Photo by Daniel Cima
Freelance photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Neil Brandvold is comfortable on the front lines, most recently covering the Ebola epidemic in Liberia and Sierra Leone. His work, not unlike Travel Channel’s new series Breaking Borders, shines a light on the human toll — and resiliency — at the heart of disaster- and conflict-ridden areas. We caught up with him to find out about the dangers he faces on the job, the places he can’t get enough of, the people he’s met and the privilege of telling their stories.
You’ve covered the Arab Spring in Libya and Egypt and been embedded with M23 rebels in eastern Congo. What type of preparation goes into those trips? How do you stay safe?
The preparation really varies from trip to trip, but safety is always the most important thing to consider. Hostile environment training and battlefield medical training is an absolute necessity before working in war zones — and luckily, groups such as Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues and Pioneer Consulting, among others, are providing really top-notch training to journalists before entering conflict zones.
I spend a lot of time before each trip trying to get a good sense of the dangers on the ground and building up strong networks of trusted local fixers, drivers and translators, who are essential to be able to operate safely.
Jason at Cascade Mountains, WA. (Photo Courtesy of Jason Karas)
Our Type of Traveler is a great opportunity to feature world travelers, travel writers, bloggers and magazine publishers. This week, we wanted to highlight an innovator who is trying to change the way travelers tell their stories. So we thought we’d chat with Jason Karas to see how he and his partner, Rich Barton, want to make Trover — a fairly new social platform and community — an integral part of how travelers meet one another, as well as how they share fun travel experiences and awe-inspiring sights through photography.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Young
Jeff Young is a television host, travel expert and model who has lived and worked in cities around the world, including Paris, Hong Kong and Cape Town, South Africa, to name just a few. Ahead of the “maker” movement, he explored the local, independent and creative cultures that make neighborhoods pop on his web series In the Cut. Most recently, his Journey Through Turkey series followed him as he discovered the country’s storied history, stunning landscapes and exceptional cuisine firsthand.
We first met the California native back at last year’s Travel & Adventure Show in Long Beach, CA, so when Travel Channel headed to Santa Monica to look for the next Travel Channel Star, we caught up with him to find out who’s inspiring him (from the hipsters of Portland, OR, to the Turkish people’s Anatolian ancestors), the best way to see a city and where he’s headed next.
Venice Beach, CA.
How many countries, cities or continents have you visited?
I’ve been to 6 of the 7 continents. More than looking at the numbers, I’m fortunate to come from a modeling background, so I had a chance to live in all kinds of wonderful cities for work. Through this experience, I learned the inner workings of cities, what daily life is like, the good and the bad in cities including New York; Paris; Istanbul, Turkey; Cape Town, South Africa; Sydney; and Hong Kong.
Photo Courtesy of Julia Dimon
She’s a travel journalist, TV personality and hard-core adventurer, and if you ask Julia Dimon, she’ll happily tell you she’s a travel junkie, too. Her travels have included experiences that some of us can only dream about, such as snorkeling with whale sharks in Mozambique, attending gladiator training in Rome, dogsledding in Greenland and eating deep-fried guinea pig in Ecuador.
In addition to writing her new book, Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Travel, Julia has been featured as a travel expert on TV and in numerous publications, including Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Forbes Travel, Budget Travel, Outside Magazine and the Chicago Tribune.
Julia continues to travel the world, but she also takes time to offer words of wisdom to eager travelers at events such as the New York Times Travel Show, which is where I met her. I decided to not only get the scoop on what drives Julia to travel, but I also wanted to get her advice about saving money when planning trips, solo travel for women and much more.
Photo Courtesy of Don Tuthill
At TravelChannel.com, we try to share different travel experiences with our audience, as we did with our recent feature about Travel Noire and its Afro-centric perspective. We wanted to share the LGBT travel experience, too, so we decided to chat with Don Tuthill, the visionary behind Passport, a print and online resource that has become the insider’s guide to LGBT travel, thanks in part to a team of experienced, well-traveled writers. Find out more about the Passport brand and why Don is our type of traveler this week.
Photo Courtesy of Heather Greenwood Davis
After having children, a parent’s priorities can shift dramatically, decreasing the desire and the time allowed to travel. However, there are several parents who manage to make travel more of a priority, encouraging their children to become active participants in planning each family trip. And Heather Greenwood Davis and her family are the quintessential example of making travel an inclusive and real-world educational experience.
Heather has received several accolades for her travel spirit. She was recognized in 2012 as National Geographic Traveler magazine’s Traveler of the Year. As a travel journalist and the founder of GlobetrottingMama.com, she has also been recognized as a leading family travel and mommy blogger by Babble.com, WorkingMother.com and BlogHer.com. Knowing Heather and her family already had miles of travel experience under their belts, we thought it would be great to talk to her to see how she and her husband make travel work as a family.
Make sure you check out Heather’s favorite family adventure picks on our list of Travel’s Best Family Adventures 2015.
Photo Courtesy of Zim Ugochukwu, Travel Noire
For some people, travel is all about those unique, immersive experiences. But what happens when you are the ethnically different outsider visiting a homogeneous travel destination that is not exposed to much cultural diversity? Well, it’s these types of experiences that Travel Noire tries to capture with its network of nomads around the world, offering an Afro-centric perspective that has been missing from mainstream travel resources.
Zim Ugochukwu, founder of Travel Noire, is leading the charge to provide a website to showcase African and African-American travel perspectives and to encourage people of color to make travel an integral part of their lives. And as you will soon discover, this first-generation Nigerian — born in Rochester, MN — has the expertise to provide advice about everything from solo travel to expat life — definitive reasons why Zim is our type of traveler.
Tracey with girls in St. John, US Virgin Islands. (Photo Courtesy of Tracey Friley)
For Our Type of Traveler, we like to feature travelers who enjoy exploring the world, immersing themselves in a destination’s history and culture, and spending time with the locals. Every so often, we run across people who not only embrace this travel mantra, but they also become ambassadors, encouraging others to travel. Tracey Friley is an example. Although she splits her time between living in Oakland, CA, and Paris, Tracey still manages to seek support for the Passport Party Project, a program that encourages teenage girls to explore the world beyond the US borders. And that’s why Tracey is our type of traveler.
What is the Passport Party Project? What made you decide to start this initiative?
The Passport Party Project is a National Geographic award-winning global awareness initiative that gifts underserved American girls ages 11-15 with their very first passports and gives them their first international journey. The purpose of the program is to help create a crop of budding global citizens who are both responsive and responsible travelers. The first phase was funded by Expedia, and this second phase is being partially sponsored by HomeAway. I can’t wait to share our international destination in the weeks to come!
WHOA Travel founders Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton on Mount Kilimanjaro. All photos courtesy of WHOA
No one climbs Mount Kilimanjaro alone, and no one knows that better than the founders of WHOA Travel. Women High on Adventure creators Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton are travel-loving friends who met while climbing Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, in February 2013. Tackling one of the world’s toughest summits together was so life-altering, they knew they wanted to share the experience with others. So upon returning to New York, they quit their jobs and started an adventure travel company with a mission to motivate women to step out of their comfort zones … and onto the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.
In the spirit of empowering women, WHOA Travel led a group of 28 women from 9 countries to the roof of Africa on International Women’s Day earlier this year. Not only did all 28 women make it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but they even danced their way to the summit. Led by the mountain’s first local female guide, the group raised more than $10,000 to support women’s educational programs in Kenya and Tanzania. Now, Allison and Danielle are gearing up to lead another group of women to the summit on International Women’s Day in 2015.
We caught up with daring adventuresses between climbing mountains to find out what other WHOA-inspiring trips they’re leading, how their high-altitude dance-party tradition began, and the surprising item they never head back to Mount Kilimanjaro without (hint: it’s not a power bar).
Photo Courtesy of Clint Johnston
We appreciate world travelers who fly for free and never pay full price. That’s why we decided to talk to Clint Johnston, author of The Art of Travel Hacking and blogger for his website, Triphackr.com. Clint enjoys sharing tips and money-saving advice after traveling to more than 60 countries. In addition to writing for TravelChannel.com, Clint has had work appear on the Huffington Post and in Wired.
It’s clear when talking to Clint that he is a savvy, immersive traveler who enjoys unusual experiences such as kite-surfing in Brazil, meeting a Haitian voodoo priest and witnessing everyday life in Palestine firsthand. Clint doesn’t travel to add another fresh stamp to his passport; he relishes the priceless culture experiences and off-the-beaten-path excursions that really define travel.
You’ll be surprised to find out what sparked Clint’s love for travel, what’s next on his bucket list, what travel gear he never leaves home without, and what advice he has for first-time travelers.