Christina Vidal is living her best life. From being named one of Travel & Leisure’s top luxury travel Instagrams to making it onto our own list of influencers to watch, everybody is talking about this sun-kissed explorer. The blogger/influencer/swimsuit designer gives Porthole an insider’s look at her nautical beginnings, intercontinental move, and wining down around the world.
In your sophomore year of college you embarked on a semester at sea and visited 12 countries in 4 months! How did that change you as a person?
In endless ways! It was my first time seeing Asia, Africa, and South America. Over those four months, I became more appreciative and inquisitive. My semester abroad also shaped my entire career. It was the first time I tried blogging — really as a way to keep my family and friends in the loop with my travels. But that little blog turned into so much more. All of the sudden, random students were coming up to me saying, “Are you Christina? My mom told me I had to meet you! She’s been following your blog every day.” This was 2010. Blogs were rare and people loved being vicariously transported to a semester abroad from my stories, and I loved bringing everyone along for the journey. That Semester at Sea blog completely paved the path for me to start Jetset Christina.
What was the biggest culture shock when you decided to move to Bali?
I left my city life for a life on the beach, which sounds glamorous until you think about the fact that I quit my cushy corporate marketing job and immediately needed to turn my blog into a business. But, when I got to Bali, I was shocked to find out just how many expats were doing similar things. It turned out to be such a creative and inspiring hub of entrepreneurs and doers. It was the best possible place to build my business. These days I think the biggest culture shock is when I come back to the States!
With your swimsuit line, where do you draw inspiration from for all those colorful designs?
I recently launched Watercolors — my own line of one-piece swimsuits! They are all inspired by beautiful destinations around the world with names like “The Rio” (featuring the tropical emblem of a toucan) or “The Sahara” (a bold number in a feisty leopard print). I’ve always loved one-pieces, and was so excited to design the perfect one! I made most of the designs reversible, so you can rock a fun colorful design one day, and a beautiful solid the next. I worked hand-in-hand with the all-women-run factory in Colombia to design the suits, and we are so proud of them. The material is amazing — the softest, silkiest swim material ever, and the fit is even better!
We see you’re quite the wine enthusiast! What has been your favorite wine-themed destination/excursion?
I grew up just an hour away from Napa Valley, so I’m lucky that I got to learn about and appreciate wine from a young age. My fiancé has famously said before we dated he had never once been to Napa Valley, and in the first year we dated he went five times — or more times than most go in a lifetime. My favorite wine region (besides Napa) that I’ve been to is Stellenbosch, South Africa. It’s incredible. And my dream trip is a week wine tasting in France.
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You’ve recently taken a trip aboard Windstar’s Star Legend. Tell us about your experience! Has cruising changed since your semester-at-sea days?
Windstar is such a gem of a cruise line. Their ships are small — only about 200 people total — and feel more like a yacht than a cruise ship. Aside from the beauty and personal feel of their ships, Windstar’s service is what stands out the most. The staff is the best in the cruising business — each person you come into contact with knows your name from day one, and is ultra-personable and helpful. The food and wine were amazing, and the rooms were huge compared to other cruise lines. While it was easily the nicest cruise I have been on, cruising doesn’t feel all that different from my Semester at Sea days. I’m still my absolute happiest on a boat, and I treasure the days when I wake up and open my window to the ocean racing by.
Follow @JetsetChristina on Instagram or on her blog jetsetchristina.com to stay up to date with her latest adventures.
Photo: Christina Vidal