In today’s Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we interview my friend Kirsten Alana of KirstenAlana.com. Kirsten is one of the most talented travel photographers I know. She’s worked with the likes of Travel + Leisure, Hawaii Tourism, AirFrance, The Four Seasons, and the list goes on. Her 10+ years experience as a wedding photographer propelled her into a life of travel photography, which everyone can check out on her epic Instagram account @KirstenAlana. Check out her top 5 suggestions for Scotland and where she’s off to next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
First it was my parent’s copies of National Geographic, especially the Afghan Girl cover by Steve McCurry and then it was the trip my mom took me on to England at 12 years old. Even though everyone spoke roughly the same language as we did, the places we went were so different from where I’d grown up in Vermont. I was fascinated by how a country with a similar language could be so unfamiliar.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?
It varies but I would say it’s more than 1/2 of every month that I normally spend on the road.
I like to visit a mix of 1) places that are new and will challenge me as well as, 2) places that I am already familiar with, for the purposes of getting to know them on an even deeper level.
My favorite part of the globe is Europe.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your work videos and photography?
I see travel as one of the most enjoyable means of personal growth. I think if you allow them to, the experiences you have when traveling and the people you meet — can make you a better person. I share my travels hoping to inspire people to seek out the same, or similar, opportunities for growth!
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
France, Scotland, Morocco
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
Let’s go with Scotland because I think there’s more than enough information online about France!
Favorite Hotel: Monachyle Mhor
Favorite Place to Visit: the Isle of Skye
Favorite Place to Eat: any of the restaurants at The Gleneagles Hotel
Favorite activity: Torchlight Procession that starts Hogmanay in Edinburgh at New Years
Favorite drink: a dram of Laphroaig 18 yr
How many countries have you visited so far?
Somewhere near or over 50 but definitely less than 60. I don’t actually keep a solid count.
Your top three favorite cuisines?
Oh I can’t choose just three. I love food so much!! Especially Mediterranean, Italian, French, Moroccan and Mexican.
Favorite restaurant in the world?
El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain
Your favorite travel movie?
Does ‘Out of Africa’ count?
Favorite international airport?
CDG or AMS
City with the friendliest people?
Oh, it’s gotta be somewhere in Indonesia or India.
Your favorite traveling companion?
Best way you kill time while traveling?
Walk around without a destination in mind, taking photos as I do.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
I think it might be Kyrgyzstan. Or Mauritius.
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
1) Think twice. Not every day is like it looks on Instagram. 2) Have A LOT of savings built up before you do.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
A camera, my smartphone, comfortable shoes and a scarf.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
Gosh, I could never choose just one…. Japan during cherry blossom season, Seychelles, Maldives, the Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, Patagonia, Namibia, Meteora in Greece, Cappadocia, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Burma, Nepal
Your favorite travel quote?
Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of the living. – Miriam Beard
Where to next?
I’m currently in Oman on a private jet tour with TCS World Travel. We still have to visit Albania, Romania and Basque Country in France before finishing with the Douro Valley in Portugal. I’ll head to Jordan after this and then finally get to go home after that. It will have been more than a month since I left NYC when I get back.
I have had a camera in my hand since I was a child and seriously began a professional career in photography during college while also studying television journalism. I’d been taking photography classes since I was a kid. In my twenties, I concentrated on portrait and wedding photography before turning my lens to travel full time in 2010. I call NYC home when I am not traveling but I think I am most content in a window seat at 35,000 feet when headed toward a new destination for the first time. My favorite social network is Instagram but you can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vimeo and YouTube. Or read my blog and sign up for my newsletter!