1. What are three things you take on every trip?
I always take a GoPro or two. They are so small, have long battery life—especially the new Go Pro Hero 4 Session. They come in handy on all trips.
I also always fold an extra bag into my laptop bag so when I’m through security, I pull it out and can adjust my bag according to what I need on the flight and what I am going to stow overhead. I make sure to put in healthy granola bars (specifically Simply Protein bars), notepad & pen, iPad, scarf, hand sanitizer and allover essentials for the flight. I hate having to get up and get things out of the overhead—especially on crowded flights.
I also always take 2-3 portable iPhone battery chargers. I see this as a safety precaution. There’s nothing worse than being in a jam and having no way to access internet, call or use Google Maps. Also, frequently I’m in destinations outside of the U.S. so my iPhone charger doesn’t work.
2. What is your best remedy for jet lag?
I try to assimilate to the new time zone as soon as I can, even before the trip. Once I get to the airport, I change my watch and mindset to the new timezone. It may be noon in the airport but if it’s 10 p.m. in my destination, I get a meal, maybe a glass of wine and try to gear up for sleeping on the plane. A neck pillow and an Advil PM usually allows me to get at least a few hours of sleep.
3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place?
If I am traveling for work, which it usually is, the first thing I do is dependent on the itinerary and length of travel. Generally, I have flown overnight so I often try to get to the hotel, charge all my gear and get as much sleep as possible.
If it’s a personal trip, I really like to put on my sneakers and go for a run in the neighborhood. It helps me get my bearings of the new place and the activity puts me in a great mood and feels good.
4. What place has the best food? The worst food?
It’s all a matter of taste. I think almost every place has great food if you look for it. For me personally, I really enjoyed the food of Croatia. I love the natural products there—truffles, olive oil, cheeses and simply prepared, fresh foods. I also really liked the food in Egypt. Falafel, bean & vegetable salads and some really delicious freshly baked bread.
I didn’t happen to have many food options in Churchill, Manitoba, understandably since it’s about a 26-hour train ride from the next city and the freezing temperatures make growing their own food difficult. I also find Chinese food an interesting challenge. It usually tastes good but since I’m kind of a health nut, I often wonder if what I am eating is particularly unhealthy or not.
5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life?
Every single place I travel to changes my outlook on life. I think that’s the crux of why I have a job in travel. Immersing yourself in a new place, meeting people with a different perspective and culture—that always changes you and I think for the best.
6. What is your favorite travel quote?
Enjoy the journey.
So much of my trips involve lengthy travel times—long flights, waiting in airports, long drives—and instead of getting bored, I actually use that time to be productive or on the opposite end, to let myself relax. When you are in the air, you can’t answer emails and it’s tough to edit videos. I use that time to let myself stop and assess where I am, my goals, my next steps. I also use it to catch up on backlog work—like this interview for instance. I’m currently in the air flying from China.
7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?
I think I run to the beat of my own internal soundtrack —I don’t really need music to make me want to go somewhere.
8. What is your craziest true travel story?
My threshold for what is crazy has truly risen so what used to be crazy is quite commonplace now. I still think some of my first trips, when I was just backpacking around Europe, sleeping in airports, choosing destinations on a whim—that was pretty crazy. Smartphones didn’t exist and internet was only found in wifi cafes so it was a much more spontaneous world. I once did a road trip of Spain and Portugal, hitting 6 destinations in 7 days—all with maps, bad Spanish and on a budget.
9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers?
I think the travel consumer has finally realized the value of video as more and more travel sites adopt it. It showcases a destination that photos and text can’t. And when you find a video that focuses on what you are interested in, it can be so useful in planning your trip—whether to do that experience or to avoid it.
10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos?
I try to be authentic and to show a destination honestly. I always try to find locals and seek out the local things to do, see and eat. I try to get off the guidebook and go on recommendations from friends and from people that I meet when I am there. I definitely try to meet as many locals as I can.
My goal is to educate and share pieces of the world with others, especially those that may never go. If I can teach someone about another part of the world and have them understand a little more about us as a collective race of humans, I think that’s a job well done. I also really like helping people plan their trips better so when people tell me that they went to a hotel or restaurant because I recommended it in my video, I am extremely pleased.
11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?
Just do it. Don’t be intimidated and don’t try to do what someone else does. Be yourself. Use the tools you have and remember that even your hometown is a destination to others, so go outside and hit record.
12. What is your best travel tip?
Bring Emergen-C and hand sanitizer! Just kidding! Well those are great—but the most important thing to bring is an open mind and willingness to let go of fears and preconceived ideas. Finding a book on the location that you are traveling to—even a fictional book set there—can really help give you a sense of place and prepare you before you go.
Watch travel videos by Kelley Ferro here.