28-year-old Christianne Risman is a full-time solo travel vlogger and entrepreneur from Surrey in England. She is well established with over 153,000 subscribers on her YouTube account Backpacking Bananas and has a large following on her Instagram as well.
Christianne began vlogging in 2013 to document her travels to family and friends. She travelled with two friends for seven months, starting from Bangkok and has continued backpacking around the world ever since.
Christianne talks about how she turned her love for backpacking into a full-time job and her upcoming plans for 2022!
You now have over 150,000 subscribers on YouTube. What motivated you to start a travel vlog? And why vlog over blog?
When I started travel vlogging, I never would’ve imagined having this many subscribers! I started the channel in 2013 when I was 19 years old. I absolutely loved watching other YouTubers and had aspirations of being a TV presenter so was keen to start my own channel for a while.
When I went backpacking for the first time, it seemed like a great opportunity to make videos of my experiences. I loved the idea of giving information that I wish I had known before travelling. I received lots of positive comments about these kinds of videos which is what has always motivated me to continue creating. Videos have always been far more captivating for me than blogs and I want to produce the content that I personally would enjoy the most.
What countries have you been to so far? Where are you now?
I have travelled to almost 50 countries now! But racking up that number isn’t super important to me as I enjoy spending a lot of time in one place and getting to know it really well. Right now I’m in Thailand (I’m currently in a beautiful cafe on the island of Koh Phangan). It is my second time in Thailand. My first time was actually the first time I EVER went backpacking back in 2013 so it feels like I’m coming full circle a bit. It’s so lovely to be back and revisit some of the spots I went to 9 years ago but also discover new places.
If you could be based in any one of the countries you’ve been to, which would it be?
I would happily live in quite a few of the countries I’ve been to. But my top 3 for this would have to be Mexico, Thailand or Australia. They all have good weather, beautiful beaches and a laid-back lifestyle.
What’s your favourite dish and the grossest food you’ve tried?
My favourite dish has got to be sushi. No matter where I am or what time of the day, sushi is always a good option! But funnily enough, I’ve got to say that wasabi is an absolute no from me – I genuinely don’t know how people eat it!
You are based in the UK. What is noticeably different about travelling to home life?
The weather for sure (but that may be due to the fact I nearly always opt for hot destinations!). I also find it so much easier to meet new people and make friends when I’m travelling.
What’s the most beautiful spot you’ve travelled to?
New Zealand and the Philippines take the top spots for me here! I’m a sucker for bright blue waters and waterfalls and both these destinations have these in abundance.
Is there a country that’s been difficult to enter? What is the most complicated travel experience you’ve had?
Before COVID, I never really ran into many issues. Having a British passport is an absolute blessing when it comes to travel. But getting into Thailand this year put me through the most hurdles I’ve ever had to jump over in order to enter a country! They certainly don’t make it easy or stress-free!
The most complicated travel experience (that I can remember) involved attempting to get a work visa for the US while backpacking in New Zealand. I was due to pick up my passport from the US embassy shortly before flying out of NZ and when I went to collect it, they didn’t have my passport! I managed to get hold of it 24 hours later but as you can imagine, I missed my flight to Fiji and as a 19-year-old travelling solo for the first time – this experience really tested my travel abilities, initiative and independence!
What culture in the world has taught you the most?
It’s a bit cliché as we all know the film The Lion King and the infamous phrase Hakuna Matata meaning “no worries” in Swahili. When I was in Tanzania climbing Mount Kilimanjaro back in 2012, our porters would often say Hakuna Matata, especially in times where we were struggling the most and it really does help to put you in a better mindset and focus on the positives, as opposed to the negative in even the toughest situations. They have a similar culture and mindset to Costa Rica using the phrase “Pura Vida” meaning pure life. They say it a LOT and I think it’s just lovely.
Do you have any upcoming plans for 2022? What countries are top of your bucket list?
After Thailand, I will be flying to Australia. My sister lives in Perth and I haven’t been able to see her in 3 years so I’m so excited! She is also giving birth for the first time so it will be extra special to become an auntie for the first time. I am also co-hosting a tour in Sydney so it will be great to be back East-side as well. Later in the year, I am hosting 2 back to back tours in Pakistan. This was supposed to happen in 2021 but has been postponed so it is highly anticipated. It will be my first time in the country and my first time hosting tours like this. It will be intense but I am so ready for the new and exciting challenge!
There are many countries still on my bucket list but I’ve been thinking a lot about Brazil recently, perhaps that is where I’ll be this time next year but who knows!
Any personal tips for hopeful travel vloggers?
Create content that you would personally want to watch yourself. Try not to focus on the numbers too much – stay true to your own niche! Some videos may perform better than others and it’s not often correlated with how much hard work you put in so no matter what – be proud of your video creations and it will never feel like you put in the hours for nothing.