Plus how she got started in travel blogging, her Instagram obsessions, and how she stays curious about her own city
“My advice is to always make sure that you make time to do and see the things at the top of your list when you travel,” Christine Amorose says. “The worst feeling is coming home and being disappointed that you didn’t get to do that one thing. Whether it’s finding murals painted by local artists or running on the beach, do it!” Amorose, a New York-based blogger, photographer, and AFAR ambassador fell in love with travel as many Americans do: with a trip to Paris. Since then, she’s been all over Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean and spent three months solo backpacking in Southeast Asia.
We’ve been a fan of Amorose’s travel blog for years, which is how she became an AFAR ambassador earlier last spring. We recently had a chance to chat with her about how travel became such an important part of her life, how Instagram has become a great medium for sharing what she finds, and her travel tips for people who want to see more of the world. Below you’ll learn more about Amorose and can flip through photos of her time in places such as Cannes, Cambridge, and Cape Town. Be sure to follow her on Instagram at @cestchristine.
When was your first memorable travel experience?
The first time that I ever traveled outside of the country was when I was 11 years old. I went to France with my mom. We went to Paris and Provence. I still look back on that trip and think that it was a really great way to get me interested in travel at a young age. I became interested in learning how to speak the language but also it sparked a love of all things French. Years later I studied in France and spent a summer there in high school with family friends. When I quit my job in Silicon Valley and wanted to do something sort of crazy, France was definitely the first place I considered moving to.
When you quit your job in Silicon Valley, that’s when you moved to France and started your blog?
Yes! I’m from Sacramento and went to school there. After I graduated in 2009 with a degree in journalism, I got a job working in tech public relations in Silicon Valley. I thought to myself, “OK, this is what I'm going to be doing with my life.” But then I broke up with my college boyfriend and decided that it was the time to live in France, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. So I moved there in 2010 and started my blog C’est Christine, which is mostly about travel but I’m lucky that it’s sort of evolved with my life as time has passed. It has more lifestyle aspects to it now and is definitely a lot more New York City specific. There are restaurant recommendations, things to do here, and my favorite places around the city. It’s not a complete chronicle of my life but has some general philosophical musings of life as a 20-something. It’s crazy to think about how different the Internet and media landscape was when I started my blog. There wasn’t Instagram, there weren’t Facebook pages or ads; it was really just Twitter and blogging so I was lucky to get into the travel blogging community on Twitter and go from there.
When did you first become interested in photography? Has Instagram changed your style over the years?
I got a DSLR camera when I moved to France and started using that for my blog photos. Over the past four years, however, I’ve moved to shooting mostly iPhone photos, which is probably part convenience and part laziness. When I’m traveling and I’m trying to pack as light as possible, it’s nice to not have to carry a camera as well. I think that Instagram inspires me to take more photos since I always have my phone with me. It also encourages me to look at things around me in my everyday life and to try and see them in a new light or from a different angle. That’s also just the nature of having that feed: I look at how all of my photos fit together so that I can develop more of a style. That way, when you look at my feed, my photos are cohesive. I’m constantly looking at new ways to share the same colors, blue skies, or flowers wherever I go.
How did you wind up moving to New York City?
I’ve been living in Brooklyn for almost five years, but I didn’t come here straight from France. After that, I lived in Australia for a year and then traveled for a few months around Southeast Asia and I finally decided to come back to the States so I didn’t have to deal with any more visas. I wasn’t ready to go back home to California, and New York seemed like it could give me the distance that I wanted (without needing a visa) but also the culture and life that I wanted, so I just sort of decided to move here on a whim.
How often do you travel?
I just got a puppy in May so this year has been a little bit quieter than usual, but I would say that I usually do at least three to four international trips each year and then around one domestic trip per month. Domestic trips can be somewhere that’s easy to get to on the East Coast or just taking a long weekend city trip somewhere in the U.S.
What do you love about travel?
Overall, I just enjoy getting to see and experience new places. I get really inspired creatively and it’s fun to be in a brand-new place, to walk around new streets and try new things. That’s also what I like about living in New York: I’m able to sort of replicate that experience by going to a new neighborhood in the city. When I travel to beaches, it’s for relaxation and being outside. I love to use sunshine as a way to take a break from the daily grind, and even if it’s just for a day or two it can be mentally and emotionally rejuvenating.
What’s been your most profound and memorable travel experience since that first trip to France?
I’ve been lucky to have traveled to so many places, so it’s hard to choose. I went to South Africa last November, which is a place that I had wanted to go for a long time, and it really exceeded all of my expectations. In terms of the diversity of experiences and the places I was able to go, it was more than I had even imagined. I went on safari and to the house of Nelson Mandela—both of which were amazing experiences. In terms of photography, Cape Town was one of the most beautiful, colorful, and inspiring places that I had ever traveled to.
Do you have any advice for fellow travelers?
I’ve written a lot about this on my blog. I think it’s good to be creative and flexible. If you’re already traveling for work, try adding on a couple of days to your trip. Your job is already paying for the airfare, and it’s a great way to extend a trip that you’re already on without having all of the financial implications of flights and hotels. This means that you have to be open to different destinations than what may be at the top of your list. Vacation doesn’t mean you have to go far. Think about locations that are closer to where you live. I don’t think that you have to go all the way to Vietnam to have a far-flung experience or all the way to the Caribbean to have a relaxing beach weekend. There are a ton of cool destinations within the United States where you can have a very different weekend away without having to travel far. It’s also a good way to get yourself acclimated to traveling more, especially if you want to travel by yourself but are too scared to do it in a new country. You can give yourself a nice little warm up in a domestic city during a long weekend.
Where are you traveling to next?
I have two really fun fall foliage trips coming up! I’m going to a brand-new hotel that’s opening in the Catskills at peak foliage time. My fiancé and I are bringing our puppy so it’s just going to be really fun and relaxing. Then I’m also going to this place that’s like a grown-up camp in the Adirondacks. There are whiskey tastings, archery classes, and watercolor painting classes. It’s on a lake and you get to stay in a nice lodge, so it’s the best sort-of camping experience. Then I’m going to Los Angeles and Laguna Beach in October and Austin in December. I try to stay in New York for the end of the year—it’s not too cold and the city is so beautifully lit up around the holidays. But by January and February I’m looking for ways to get to the Caribbean to escape the cold!
>>Next: The AFAR Guide to Solo Travel