Name: John Piazza IV
Home Base: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Last Trip: Marrakech, Morocco
Next Trip: Philadelphia and NYC. Keeping it local for a bit.
1. What are three things you take on every trip?
It’s tough to narrow it down because I usually bring a TON of stuff, but here’s what I would never go on any trip without: iPhone, Canon 5D Mark II, spare contacts (clear vision is everything).
2. What is your best remedy for jet lag?
The excitement of traveling always conquers any weariness I might experience. A cold, local brew is a must at the end of a long day of traveling though.
3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place?
Orientate myself. Walk around. Learn the lay of the land. If I haven’t already, I make sure I know where everything is in relation to where I’m staying, that way I don’t waste any time being lost.
4. What place has the best food? The worst food?
I’m a little biased, but I have to say, hands down, the best food is found in Italy. The worst food I’ve had has been in the United States. Americans have a much higher tolerance for poor food and low quality ingredients than most of the world that I’ve visited.
5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life?
Morocco. Being launched into a setting that is so far removed from anything I’ve ever experienced is always a great a experience. It’s really interesting to enter the Medina (the old city) and essentially step back hundreds of years. On top of that, the culture and landscape are beautiful and the food is interesting and delicious. Morocco should be on everyone’s travel list.
6. What is your favorite travel quote?
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild. Not just my favorite travel quote, but one of my all-time favorite quotes.
7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?
Music inspires me in every aspect of my life, but as far as traveling is concerned, the music that inspires me the most are the songs that talk about being adventurous, living while you’re young, and making the most of your time. When I hear music that I enjoy that is specific to a certain region, I’m always more inclined to travel to that area.
8. What is your craziest true travel story?
This is hardest question by far. Haha there are so many. The one that jumps to mind, however, is from when I studied abroad in Italy during the spring of 2012. The semester had just ended and I was spending a week on the Amalfi Coast with my best friend. We were eager to visit Capri, so after a long day spent figuring out the local transportation and conversing with Italians who all told us a different story, we arrived in Sorrento, ready to hop on a ferry to the famous Isola di Capri. We were about 10 minutes too late and had taken the last bus. With night quickly approaching, we had two options: accept defeat and rent accommodations or seize the day and make the most of our situation. We chose the latter. We enthusiastically rented two Vespa scooters and drove along the legendary Strada Statale 163 to Positano. I would argue that it is the most beautiful road in the world, albeit, rather dangerous. Upon arrival, we were met with a ferocious onslaught of wind and rain. We were forced to take cover in an abandoned Piaggio Ape (the tiny 3-wheeled Italian utility vehicles) alongside a cave and wait out the storm. We almost froze to death but we managed to wait out the storm. Afterwards, we were rewarded with the view of a lifetime. The moon came out from behind the clouds and shined brilliantly over Positano, reflecting in the calm waters of the Mediterranean. We then grabbed a couple panini and camped out on the beach for the remainder of the night. Great times.
9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?
Actually, I think that travel videos are probably more useful for people who aren’t filmmakers. Travel videos, if they’re done well, allow the viewer to get an idea of a destination without actually visiting it. That way, travelers are able to narrow down the multitude of destinations to the places they really want to see. In my opinion, travel videos are invaluable to any person who is planning a trip.
10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos?
To convey the same energy and excitement to my audience that I experienced when I was filming them.
11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?
Research and plan ahead. You have a limited amount of time (unfortunately), and you should want to capture as much as possible. Shoot to edit. Don’t be that jerk that sticks a camera in strangers’ faces.
12. What is your best travel tip?
Get out of your comfort zone. Some of the best experiences I’ve had while traveling involve breaking out of my comfort zone. Whether it was exploring one of the largest underground caving systems in the world outside of Budapest or reaching out to strangers while I waited and making new friends, the best experiences have always resulted from breaking out of my bubble.
Watch travel videos by John Piazza IV here.