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One thing is for sure: La Carmina leaves a deep impression. Our travel blogger of the month of May doesn’t only attract attention with her extravagant Goth-inspired style, she also casts a different light on the seemingly common places she travels to. Fashion, travel, subcultures, art – whoever thinks these elements can’t be combined should definitely have a look at La Carmina’s travel blog!

 
La Carmina, travel blogger, travel blog

La Carmina, our Travel Blogger of the month May. Photo: La Carmina.

 

Describe shortly: what is your blog about? Where are you from and where do you live?
If you’re intrigued by Harajuku girls style, Bangkok nightlife, and Berlin music festivals – then I have a feeling you’ll like my La Carmina blog. It’s a photo-packed chronicle of my eccentric travels worldwide, with a focus on alternative culture and fashion. In addition to blogging, I’m also a travel TV host and writer. Perhaps you’ve seen my book about cute-decorated food, or my appearances on Bizarre Foods, World’s Weirdest Restaurants, Taboo and more television shows. I’m from Vancouver, Canada and live out of my suitcase.

Sushi or pork roast? Sushi, especially if it’s with friends in Japan.
Coffee or Red Bull? Coffee all the way.
Wine or beer? Wine. Love organic whites.
Suitcase or backpack? I usually travel with one of each. I couldn’t go with only a backpack.
Night train or night bus? First class train.
Sleeping bag or bedding? Definitely clean bedding.
Window or aisle? Aisle.
Diarrhea or constipation? Neither. If something disagrees with me, I’ll throw it up.
Malarone or malaria? Malarone please… am allergic to mosquitoes, yet very attractive to them.

Since when does you blog exist? Any post you recommend to our readers?
I began my La Carmina site in late 2007, and it evolved over time to focus on underground culture and global travels, in addition to my personal style. To get started, I’d suggest my guide to the best Goth, Lolita and punk stores in Tokyo. All my city guides are linked at http://www.lacarmina.com/travel.php

 

La Carmina, travel blogger, travel blog

 

Why is traveling so important to you and how would you define ‘real travel?’
Whenever I travel, my eyes are opened in some way. I’m constantly surprised, challenged, changed and inspired by the people I meet on the road. I think you can’t truly get a sense of a place unless you are there in the flesh, and get off the tourist path – when I’m in a place like Vienna, I’ll be at Goth clubs and subculture meetups, instead of historical museums. I’m not a “country collector” who aims to have the most passport stamps. To me, meaningful travel is making a sincere effort to get to know locals, and take part in their culture.

Do you plan to travel indefinitely?
It has always been part of my life. I took my first flight when I was a year old, and even as a child, my family would travel several times a year. Even if I came down with a terrible condition that prevented me from flying, I would still travel as much as I could by other means – even to the next town. It’s not necessary to go far to discover something new.

Cute and gothic, extravagant style and ancient sites – you seem to love huge contrasts! How do you combine style and traveling?
I love adapting my personal style to the places I visit. In Hawaii, I put flowers in my hair, and in Abu Dhabi, I wore long flowing veils. With a bit of planning, it’s possible to travel relatively light while staying stylish. Here’s a post with tips on how I pack.

 
La Carmina, travel blogger, travel blog

La Carmina in Petra, Jordan. Photo: La Carmina.

 

Why the special affinity towards subcultures?
I never felt any connection to mainstream culture; I couldn’t relate to the products, music or lifestyles in typical fashion magazines. Instead, I always felt close to subcultures like Goth, which have very different aesthetics and values. Growing up, I identified alternatively, and still do today. It’s a privilege to be able to travel the world, and do positive stories about underground lifestyles – whether it’s drag queens in Tel Aviv, or punks in China.

Do you like to provoke?
I don’t aim to cause controversy. I try to present topics fairly, focus on the positives and engage an intelligent conversation. Sometimes, people react strongly to my stories, such as reports on extreme body modifications like eyeball tattoos. But for the most part, people have been quite respectful.

Is there a place you would like to go back to, and is there one you never want to see again?
I can always go back to Tokyo and Hong Kong; I’ve been to each city dozens of times now. The food, culture, unique style and people never cease to fascinate me. There isn’t any single place that I disliked, and I’m open to returning somewhere if there’s a chance to discover something new, or do something meaningful.

 

La Carmina, travel blogger, travel blog

 

Do you have a story to share about plans gone awry?
It’s a part of travel and happens all the time, no matter how hard you plan. I have a web travel series filmed all over the world, and we shot an episode in Dubai. We tried hard to find a camel for me to ride, but they must all have been on vacation. We ended up lost and trekking in the sand for hours, carrying heavy film equipment, and unable to find a single camel!

Ever encountered a cultural misunderstanding you are still embarrassed for?
I can’t remember anything in particular. Sometimes there are communication struggles or missed signals, but if you’re intuitive and flexible, these shouldn’t cause any problems.

Is there anything that you dislike about traveling?
I miss my Scottish Fold cat when I’m away!

What was the strangest food you’ve ever eaten, and what was the best?
Theme restaurants will serve bizarre dishes, and some Akihabara maid cafes offer food challenges. In one contest, you have to drink something disgusting (such as a mix of seaweed, raw egg and milk). If you can’t finish it in time, the maid slaps your face! As for the best… I’ve had memorable meals around the world. Eating insanely fresh seafood in Hawaii, as the sun set over the beach, was hard to beat.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were truly afraid during traveling?
Ironically, I’ve felt the most unsafe in the USA. I accidentally wound up in some unsafe parts of Chicago and St Louis, and if it weren’t for police cars around to warn me, I might have gotten in trouble.

If you could choose a superpower, which one would it be?
Teleportation would be useful, especially for my lifestyle.

 
La Carmina, travel blogger, travel blog

La Carmina in Japan. Photo: La Carmina.

 

Which three items do you not leave home without?
Wallet (with local currency, credit cards, ID), iPhone, and keys.

What is your favorite place in your home country or city?
Vancouver’s beaches are gorgeous, especially in the summer. I recommend exploring the downtown beaches, then having sushi or seafood somewhere with a patio.

Mountains, beach or city? A city with a beach, like LA, Vancouver, Rio.
Cockroaches or rats? Let’s go with cute, friendly pet rats.
Couch-surfing or guesthouse? I like renting apartments through websites.
Skiing or surfing? I’m less likely to die while skiing.
Travel tool you find most useful: Google maps and GPS on my iphone.
Postcard or emails? Emails.

How do you inform yourself about your next destination, and how do you prepare for the trip?
It depends on projects – I might have to go somewhere to be on a TV show, or a tourism board might send me somewhere. I always do research and connect with people who live in these cities, to find out about happening events and what to experience.

Your latest discovery on the Internet?
My friend sent me a fascinating podcast about music, repetition and memory.

The best breakfast in the world is
A giant, high quality continental breakfast spread with all my favorites: egg whites, berries, yogurt, smoked salmon, sardines, veggies, specialty cheeses, fresh grapefruit juice and tons of black coffee.

 
La Carmina, travel blogger, travel blog

La Carmina in Japan. Photo: La Carmina.

 

What is on your bucket list and where will your next trip take you?
Still dreaming of Egypt and Easter Island. My next destination will be announced soon; you’ll have to check my site and social networks @lacarmina to find out!

If you could recommend three places our readers must visit in their lifetimes
It’s hard, since it depends on where people are based and what their interests are. I think Japan, Thailand and London have something for all ages and tastes.

The most important life lesson that you learned while traveling:
Be grateful for this opportunity to see a different part of the world, and make the most out of it.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m excited for my upcoming travel gigs and destinations, including dream TV projects. Soon, I’ll be posting my Toronto alternative-Goth guide, and more adventures from Israel including the Dead Sea. I hope you’ll join me on my journey on La Carmina blog – I always do my best to reply to comments and help readers however I can.

 

Blog: http://www.lacarmina.com/blog
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lacarmina
YouTube: http://youtube.com/lacarmina
Facebook: http://facebook.com/lacarminaofficial
Google Plus  https://plus.google.com/+LaCarmina-la-carmina?+rel

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One Comment

  1. MACHNo Gravatar
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    “To me, meaningful travel is making a sincere effort to get to know locals, and take part in their culture.” I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for the article. Very interesting.

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  1. […] Thank you to Tripwolf for naming me Travel Blogger of the Month. I talk about cultural misunderstandings and mishaps in this […]

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