheese with a thin layer of truffle.
GGG: Are there any hidden gems in France that you feel are overlooked by travelers?
Everywhere! There are just as many unspoiled corners, streets and shops in Paris as there are in other French cities and villages. But to find them requires a commitment to exploring, to getting lost.
GGG: Living in an airport hub city, do you have any favorite weekend (or short) trips you’ve taken lately? Or dream ones you can’t wait to go on?
As easy as it is to travel throughout Europe, I often prefer to travel within France for a weekend. Three hours by TGV to Marseille, less than two hours to Burgundy, two hours to Normandy, etc. etc. BUT I think this spring I’ll take an extended weekend to Italy and hopefully I’ll make it to Zurich for a chocolate tour.
GGG: Any exciting trips coming up for you?
The big travel ambitions this year would take me far from France. I’ve got my eye on Japan and New Zealand ! Only one will make the cut (and budget) for the year but both are incredibly exciting.
All photos in this post courtesy of Lindsey Tramuta, Photo taken by Photographer Christopher Santos.