A huge part of travel for me is the people I meet and the friends I make in the places I get to experience. Some of, well most of my best friends are people I have met while living overseas; the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what?
This whole travel life. The coming; going frequently, the moving towns often; regularly. The fact that we will rarely live in the same place for long. And the feeling of saying goodbye/reuniting with each other. So when I meet people who share this same passion, I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have
It should be no surprise to anyone that I absolutely adore New Zealand and left a bit of my soul in that country when I lived there so instantly when I came across some of the best images I’ve ever seen of that country I was instantly hooked. Little did I know that I would continue to be awed and amazed by the lady behind the lens. Carmen Huter is a New Zealand based, Austrian born adventurer, photographer and sunchaser as per her Instagram bio and that describes her perfectly. Even though we have never met we have chatted for months and with every new adventure she embarks on I learn something new and have found countless new places to add to my ever growing bucket list. Her joie de vivre is absolutely contagious and if you don’t believe me then check out her stories, any time you see that big grin on her face you wont be able to help but smile along with her. She is a mega inspiration to me and so many others not only with her photography skills but with her ambition and drive to create a better World in any way she can. For that and so many other reasons she is this Months WanderWoman!
Alright girl, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
My name is Carmen Huter. I am 25 years young and from a small town surrounded by mountains in Austria. Seven years ago, I came to New Zealand on a quest to study business English. Long story short, while I did study business English followed by a Bachelor in Management, I still call New Zealand home and have moved from the corporate to the creative industry. I am a travel photographer. My work has allowed me to explore more of this beautiful planet we live on and has been featured by Instagram, National Geographic, the Daily Mail and many treasured clients. To create more than you consume are the words I live by. Finally, I deeply value sustainability, learning, sunshine, kindhearted people, and creativity.
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
My mother tongue is German.
My favourite subject in school was Math.
Given the circumstances in my family, I left home aged 15 years.
One of my favourite places, probably the #1 ideal location actually, is right at home with my fiance and friends.
I could eat fresh berries and chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Oh, and my last name is not Hunter; it's Huter. It's become such a common mistake that I recently bought the rights to carmenhunter.com - judging by the inflow of emails from there I have missed out on a heap of work over the last few years. Ha!
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
Not at all. I received a big atlas for Christmas when I was around 10 years young. I’d spend hours and hours gazing through those pages the following years. This is also what inspired me to attend further education in NZ. What really did start my travel journey though was the fact that the school I attended in New Zealand went into receivership, I lost my visa, and all I was legally able to do was travel! So I did and haven't looked back since.
How do you decide where to travel to?
A mixture of stories from early explorers to movies or documentaries I watch, friends I chat to, and of course, Instagram.
What is your travel style?
As a photographer, being out and about for sunrise and sunset is a must.
I also value beautiful, veggie friendly, local food (I’ve never had KFC or Burger King, for example, and I’m not planning on it either lol).
Unless I'm on the job, I prefer to stay in a place for at least two nights to really experience it.
Oh, and last but not least, you’ll always find me hiking, swimming or doing other fun things outside.
Over the years I have really come to appreciate slow travel. Instead of rushing from one mountain to another, I now prefer to have time off to reflect, read, and work. As uber-privileged as it may sound, constant travel can be really tough on your physical and mental wellbeing, so the ability to ground myself is something I cherish very much.
Top 3 bucket list places you’d love to visit?
Greenland, Tahiti, and Namibia.
You have a passion for sustainable travel and “creating more than you consume” has this always been a passion of yours?
I wish the answer were yes, but that would be very far from the truth. My let's call it awakening to the world of sustainability happened rather abruptly when I fell very ill during my university years. I eventually realised what I put in and on my body has a significant effect on my health. From then on, there was no stopping. I changed my diet, cleared out my cosmetics and makeup, began to learn about the fast fashion industry, studied more on climate change, carbon emissions, and so on. Ultimately, this journey coupled with me discovering a passion for photography a few years on from that led me into my 'create more than your consume' mission.
Best & worst travel moment?
I am beyond lucky to have so very many best travel moments I can look back on. Just last week, my fiance and I spent a week together (which is rare, because our jobs both take us to opposite sides of the world regularly) and we camped in some beautifully remote mountains before stuffing our tummies with ridiculous amounts of chocolate cake back in the local towns. It doesn't get much better than this if you ask me.
Other favourite travel moments include walking to celebrating Christmas diving on the Banda Islands after spending 16h on a dodgy cargo ship to get there many years ago, solo travelling across China and hiking in the Himalaya in Nepal.
In terms of worst travel moments, I'm not sure if I had any really horrific ones. Of course, plenty of things happened along the way, including but most definitely not limited to falling ill with malaria while camping and self-driving across East Africa, a motorbike accident on Java, Indonesia, getting knocked out while zip lining in Ecuador, food poisoning paired with a hefty dose of loneliness in China; you get the gist. ;) All of these moments came with some sort of silver lining and experience of growth and self-discovery I wouldn't have had otherwise. Not going to lie though, malaria sucked and killed my immune system, so that's that haha.
How do you think social media is impacting how people travel, yourself included?
It both inspires and distracts travellers. I have many thoughts on this, but all I really want to recommend your readers to do is to use social media with the right intentions of connecting and discovering, as opposed to chasing numbers or falling into the trap of comparison. Getting off our phones more helps too. :)
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
It’s okay not to have it all figured out. In fact, it's normal. Everyone around you is making it up as they go as well. Trust yourself. You have it all within you.
Famous Last words for all the wanderers out there...
Create more than you consume.
Consider your intentions more.
Oh, and you don’t have to see and do it all. Slow travel is where the magic happens.
So if you aren't yet inspired or filled with a crazy wanderlust then be sure to check our Carmen's social channels to tip you right over the edge! Click on the links below to follow along her incredible adventures and see what projects she's got in the works.