Christina Kantzavelos has a lot going on. She's a a freelance writer, content strategist, travel blogger, licensed psychotherapist (LCSW), library and archive professional, humanitarian and an artist. She is driven by passion, whether it's traveling, making connections and helping others.
Amazingly, she's able to balance her professional life with hobbies like reading, writing, crafting, hiking, traveling, volunteering, meditating, planning community events and cuddling with her cat, Banana. Whew! She's like a real-life Wonder Woman.
Christina has been a loyal PiperWai fan, who appreciates the product for its safe ingredients. Learn more about Christina. (And her super powers!)
How did you hear about PiperWai?
A friend of mine raved about it, and I gave into the peer pressure. Definitely exceeded expectations. I was also excited to later see it on Shark Tank.
What was your first impression when you tried it?
Well, back in the day, I was using the vintage jar. The texture was harder, and I didn’t like that it got all over my fingers and nails. But otherwise, it worked! When the stick came out, and the texture was made softer, I was in absolute heaven.
Why is using natural products important to you?
I have a few autoimmune and health challenges, and I try to mitigate the use of toxins, as I do not detox as efficiently as my peers. Chemicals are everywhere, but choosing what goes into and outside of my body, as well as which household cleaning products we use, are all in my control. It is also simply better for the environment.
You manage a travel blog. What have been some of your favorite places to visit and why is travel important to you?
There are so many beautiful places I’ve been blessed enough to visit, and it’s difficult to choose. I was also a Latin American and Chican/o studies major in undergrad, leaving me a bit biased toward Latin America. Regardless, here are my “current” favorites:
- Our U.S. national and state parks—I can’t get enough. They are all spectacular.
- Mexico—It’s a humongous country, and has so much diversity to offer.
- Iceland—Will never be overrated enough. It feels like you’re on a different planet, in the best ways.
- Argentina—Another large country that has a lot of diversity to offer. I love Patagonia.
- Peru—Those ruins spoiled me, as did the food.
- Portugal—Truly underrated. Very reminiscent of California, with gorgeous views, beaches, hot springs and great cuisine.
- Greece—Both of my parents were born there, so once again I am a bit biased. But it’s a very Instagram-able country, full of history and culture.
Each time I travel, I learn something new about myself and the world. I’m left feeling more curious, grateful, cultured, understanding, competent and compassionate. I believe a lot of the ignorance in the world is fear-based, and in my own travels, I have proven many people (including myself) and news headlines wrong. Traveling pressures you to experience someone else's traditions, cuisine and culture. When we avoid traveling, isolate ourselves and live a homogeneous lifestyle, we tend to shy away from discomfort. But it’s in this discomfort that we learn the most, and realize that good people are everywhere, and we are more alike than we are different.
What you do with travel is unique and helpful. You cater toward travelers with food sensitivities. How has your work helped yourself and others reduce stress when traveling with sensitives?
First of all, thank you. My goal is for BuenQamino to serve as a resource for all travelers, including those with food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions. What I write and post about is based on my own personal experiences, as a person with these challenges. For example, I initially forgot to request a gluten and dairy-free meal for an upcoming flight, but the gluten-free travel checklist I created reminded me that I needed to do that, which saved me quite the headache (literally). I’ve had multiple people send messages thanking me for creating such a resourceful website. I’ve had others say they thought they would never be able to travel again from fear related to their diagnoses (i.e. cross contamination), until they came across my website. I’m not minimizing the challenges, or potential risks, but I am saying that we shouldn’t let this stop us from living or following our passions.
Let’s get to know you. What’s your home state and what do you do for a living?
California… From diapers, to walkers. I wear a few different hats. I am a licensed psychotherapist (LCSW), and a content writer. I’m also a Disaster Mental Health professional, deploying internationally to areas of disaster. Hopefully, BuenQamino will also help me make a living someday.
My cat, Banana. (Be sure to follow Banana at @meowrieantoinette!)
What are your favorite hobbies?
Traveling (surprise, surprise), writing, reading, crafting, hiking, volunteering, being out in nature, meditating, cuddling with my cat.
Do you have any hidden talents or weird facts about yourself you can share?
I have a second master's in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) that I plan to use… Someday? Never? I’m a great singer in the shower, and I speak 3.5 languages (English, Greek, Spanish and French).
Here’s a chance for you to do some shameless self-promotion. What do you do that you want the internet to know about?
I’d like the internet to know that BuenQamino is here to support your current and prospective travels, accounting for any true or perceived limitations. If you sign up for our newsletter, you will automatically receive a Traveling with Celiac Disease and Food Sensitivities E-Guide and Checklist. As long as BuenQamino continues to be helpful to others, I will continue to work on it.