Monthly Archives: July 2015

Twelve Travel Questions with The Travel Muse

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Name: Nathalie Basha
Home Base: Los Angeles, CA
Last Trip: Guatemala, New York, Miami
Next Trip: Turkey, Paris
Websitewww.thetravelmuse.tv
Facebookwww.facebook.com/NathalieTheTravelMuse
Twitter: @TheTravelMuse

1. What are three things you take on every trip? 

My Kindle Fire, my camera, and lots of Pepto-Bismol.

2. What is your best remedy for jet lag? 

It starts on the plane. As soon as I get settled into my seat, I set my watch to my destination. I don’t sleep on the plane unless it’s night where I’m going, even if it’s the middle of the night where I am departing from and I’m tired. And vice versa—if it’s night in my destination, but full daylight in my departure city, I will sleep on the plane (not gonna lie, sleeping pills are highly useful here). And once I land, I truck through getting onto the local schedule—no naps whatsoever! You have to suffer through one awful, tired day, or one sleepless night, but then you’re good to go!

3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place? 

I find a local market! Food, trinkets, whatever the locals frequent. Markets are the best way to tap into the pulse of a community or culture and figure out what makes the place tick.

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4. What place has the best food? The worst food? 

Oh, easy. Southeast Asia. I almost cried into my first plate of Pad Thai in Bangkok. Every single Pho Ba in Vietnam was ridiculously fresh and flavorful, I kinda became a fiend. Both have completely ruined me for life, by the way—no Thai or Vietnamese place in the US can or will hold a candle to those dishes I ate in Asia! I haven’t experienced a single place that had the worst food from all my travels, but I can say, unequivocally, the worst food is always in tourist traps. Doesn’t matter where in the world you are—if it’s in a touristy spot, and there are no locals eating there, chances are, it’s gonna suck. Finding good food is a pretty reliable formula, and the signs are easy to spot. The local places are usually less slick, smaller, usually holes in the wall, but that’s exactly where the good stuff is!

5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life? 

Tanzania! I had never been anywhere like it in my life, and it was one gigantic culture shock! Life there looked so different from anything I knew, and it burst my insulated, naive bubble, so to speak. Plus, staring eyeball to eyeball with a giraffe was definitely a HELLO moment. Being in Tanzania made me realize that even though life looks really different all over the world, at the very core, people want the same things out of life, no matter where they are or how they live. It actually made me feel like the world was smaller than we all think it is….does that make any sense or did I ramble?

6. What is your favorite travel quote? 

Aww, do I really have to pick one?! I can’t do that, so here are my favorite two:

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – ?

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7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?

Thievery Corporation is pretty solid music to put me in the moods! I love that they blend Middle Eastern and Asian sounds with modern house and ambiance. My all-time favorite, though, is bossa nova jazz! It makes me immediately think of Rio in the 1960s, SUCH a great mood lifter. When I’m bored at home or need to set a mood, I put bossa nova on, always! I just did it today and swam in my pool and I had a party all by myself.

8. What is your craziest true travel story?    

While on safari in Tanzania, our car broke down on a back road that not many safari cars drive through (our driver was trying to save time). We were sitting there, cooking under the heat, and two Masai guys saw us from a distance and ran down the road to help us. We were shoulder to shoulder, pouring water into the engine (I had no idea if that helped or hurt the car, I think we all had no clue what we were doing, ha!) trying to simultaneously navigate fixing a car plus translation issues, with nothing but hand gestures and noises. It was kind of surreal, and so cool. I would never have had a reason to meet and communicate so closely with these Masai men, much less try to work together and problem solve. We ended up getting rescued, and gave our new friends a ride on the way.

9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?

I think travel videos are more honest than guides, or even reviews. In my videos, I’m not afraid to share both the good and the bad, or even just the mundane. I’m not alone here, either—lots of travel vloggers share it all. To have a really great travel experience, I think you have to be extremely informed, and travel videos take it to a whole new level. Also, I don’t think we should overlook the value of escapism here…sometimes, simply escaping from life for five minutes is exactly what we need!! If I had a bad day, I turn to videos that evoke a really clear mood and transport me, and I think there is lots to be said for that.

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10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos? 

I always have the goal to tell a story with my travel videos. I try not to make it simply about the facts. That’s why I hyper-focus on specific aspects of travel for each video—be it the views, a rainy day, the laid-back vibe of a place, etc.  I want people to walk away from my videos feeling like they were there with me, and I want them to always have a smile on their face. And in the process, if I inspire someone to go beyond their comfort zones and travel more, awesome.

11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?

Be honest! Both in your take, and in your personality. A lot of people either clam up or act differently in front of a camera, and if you look stiff or false, it will overpower whatever message or point you have in your video. You could be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, but if you look uncomfortable, that’s the only thing people will see.

12. What is your best travel tip?    

Know what you want to do and see, but don’t stick to any one itinerary. Be fluid and really open to however your trip unfolds. Sometimes, overplanning can kill the whimsical and adventurous nature of travel. I always make a list of things I want to see or do, but I don’t stress about hitting every mark. There have been many times where I change my mind once I’m there, or I find something even MORE amazing than I ever anticipated, and the trip itself changes. It’s actually fun when that happens, you just have to be open to it!

Watch travel videos by The Travel Muse here.

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Introducing Your 2015 Trippy Awards Winners!

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We had an incredible Trippy Awards this year and we want to thank you for supporting incredible and inspiring travel filmmaking with your votes.

Congratulations to all of our nominees and the winners in each category!

Justin Plus Lauren are the winners of the 2015 Trippy Award for Filmmaker of the Year! Be sure to follow Tripfilms on Facebook for updates on where their “Choose Your Own Adventure” Grand Prize trip will take them and watch for videos from the trip on Tripfilms.

Here is the full list of winners for each category:

Filmmaker of the Year Award
Justin Plus Lauren

Host of the Year Award
Adam Baker

Best Travel Show Award
Frog TV

Eye Candy Award: Best Imagery
Epic Nicaragua Highlights HD by crvtravel

Extreme Award: Best Adventure Video
Ultimate Costa Rica Adventure Travel Video by crvtravel

LOL Award: Funniest Video
Let’s Get Real…Sometimes, Travel Sucks by TheTravelMuse

Destination Profile Award: Best Destination Video
A Guide to Antigua Guatemala by LucyTaylorTravels

Travel Bites Award: Best Food Video
Food of Peru by Kelley

Better Than A Guidebook Award: Best Activity Video
Exploring Magical Machu Picchu by LucyTaylorTravels

Video of the Year
Costa Rica Green Season HD by crvtravel

New TripVlogger Series: Iceland Waterfalls

This stunning new series by filmmaker team modern-atelier will take you to hidden waterfalls and jaw-dropping glacier lagoons in Iceland. Watch the videos below to get swept away.

Bruarfoss Waterfall in Iceland


A delicate fall of turquoise water hidden among a valley of brush. GPS Coordinates Turn Point: 64° 15.1195′ N, 20° 29.3955′ W Trailhead Entry: 64° 15.7745′ N, 20° 30.5144′ W Waterfall: 64° 15.8537′ N, 20° 30.9508′ W

Jökulsárlón: Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

Right off Highway 1 you’ll find a glacial lake with beautiful blue icebergs floating in the current and washing up on the black sand beach. Be sure to watch out for a sea lion or two! Iceland is called “Ice”land after all!

Hidden Waterfall Room in Iceland

Located near the popular Seljalandsfoss, this is a lesser-known waterfall that will not disappoint.

Saxhóll Crater in Iceland


A quick 20 minute must-hike up to this young volcano’s crater on the Western Peninsula of Iceland.

[All video descriptions by filmmaker.]

Travel Together in Saxony with Kelley Ferro

Kelley Ferro travels to Saxony, Germany in the latest Travel Together video series from USTOA. With USTOA member Avanti Destinations, Kelley explores both Saxony’s sophisticated cities and the stunning natural beauty of its countryside and castles. She quickly found out that Saxony had some surprises in store, from a white-knuckled race around the track at the Porsche factory to a taste of a giant pork knuckle in a traditional beer garden. Check out the videos below to experience the spirit of Saxony.

Overview of Saxony

This artistic, historic and stunningly beautiful Free State of Germany offers so much to see, do & eat in such a small area. From the Porsche factory to the Bastei Rocks, to the home of the nutcracker, Saxony surprised me at every turn.

The Food of Saxony

Giant steins of beer, massive pretzels and pork knuckles the size of your head—Saxony has the large German beer garden fare. However, Saxony also has fine dining, with Michelin starred restaurants and fine German rieslings. We sampled a little bit of all to discover Saxony’s food culture.

Arts & Culture of Saxony

This Free State of Germany is known throughout the world for its music, literature, art and architecture. From world famous composers, authors and artists, Saxony is brimming with spectacular arts & culture.

City Life in Saxony


We visited several of Saxony’s cities and each had it’s own personality. Dresden, the capital was historic and beautiful. Leipzig was young, hip and artsy and Gorlitz was charming and quaint. Experience Saxony’s cities with us.

Country Life in Saxony

The cities were really picturesque but it wasn’t till I explored outside of the towns that I was truly blown away by Saxony’s beauty. Impossibly green, rolling hills, wildflower fields and lazy rivers—I can see why Saxony is popular for it’s hiking, biking and outdoor pursuits. The Bastei Rocks was a particular highlight.

[All video descriptions by filmmaker.]

Read more about the #TravelTogether adventure in Saxony here.

New TripVlogger Series: Disney Cruises with Popular Cruising

There’s no cruise quite like a Disney Cruise, and no one better than Popular Cruising editor Jason Leppert to show you the top expert tips to help you have the best Disney Cruise experience possible.

The Ultimate Alaskan Cruising Experience


Get the ultimate taste for cruising in Alaska on the mega cruise ships and expedition ships including the flora and fauna and shore excursions.

Disney Cruise Line Activities Tips


Get tips on Disney Cruise Lines activities for families, kids and adults.

Disney Cruise Line Dining Tips


Get tips on Disney Cruise Line dining including rotational restaurants, casual cuisine and adults-only specialty dining at Palo and Remy.

Frozen Theme Cruise on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder


Check out a Frozen theme cruise onboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder including Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, Oaken, Sven and the trolls.

Twelve Travel Questions with Westfalia Digital Nomads

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Name: Armando Costantino
Home Base: Mork (T4 Westfalia Volkswagon van)
Last Trip: Spain
Next Trip: Portugal & Morocco
Website: westfaliadigitalnomads.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WestfaliaDigitalNomads
Twitter: @westydigitalnom

1. What are three things you take on every trip? 

Camera, computer and portable WiFi. And my wife, of course.

2. What is your best remedy for jet lag? 

We don’t fly, we drive. Thankfully there’s not really any ‘van lag.’ Grin. We do suffer from a sort of travel daze on first waking up—trying to readjust and remember where we parked the night before.

3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place? 

We scout the neighborhood (in cities) or take a recon walk (in the countryside) for basics. Supermarket, WiFi cafes, water supply for the back, places to film. Figuring out the best backdrops or least crowded areas for the best shots.

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4. What place has the best food? The worst food? 

We do most of our own cooking in the van, but the best: street food in Istanbul is amazing. For worst? Anything from a gas station or fast food.

5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life? 

Meteora, Greece, for the spiritual beauty; Sicily, Italy, for the dynamic culture; and Lithuania was an engaging travel surprise for us.

6. What is your favorite travel quote? 

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

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7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?

Classics from the 70s, like Bowie, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Clapton are great for road trips. A personal fave is Fredrik and Luna, a fellow I met when I started to travel.

8. What is your craziest true travel story? 

Living with a traveling circus for a week in Italy. It was an Italian family, 3 generations, who were so generous and hard-working. Eye-opening, really.

9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?

I think videos give an inside scoop of places, a near-reality of an experience that’s accessible. And they can be really inspiring to the watchers.

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10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos? 

I like sharing my own experience, especially finding unique places—the less touristy parts of our journeys—to encourage anyone who wants to travel to go ahead. Take the chance.

11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?

Don’t just shoot everything randomly; find a passion or your vision/personal experience and have a general idea on how you want to cover it. Be willing to make mistakes and constantly learn new skills.

12. What is your best travel tip? 

Be patient and adaptable. You might have detailed, specific plans, but dealing with curveballs are part of the travel package. Enjoy the quirks when they come.

Watch travel videos by Westfalia Digital Nomads here.

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New TripVlogger Series: Twin Cities

Wander Minneapolis and St. Paul with Wander The Map in this new TripVlogger series. From art and culture to coffeeshops and Jucy Lucys, you’ll be sure to find some reason to travel to this Midwestern metropolis.

Exploring the Artsy Side of the Twin Cities

Minneapolis and St. Paul are filled with art everywhere you turn. Join us as we show you the artsy side of the Twin Cities through live music, theaters and museums.

Best Spots to Explore in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Follow us around Minneapolis and St. Paul as we explore some of the best spots in the area. Five of our favorites are paddling the Chain of Lakes, eating a Jucy Lucy, drinking at a brewery, visiting the Foshay Tower, and relaxing on a patio.

Best Coffee Shops in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Minneapolis and St. Paul are filled with coffee shops around every corner. Find out our favorites and why we like them so much in our round up of the best coffee shops in the Twin Cities.

Free Things to Do in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Minneapolis and St. Paul have plenty of free activities to keep you busy. Some of our favorites are walking around the lakes and Minnehaha Falls, watching an outdoor movie, visiting Como Zoo, walking the Stone Arch Bridge, and visiting both the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Mall of America.

Best Neighborhoods in the Twin Cities

There are almost too many fun neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Join us as we explore some of the best gems and hidden treasures!

[All video descriptions by filmmaker.]

New TripVlogger Series: Dallas, Texas

Discover all there is to do and eat in Dallas, Texas. In this new TripVlogger series by vidocumentary, you’ll also learn the top sights to see and the most important travel tips to keep in mind when traveling in Dallas.

Dallas, Texas: Things To Do


Dallas is home to one of the countries most impressive skylines. And where better to see it than from… …Reunion tower. The tower is home to the GeO-deck, where you can get a full 360 degree view of the entire city of Dallas. There are dozens of massive interactive touch screens that help you navigate and identify the many notable buildings and public spaces of the city. If you aren’t scared of heights, you can peer out for miles on the outer rim of the GeO-deck. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science houses a wide range of awe inspiring displays to brain teasing interactive exhibits. Whether it’s dinosaurs, the cosmos, robots, or the physics of sports, there is something for everyone to play and learn about. With exception to special temporary exhibits, the Dallas Museum of Art is free of charge for visitors to appreciate. History buffs will love The 6th Floor Museum as it commemorates the assassination of President John F Kennedy from the actual building where the shooting took place. With 66 acres of beautifully landscaped flowerbeds, manicured lawns, and elegant water features the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a favorite for a pleasant outdoor stroll or catching that perfect photo. The Dallas World Aquarium is more than just fish. Here you can see sloths, monkeys, exotic birds, and even a manatee! The exhibits are laid out in a very natural format which makes you feel like you are in the jungle with the animals. The variety of sea creatures still incredible and few places make you feel as close to nature as you do here. Haven’t have enough animals? Get to the Dallas Zoo where on top of all the usual animals, there’s a petting zoo… and they let you feed the giraffes!!

Dallas, TX: Best Places to Eat


If you want to do brunch right, The Social House in Uptown will hit the spot. With exclusive favorites like Short Ribs Hash, to brunch classics like Chicken and Waffles, add in a cooled outdoor patio and bottomless mimosas, you’re in for a great time with friends. Or you can slow down to a cozy meal at Tei-An. In addition to a fresh selection of sushi, what makes Tei-An stand out from other Japanese restaurants is their chef. Teiichi Sakurai studied the art of hand making soba noodles in Tokyo and have brought his expertise to Dallas. Don’t let their humble storefront deceive you, Rise number 1 is cooking up some magical delicacies. Mainly, Rise number 1 is all about their mastery of the elusive souffle’. Here, souffle isn’t just for dessert, there are savory options like ham and gruyere (grew-yair), truffle infused mushroom, and escargot. Don’t worry, being such a light a delicate treat, you’ll have room for dessert too. Monkey King Noodle Company may not be the fanciest place in town, but this grab and go spot is making some seriously good noodles. Hand kneaded, rolled, and stretched, the dough used to make the noodles and dumplings have a delightfully chewy texture that can only be attain through this ancient technique. In Texas, BarBeQue joints are a dime a dozen, but there are a few greats ones that stand out like Lockhart. Following the tradition of their namesake, Lockhart BBQ is good tasty, tender, and moist, you don’t need sauce… however if you insist, their bold, smokey sauce is really good too. Just be sure to get in line early, because they sell out on a regular basis. The Dallas Farmers market is a thriving one. While currently under construction to be even larger, you can find some hidden gems here. Palmieri Cafe is bringing the best of Italy to Texas. Their fresh baked pastries are absolutely jaw dropping, rivaling bakeries in we have sampled in Italy itself. You can also find fresh local produce and meats. Still need more? Finish off with a home made pie from Emporium pies. Or sample some of the uniquely crafted chocolates from Dude, Sweet.

Tips for Traveling Dallas, Texas


If you are up for exploring Dallas, here are a few tips. Like most of Texas, Dallas is mostly a driver’s city, but there are a few more options in certain districts. If you’re visiting sites in the West end, you can take the trolley and learn about the city from your tour guide. You can also use the local bus system or the light rail called DART. Both run through Downtown and surrounding districts. If you do have access to a car, you’d be best off driving to an area and walking to save time. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen. With all the hot spots in Dallas, be sure to get reservations or arrive early as some places book up or sell out.

Overview of Dallas, Texas


With a city as big as Dallas, every district has their own unique personality. The Arts district is the hub for high art in Dallas. Fine art museums, performance art, and music performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra are all found here. Or jump on the DART and get over to Deep Ellum. Often compared to a bit of New Orleans, you can find a lively night live scene and with live music as soon as the sun sets. If you want to get back in touch with nature, check out Klyde Warren Park. Like a mini central park from New York City, Klyde Warren Park is a little oasis from all the cars and concrete The Bishop Arts District sets itself apart with a variety of eclectic shops showcasing local artists and handmade goods. It’s like a small piece of Austin. If you have expensive tastes, West Village should satisfy your need to the hottest brands and fashions. There are tons of hip restaurants to enjoy after your shopping spree.

[All video descriptions by filmmaker.]

Presenting Your 2015 Trippy Awards Nominees!

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We are delighted to announce the nominees for the 2015 Trippy Awards. These awards honor some of the most beautiful, interesting, surprising, inspiring, and impressive travel videos created and shared by the amazingly talented filmmakers of the Tripfilms community during the past year. Check out the complete list of nominees below, then head to www.tripfilms.com/trippy to vote for your favorites! Voting is open through July 27th.

Filmmaker of the Year Award
The Travel Muse
Adam Baker
Lucy Taylor
Justin Plus Lauren
Gary Bembridge

Host of the Year Award
The Travel Muse
Adam Baker
Davidsbeenhere
The Planet D
Wander The Map

Best Travel Show Award
The Travel Muse
Frog TV
Mindful Wanderlust
Justin Plus Lauren
Davidsbeenhere

Eye Candy Award: Best Imagery
Iguassu Falls, Brazil by Travizeo
Discover Beautiful Bermuda by justinpluslauren
Epic Nicaragua Highlights by crvtravel
Street Art in Wynwood, Miami by TheTravelMuse
Chicago Architectural River Cruise Tour by wesleyproductions

Extreme Award: Best Adventure Video
Ultimate Costa Rica Adventure Travel Video by crvtravel
Knight Inlet Lodge Bear Viewing by garybembridge
Hot Air Ballooning Over the Red Rocks of Arizona by WanderTheMap
Mount Whitney, CA; Welcome to America Adventure Update Episode 01-11 by rrjusa
Travel Guatemala: Tikal by TheTravelMuse

LOL Award: Funniest Video
Tokyo Disneyland by mindfulwanderlust
Top 5 Cheap Things To Do in Chongqing, China by LostFoundT
Khaosan Road – Bangkok / Thailand – Travel Guide by SPESUS
New York by TerrenceWoods
Let’s Get Real…Sometimes, Travel Sucks by TheTravelMuse

Destination Profile Award: Best Destination Video
Peru: A Country Profile by Kelley
All About Long Beach, California by MichelleL
Wines, Waves & Wilderness by CatchCarri
Travel Guatemala: Chichicastenango Market Madness by TheTravelMuse
A Guide to Antigua Guatemala by LucyTaylorTravels

Travel Bites Award: Best Food Video
Vietnamese Noodles at Saigon’s Lunch Lady by migrationology
The Healthy Voyager: Chicago by HealthyVoyager
Garlic Shrimp on the North Shore by YellowProd
DTLA Food Shmorgasmo! by TheTravelMuse
Food of Peru by Kelley

Better Than A Guidebook Award: Best Activity Video
Exploring Magical Machu Picchu by LucyTaylorTravels
What To Do In One Day In Joshua Tree National Park by TheTravelMuse
Sydney In A Day by CalumTV
Havana in 24 Hours by mindfulwanderlust
Explore Genoa / Italy by SPESUS

Video of the Year
The Hidden Gems in My Hometown of Dundas, Ontario by justinpluslauren
Exploring Greece by WanderTheMap
Venice Must-See Sights by garybembridge
Travel Guatemala: Diving Into Semuc Champey by TheTravelMuse
Costa Rica Green Season HD by crvtravel