Today I have some questions to put to Writer, Traveller, Photographer, Food Lover and Blogger, Krista Bjorn. When I think of Krista’s blog Rambling Tart, I think of beautiful words that pamper my soul, home made delicacies to salivate over and travel shots that have me packing my bag.
Meet Krista in her favourite Wellies: All Photos Courtesy of Krista Bjorn.
First of all Krista – How did a Danish/Canadian lass end up living on a Queensland farm?
A few years ago I went through a series of traumatic events and decided to make a fresh start in a new country. I’d always wanted to live overseas so I listed my top three requirements for a place to live: sunshine (I NEED sunshine!), English-speaking (I was under the delusion that Aussies spoke the same language I did, and somewhere blond was normal. Australia was the best fit, and wouldn’t you know it? A short time later I met the man who would become the love of my life. Any guesses where he lived? Now I’m a writer/photographer/goat farmer, and absolutely loving it.
Have you transplanted any Danish/Canadian traditions successfully into your Australian life? If so tell us about them.
Oh yes, most definitely, especially in my cooking. Danish pastry, hakkebof (beef patties with onion gravy), and frikkadellar (pork/beef meatballs) represent Denmark on my menu, while Canada shows up in butter tarts and Nanaimo Bars at Christmas, and the oh-so-naughty-but-oh-so-delish Poutine (French fries with cheese curds and gravy).
You can also see their influence through the books and movies on my shelves and my ridiculously large winter clothing collection.
And my Aussie friends tell me Canada gave me a funny accent, but I don’t believe a word of it.
Your photographs tell wonderful stories. When did your interest in photography begin and how did it grow?
Thank you! I really love taking pictures.
I started when I was about 17 on my very first trip overseas to Denmark. I discovered how beautifully photography captures memories that I might otherwise forget, and began documenting my life through photos. I wanted to remember everything! What I ate, who I was with, the crazy things we wore, and where we were. I especially wanted to document how those events made me feel by capturing the mood, light, and detail. I still try to do that today.
I really grew as a photographer when I became a full-time freelance writer and my editors started asking for photos to go with the stories. I now do photo shoots on a weekly basis, and it has been a brilliant experience that never fails to inspire me.
Krista, show us some of your travel photos that make you wish you could step into them and return to the scene.
Lago Orta, Italy
Can you imagine yourself writing a travel/life memoir? (I hope so because that is my favourite genre).
I would love to do that. I’ve got a few ideas simmering in my mind and every now and then I pull one out, dust it off and scribble a few pages or sketch an outline. One day it will all come together.
How do you make your dollars stretch further when you are traveling?
I do a lot of walking (no taxis!!) and share the rental of a house or apartment with friends instead of staying in expensive hotels. This also lets me cook for myself and save heaps of money by not going to restaurants every meal. When I do eat out, I eat cheap but delicious street food (quiche in Paris, meat pies in New Zealand, wurst in Germany) and save restaurant meals for special occasions. I bring my own large water bottle and refill it every morning before I head out for the day. It’s shocking how much money you spend on drinks that could be spent on boat rides, tours, and fabulous food. I take pictures of beautiful things instead of buying them as souvenirs. I travel to inexpensive but fascinating countries like Bosnia, Vanuatu, and Montenegro. With B&B’s running about $15/night and meals only a few dollars, I can easily afford to spend a lengthy holiday there.
(Great Ideas, and I have never considered Bosnia)
As someone who is not a born and bred Aussie, what advice would you give to anyone planning to work/travel in Australia?
For working in Australia:
Prepare: look through the visa application requirements now and start collecting the documents you need. Make copies of everything. Everything.
Save: Moving to a new country is kind of like building a new house. Plan on it costing double the amount you have set aside.
Invest: get as much education, training, and work experience as you can. The better qualified you are, the easier it will be to find a niche for you.
Get a good migration lawyer: it will cost extra but is worth every penny knowing that when your visa application is submitted, it is perfect. And if anything goes wrong, your lawyer will fight for you. Priceless.
Downsize: shipping is shockingly expensive, so only bring what you really treasure. That said, cost of living in Australia is much higher than North America, especially for things like books, so compare the cost of shipping ($50 for about six cookbooks) with the cost of replacement ($300-$400) and pack accordingly.
Get super excited: you’re about to move to one of the best countries in the world and you will get paid MUCH better than you ever did in North America.
Bring more money than you think you’ll need: I love Australia, but it is very expensive to travel here. Lodging, fuel, food, and transportation generally cost double what I was used to in North America. But it is worth it!
Bring and wear sunscreen: the sun is much more intense here and you will burn and burn badly if you aren’t careful.
Don’t limit yourself to the coastline. While the beaches are stunning and the major cities full of interesting things to see and do, rural Australia is gorgeous too with jaw-dropping natural beauty, a burgeoning foodie culture, and some of the jolliest people I’ve ever met.
Is there a favourite destination that your subconscious returns to repeatedly? (Mine is a holiday home we hired on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland many years ago).
Oh yes! An old stone villa in the hills near Perdifumo, Italy. I loved waking to spring sunshine streaming in my window, puttering in the big, tiled kitchen, and sitting on the terrace with a glass of wine watching the sun set over the Adriatic. It was a place of healing and inspiration and I will treasure it forever.
Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and photographs, Krista. Now we know a little about what makes this Rambling Tart tick.
Canadian born, Krista Bjorn has been traveling and exploring for over 20 years and
loves every crazy, embarrassing, and wonderful moment. She’s lived in Russia and
Portugal and now makes her home in beautiful Queensland, Australia, saving her
pennies for her next trip. Her food, photography and travel blog is www.ramblingtart.com
Read more Budget Travel Talk Interviews HERE.