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CHARLOTTE IN THE WOODS

Charlotte travels the world with her happy tribe and creates customized trips for families. She shares all her best addresses on her website and her Little Voyageurs Instagram account. Between two trips, the family returns home... to their new haven on the edge of the woods in Washington.


Charlotte Burgoyne and her city guide



For some fifteen years, Charlotte lived the life of a globetrotter: Middle East, Asia, Africa, America... alone and then with her family, she traveled the planet. A journalist by trade and an explorer at heart, she naturally became a Traveler Planner out of a passion for travel and unique spots, and now shares her extensive experience with families. Today, she develops tailor-made trips and city guides dedicated to families looking for the best addresses off the beaten track.







Interview


Charlotte, could you describe your picturesque experience for us?

"I grew up in the western suburbs of Paris, then studied journalism in Paris. I wanted to be in the field as soon as possible, so I looked for a place where there were few or no journalists at all. So I left for Syria in 2008, from where I did freelance work for AFP, Arte TV, radio and so on. I took advantage of this expatriation to travel all over the Middle East: Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and so on. I took the opportunity to write travel guides on a freelance basis. I then moved to Yemen, where I met my future husband. I stayed there for two years until the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen broke out, when we had to leave because the situation became too dangerous. I stayed in the Middle East for just over three years, during which - and this is important for the rest of my career - I haven't experiences real "seasons"!


My husband is American, so we moved to San Francisco where we started our family. While there, I became a journalist for the local press, as France no longer needed my services as they already had a whole team of journalists in the United States. Please note! In San Francisco, the weather is always cool and foggy, the opposite of the Middle East, but there's no marked season either!


My husband works in new agricultural technologies, which brings us to move abroad regularly. After California, we moved to Miami, Florida, a region with a tropical climate where there is still no marked season. Our second daughter was born there. We then flew to Algeria for three years, still without any real continental seasons, and finally to Thailand, where we lived in an urban climate in the heat of the tropics.


During all our expatriations, we lived in the heart of the cities, in conditions that were certainly comfortable, but cruelly lacking in large green spaces, outdoors where the children could play. I couldn't stand having 4 children locked up at home. I couldn't take it anymore. For 12 years I didn't see the leaves change color or fall. I dreamed of (re)experiencing the 4 seasons like in my childhood. I was very much in need of nature, greenery and real seasons, and the time had come to leave Thailand!"



So...where do you live today?

" When it came to leaving Thailand, I made one condition to my husband: seasonality and nature! He wanted to return to the United States and had a job opportunity in Washington. Virginia is a very green region, with a real summer and a real winter, and I was immediately excited by the idea of moving there. So I started looking for a house, our first acquisition, which would be our home away from home, no matter what happened in the future. I dreamed of this house on the edge of the forest... I visualized it perfectly. I finally found it in a residential area 20 minutes from the capital. "







Can you describe this new house for us?

" We fell in love with this house. It dates from the 70s and is built of wood and brick. It has huge picture windows overlooking the forest. We have a 180° view of nature. The house is spacious, with each child having his or her own room. I put a lot of heart into decorating it. I dreamed of wallpaper and a white wood kitchen. The house is very eclectic. It tells the story of all our travels, but in neutral tones.."


What is your favorite room and/or object in the house?

" I love the living room and its panoramic view of the forest. It's like looking at a painting. But I also love our bathroom, whose decor is inspired by both Balinese and Moroccan atmospheres. In terms of objects, I love a carved wooden chest that I had made by a craftsman in Algeria. I love it, it's so beautiful! "


What do you like best about your new life?

" We moved in February 2023 and finally, after so many years, I've experienced the 4 seasons. What a joy to see the leaves turn green, then redden and fall! I think autumn has become my favorite season. "





How did the Little Voyageurs project come about?

" The birth of my first daughter didn't stop my passion or my way of traveling. I loved glamping and getting off the beaten track. However, after a few disappointing family trips, I realized that travelling with a baby was no small task and that a good dose of preparation was needed for a successful journey. I began to spend hours planning our getaways, especially as the family grew. One thing led to another, and my background as a journalist and travel guide author encouraged me to launch my own family travel blog."


What is your fondest memory of a "nature" trip?

" There are many... But one experience stands out strongly in my memory. We were traveling in northern Thailand. We were staying with local people in a tiny coffee-harvesting village. When I woke up one morning and opened the curtains, I saw all these women carrying their babies on their backs, harvesting coffee beans. And all the while, the husband of the family we were staying with was roasting the freshly picked coffee! It was amazing. I then wandered around the village, where around fifty families live from the coffee harvest. It was magical! "


What's your favorite green address in the U.S. that you recommend to Mastic readers?

" My favorite green address in the USA is Autocamp. There are several throughout the country. You stay in Out of Africa-inspired tents or vintage Airstreams in the middle of nowhere. This is luxury glamping. "


Which Instagram accounts inspire you?

" I'm following the French deco and travel accounts of moms Camille Baldran @bonvoyagecamille and Chloé @chloeandyou ."




 

picture credit © charlotte burgoyne

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