Go Magazine

A prototype travel magazine, with a real interview and photos from Christianne Risman, a full-time travel backpacker, entrepreneur, and vlogger ("Backpacking Bananas").

Role Designer, Interviewer Timeline 3 weeks


The backstory

This project did not require a real interview. I could have used dummy text (lorem ipsum being a popular choice among the design world) to fill in the space. But I saw this project as an opportunity to reach out to my favorite travel idols in hopes of having them answer some of my burning questions. Lucky enough for me, one of them responded.

You can flip through a digital version of the final product here.

The photography used in the feature story was provided by Christianne Risman and Yahia Barakah.


Read the interview with Christianne Risman

Shannon Kirkpatrick: To get started, just tell the readers of Go Magazine about yourself. When and how did you started traveling? When did you first get the itch to travel?

Christianne Risman: My name is Christianne, I’m a full-time travel vlogger. I’m 26 years old and I have been backpacking on and off since I was 18 years old. It started with a group expedition called World Challenge where we travelled to Tanzania, did some volunteering and climbed Kilimanjaro (so started small, ha!). At the time, Instagram and social media were not such a big thing so all my travel inspiration came from TV documentaries and travel magazines. Watching and consuming anything travel related just made me so excited and want to hop on a plane that very second. I couldn’t wait to explore the world.

S.K.: What advice do you have for students and people with not much money but dreams of traveling one day, and how do you stay on budget?


C.R.: Know that it’s okay to start small and that some countries are much more affordable than you think. Do your research, plan a trip, have a budget and work towards that goal. It may take some sacrifices, but know that it will be worth it in the end.

S.K.: How did you get past the usual excuses—not enough time or money—for not traveling?

C.R.: For me, there were never any excuses. Travelling was all I cared about and I would do whatever it took to get what I needed for my trips. I literally centered my life around acquiring temp work until I had enough money to head on a trip. Then I would travel, come back home, and repeat.

S.K.: When and where was your first trip? How did you save up and plan?

C.R.: After Tanzania in 2012, my first big unsupervised trip was in 2013. A whopping 7 month round-the-world which I would start with 2 friends and we’d travel together on and off through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji and the USA. We’d all been saving up pretty much our whole way through Sixth Form and in the first 6 months of our gap year. We planned it quite literally just by doing our own research, collecting recommendations and working things into a logistical order.

S.K.: How do you control spending and budgeting once you’re on the trip?

C.R.: I set a budget for myself before going on a trip. I do my research and make sure it’s realistic. And then when I’m on the road, I track my spending. I write down every single thing that I purchase, add it all up, and make sure I’m on track with my original budget. It’s okay to go over or under some days, it’s all about balance!

S.K.: Can you recommend websites to find cheap flights and accommodation for people just getting started?

C.R.: I always start by opening up an incognito window on the internet. Then I will check Skyscanner and Momondo. I always do a flexible search (as opposed to searching for specific flying dates) as you often find cheaper deals when being flexible.

S.K.: Can you give any tips that you have for staying safe as a solo female traveler?

C.R.: I think there is this misconception that staying safe as a solo female traveller requires some sort of superpower but ultimately it really just comes down to trusting your instincts and being sensible. IE - avoid going off the beaten track alone and/or at night. Dress appropriately for the location you’re in. Keep your valuables concealed at all times.

S.K.: What would you recommend as a first backpacking trip, for budget and experiences?

C.R.: The typical beginner backpacker trail in South East Asia is the Thailand-Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia loop. It is great because of how popular it is with backpackers so meeting fellow travellers is guaranteed. There are so many amazing things to do and see AND they are some of the most affordable countries in the world, so you can spend an extended amount of time there, without breaking the bank.

S.K.: What is your favorite travel story/experience?

C.R.: Getting my Open Water PADI qualification in Utila, Honduras was a really special time for me. It was my first experience of scuba diving and introduced me to the whole underwater world that I’d never seen before. I’ve now gone on to become a Rescue Diver and love everything about scuba diving culture.

S.K.: What are some of the biggest illusions people have about travel, backpacking, and making it a lifestyle?

C.R.: People think we are on holiday 24/7. And although it is wonderful, it requires a lot more hard work, determination and sacrifice - that people don’t see on social media. It’s not a lifestyle that suits everyone. We are not ‘lucky’ and haven’t just fallen into it. It’s a lifestyle that we have chosen and worked towards and continue working towards to keep it going.

S.K.: Any last advice?

C.R.: I believe anyone is capable of having a travel lifestyle. But it requires commitment, sacrifice and a bit of creativity. You have to want it enough to make it happen.