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Cristina from chasingtravel.com Travel blog interview:

Why did you start travelling?

In less than 2 months, I planned and took my very first solo trip across the ocean, backpacking through Europe for two months. I was 23 and I even skipped Graduation Day to travel. I was reluctant to become an adult and to commit to a 9-5 career.

What is the most important during your travels?

This is two-fold for me. I’m a journalist by trade so I love finding unique stories about culture and local experiences when I travel. I also think it’s important to seek out adventures for personal growth which take you out of your comfort zone. However I think it is most important to give back to those in need and make a difference in the places we visit. I believe when we can contribute to others we take back with us a much more rewarding, deeper, more meaningful (and memorable) experience. I think there is a much greater purpose that comes from travel than just seeing the sights.

What is the most important experience that you had during your travels?

The first time I travelled to a non-Western, underdeveloped state was a socio-economic shock to me. It was in Bosnia and Albania where I saw communities living in poverty and witnessed first hand the struggle of every day life. It was there that I thought to myself, I want to find a way to help and tell their stories.

What is the most beautiful place that you have been to?

There is a big place in my heart for Paris, but I will never forget the charm and beauty I found most in Eastern Europe, particularly Czech Republic and Croatia. However, my most recent city I encourage everyone to experience is Havana – it is one of those places where culture is rich, and history is visible everywhere you walk.

What do you avoid when you travel?

1] Eating in the main squares – instead I walk behind the squares through tiny back alleys and look for the most run down, mom n’ pop shop.

2] I avoid hotels – I prefer apartments for cooking your own meals, B&Bs where I know my money will go to a local family who runs it, or boutique hostels if none of the above are available.

3] Bad food – I take a local food tour to introduce myself to the local food.

What is your biggest travel dream?

I travel off-and-on so I would really love to settle some where for a year or so. I have a slight obsession with House Hunters International which could very well have had an influence on me!

What are your favourites travelers? Which blogs do you read?

I am currently reading Real Havana by Cuba dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez of Generation Y Blog.

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