Someone Different: Introducing Cristina

After what has been an extremely busy winter on top of an extremely busy summer the cavalry we’ve been waiting for is starting to arrive as we continue our recovery from the pandemic. That cavalry is in the form of the fun but formidable Cristina, continue reading to hear all about the latest addition to the small but mighty Untravelled Paths team.

So Cristina, what kick-started your love of travel?

Curiosity. I am fascinated by cultures, so I started to travel in order to find out more about people, places, and history. After high school, the opportunity arose to work in Spain so I took it, and I decided that’s what I want to do for a long time from there on, get a job in a new country and discover the hidden gems that only the locals know, the kind of stuff that you can’t read books about.

And what led you to join Untravelled Paths?

I was looking for a short-term job till summer to return to Norway. That’s how I first ended up in the Ice Hotel, got to meet James, saw that we have the same vision, fell in love with Untravelled Paths, and here I am, doing my best and loving it.

What did you want to be when you grew up and are you there yet?

I wanted to be happy, and I am succeeding at it. I always knew that I didn’t want a “standard” life, school, university, marriage, or kids. Honestly speaking, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, I still feel like a child who discovers the world every day bit by bit, and enjoys everything that the universe puts in my path.

How has travel changed you throughout the years?

I started travelling to work and now I’m working to travel. The biggest change would be that I am way more confident now, I make friends everywhere I go. I learned something from every place I went and there are so many people that left a print on my soul. But I would also say that travelling made me incomplete because I can never gather everyone in one place or be happy with one culture. I gained so much from travelling, and yet my heart is now divided in all these places with all the amazing people.

Tell us something that you love about where you are from? 

Romanians are some of the most welcoming people you’ll meet. If you are a guest you will get the best bed, drink, food, and everything that we can offer. Besides that, we have so many traditions and we are big weirdos. Almost every household makes wine and “tuica”, if you visit someone they will feed you and won’t take no for an answer (brace yourself if you have more families to visit), and when you die, you get “coliva” which is like a cake.

Tell us what is your favourite destination and why?

That’s a tough one, like asking which of my tattoos is my favourite and I can’t choose. I love all the places I’ve been to for different reasons, Madagascar has unique nature, Berlin has crazy nightlife, Budapest has escape rooms, Poland and the food and the list goes on. Lapland has a special place in my heart as I’ve been one of Santa’s Elves and Mallorca made me fall in love with turquoise water forever. The more places I go to, the more tattoos I get to add to my collection, and the more I add to my “favourite places” list.

What have you tried on your travels that you’ll never try again?

Travelling by bus for more than 6 hours. The longest bus ride I ever took was 35 hours, I finished reading a thick book before I reached my destination, got crazily bored, and felt like I aged 5 years in those hours. When I plan my travels I will get a plane, boat, train, bicycle, walk, whatever just not a bus. If there is no other alternative than a bus, I add as many stops as possible.

You can take one possession on a desert island, what would it be?

My friends to have some fun! My mom would be already on her way with the rescue team to save us.

Lastly, what do you enjoy the most about your job?

The people, all the interaction, that I get to share a bit of the place I love and the knowledge I collected over the years. But that’s not all, it’s the team and the business made with heart, trying to ensure everyone is happy and has a truly memorable holiday. The support whenever a mistake is made, because mistakes are part of the learning process. The trust I’m given to make my own decisions is lovely and overwhelming at the same time!

We’ve heard what Cristina has had to say, but what does her boss say about her?

I first met Cristina when I employed her on behalf of the Hotel of Ice and from the outset it was obvious that although we are different, we were on the same wavelength so we should complement each other. She’s a bundle of youthful, positive energy combined with an extensive but varied skill set and has a lot of life experience for someone so young. The travel industry has lots of perks but it’s also hard work and so positive energy is crucial during adversity which inevitably comes along from time to time. She made it through the Ice Hotel season which is no mean feat in itself and now we’re lucky enough to have her on our team. I’m excited to work with her and hopefully, this old dog can still show her a thing or two before she surpasses me! Whether you’re working with Cristina or being looked after her on one of our trips you’ll get the benefits of her big heart, fun sense of humour and you can trust that times will never be dull in her company.

Written by Cristina B and James Chisnall