This week on The Traveler Series meet Christie of travel blog, Heels and Hindsight. Christie is a native of New Zealand and currently living in Melbourne, Australia. As a self-described geek and a Chartered Accountant, Christie loves to divulge her love of passion and writing in her spare time. Feeling that travel puts you in lots of funny situations that you never anticipated when booking tickets, Christie and her travel blog aim to bring that world to life for her readers. Here I interview Christie on what inspires her travels, her favorite destinations and what’s next for 2014.
What inspires you to travel?
My first overseas trip to Japan with my school at age 12 left me with a hunger for more travel. I love going to new places where you can learn new things and take time out to reflect. Even an overnight stay in a nearby town is enough for a change in perspective and a great way to feed the travel bug.
For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
I am a middle-of-the road traveler. Not a huge fan of camping or backpacking but quite satisfied by a nice three star motel/hotel. When I travel, things always go wrong along the way but that’s what makes it interesting, right?
I am a Chartered Accountant and I have a full time job that allows me to enjoy part time travel.
Where has been your favorite destination and why?
I’d have to say Tahiti, French Polynesia is the closest to my heart. I stayed with a host family at age 16 for a month and it changed my life. French is the official language spoken and my host grandparents spoke Tahitian only. We only spoke a few words to each other but had a deep connection regardless. My school girl French studies were thoroughly tested. I insisted on always attempting French and only reverted to English if I got a string of funny looks. There were often a lot of hand gestures to compliment my vocabulary. When I got off the plane to NZ, I went to speak French to the hostess and had to correct myself.
If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
New Zealand, it’s home and it always will be. Travel is fantastic, but home is where the heart is. Where I grew up, I was 45 minutes from the beach, a few hours from the ski field, an hour and a half from ‘the big smoke,’ with farmland surrounding us. It’s a location that is hard to beat.
What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
When I visited Japan for school and stayed with a host family, I was shopping with a school friend also on the trip and our host fathers. I brought a toy phone for my little sister at the shopping mall. When I tested it in the car on the way home, my host father picked up his cellphone and replied “Moshi, moshi.” (hello in Japanese)
What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations? (Whether it’s something free like ticket stubs or brochures, or something you have to buy)
I’ve started to enjoy buying a newspaper, it makes me feel a bit like a local and you can see what is important in their world at the time.
How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
A travel diary, I like the old fashioned paper ones instead of electronic notes. I collect some currency, brochures, napkins and add them to my book of memories. I’ve hand-written a travel diary on almost every overseas trip I’ve ever gone on. The other day I was able to look up a trip I took 17 years ago and tell someone which airport I flew into and recommend what I did at the location.
Have you ever traveled solo? If yes, what was the experience like?
Yes, but only on short overnight trips. I think it’s great, there’s something exciting about travelling on your own and you feel a sense of accomplishment of mastering a new place without a travel companion.
What are your go-to travel apps?
What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve picked up over the years?
Travel light. I always struggle to live up to it though. When we travelled to America a few years ago with a few friends, they all had one bag each. My husband and I pulled out two of the largest suitcases out of baggage claim and we had smaller bags inside. The difficulty in lugging those bags around and the overweight charges on the way home were a lesson.
Why did you begin your website? How did you come up with your website name?
I began my website after attending a digital writing course, I wanted to find an audience of like minded writers. I also felt like everyone else on the course had one already and I should look into it. It took some time to come up with a name, so many were taken already! HeelsandHindsight – reflections on travel is about me being in a corporate job in the city. Like most writers, I am reflective and after a lot of brainstorming this is the name that sat well with me.
What is your best piece of advice to budding travel writers looking to start a blog or website?
Just start and you will find your own rhythm. The best advice I was given by an established blogger was to focus on travel. Initially my blog was very broad. Since narrowing my scope, I’ve actually found more to write about and travel writing is a labor of love.
What’s next for you in 2014? (Trips planned, etc.)
I’m going to finish the year on a high note and take a month off work. I’ll be visiting the USA and Canada in December then stopping by New Zealand for Christmas. I cannot wait! Stay tuned for the misadventures of a novice skier on Whistler for two weeks…
Follow Christie and her travels here!