Lulu Escapes meets French travel blogger: Chiara Barrasso
Chiara is a French travel blogger based in Bordeaux and, as you might recall, we travelled together to Santorini last year. She is a real travel enthusiast and a perfectionist when it comes to getting the perfect Instagram shot. Chiara loves discovering new countries and cultures, meeting people around the world and being in contact with nature and animals. She mainly travels with her boyfriend J-E and shares their adventures on her travel blog.
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What do you enjoy the most about travelling?
I love travelling since my youngest age. There are many reasons, but I think the first one is the feeling I have when I’m discovering a place for the first time. I love the feeling of visiting a new country for the first time. Especially when I’ve been dreaming of this for a while!
What was your favorite travel experience ever?
It’s hard to choose because I loved each of my experiences in Asia but have two favorites ones. For me, there are two different kind of travel experiences. One wilder, like a road trip, and the other one, more “comfortable” when you are staying in luxury hotels. And I love experiencing these two sides!
The wild one was my trip in Bali. It was amazing! Bali is one of my favorite countries to travel because the landscapes and experiences to do are so varied! From waterfalls to rice fields, mountains, to beautiful beaches, diving to floating breakfasts. There are so many places to visit, people are really kind and the food is amazing. We have been to Bali, but also Gili Meno and Nusa Penida. It was really easy to visit all the islands around Bali, it is the perfect destination for a long trip!
The “comfortable” best experience we had was the Maldives. We went there recently and it was a magical experience. The Maldives are seriously the most beautiful place where we had the chance to visit. We stayed in three different resorts: the Movenpick, the Fushifaru and the Soneva Fushi. It was totally paradise, turquoise water, white sand, sandbanks, and palm trees. It was also amazing because we love diving: we had the chance to see turtles, sharks, rays and so many colourful fish … Everything that we love. We also experienced a seaplane flight, one of the dreams of my boyfriend JE and it was an magical experience to see the atolls from above!
You are currently living in New Caledonia! Tell us a bit more about this recent move. Are you missing France?
Yes, I am currently in New Caledonia for a 6-month Internship. To be graduated at the end of the year, I had to do an international experience aboard. I have always dreamt about living on an island and to visit islands in the Pacific (Tahiti, New Caledonia, Fiji…), so when I had this amazing work opportunity in New Caledonia I immediately said yes!
I’m currently living in Nouméa for a few months, the capital of the island. It’s really pretty and I love being able to go to the beach everyday and to visit the islands on the weekend!
Yes, I miss France a little bit, not for the weather of course hehe, for my family, friends and dogs!
Please share a few facts about yourself that probably most people don’t know about you.
My biggest passion is diving, I love the contact with marine animals and I have a huge passion for sharks! These animals are so fascinating! Also, if you’ve been following me for a long time, you’ll know that I have been with my boyfriend for almost 8 years and we have amazing projects together that we will be sharing with you soon!
If you knew what you know today regarding the travel blogging business, what would you have done differently when you started your travel blog?
Nothing. I think everything is happening at the right time for each of us! Everyone is different, has a different vision, we should not compare ourselves to others. I think that in this industry only the hard work pays and you have to be very, very, very patient!
Have you ever liked a place so much that you went back a second time?
Yes of course. I think it is very difficult to see everything about a place in one time. I like return to the same place 2 or 3 times to see more of a country I loved. For example, I went to Bali two times, but also Maldives, Greece, Morocco, Bali and the Bahamas! But now I really want to visit new countries!
Are you earning a stable income through travel blogging?
Yes, content creation is now my fulltime job, but it was not easy to reach this point. It was 2 years of hard work, determination and sacrifices. Creating a community and make content creation as a living is a very long process. Moreover, brands want more and more followers, views and engagements for partnerships and there is so much competition in this industry that you need to be different. I think the only way to succeed is to be passionate, creative and always try to improve your own skills.
For you, what are the biggest upsides and downsides of being a travel blogger?
The upsides are of course the chance we have to travel the world together, and live magical experience. Also, I love the link I have with my community and sharing with them. They are so supportive and so inspiring! Also, there is so much freedom to work as a freelance, you can work when you want and where you want. You are working for yourself, so it’s a lot more motivating. Also, since we started this amazing adventure we meet so many amazing people and creative souls around the world!
The downsides are the Instagram pressure and the relationships with brands. Creating a community is very hard and long, also there is so much competition, that’s really hard. You have to be different, original and authentic. There is a pressure to post every day, to always create original content…
The second downside is the relationships with brands. Most brands are serious and offer real collaborations. But there are so many brands that want us to work for free. They do not understand that you won’t pay a rent with a dress or a bikini! Photography and brand promotion is my full time job. Creating and editing photos takes so much time, we can’t do it for free, it’s a real job. Also, content creators are doing several jobs at the same time: photographer, model, artistic director, etc. It’s a lot more interesting for brands to hire us than a full production team. Also, we offer a niche target audience which is more specific and engaging than the mass marketing like TV and magazines.
What are your 3 main tips to get the best travel shots for Instagram?
That’s a good question! For me the first tip is the preparation and organization. Photography depends on multiples parameters like light, distance, focal, spot, hour of the day, etc. If you can anticipate the direction of the light, the best moment to take a sunset, best place to take the picture, etc. you will get a better shot!
The second tip is perseverance. Sometimes when you are learning about photography it takes a very long time to create what you have in mind! If you are learning by yourself, watch Youtube tutorials, blogs posts and practice! You can spend several hours taking pictures and at the end of the day you just have one good photo. Never give up!
The last tip is the equipment. Don’t try to have the best camera on the market at the beginning, but try to understand all parameters in photography (manual mode: ISO, speed, exposure…) You have to understand everything about your camera and how you should set your camera for the shooting. When you start to be a good photographer you can invest in better equipment!
Which other female travel bloggers inspire you the most?
My favorite account of all times is @helloemilie because she sees the beauty in the small things and she has so much talent to capture the beauty of every place!
If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?
Tahiti is my number one dream destination! For me it is the definition of heaven on earth! The lagoons looks amazing, the landscapes are varied and it’s a beautiful place for diving/snorkelling! I would also love to visit the Seychelles and the Philippines!