One thing I love about running a blog is the fact that it allows me to meet like minded individuals who often turn into friends. I found out about Charmie and her awesome online boutique, New Crop Shop when she posted a message on our facebook wall. I visited her website and realized that she just so happened to be in Chiang Mai- the same city where I'm based right now!

I just had to meet her!

That was a month ago. Since then, we've been going on photo shoots, trying new restaurants and even managed to co-organize an event: Freelance for Freedom. I can't wait to introduce you to this charming woman! Here's a quick interview:

Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker7

When did you start a travel lifestyle? What inspired you to take that big leap?

I made the leap in June of 2013. We took a month long road trip through the US and was enchanted by how beautiful our own backyard was in which we lived within. Every new horizon we woke up to just kindled our fire for adventure, and that was more than enough inspiration to get us on a one way flight.

Do you still keep a home base? Or are you traveling long term? And why do you choose that style?

When we launched New Crop Shop we decided to call Chiang Mai our home base. We still like to travel as light as possible so we needed a base to house our inventory.

We set out with an intention for a long term travel and have really adopted it into our views and ways of living. It's an amazing sense of freedom to have a balance of living life and passionately working.
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How do you manage to keep traveling? Is there any special work that allows you to fund your trips?

We both work freelancing full-time. I work with amazing clients that I was working with in the US, a lot from our Austin helping them with their design marketing, social media and online management. My boyfriend Aaron works with pixels all day designing anything from websites to shoe boxes. We also recently launched New Crop Shop which combines our passion for supporting creating freedom, our travels and our trinkets.

Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker1

What kind of skills or know how would you consider necessary for someone who is thinking of long term travel?

Not necessarily a skill but a quality to trust in your intuition, to listen to that gut feeling telling you can do it. Also curiosity, it will have you meeting the most wondrous people and seeing places you could have never thought of. Everything else you can learn as you go. I seriously believe that you'll figure it out, it's our intrinsic human instinct to survive.

Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker2

What kind of major adjustments have you had to undergo to keep traveling?

Time management, and budgeting. Time management because when traveling long term is not a vacation, so finding purpose in your travel and productivity is key to fulfilling long term travel. Also budgeting, because when everything is a quarter of the cost as it is back home, it's easy to indulge, and often. So giving ourselves a budget has allowed us to save and keep traveling.

Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker4

What was your inspiration for starting New Crop Shop and what what makes you stand out?

In the universe of handmade and handcrafted goods we tend to gravitate towards the indigenous and nostalgic side of things. We stand out because we're gathering our own tribe of people with old souls who wishes to make a connection with culture.

Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker9

Is there a cause or ideology behind New Crop Shop?

We love supporting creative freedom, we love seeing creatives, artists and artisans' create things with the freedom as they envisioned it. If they stitch fabrics all day, they probably don't want to make the same exact one over and over again. It's a high demand market out there, but it's more fulfilling for them as individuals to create slowly with intention and workmanship.

Tell me about some well loved items you have in your backpack and a short story behind them.

My 8 year old computer, she's a mule! She allows me to work, and stay connected to the other side of the globe while I travel. My journal, during long trips you find yourself reaching anything from clarity, to frustrations, to enlightenment, really tuning up your sense of awareness, and to translate it into words is an important part of reflections.

Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker3

What's your advice for all the women out there who want to start living their passions but feel like they're stuck?

Discontent is the first step of progress-- only if you do something about it. If not, discontent of being stuck will feel as terrible as it did yesterday, and the case of wanderlust can be a blessing or a curse. You don't have to have it all figured out, yes your family might not approve, your friends might think you're crazy or crazy awesome but I always think if you haven't gotten fired for doing something half-heartedly, then you will kick-butt doing something you're passionate about. Don't wait for the "perfect time" because that is what got you stuck in the first place.

Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker6

Do you think you will ever stop traveling and settle down somewhere?

Yes, possibly. I think one day the thought of a home we build with our own two hands, raising our kids to dream out loud, a fruitful garden, and a community we love will be appealing in its own time. Travel might slow down, but that's a journey all in itself.
Sole Sister Spotlight: Charmie Stryker11

Charmie is a style enthusiast with a wild imagination and a bohemian heart. She's currently in transit chasing the indigenous side of art, style and travel. She was originally born in the Philippines and just moved from Austin TX therefore she claims to speak her own language, Texas Tagalog. She loves all people, places, and things that beckons for a double take. See her collection of these people, places and things on her site:

Want more? Read other features on Sole Sister Spotlight.

Do you know of travelers who conquer the world one country at a time? We would love to interview them for Sole Sister Spotlight. Please send us an email at solesisters (dot) weare(at)gmail(dot)com. We look forward to your suggestions!

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Gorgeous photos and I love the message of this interview, particularly "discontent is the first step of progress" …I'm at a crossroads like this at the moment and I already know how exciting the future is going to be for me because of this thought.

  2. Thanks for dropping by Colleen! Happy to know you are also on a journey of discovery yourself. Cheers to more exciting adventures!

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