Kristen, a self-professed adventure-seeking travel junkie, is the creator and owner of Hopscotch the Globe, a travel and lifestyle website and YouTube channel celebrating all things travel, from destinations to planning to recipes from around the world, with wit, charm and style.
Her video honours include a Judges’ Choice Award at the Vloggers in Paradise Film Festival in Puerto Rico and a Viewer’s Choice Award by Marriott Hotels. Kristen writes, stars in and produces her entertaining videos, offering a unique mélange of travel tips, tricks and unexpected activities, wrapped in her quirky sense of humour.
When I was 18, I went to Paraguay for four months on a high school student exchange program. It was an amazing experience. Then I received a scholarship that paid my college tuition and for a summer abroad. I worked at a TV station in Ghana. I was hooked. Because my tuition was paid for, I spent the money I had saved for college traveling during the summers. I went to Peru with my then-boyfriend Siya Zarrabi – we’re married now and he’s my business partner - to film a documentary focused breaking the stereotypes of developing countries.
After I graduated from college, I went on a 10-month trip around the world – the first three months I traveled on my own, and my husband joined for the last seven. I started Hopscotch just before I left as a way to share my experiences with friends and family. But people started asking me questions and it just exploded.
What separates us from the other blogs is our YouTube component – very few travel blogs include a YouTube channel as an integral part of the blog experience. We use humour in all our videos to tell stories and reenact travel situations, which is also unusual. And I often play characters, rather than myself. It’s our laugh and learn policy!
We partner with tourism boards and other branded products. But we are very picky about our partners; they need to be compatible with the Hopscotch brand.
I’m not! I’m good in the moment. I make money to spend on travel experiences, not to say I have a certain amount in my savings account. I don’t even have RRSPs – I should though, right? I really need to learn more about money. I need to get a balance between my need to live in the moment, and my need to plan for the future.
I’d like to buy land somewhere, probably in British Columbia, and create a sort of commune with my friends. We’d all build our own homes but we would work together to create community. I have seen this way of living in so many cultures – and I want to live like this too. I guess I need to start saving!
Spend some on travel! But I would invest most of it, and develop my dream community.
Photography: Dave Starrett , Editing: Martin Flamand, 2016
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