Defining Sisi Jin is a challenge, mainly because she’s constantly being shaped by her amazing experiences.
Sisi is a Chinese designer, but she is also a traveller, a wanderlust soul who has so far explored more than 46 countries. The pursuit of adventure while travelling, together with new cultural experiences, are her goals.
She told me about her days spent under a tree house at the foot of the Vanuatu Volcano and her amazing experience in a glass hotel in the Artic landscape.
Sounds amazing, right?
How would you define yourself? A beauty hunter? A travel blogger?
I don’t believe we can focus on a single career in our life. I think people's potential is infinite, as long as they are willing to try. Whit this attitude in mind, I like taking risks and learning new skills.
Diving, sailing, and so on... I don't think there are things which can be done only by sector experts. Many of clothes I wear during my travels are designed by myself: my experience is that a skirt is more convenient than a pair of trousers, even near a volcano or a glacier.
What about your relationship with architecture and, in general, with the places you visit?
I studied architecture at school, my favourite architects were Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Ma Yansong.
I'm the kind of person who is particularly alive in her own world, so every time I have a special trip, I get inspired while planning for it, and I enjoy the whole process.
My travel experiences start from my imagination, and start from the assumption that everything is possible. If you approach travels with an open mind, even bad things and difficulties can turn into memorable experiences. My travels are like a movie with different planets and strangers, I like the collision between unknown adventures.
How do you choose the places to visit?
I usually take inspiration from a movie, a picture, a dream or a simple whim. It's all accidental. All I need is to meet on the road all kinds of unknown people that can fulfill my desire of adventure and knowledge, even if dangers can be around the corner. I avoid everything that can be predictable. Every trip is like a movie of mine, and everyone I meet becomes the main character of it.
My trips are always full of accidents and adventures. One day I met a captain from New York in the desert of Blackstone, and we had a great time together. When I was sailing in Indonesia, he reached me out and told me he was sailing to Shanghai. Since we were unable to meet that time, he asked me to reach him in New York, then I decided that my next trip would have been there.
Your photos are real tales that tell about beautiful places and wild experiences, authentic stories from a traveller in pursuit of adventure. What's the best experience you've ever had?
The strongest visual impact for me was the Antartic, magic and beautiful more than any other place in the word, but the most memorable experience was the climb of the Nyiragongo volcano in Congo. I was at an altitude of 3800 meters, in front of Ni Ragon Gore's enormous lava lake. Now I believe that the "heart of the earth",the source of all energies, is there. It's amazing. In that moment, I felt like all the difficulties I had faced were worth it.
I've seen some amazing photos of you at Burning Man, the unusual annual gathering in the Nevada Desert. What exactly does this festival mean to you?
I don't know how to describe Burning Man. It is like a kind of city, or a country, or even a completely different world, where art, love, happiness and freedom are shared. It's difficult to explain to those who have never been there, it's like describing a color to a blind person.
Everyone owns everything in the Black Rock City's society, and the principle of equality contributes to its uniqueness.
Because of different beliefs, participants gather in an inclusive and pluralistic society: decadent but full of love, lonely but strong, crazy but longing for peace. Everything there is based on trust and unconditional love, the foundation of this society is love, not money.
What's the hidden meaning of Black Rock city according to you?
You know that Black Rock City comes from the story of a 80s American couple that was divorcing, so they decided to make a bonfire to bury their lost feelings which symbolized the rebirth of their individualities.
Now, every year, thousands of hippies from all over the world go to Black Rock in the barren desert and build a city existing only eight days a year. All participants are called Burners. The only selling in this city is of ice and coffee, but there is no business, no money, all goods must be brought in.
Black Rock City's culture doesn't represent any kind of culture but any culture is not resisted there. No matter what kind of tradition, race or civilization you have, what kind of personality you have, what kind of clothes you wear, and what kind of past you have, no one will judge you. Unlike what you might think, is not an anti-traditional festival. On the contrary, Burning Man contains all the traditions in it.
According to me Black Rock City is the safest city in the world, here everyone is a voluntary builder. You can return to the camp in the dark of the night without fear, because you would always find someone willing to help you.
Do you have any quote or book that represents your wanderlust spirit?
I think this article of Francoise Sagan is the best explanation for me:
“I don't think that people will grow older, more don't believe that people will become mature, so the fun and romantic fun are gathered on me. Horses, faces, cars, honors, books, admiring eyes, sea, ships, hugs, night planes... We dance all my life. We are the kind of people, the dancers.”
Which are your specific goals or future travels for this year?
I don't like buying a flight ticket ahead of time, but I want to go to the United States to take an airplane license test this year.