“Travel Stars” is an interview series created to get to know people in the travel industry who are making a difference; writers/influencers, producers, and travel executives.

This week we had the joy of interviewing Christy Woodrow.

Christy is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego, California. She started her adventure travel blog, Ordinary Traveler, in 2010 to provide trip ideas and helpful travel tips for people with limited vacation time. Now she is also a hypnotherapist and virtual retreat host.

Check out this fantastic interview with Christy.

Tell us a little bit about yourself – where are you from? Where did you grow up? Etc.

Hi! I’m Christy! I’m originally from Northern California, and I’ve been living in San Diego for about 18 years. I’ve lived in California all of my life — all across the state. I just can’t seem to leave!

Can you remember what first got you interested in the world of travel? and why?
Well, I started taking photography classes in high school (before digital photography) and have always been into creative writing. I also always had a thirst for adventure and instead of dreaming of a wedding, I dreamt of faraway places. Travel, writing, and photography just seem to go hand in hand, so I started traveling as soon as I was able. I took my first solo 2-month trip to Europe in my early twenties.

In the next year, If you could only visit one place for one week, where would it be?
The Maldives. It’s a place I have almost visited several times, but the trip always seems to get postponed. It sounds like a brutal flight time for one week, but I think it would be worth it in the end.

What are some of the top places you enjoyed visiting the most? Why?
My favorite places are Norway (Where to Stay in Norway), Switzerland (Beautiful Places Switzerland Where to stay), and French Polynesia (Best Overwater Bungalows Bora Bora). I love nature and wildlife. The mountains in Switzerland and Norway are incomparable to most places in the world, and French Polynesia has a gorgeous landscape and the most stunning water.

Can you share a funny story that happened to you while traveling?
There are so many! They usually involve wildlife and things not going to plan. The first time I tried to swim with humpback whales was in Newfoundland and, as I’m sure you can imagine, the water is chilly. We had to gear up with the thickest wetsuit I’ve ever worn, gloves, a hood, and booties.

It ended up being a nice day outside so nobody wanted to have all that gear on while we were sitting on the boat. Except for my friend and I, who knew that in order to get the best chance of swimming with whales, we had to be READY. So we were sweating profusely in all of our gear (almost dangerously overheating) but our guide would not let anyone get into the water until the entire group was ready to go.

We had about 3 opportunities to swim with whales that day and we missed all of them because the rest of the passengers took so long to get their gear on each time. My friend and I were frustrated but we really had to laugh about it. We take wildlife encounters very seriously.

What was one of your more popular posts in the last year? And why do you think it caught on?
I think people love a good story. This was one of my favorite wildlife encounters (and there have been many!) 

What are the most off-the-beaten-path destinations you’ve been to?
Is anything off the beaten path anymore? I’ve been to a lot of destinations that people had never heard of before Instagram, but they are a little more well-known now. I’d say Nevis in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Treshnish Isles of Scotland are all lesser-known destinations.

You love photography. What’s your favorite destination to take pictures? And why?
Switzerland and Norway! This is why they are two of my favorite destinations. The scenery is just insane. You really can’t take a bad photo in either of those destinations.

Can you give us 3 tips to take great pictures?
When you’re traveling solo, I recommend having some sort of tripod. Even if that’s a tripod for your phone (iPhones take great photos these days!), this will allow you to be in your own photos and it adds a human element to your shots.

It’s important to know your camera before you leave on a trip. You don’t want to miss out on a shot because you are fiddling with the controls or, even worse, realize your photos are blurry when you look back at them later.

I almost always scout photo locations. I’ll do some research before a trip, but some of my favorite photos were as a result of me taking some time to explore the day before and prepare for sunrise or sunset the next day.

Where are you planning to travel next? and why?
I’m planning to spend a month in Cape Town and head back to French Polynesia. I’ve never been to South Africa and it’s a trip I had to cancel when the pandemic first hit. And French Polynesia is just never a bad idea.

What are you doing now (or about to do) that you are excited about? Do you have any new projects?
I have a lot of new projects! I’ve been in the wellness field for a couple of years, in addition to travel. I created this course called The Unfolding, and I’m also starting a relationship blog with my friend who has a Ph.D. in psychology (it will be a supportive site to help women in transition or going through a breakup).

In addition to this, I’m also leading women’s circles locally and may start doing them virtually as well. And as if that’s not enough, I also run a spiritual blog where I share the good, the bad, and the mystical. 

Thanks for joining us and sharing your great tips and journey as a blogger, Christy!

If you want to know more about Christy, here is where you can find her:

Ordinary Traveler Blog