Christine Gilbert is a writer, photographer and documentary filmmaker. She blogs at Almost Fearless, is working on a book and finishing a documentary about digital nomads – The Wireless Generation. She’s currently living in Beirut with her husband Drew and their two-year old son Cole as they attempt to learn Arabic.
Thanks for wanting to be part of our Positive World travel Community! What’s the way you make your travels positive?
I love being able to be creative on the road. From writing, to working on our documentary, to photography, to just making silly videos of our two-year old, travel has been a constant source of creative inspiration.
What are some of the challenges of travelling as a family and a child that is 2 years old?
This is what I tell everyone: having a two year old is hard, travel is easy. In a lot of ways, our life is a lot easier than our friends’ back home. We sleep in everyday, we’re both stay-at-home parents and we’re constantly doing things out and about, which a little kid loves.
Share with our readers 2 songs which make up your travel playlist or remind you of your travel adventures.
Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine and Don’t Slow Down by Matt & Kim. We have a little MP3 player that our 2-year-old listens to, and he plays these over and over again. He also really likes the soundtrack to Slum Dog Millionaire.
Tell us more about the Wi-fi Generation documentary and the purpose of the film?
The Wireless Generation follows the stories of people who have taken working from home to the next level — they don’t just work from home, they work from anywhere in the world. We traveled to five continents to film their stories and tried to find people doing all sorts of different things from blogging to being a university professor to having small children to living and volunteering in Rwanda. At the end of the day, though this film is a story about people. One of our subjects used travel to overcome his shyness. Another has found deep meaning by volunteering to help Burmese refugees and connect with her roots. There’s a story about an unlikely community of digital nomads that convene at Burning Man every year. I think people travel for a lot of different reasons and that was part of what we wanted to share.
What book or movie has inspired you to travel and why?
The Female Nomad was the first big book. Then seriously, don’t laugh, like every cliché book out there: Eat, Pray Love to The Four Hour Workweek. In 2007-2008 before I started traveling I probably read every single travel book that came out that year. I really liked Driving over Lemons. Oh, and of course, the movie: The Beach.
You have recently been learning Mandarin in China, what have you found most difficult about the language?
For me, it was memorising the characters and practicing the tones. I think the language is really easy in a way, the grammar is extremely simple. Yet, I found it hard to hook into the language. In Spanish I might remember a word because it reminded me of something else, or I could create a bridge to an English word, like libro sounds like library, which makes sense because it’s a book. In Chinese, it’s based on a very small number of sounds, compared to English, so you have repetitive Qing Yu, or Yu Qing, or Ke Yu Qing. That’s a fake example, but everything starts to feel similar. Even a single word can have multiple meanings (like Ke). I found it really hard to memorize and I spent a lot of time just drilling vocab.
If someone wrote a book about your travels what would the title be?
Riding on Motorbikes with Babies.
You have dreams of one day sailing a boat. Where would you sail and would it be a year-long adventure?
I want to sail the other half of the Mediterranean. That’s sort of a dream of mine. Everyone thinks of Spain, France, Italy, Greece then maybe Turkey and it’s like the world just disappears after that. I hope things settle down politically in the next few years, because I’d love to sail Turkey to Syria to Lebanon then over to Tunisia.
What is the best travel gadget you have and why?
A mini Dell packed with kids movies that my child now watches on every travel trip!
It seems as though you are one extremely busy mother, you are constantly starting new projects and have new challenges on the horizon. Do you ever just want to sit, relax and soak it all in on a deserted island?
Yes. For about three days and then I start getting bored and inventing work for myself like, “Hmm, look at all these coconuts, maybe we could harvest these and make something.” Then my husband shakes his head at me, because we’ve been through this so many times. I would be the worst person on to have on a deserted island. I’d have a project plan by week two.
If money was no object where would you travel to and what would you do there?
I’d hire a super yacht with crew and sail around the world with my friends.
What are you travel plans after China?
We just got to Beirut! I’m learning Arabic. I’m teaching a blogging course at BlogBrilliantly. We’re finishing the documentary this summer. And Cole and I are going to the beach as often as possible. It’s been great.