Kristin Luna of Camels & Chocolate is the rock star of travel bloggers
Travel writers make us jealous: Crisscrossing the world, reporting on beautiful sites, experiencing interesting culture, tasting delicious food and gathering life wisdom along the way. But when we met Kristin Luna from Camels & Chocolate, our envy quickly gave way to inspiration. Kristin is the rock star of travel bloggers, who, as a journalist, has interviewed actual rock stars and movie stars. She’s also lived on both coasts and in between, has a Maltese pup named Ella and has been to more than 80 countries. Meet Kristin …
Where are you based? Nashville, Tenn.
How long have you been blogging and how did you get into it? I started Camels & Chocolate six years ago when I was reading a whole lot of blogs during my day job at a fashion magazine and wanted to contribute to the clutter of mindless Internet chatter — or, more fittingly, chronicle my own travels and misadventures.
What does your blog focus on? Travel. Food. Life in the South. Occasional celebrity interviews from my job as a journalist. A dose of what it’s like to be self-employed/a freelancer. So many travel blogs are about quitting your job to pursue a nomadic lifestyle. Mine focuses more on leading a balanced, “normal life” — if you can call it that: having a husband, a dog, a home, a career I love, a stable of friends, while still getting your travel fix.
What other outlets do you contribute to? My stable of freelance clients changes regularly, but at the moment, I’m working on assignments for Glamour, Young Entrepreneur, Cosmo, HGTV, Southern Living, and Playboy.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate, cookies, cupcakes … basically, anything with sugar! Though, oddly enough, I’m not a big fan of candy like Swedish Fish, Sweet Tarts, that sort of thing.
What’s the last thing you bought? A handful of dresses while browsing my favorite shops online. Dresses are my other guilty pleasure, second only to sweets.
How do you decide where to travel? Usually, that’s dictated for me based on where I’m sent for assignment. If I’m doing a trip purely for leisure, I’ll try to tack it onto somewhere I’m already going for work to save on airfare. For example, a few years ago, I went to the Cook Islands and then extended my ticket to travel solo around New Zealand for a week.
I’ve been involved with Semester at Sea for a few years now and am about to go over to Europe on my next contract for the program, so all my travel for the next few months will be done during my days off while we’re in various ports, from the Mediterranean down to Morocco and up to Russia.
Where is one place you recommend all travelers visit? Scotland. It was my first love when I studied there as a student a decade ago (geez, has it really been that long since I was in college?), and it’s the one place I will return to time and time again and never grow bored. I recently took my mom and sister over there for three weeks and loved getting to show them a place that’s been so dear to me for so long.
What do you do when you aren’t traveling? Renovate my house. My husband and I bought a “project home,” an 1800s Victorian, last fall with the plan to Pinterest the heck out of it. Though, with my travel and work schedule, our weekends to tackle home (renovation) tasks are few and far between. So far, we have painted the whole place, started to gut the attic, scraped the heinous ’70s popcorn texture off all the ceilings by hand and rehabbed some pretty fireplaces, among other minor tasks.
What do you find most rewarding about traveling? I’m very much an extrovert, so as cliché as it sounds, I love meeting people — whether they are native to the place I’m visiting or traveling through themselves – and at times even forming lifelong friendships.
Can we have your life? If it takes some of the workload off of me, sure! My most recent venture is founding an innovative taste-maker conference, KEEN Digital Summit, which will take place in Nashville this fall in conjunction with my business partner Stefanie Michaels, the city and Omni Hotels, so coordinating a first-year, 700-person event has kept me mighty busy on top of all my regular work.