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Bronx native, Olivia Christine Perez is a woman exemplifies the word: creative. As a writer, photographer, creator, and more she found pure joy in embracing nature’s beauty all while empowering others to invest in the same experiences for personal wellness. Tune into our exclusive interview with Olivia Christine, popularly known for her brand, O.Christine as she opened up to us about what it’s like living with lupus and she didn’t let it get in the way of her traveling.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Olivia Christine Perez and I am city girl from The Bronx obsessed with the world and its natural wonders. I am a writer, photographer, and creator, who found joy and improved health by prioritizing personal wellness, investing in experiences, and embracing the outdoors.

Living with lupus for 15+ years, I have learned that while outdoor travel can be an effective way to find wellness, the homogenous “look” of the industry is long overdue for a makeover.

I strive to diversify the outdoors by sharing inspiring photos and informative guides that empower more people to experience the same. I am excited to advocate for more women of color, natural hair, and autoimmune diseases both outdoors and in wellness travel.

What inspired the creation for O. Christine?

O. Christine was created while I was in college, 4-5 years before it became a travel and wellness blog. What was once a portfolio of my creative projects was now a safe space for me to share my transformational journey from being a 9-5 career woman to a curious adventurer.

What inspired me to allow O. Christine to spread its wings was realizing that the more I pursued this passion to explore, the less stressed and unhealthy I became and resultantly, the more my Lupus improved. O. Christine was a “self-healing” project turned into a reliable resource.

Why do you believe it is so important for us as humans to embrace the outdoors?

We are meant to be outdoors! I will always love being from the city but there is no denying that the benefits of sunlight, outdoor activities, and fresh air go beyond our physique. In a society where the “hustle” and burnout is almost praised, outdoor travel brings balance. It can improve mental and emotional health, promote whole-body fitness, and boost our immune systems. It may also help us save the earth — after all, the human condition often requires us to directly connect with something before growing to care for it.

You are very open with your readers about having Lupus. Can you tell us how you do not let it get in the way of traveling and exploring the world?

Years ago, lupus was once a challenge for me — and a significant roadblock along my traveling journey. There were years when my kidney function, medications, and procedures prohibited me from going very far. It was upsetting but my reality.

These days, I am sure to see the doctor every 3-6 months, communicate my travel schedule, and plan itineraries that prioritize rest, destress, and hydration (which are big triggers for me).

This is a difficult task when you’re traveling with others because we all travel at different paces. It has been a learning process to be able to say, “No” and accept my physical limitations. But I know the more I take care of myself, the more I can see and do.

Resources on O. Christine:

It is so difficult to choose a favorite! For the outdoors, I love the Americas. The USA and Latin America have an array of outdoor experiences that fit my travel style. Their diverse landscapes and climates leave every corner breathtaking. Self-guided trekking across Torres del Paine in Patagonia, Chile, really touched my soul. I think it is the first time I cried while gazing at nature. It is also the first time I saw a glacier!

Do you mind offering your best advice for those who aspire to travel the world but may not know where to start?

Many people don’t talk about this but first, check your finances. If not traveling means paying your rent, know your priorities. Second, if you have trouble saving money, create a travel fund and slowly start allocating a portion of your earnings to that fund in the same way you allocate for bills and miscellaneous expenses.

Once your finances are in order (and of course, your health) — “Just do it!” You don’t have to take a huge trip or be away for a month to get started. Have flexible dates and use search engine fare calendars to find an inexpensive flight… and just go. Try it for a long weekend. Then, maybe a week.

My first spontaneous trip in 2012 was inspired by a Groupon Getaways sale I spotted. My second spontaneous trip in 2013 was using fly.com‘s list of “Today’s Best Fares”. Now I almost always choose my trips based on the cheapest destination I can find!

Here are some helpful resources on O. Christine:

 

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All images provided by O.Christine