Our forever muse, Asta Stevenson recently island-hopped across the crystal clear waters of French Polynesia. Discover her most memorable holiday moments and favourite Club Tropicana looks.
Tell us a little about yourself- who you are, where you’re from and what sets your soul on fire?My name is Asta! I am a free spirit from South Australia with a great passion for travel and fashion! When I’m not cruising the South Aussie coastline in my 1975 Kombi Daisy, you’ll catch me overseas backpacking or visiting somewhere tropical! I’m an all round creative and make a living as a photographer. I studied 3 years of fashion design before realising my favourite part of the industry was being on shoots, styling and dreaming up creative concepts! I feel so grateful to be able to combine all of these facets of my journey and find freedom as a content creative!
You recently traveled to the Islands of French Polynesia, tell us about this experience...
Top 3 essentials when packing for a tropical getaway?
1. Tinted SPF; I’ve recently been using the Ilia skin Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 and now won’t be going anywhere without it! It’s lightweight and I just love that it gives me that little bit of coverage while making sure I don’t get burnt!
2. Dive mask; I’ve travelled with bags of all shapes and sizes. No matter how small I will always pack my own dive mask! You never know when you might see something amazing and just need to jump on in!
3. Natures botanicals natural rosemary and cedarwood oils in creme; this is hands down the best mosquito repellent you will ever use! It’s super sticky but smells delicious, is all natural and works a dream! Whenever I wear it people always ask what smells so good and when I tell them it’s my mozzie repellent they don’t believe me!
Favourite and most interesting local dishes?
Ooh! Food was really interesting in French Polynesia… most local restaurants serve the same few dishes which included raw tuna served a variety of ways, grilled fish/ meat with rice and fries or a couple of Chinese options like chow mein / ‘poulet citron’ - lemon chicken (random I know)!
For lunch they have a really delicious sandwich called ‘casse croute’ which is essentially a giant French baguette filled with fries, sometimes salad, a choice of protein and French cheese or BBQ sauce…. Let me tell you after a long day in the ocean nothing was better than this!
Moorea had more (and some healthier) options for food including wood fired pizzas at Casa Vincenzo, tasty açai bowls at Iaorana smoothies and a great mix of French options at the food truck named A l'Heure du Sud!
We love how you styled your Nine Lives Bazaar whilst on vacation, what are your top tips for perfecting the holiday look?
Thank you! I will always bring a bright coloured shoe and fun bag! Sometimes it’s a clash of colour but it’s always funky and you make it work! Accessories like sunglasses and earrings can elevate any outfit from beach to bar; often I’ll purchase these along my travels so they are unique and special because they remind me of the place I’ve been.
People are often surprised by how small my backpack is and the outfits I whip out of it! Bold prints and bright colours are the best because they make people feel happy… I don’t save anything for occasions, and will wear a big skirt or colourful jumpsuit on a hike, to the beach or in transit… You can be as wild as you want and express yourself to the max because most of the people you meet will never see you again! Nothing beats wearing a beautiful gown down an old street filled with strangers who know nothing about you other than your smile!
Ooh and pack a good hat or hair clip for messy hair days!
Tell us what your ideal day spent overseas looks like?My ideal day would start with a market morning… I love trying local food from whatever country I visit and think there’s no better way to immerse yourself in that culture than visiting a local market. I’d then go for a free dive, have lunch, go for an explore in the jungle or mountains before finishing up back at the beach for sunset with a cocktail or local beer!
With the world finally opening back up, which destinations are you most looking forward to visiting and why?
I have travelled a lot of Asia and Central/ South America but never been to Europe!
My best friend just moved to London so next year seems like the perfect time to do a Euro Summer! I would love to start with Morocco or Turkey and work my way up.
After visiting French Polynesia, I think it will always be a place I aim to get back to… I would also love to visit Japan because it is my all time favourite cuisine and I think they have a very beautiful culture.
Do you have any tips or tricks for traveling with ease?
Be adaptable. I’m very spontaneous with planning my trips and often book last minute! Sometimes this doesn’t work out so well because I have to pay a little more to experience certain things but it gives me the flexibility to meet people and hear first hand where they loved and what area is the best to stay! It can be so overwhelming trying to research online what the vibe of a place is like and find the hidden gems without having been there! Reading blogs and scrolling Pinterest is another great way to get this kind of experience and usually where I start looking for hiking, beach or food recommendations.
If you do travel with camera gear try to keep it all together; I can’t tell you the amount of times my partner and I have left a drone or rogue camera somewhere silly because it was in a small separate bag that slipped off the seat or forgot to be grabbed when moving around!
Always count your bags and items as you go and have this number in your head so you can constantly check one, two, three and know you’ve got your handbag, backpack and tote in tow!
What has been your most memorable travel experience so far?
In 2019 I sailed from panama to Columbia! This was truely incredible and the ideal way to experience the San Blas Islands! Ocean swims, great snorkelling, tropical ocean, lobsters every night for dinner on the beach bbq and iridescent glowing phosphorus in the warm water at night… truely unforgettable!
As a whole Peru is one of my favourite countries because the landscape is so diverse; from beach towns to a desert oasis in Huacachina or the incredible scenery along the hike to Machu Picchu or the rainbow mountains it is truely unmatched! In some ways the coastline reminded me of home in South Australia which I also LOVE more than anything!
If you want to bucket list any destination Aloita in the Mentawaii islands is up there alongside the Tuamotu islands in French Polynesia as my all time favourite tropical destinations! I can’t wait to plan future trips back to both and immerse myself in the incredible nature once again!
How would you describe your personal style?
My core style is very mid century retro bohemian! At the moment I love colour and always gravitate toward silhouettes from the 60's/ 70's.
I love prints, textures and layering true vintage leather or lace, retro jackets and coats with epic shoes to complete any of my looks.
What’s next for Asta?
I’ve recently began my own travel blog where I document all of my favourite images, crazy experiences and travel tales! I really want to focus on this… Even if it is just for the purpose of having an online journal that I can look back through personally because it’s easy to forget the little things as time goes on!
I love my work as a photographer, especially when I’m working alongside other women in business who are creative and inspiring! I love bringing a vision to life and hope this only continues to grow; I would also like to learn the intricacies of film photography as I think this is a beautiful art.
On a final note; be kind, show love and say yes! You never know where it will lead you.
- Asta Xx