TRAVEL with Carlotta Cisternas

Today I'm thrilled to share a short interview featuring Carlotta. God led Carlotta to an au pair opportunity in Nairobi and she has been there for the past 5 months; she heads home in less than a month.  From travelling essentials, trying moments, trusting God, and encouraging lessons (alongside her beautiful photographs!) Carlotta shares her journey and her heart. 

In terms of makeup, clothing, food, and books, what are your travelling essentials this year?  
Less is more. When you travel for 6 months, you naturally simplify. I've been using coconut oil religiously on my face and have simplified my makeup routine to just eyeliner and mascara. My wardrobe consists of basic pieces that I can mix and match. I didn't bring any books other than my Bible with me because space was tight, but you can almost always purchase inexpensive paperbacks at your destination. I would also recommend bringing some sort of protein/energy bars when traveling! Traveling is exhausting but there isn't always time or opportunity to eat.

Was moving to Kenya harder or easier than you expected? 
Both. I underestimated the homesickness that would hit me in the gut almost immediately, but adjusting to living in Kenya was easier than I'd anticipated. When you first move a foreign country, you have to live day to day, otherwise it will be too overwhelming. And as far as culture shock goes, I've had it easier because I live in Nairobi, which is the most developed and metropolitan city in East Africa. There are good days and bad days, though, and they come in waves.

What tips would you share to someone travelling overseas alone for the first time?
It can be scary, but don't let yourself think about all that could go wrong. Enjoy it! Traveling alone teaches you a lot about yourself and it's fascinating. The hardest part is leaving, and once you get past that, you'll be alright. You are stronger and can withstand a lot more than you think. 

What has God been teaching you having lived and flown ‘solo’ for a while? 
He's been teaching me the importance of community. He's made me more relaxed and easy going, allowed me not to sweat the small stuff. He's taught me about home. Most importantly, though, he's taught me about himself.

Is there a particular memory or life-lesson that you be taking home from your journey to Kenya?
It's hard to say what will stand out until I'm back home, but God has made me a stronger person in Kenya. He's smoothed out some of my rough edges and has built my faith to be stronger than ever. I never knew what it was like to fully trust in Jesus until I was sitting in my apartment sobbing because I felt so weary and lost and sad. He's tenderly picked me up over and over and given me grace day after day. I suppose I've truly learned that even when I'm alone physically, I'm never without his strength and guidance. 

Where to next?  Has this journey made you want to travel even more? 
I'm not sure where life will take me next! I don't think I'll ever lose the travel bug, but I've also realized how important coming home is.

Assuming this trip required a lot of bravery, courage, and trust in God, how would you recommend building that sense of bravery and trust?  
Well first off, I'm not brave or courageous. My strength is 100% from God and he has worked wondrouslymiraculously in me. If you follow where God leads, he won't let you down. There's a wonderful quote by C.S. Lewis in which he says, "I know the words ‘leave it to God’ can be misunderstood, but they must stay for the moment. The sense in which a Christian leaves it to God is that he puts all his trust in Christ: trusts that Christ will somehow share with him the perfect human obedience which He carried out from His birth to His crucifixion: that Christ will make the man more like Himself and, in a sense, make good his deficiencies. In Christian language, He will share His ‘sonship’ with us, will make us, like Himself, ‘Sons of God’." 

all photographs taken by carlotta 

Thanks, Carlotta, for the opportunity to interview you! 

Where have you travelled?


  1. Carlotta is such an inspiring person and I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing. <3

    -G xo

  2. Oh WOW! You are my hero. I dream of traveling a bit and yet somewhere deep inside I realize that what is more important is trusting in God and following him wherever He goes. What you said reminded me of a quote I really like:

    If God leads you to walk
    A way that you know,
    It will not benefit you as much as
    If He would lead you to take the way
    That you do not know.
    This forces you to have
    Hundreds and thousands of
    Conversations with Him,
    Resulting in a journey that is an
    Everlasting memorial
    Between you and Him.

    -Watchman Knee

    By the way, those photos are brilliant.

  3. carlotta is such a gem and i love being able to follow along on her adventures. i love who she said "but I've also realized how important coming home is.", I've been learning the same thing in different context, but it's so valuable. I think so much of the art and creative community is focused on adventures and traveling, and while I believe that is so important and my heart will never loose the longing for new places and new people, I think we often overlook the value and preciousness of home and the warmth and love found there.
    so much love for this!

  4. Like Carlotta, I have a lot of family and friends in Europe because that's where my Papa is from. I've lived in both Switzerland and France, and have been blessed to travel throughout Western Europe! On the other hand, I can count on one hand the US states I've traveled to. ;)

  5. These are amazing pictures and sounds like some valuable memories were made and lessons learnt :) x
    Freya's Fashion Chapter | TOPSHOP GIVEAWAY

  6. Anonymous14.11.14

    I always love hearing about Carlotta's trip and seeing her fabulous pics. :) growing up as an MK, I usually did my overseas trips with my fam, but last year i went alone to Chad for 6 months. so I can relate to Carlotta's story. oh and let me say it again, I really love her pictures!!

  7. This is beautiful and so wonderfully encouraging to see the way God is growing Carlotta and using her in His greater plan. Thank you for sharing this. I often doubt that I would have the courage to follow God away from my home which is so dear to me, but I'm praying that if that is His will he will grow me in that.

    These pictures are also so, so beautiful and full. I love them.

    Did you get really attached to any place that you lived, Acacia? Was it ever almost unbearable to leave, or do you have the excitement for new?

    P.S. I absolutely ADORE your new header. It makes me happy every time I see it. Seriously.

    1. Thank you, Rebekah! You are so kind!! Even more than getting attached to a place, I get attached to the people there. When I left England, it was incredibly difficult to leave my friends, church family and piano teacher behind. I must admit -- I'm getting really attached to Australia! The warm weather, ocean and relaxed lifestyle is soo lovely and I can't imagine leaving it now! There is always an element of excitement when moving to another country (it helps that I absolutely love travelling) but at the same time, leaving the beauty and quaintness of England or the nostalgia & memories of America and Canada behind has been difficult. <3 Travelling and moving around the world has made me a stronger person. I've had to find my own feet a little bit more, push myself to meet new people, and adjust to a new culture. Travelling and moving across the world is wonderful and thrilling, but it's always difficult to leave memories, friends and sometimes a beloved bedroom behind. <3 xxxx

      PS you're so sweet -- I'm absolutely enthralled you love the header!

  8. Stumbled across your blog and really enjoyed reading this interview, Acacia and Carlotta! My dad and I traveled out of the country this spring to serve alongside some missionary friends in South America and, man, it was hard to leave! Miss those people. But so grateful for each special second and adventure.:) Blessings!

  9. Wow. I wish I could go there too. I would definitely add this to my bucket list. Thank you for sharing. Love all the photos!

  10. I love all of your photos. Such a great place. Thanks for sharing us your adventure.

  11. Amazing photos! Such a great place. I love it.

  12. A great place to visit. Thank you for sharing.