As part of the Focalized interview series, Focal Journey celebrates and highlights the hard work of colleagues (photographers, bloggers, stylists, designers, etc.) whose creativity and passion enhance the travel, lifestyle, and design industries.
Focal Journey has the pleasure to introduce you to Nyssa C, one of Los Angeles’s most influential luxury travel & culture bloggers.
FJ: I had the pleasure to meet you in Toronto about a year ago. But for those who don’t know you, who is Nyssa C?
NC: Now that’s a loaded question. Well, she’s a freelance journalist, world traveler, digital entrepreneur, food enthusiast, social enterprise advocate, and luxury travel + lifestyle consultant with a diplomacy, journalism, and international development background. She was born and raised in California, and has lived all over the world, including the UK, Germany, India, and France. She’s the founder of The Cultureur, #SeeTheWorld, and iHeartMD. She’s on her way to earning her JD/MBA.
FJ: Speaking of The Cultureur, I really loved its concept from the very beginning. Tell us how it was born.
NC: The Cultureur is a luxury travel, lifestyle, and culture website that includes splashes of wellness, social issues, and entrepreneurship. It’s an outlet that provides me an opportunity to write, travel, learn, share, and connect.
Having traveled extensively in the past decade, I was often the go-to person for my friends and family for travel recommendations. I even had pre-written emails already drafted for a variety of destinations around the world that were ready to be sent off at a moment’s notice. There had to be a better way to assemble all my information, and that’s when The Cultureur was born. In addition to the specific recommendations for destinations, it became an organic convergence of my interests, passions, and experiences.
The reason I designated The Cultureur as a hybrid luxury and culture blog is because when I travel, I seek both luxury AND local culture. With a travel style that is ½ iconic + ½ off-the-beaten-path, I strongly refute the idea that indulging in a luxurious 5-star hotel makes me any less informed about the destination or that it makes my experience any less authentic. Every travel experience of mine is a fusion of my passion for the finer things in life + my adventurous spirit + my social awareness. So while you might find me at the most luxurious suite at the Ritz London or Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago, you will also find me on a safari through Uganda or teaching English in the slums of New Delhi. To me, luxury is the ability to feed your needs in their entirety, whether physical, intellectual, or emotional. It’s about the experience, not just the appearance.
FJ: I love these different dimensions that “luxury” has and that unfortunately not many people know how to experience. By the way, how do you decide what places/events you will feature on your website?
NC: I’m very particular about the posts that go live on The Cultureur. I prefer to keep my website about all my personal experiences and interests, rather than a random catalogue of information. There are, of course a few exceptions when I think my subscribers would love to hear about an event or experience, even if I haven’t tried yet. Every guest post and piece of advertising has to align well with the goals and ethos of The Cultureur. All guest posts are by invitation only and that helps to keep continuity and relevance to the website.
FJ: Two of the topics that The Cultureur focuses on are luxury travel and international development. What is the most challenging aspect when writing about two subjects that some might find contradictory?
NC: One of the reasons I started The Cultureur was because it’s commonly, but wrongly perceived that luxury travel and international development fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. I’ve been interested in international development and global affairs in general for as long as I can remember. My professional background is largely grounded in this topic. But on a personal level, I’m also drawn to the finer things in life, so I refute the idea that you can’t be a socially-conscious luxury traveler. The Cultureur is where the professional and personal converge for me.
FJ: That is a great explanation! Now, as a global-minded person who lived in many parts of the world, what is your favourite city? (Why?)
NC: Ha, I get this question quite often and it’s an incredibly difficult one to answer as I’ve truly liked something in every destination. I haven’t loved every place I’ve been to by any means, but I have managed to find something appealing in every place, be it the people, culture, music, etc. But if I had to choose it’d be a close tie between London and Paris. The beguiling charm of these microcosms gets me every time. As Audrey Hepburn said: Paris is always a good idea and as Samuel Johnson said: When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. And I couldn’t agree more.
FJ: I couldn’t agree more either! London was part of your past (and is still part of your present since you take it with you wherever you go), but tell us about the place you would like to visit the most in the near future. (Why?)
NC: My dream destination is Iceland and I can’t wait to go soon! I’ve tried to go three times already, and have had to cancel for multiple reasons, so I’m hoping 4th time’s a charm! ☺ I’m so drawn to its natural beauty and spectacular landscapes – my trip can’t come soon enough!
FJ: I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures there! Now, you currently live in Los Angeles. What is this city’s biggest misconception that people should know about?
NC: The biggest misconception about Los Angeles is that it’s devoid of any culture. Los Angeles may not enjoy that European flair and rich history of cities like London and Paris, but don’t let that fool you — the City of Angels easily has the power to enchant, intrigue, and satisfy even the snobbiest of culture vultures. Think: world-class museums such as the Getty Center and LACMA, extravagant art galleries, modern architectural marvels such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, outdoor concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and much more. As the entertainment/film/music capital of the world, L.A. knows culture. Very well.
FJ: What is the most memorable or rewarding moment in your career as the Founder of The Cultureur?
NC: One of the best things about starting The Cultureur has been the opportunity to meet likeminded individuals such as yourself. It’s always a pleasure to meet so many talented and passionate people that I may not have had the chance to meet otherwise.
FJ: (I am blushing now!). Let’s talk a little bit more about The Cultureur. Your website specializes in travel, lifestyle, and culture. Any particular brand related to any of these three areas that you would like to collaborate with? Why?
NC: There isn’t one brand that comes to mind, but I’m open to all ideas. As long as it aligns well with the ethos of The Cultureur, I’m all ears.