About Me

I’m Kristin Luna, travel writer by profession, Southerner by birth—and by choice. I grew up in the Nashville area and moved back to Tennessee at the tail end of 2011 after a decade away. I’ve been blogging since 2007, which pretty much makes me a senior citizen in Internet years. Here’s what I look like on an average day:

I’ve been working as a journalist for 15 years, covering an array of travel and feature topics for a smattering of national, international, and regional newspapers and magazines. On the side—and to satiate my pop culture craving—I’ve also served as a red carpet minion correspondent for a handful of entertainment magazines since the early days of my career. Thus, the content on this site isn’t strictly travel-related. I mean, I know you all like to hear the fluffy stuff, too, like how I interviewed Ben Affleck and left thinking he was a terrorist, or that Clive Owen is every bit as pretty in person. I’ve interviewed thousands of celebrities, literally—from funny guys Tom Hanks, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart to glamor gals like Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Julia Roberts—but if you ask me on the spot who my favorites are, I clam up and can’t think of a one (though if I ever get the chance to interview Taylor Swift, I can retire then and there). Here’s a bit of a celebrity tell-all if you’re really curious to hear the full scoop.

At the end of 2011, I returned from a round-the-world voyage by ship, which was hands down the coolest experience I’d ever had. Best of all, I was paid to do so by being hired as the assistant field office coordinator for Semester at Sea, a study abroad program sponsored by the University of Virginia. I’m going back on the ship as communications coordinator for the May 2012 Enrichment Voyage and hope this is just the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship with the non-profit.

I spent four foggy years in San Francisco before relocating back to my roots and dragging my husband, SVV, along for the ride. No, I’m not one of those bloggers who prefers to preserve the anonymity of her spouse; rather, those are his initials and the way he is still entered in my phone. (His government name is Scott, lest you be insanely curious.) We met in Utrecht, Netherlands on Sept. 2, 2005, then lived together in Aarhus, Denmark, before parting a year later and returning to our respective corners of the United States. (He also lived in Sicily for three years while in the U.S. Navy; I also lived in Edinburgh for a stint.) In the end, I left my magazine job and moved 3,000 miles for him. I’d say things worked out: We were married on May 22, 2010 in a seaside inn and pub on the California coast.

Speaking of which… I spent a couple years living in Manhattan, in a shoebox of an apartment, with roommates. While there, I worked for several of the major publishing houses, including Newsweek, Conde Nast, Time Inc., Bauer and Wenner Media by day, and on the red carpet circuit by night. I learned crucial elements key to my survival, like that Richard Gere is the scum of the earth (true story) and restaurants dedicated solely to one food—macaroni, PBJ, grilled cheese, you name it—do exist. The only thing I really miss about having an office job in New York is the daily offering of Crumbs cupcakes. A sample of my magazine and newspaper clips can be read via my online portfolio. Want to hire me for a gig? Contact me here. Or read more about me in the media? You can do that here.

I spend anywhere from four to seven months out of every 12 on the road, usually on assignment, including both far-flung international trips and closer-to-home jaunts around the United States. Scotland was my first love, and it’s still one of my favorite places on the planet. I’d move back there in a heartbeat if, you know, the sun ever actually came out to say hi.

Kristin Luna in San FranciscoSVV and I added a new addition to our small family in 2010: a Maltese pup named Ella. She makes frequent appearances on this site, as she’s pretty darn cute and a road warrior to boot, and even hijacks my blog to add her own two cents from time to time.

Maltese puppy | Camels & ChocolateI have visited more than 100 countries both for my job, as well as my endless need to see every corner of the world; however, I feel like such a failure every time I get an e-mail asking me what to eat in Laos or where to get the best bang for your buck in Koh Samui (I plead the fifth to both of the aforementioned questions, seeing as I’ve been to neither). Cut me some slack if you will; I’m still young (not yet 30) and have nearly two-thirds of the world left to cover!

Kristin Luna and a koala | Camels & ChocolateI played tennis in college and have readopted my fitness fanaticism. In August 2008, I ran my first marathon, in San Francisco, the most ridiculous place a rookie could ever pick to run 26.2 miles. I’ll be honest: It sucked. I do plan to do more, however, in the future when my travel schedule allows for such tedious training—and in much flatter locales—but in the meantime, I try to compete in halves as frequently as possible.

Kristin Luna in the San Francisco MarathonAll the photos on this site are taken by SVV or me, unless otherwise noted. We have a bit of an obsession with photography and are forever trying to fine tune our skills. Here’s a rundown of the equipment we use. We’re still working on perfecting our jumping shots. (I think we’ve come pretty close.)

We’re also big scuba divers, so expect underwater coverage from around the globe as we explore the depths of the sea.

What else…? Well, I really do like camels. And chocolate. A lot. Enough even to have a website named after them both. There’s more meaning to the name than that, but I won’t go there here and now. I would post that famous picture of me atop a dromedary that made it’s way all over the Southeast and beyond, but I was a) a bit chunkier then, b) not wearing any makeup, and c) hadn’t showered in days as I was camping in the Sahara at the time, so I’ll save you the disappointment. Here’s my shadow on that very camel instead:

If there’s something else you want to know, just ask—you can find me at CamelsAndChocolate (AT) gmail (DOT) com—or check out this Q&A my husband did with me, revealing my deepest, darkest secrets (like my beliefs in salt and leprechauns, my take on spiders and whether or not I’d ever consider wearing fur). My life is an open book. I mean, I wouldn’t have a blog otherwise, now would I?

Kristin Luna in San Francisco