Name: Nathalie Basha
Home Base: Los Angeles, CA
Last Trip: Guatemala, New York, Miami
Next Trip: Turkey, Paris
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.
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.” – ?
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.
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.