Today we are traveling with La Carmina.
I’m La Carmina, a TV host and blogger with a passion for alternative, underground travel. I’m from Vancouver, Canada. But probably best known for my Japanese street fashion and travel guides. I started my La Carmina blog back in 2007, as a creative outlet for my love of Jpop culture. With trial and error, my site and social networks @lacarmina grew, and I ended up with a new media career that I never could have imagined. Today, I’m a blogger and author (I have several books with Penguin and Random House). I travel to an average of one destination a month for jobs such as influencer campaigns, and host TV shows on networks like CNN, National Geographic, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
Ever since I started blogging, my travels have been in some connection to a job that stemmed from my La Carmina blog. For example, I lived in Japan for some time while working on my books. I work consistently with tourism boards and travel companies on videos, blogs and social media campaigns. I also travel for speeches, appearances and press trips. For example, this year alone, I was in LA for TV meetings, Istanbul as a guest of World Tourism Forum, Brussels on a filmmaking and journalism job with Visit Belgium, and now I’m off to New Zealand with Contiki Tours.
What’s inside your backpack? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry
I just packed my backpack, as I’m heading to the airport in a few hours! I always carry my iPhone, charger, and Sony A7 mirrorless DSLR camera with me. They’re essential for my work, as my blogging and social media are highly visual.
Where are you now?
In Vancouver, Canada and about to run a few errands before heading to the airport for a 14 hour direct flight to Auckland, on Air New Zealand. It will be my first time there, and I can’t wait.
Which country is your favorite?
I can’t pick just one, but I never grow tired of going back to Japan. From Zen temple stays to cyber club nights, there’s so much to experience. The locals are always kind, and I adore Japanese food. Tokyo is also my favorite place to shop for alternative, Goth fashion.
Traveling alone or with someone? Why?
I usually travel with at least one other person, a friend who is also a professional photographer (as my La Carmina blog requires a large number of high quality photos). However, more commonly, I’m with my Borderless Media film team. As they create my professional travel video series, shot worldwide in places like Cebu, the Maldives, Croatia and Japan. Other times, I’m with a full TV crew for a travel hosting job. In Hong Kong, I was in a major network production that literally had hundreds of crew members.
Which country did you find the most hospitable people?
I’ve met the most wonderful people in every country, and we still keep in touch over Facebook. I’m amazed at how they opened their homes to my film team and me, and went out of their way to show us the best of their hometowns. These include the family that runs Selection Apartments in Belgrade, Bao of Vietnam Food Tour who showed us the best of Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, and Thor and Anna of Salty Tours Iceland who riveted us with stories of elfen folk.
What’s the big reason why you are traveling?
Travel always brings in a new, broader perspective for me. For me, travel is a way to let go, see life through a different lens, and hopefully grow and be grateful for all that you have.Travel always brings in a new, broader perspective for me #travel #dreamsClick To Tweet
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far?
I’ve had a lot of memorable travels, it’s impossible to name just one. Last year, I went to Morocco for the first time, with my film team. We traveled around the country, capturing stories of women running businesses and being independent in a diverse number of ways (running a collective bakery, a homestay, etc). I felt we captured a meaningful and often overlooked voice, in these Moroccan women, and that makes this trip one of my favorites.
What’s your favorite gastronomy/food cuisine that you had in your travels?
So hard to pick… Singapore was pretty amazing. Everything from high end dining to hawker street food was outstanding. My photographer Ken and I loved Burnt Ends, a restaurant run by Chef Dave Pynt. His creative BBQ and grilling blew us away.
Has there been any challenging and bad moments during your travels?
I’ve been pretty lucky and have avoided major disasters such as theft, attacks, major illnesses. However my left eye turned into an infected mess when I was in Shanghai.. I felt like a pirate, and had to wear sunglasses in all these photos!
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping? What’s the best?
I avoid hostels, so probably the worst place was one of those dirty airport hotels where I had to stay because a flight was cancelled. The best: Upper House Hotel in Hong Kong, Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives, Royal Mansour Marrakesh. These hotels and resorts are ranked the top in the world, for good reason – the service, amenities and 5-star experience are magnificent.
Are you planning for a new trip or do you already have a new trip in mind?
I’m off later today to Auckland! I’ll be traveling all around the North Island of New Zealand, with Contiki. So excited to see the Maori culture, Hobbit film sets and nature for myself. I’ll also be hopping to Sydney for a few days, for the first time.
How do you finance your trips?
My income stream is probably quite different from other travel bloggers because of the fashion and TV elements. Like many fashion bloggers, I do outfit posts and brand showcases on my site and social media. I also do paid appearances, consulting and speeches. A large portion comes from the TV work I do (TV hosting and local producing, mainly for travel programs). Then there is the monetized blogging, journalism work and writing books. My team and I work with various tourism boards and travel brands, on paid videos and showcases. Finally, usually all of my actual travel expenses are covered by whoever I am partnering with, which I fully disclose.
How many hours do you spend blogging? How do you manage during your trips?
I work nonstop when I’m at home, prepping posts, photos and catching up on all the various work involved in blogging. I don’t blog in real time (I queue up posts), so when I’m actually on trips, I can just enjoy and capture as much material as I can. During trips, I just press publish and do basic upkeep. All the heavy lifting is done in between the trips themselves.
When did you start monetizing your blog? How long since you started?
I started the site as a hobby, but once it reached a larger readership and I had book contracts, I realized I could make this into a career. Around 2008, I started to monetize in a variety of ways.
Which one is your favorite post?
Perhaps the weirdest post is about hosting National Geographic travel TV show about “bagelheads”, a Japanese body modification. To make a bagel head, people insert a saline drip into their foreheads, creating a temporary donut-shaped bulge! I spoke about this body mod on The Doctors TV show, and explain it in this popular post.
Great to know La Carmina story, thanks for your time!
La Carmina starting blogging and she became a TV star traveling around the world. Full time traveling and working at the same time. La Carmina upcoming journey to New Zealand, which starts today! La Carmina has also more travel videos and TV shows coming out. The most recently on Travel Channel, in the Japan episode of a new show called “”Could I Live There?”” Please keep in touch via her social networks @lacarmina to see where in the world La Carmina goes next.
If you want to read more interviews, make sure that you check The Boho Chica who´s living in Dubai and not stop traveling. One of the most popular bloggers in The United States, check here the interview with Kristin from Camels and Chocolate.