Ukrainian photographer Alina Rudya – also the founder of female photography community Bell Collective – is Berlin–based but shares a far more global routine.

She studied in both Berlin and New York and is constantly on the move, leaving Berlin for as much as three weeks per month to take pictures and explore. We talk with her about what it’s like to always be on the move, where she would love to spend the festive season, and why she has more than one place to celebrate the holidays.

Tell us about your career. Is there a reason why you chose travel photography?

As a female photographer, I’ve often faced some kind of prejudice or stereotyping, and for me it is important to break them. And actually encourage more females, more women, and more young girls to travel and explore in a different way. Not just by sitting by the pool or taking pictures in front of beautiful locations but also to just go for it and try to be the adventurer, which is usually a role stereotypically assigned to men in this world. Recently I also started a collective of female explorers and professional photographers, since I think that we need to break the stereotype which is surrounding female travel. I am constantly on the go....I have to pack and unpack and pack and unpack all the time! And for me, the convenient and handy hand luggage is very important.

“How would you describe your ‘happy place’?”

My happy place is usually 2A in the business class of an airplane! No, it’s not like that but actually my happy place is where the people I love are. So it’s not a particular city or location, but it’s mostly the people who are around me.

What's a special (or secret) holiday tradition you and your family or friends do every year?

The special holiday tradition. I think the fact that we are actually gathering together and we all have time to see each other is already a tradition! But actually the few past years, the main tradition was to play boardgames with my family. I know it sounds a little bit trivial but this kind of very non-digital fun is something very old school and it brings that kind of Christmas and holiday spirit: just sitting around the table and playing Monopoly, that is something I really like. And I’m really looking forward each year.

For some it's a hot drink, for others it's music – what item or moment makes you feel like the festive time of the year has now begun?

I really like all the food which surrounds Christmas or any type of winter holiday, so I really like Glühwein – mulled wine. I’m looking forward to the Christmas markets in Berlin so I can go around and taste all types of mulled wine. My favourite is the Scandinavian version and with the Icelandic one or Finnish one, they always put the Schnapps in it and it makes me feel so warm on the inside.

Do you celebrate the festive season in the same location/place each year?

Since I am from Eastern Europe, Christmas is still on a different day than in the west, so I’m lucky to have two places to celebrate Christmas. The 25th of December or the 24th of December I celebrate usually in Prague, and January is usually Kiev.

If you could spend the festive season anywhere, where would it be?

I really like snow and sun in the winter – it doesn’t matter how cold it is, as long as it’s sunny. I’ve never celebrated Christmas in a tropical climate, I’ve never celebrated under the palm tree or next to the beautiful beach, so probably my ideal Christmas would be somewhere in the tropics, next to the ocean, with a glass of pina colada in my hand, and in my swimsuit.

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