Name: Wesley Adventures is a family of six: Mom & Dad with two daughters ages 10 & 12 and two boys ages 6 & 8!
Home Base: Salt Lake City, Utah
Last Trip: San Francisco, CA
Next Trip: Yellowstone National Park
1. What are three things you take on every trip?
Brian: I always bring a backup hard drive, a Sci-Fi or Fantasy book, and a hat.
Tammy: I usually bring a clothesline & Woolite. With kids we’re always having to do laundry. Also they sometimes need to go to bed earlier. So instead of running back and forth to a laundromat, we just do the laundry in the hotel room and relax and play a game or talk. The kids always need a hoodie and stuffed animals, Android tablets, and books. We also bring sports tape for minor cuts & blisters. We have found it’s much better and protects better than band aids. Okay, that’s more than three things… but hey! There are six of us.
2. What is your best remedy for jet lag?
Brian: I start adjusting my schedule as much as possible a few days before a trip. If that’s not possible we just end up doing more stuff later in the evening and deal with the fatigue. If I’m traveling +/-12 hours difference I’ll sleep on the plane and force myself to adjust to the schedule when I arrive.
3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place?
With kids, we look for a bathroom! Once we get to our hotel or campsite, and if we’re staying a few days, we’ll unpack and get settled. With six people we usually have to conserve our space so unpacking and figuring out what goes where makes things more relaxing and easier to maneuver. Also, we usually are out all day and get back late at night. Tammy and I are usually carrying one kid each so knowing where beds and clothes are lets us enjoy the evening more quickly.
4. What place has the best food? The worst food?
Brian: Tammy and I are both from the Gulf Coast area and we have found that there is no better food in the world than from New Orleans. From the pecan pralines to the beignets to the variety of seafood, your taste buds are sure to be satisfied. The worst food for me was Filipino food from the Philippines. There isn’t as much potassium in the food as I was used to. After a few days I got really sick and all of my joints hurt so bad I almost needed a walking cane. An expat doctor told me to start eating a banana a day and everything magically cleared right up.
5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life?
Traveling in any rural third world country can instantly soften your heart and intensify your gratitude for simple things. After a few months I arrived in Hong Kong, I literally shed a tear when I saw a drinking water fountain. I was so touched I took a picture. Seriously. Since then I’ll be in the US and people will ask me if I want bottled water or tap, I’m always reminded of that adventure and I’m happy enough to just take tap.
6. What is your favorite travel quote?
“Never let schooling interfere with your education.” – Mark Twain. Technically, the quote is believed to have originated from Grant Allen and often quoted by Mark Twain a decade later.
7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?
When we make travel videos we’ll usually edit two versions of the video. Version one will be with royalty free music legal to place online, other videos often have “radio versions” of popular songs. For example, last fall we took a short cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. We used Katy Perry’s “Unconditional” as the background to the family version of the video. Every time we are at a market or store and hear that song we think of the trip and want to go back or travel. With over 500 edited family videos there’s quite a few songs that get us pumped up to travel.
8. What is your craziest true travel story?
Brian: I travel a lot for work. One time I was in Asia and tried to get some work equipment into a country… legally. I could have easily lied and just snuck it in but I wanted to do it correctly. I had a brand new $100 USD bill that I was going to use to pay the import taxes. They wouldn’t accept it because it had a single crease down the middle. Besides the crease it was in mint condition and completely valid. Both money changers at the airport wouldn’t accept it. They wouldn’t even try because of the crease. Sigh, it’s money, it gets creased. They had never heard of the silver stripe embedded in the paper, watermark, or those money markers. I ended up having to go to the local black market to exchange for local currency. The funny thing, I got a much better exchange rate at the black market than the legal money changers. I eventually got the equipment into the country but it didn’t increase my faith in that country’s money system.
9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?
In decades past, travel videos were done by large production companies for television. Travel advice and tips are so much more effective if they’re coming from local or seasoned travelers, not some TV script writer on a deadline. Give me raw and candid advice from a local any day.
10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos?
Honestly, we make the videos for ourselves. Sharing them with others is just icing on the cake. We’ve made over 500 family adventure videos over the past decade. We want our family to remember the good times we’ve had. Tammy and I love to hear the kids laughing at an old family video we’ve made. Yes, we watch them often. It’s also more fun to show a friend well-edited video than sitting down for hours looking at a vacation slideshow.
11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?
Don’t underestimate the power of today’s cell phone cameras. In full daylight a Samsung or iPhone camera can take video comparable to a $3000+ camera. For “documentary style” videos we make on Tripfilms this is perfect! You’ve already got a fantastic camera in your hand! You’d be surprised how often I mix and match my footage from a Canon, Sony, GoPro, and cell phone footage. Spend $90 on a cheap editing software and start using it.
12. What is your best travel tip?
One of our family traditions is to start planning our next trip on the way home from our current trip. We’ll talk about what we liked and didn’t like. We tend to think “outside the box” and have often planned future trips that were amazing. The trip doesn’t ever happen when we first plan and sometimes a smaller weekend-getaway trip will pop up. But overall, we find talking about our next trip chases away the end-of-vacation blues.
Watch Wesley Adventures here.