As an avid fan and devout seeker of mysteries I’ve embarked upon a series of Q&A sessions with my wife, Kristin Luna. There are some things that therapy an open relationship cannot answer in the daily grind of life and since she puts a lot of information about herself on the Internets (that I never see) I figure this is a comfortable way to test learn more things about the girl. Suggestions for questions for future sessions should be placed in the comments section.
Please to be amused.
SVV (aka @scottyvsquared)
Please state your name and the nature of your existence.
Kristin Leigh Luna, 28 years old, residing in…well, the Milky Way galaxy, since I don’t really have a permanent home at the moment. Chocoholic, Southern by birth (but more so by choice), Internet addict, occasional writer.
Do you believe in leprechauns? What about salt?
Having visited Ireland a time or two, I can confirm that leprechauns are, indeed, real. I cannot, however, figure out what happened to my pot of gold. USPS must have lost it somewhere in transit. That tends to happen often when I try to rely on the postal service to deliver important goods.
Regarding salt, I’m somewhat of a condiments freak—i.e. if it tastes good with balsamic vinegar, it will be doused—so I usually forgo in lieu of more exotic sauces and marinades. My husband, on the other hand, creates a saltpocalypse on pretty much everything he devours.
Travel writers live until 97 years old and still submit pitches to twenty-something editors. Is this part of your life plan?
I plan to retire at 30, live off my husband’s income, and sit at home and eat bon-bons and watch soaps all day long (since I’m pretty sure that’s what people who don’t “get” it think happens when you work from home and claim “freelance writer” as employment).
Do you miss your sexy [sic] husband while traveling? Do you think he wants to quit his life and join you as a porter/photographer?
I haven’t traveled without him in awhile now, as he’s already transitioned into part-time porter. I think sailing as my lounge lizard/cabana boy while I slave away at a desk for four months during Semester at Sea this fall is a good first step for him. I also think he’ll adapt to it quite nicely.
Define the meaning behind your blog name. And don’ t give me, “ Oh, I don’ t know because I made it up on a whim.” We want answers.
Why is “I just really like camels…and chocolate” not good enough for you? Okay, FINE. Fine.
Some might say that camel is the ultimate symbol of the nomad—a term I’d say defines my existence pretty accurately, though I might prefer “gypsy” instead—and chocolate a symbol for indulgence, which travel could also be categorized as. Though I still want to just say it’s because rarely does a few hours pass when I’m not eating (or at least contemplating eating) some form of chocolate.
Also, every other travel blog in existence has “travel” or “go” or “nomad” or “backpacking” in it, and I wanted to distinguish myself from the masses.
One of my NYC inner circle, Ryan—you may remember him as dashing usher in our wedding last year—likes to call my blog “Dromedaries & Cocoa” or “Goats & Caramel” so I’m thinking of starting a franchise.
How many camels have you ridden in your life?
Two. I have met dozens others, though, including the one who camps out down the street from my parents’ house in Tennessee for a week each December as a prop for the First Baptist Church’s Living Nativity.
It was my first, Norm, in the Sahara—with whom I spent a very meaningful few days—that launched me into the world of cameltopia. (Not to be confused with cameltoe-topia. The difference a letter or two can make.)
In case I’ve never told the “Camel Girl” story, I will do so now:
While vacationing in Morocco with my girl Megan in 2005, my Berber guide snapped a picture of me on a camel in Morocco (conveniently I’d been camping for three days in the Sahara and thus hadn’t showered…much to my mom’s embarrassment down the road), and the picture made its way back to the States and was published in a handful of newspapers and in all future University of Tennessee study abroad material.
Then, a year later, my mom got the Torchbearer–the UT alumni magazine—in the mail, and I had made the cover! Since so many people that we know are alumni there, I started getting called “Camel Girl.”
Then, a year later, my mom called me and said: “You’re Miss May!” Apparently, I had made the university calendar as well. It’s the photo that won’t stop haunting me. (Why did I not borrow a mirror from someone in the desert and at least apply a dab of concealer before it was taken?!) And on top of that, I took this picture of camel shadows (with a terrible Nikon point-and-shoot) that ended up winning a couple contests, including one in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, so the camel just became my jam.
Coincidentally, camel the color, is probably the one hue not found in my colorful (at times considered garish) wardrobe.
How about leopards? Take any rides on those in the desert?
I tried, but he was too shy.
What is your absolute favorite animal and would you wear it as a fur?
(Are you trying to get PETA to launch a vendetta against me? Or, as my Web manager, are you simply hoping “animal porn” will continue to be my top search result for another three years?)
I’m a lover of all animals (except domestic cats), so that’s a tough one. I’d say it’s a tie between a camel and a monkey if we’re talking land animals. If we’re referencing marine life, then the sea turtle is totally my totem. (Although if ever I were to see a whale shark while diving, I could die a happy girl.)
I would wear an animal pattern on my body, but never a fur. And I’m avidly opposed to hunting for sport, despite my Southern upbringing. (To my knowledge, neither of my parents has owned a gun or even touched one with a 10-foot pole. My mom recently told me a story of how my dad found a gun in one of his friend’s glove compartments and had to call another friend to come remove it as he was too afraid to get near it. You actually took me to a shooting range for the first time in Montana—to learn how to defend myself I should note to all anti-gun readers—and while I feel slightly more comfortable around a pistol, I don’t foresee myself ever going out and shooting just for fun.)
Have you ever killed an animal on purpose and how do you feel about spiders now?
I’m still never going to consider spiders among my friends, but due to my husband’s influence—he who is very Pro Spiders’ Rights—instead of squashing them, I now scream for him to come remove the arachnid from the premises. Though when I worked in Arizona, we would catch tarantulas in the desert and race them. I have proof of this via a picture of a tarantula sitting atop my head that I will gladly scan and post once we’re back in San Francisco and I have access to my print archives.
I accidentally killed a kitten once—in 2003—as I was backing out of my parents’ driveway on my way to my substitute teacher gig at the local elementary school, and I felt sick to my stomach for weeks. The only thing worse than killing an animal is killing a baby animal.
Ella the Sasquatch puppy gets to guest blog here often. Does she pay you $125 dollars for that or does she demand a straight link exchange?
I tried to argue that “while there is no pay at this time, exposure on Camels & Chocolate is more than enough monetary compensation”—hey, it works for all those people “hiring” on Craigslist!—but she’s smarter than that. She demands a surplus of salmon treats, apples and bison jerky out of the deal. To her, that’s worth more than gold.
Which destination on your life list tops the charts of desire? Okay, okay. Pick three.
- The Galapagos Islands for the wildlife and diving.
- Greenland for the scenery.
- Palau just because.
That time you were bleeding beneath the monsoon and hanging out with sharks doesn’t give you nightmares?
No. I tend to block out “I almost died!” situations from all memories. I think that ability to “forget” is pretty crucial to my future as a diver.
Do you still think sharks will bite your face off if you close your eyes in the shower?
Sometimes, particularly around Shark Week each summer when I can’t do enough to avoid the “OMG THIS SHARK IS GOING TO BITE OFF YOUR FACE” ads that are ubiquitous. Luckily, I’ve learned exactly when the magazines start running Shark Week ads and have my husband check out all my entertainment magazines for me for offensive (read: nightmare-inducing) paraphernalia. He also scans my copies of Sport Diver and Scuba Diving monthly and tears out all scary photos and trashes them before they reach my psyche. He’s a peach like that.
I know you’re excited about shark week. Would you rather watch 18 foot great whites devour chum or swallow a broken glass smoothie?
Is the broken glass chocolate flavored? See above.
How many sea turtles would you estimate you’ve encountered? It’s okay to count hatchlings that most likely ended up in the food chain (except Chuck, little dude was tough).
Literally, hundreds. I’ve been lucky enough to be present at two hatchings (with you!) in Borneo and Guatemala, and we’ve been on several dives where we’ve seen dozens at a time.
You usually know not only a person’ s last name and family history but also the name of their pets. How much memory is required to be an effective friend and networker? Is that like a ginko biloba trick or something?
My internal memory is approximately 200,000 TB. It helps that I descended from an elephant. No trick, just mad skills.
Do you know that the ginko tree is older than insects? Oh wait, this interview is about you … sorry.
Some wise guy—who once talked me into marrying him—would probably tell a stranger that and then when asked the reason, his excuse would be, simply: “It’s because of science.” Everything is “because of science” as far as he is concerned. I’m a creative type (with a math background), but science is one thing that truly muddles my brain.
How about that wildebeest that our friend Sarah has hanging on her wall? Bet you can’t name the country in which I swooned you with my knowledge of science.
Romania! That one’s easy. Lots of days plowing through snow with our cheap little rental get-up=lots of time for getting to know one another.
Wait, that was you right?
Please to name for all perpetuity the countries in which we’ve traveled together up until this point.
Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan….and, this fall: Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Malaysia (again), Vietnam (finally!), China, Japan, Costa Rica and Cuba.
California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, New York, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Hawaii, Alaska …and, later this summer, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. Still, I’m at state number 49 and you’re only at 37 (which has more than doubled since we met, I should add): You’ve gotta hurry to catch up!
When will your mother release the lost Betamax tapes of your dance troupe activities? I, for one, am looking forward to side-ponytails and fluorescent clothing.
Mom, want to take this one? My guess is when she cleans out/organizes her photo and video room, which is to say never.
Would you rather swim with a dugong or make-out with seven puppies?
I do like making out with puppies—particularly if they’ve been eating peppermints—but swimming with a dugong in Mozambique has long been on my life list.
Don’t you get to check-off item number 16? Yay.
YES! I’m on it.
When do I get to edit your ebook and what is it about?
Right! My ebook! Um, I’m hoping to have it done by, say, July 12? (This is so you can all hold me accountable and because I have many faults but not making deadlines is not one of them.)
Due to the fact that I get approximately a bazillion emails (a scientific estimate) each week from friends, friends of friends, college students, complete strangers, blog readers asking “how can I be a travel writer, too?”—and because this post remains my top hit from this site—I condensed my wealth of knowledge into a 20,000-word ebook. (Hey, I never claimed to be concise.)
I’m just getting warmed up. When is the next question session?
When the people ask. People, what do you say? Should I open the gates and let SVV get even more personal, or should it stop right here? Perhaps we’ve been spending a little bit too much time together, holed up in a trailer, in the rain, in the woods, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest…
FYI, I fully intend to turn the tables and interview him in a few weeks, as I know you’ve all been DYING to see a glimpse of The Greased-Back Mullet of ’94, haven’t you? And yes, that IS a legit thing. So aside from any questions you may want him to ask me, feel free to ask questions you want me to ask him as well. He is an International Man of Mystery, after all; I’m ready to crack that wide open.