The travel community is a vast ocean of world nomads who share their experiences in a number of ways – whether it’s through a personal travel blog, a weekly newsletter, or through the lens of a camera. We’ve had the great fortune of interviewing some fantastic travelers here at the Contiki blog, including “AdventureGirl” Stefanie Michaels, Johnny Jet, and Dian Emery of GirlsGetaway. Today, we’re featuring 10 Questions with Kelley Ferro of Tripfilms, the largest travel video website. Check it out!
When did you decide to become a travel filmmaker and how did TripFilms come to be?
Traveling has been the one thing that I knew, without question, made complete sense and I figured this out at a very young age. It was much more than just enjoying vacations, I was completely enthralled by new scenes, people, food, language—everything that goes into the discovery of a foreign place. I waned to know as much as possible about the new destination I was in and see/do/eat everything.
It’s no wonder that in college I started my university’s first travel nor that my senior project was creating a travel website for students in Boston, complete with travel videos.(shocking similar in idea to Tripfilms…).
Post-college I pursued the entertaininment industry and after a year at NBC, I realized that I needed more hands -on involvement. I traded in my peacock feathers to pursue an ad that read “a small travel video startup seeking an editorial assistant.” I met with the initial team of four at one of the various coffeeshops that Tripfilms called home. Within minutes, I realized I shared the same passion for travel and belief that others like us would benefit from awesome travel videos online. Four years later, that passion is still there and Tripfilms is thriving and growing like never before. We have the most travel videos on the web (over 13,000!) and we send filmmaker son trips all over the world to film for us. We are really the only travel site video site out there with this much quality video and we get such a kick when someone tells us, “Hey, I watched that show you had on the budget traveler in Pamplona” or “ I saw that backpacker video about sleeping on the Great Wall of China.”
When and where did you first travel by yourself, and why did you choose that particular destination?
I first traveled alone to Australia in high school. I had been in a big car accident and was eager to take back my life and prove that I could go to the ends of the earth (almost) solo. Fifteen year old Kelley didn’t know too much about Australia besides what I had read in travel magazines but I had decided it was exotic enough to try out. Turns out, it was the ideal destination to expose myself to a new place.
Was there a particular trip or travel moment in your life that changed your life?
I learn a little more about our world, its people and myself during every trip I take, and I feel that much of who I am is the sum of all my trips.
One particular instance that moved though, was waking up to Turkish prayers at 5am in a hotel room. For a minute I had no idea where I was, and that moment when I remember that I was in Istanbul gave me such a rush of adrenaline and excitement, a smile spread across my lips and I just remember feeling pure happiness.
Do you prefer to travel alone or with a travel partner? What would you say the benefits of either travel style would be?
Of course there are benefits to both ways to travel but I think a lot of it depends on the place and what you are doing there. For instance, I was in Switzerland and London, both to film, and I was so busy with a packed schedule, there was no way someone could have kept up. But if I travel outside of a city and at a slower pace, you can’t beat having someone to share it with. Luckily, most of my shoots require an extra person there and that’s always infinitely more fun.
Which destinations are you consistently drawn to, and why? (Places you’ll always come back and visit more than once)
I hate to say Italy because I know that sounds so clichéd, but I’m of Italian decscent, studied abroad there in college and speak the language. Every time I return, I feel like I let out a big exhale because it feels like home. In some ways, I’m more comfortable there than in the US.
All the Med countries will forever appeal to me and honestly, you can’t beat a tropical beach and pina colada in my opinion.
What are 5 destinations that you recommend the 18-35 year old Contiki travelers MUST see?
I haven’t been everywhere—yet—but based on my past experiences, here’s my top five (granted this leaves out Africa and Asia, both of which probably should be on the list in some shape or form.)
- Istanbul. It will change you and allow you to experience a culture that’s vastly different from your own. Plus it’s cosmopolitan enough that you will be able to experience it comfortably.
- The Greek Islands: I can’t imagine they look that much different today than they did thousand years ago. There’s a reason why Odysseus risked his life sailing these waters. Of all, my favorite is Mykonos—especially if you are among the “few” that like beaches, partying and shopping.
- Galapagos: No where else can you step over a blubbery seal to take a close up of blue footed booby sharing a rock with a dinosaur like iguana. Each island is so different and feels like a real-life Jurassic Park.
- Rome: It’s an absolute must stop for some of the worlds most historic sites and some of the best pizza.
- Great Barrier Reef: The majority of the earth is covered in water and the best place to see what’s is going
What are some of your top tips or travel advice for travelers who are looking to either travel alone, or to travel as part of an escorted tour like Contiki?
If traveling alone, make sure you read up on your destination. It’s always good to know the areas to avoid, currency, main shopping area and have a list of things to do with addresses. It’s easier to skip things when you are on the ground then try to figure out how to spend your day with no wifi access.
On an escorted tour, the planning process is taken care of which make it a whole lot easier to see the best spots and move around. However, when the itinerary is handed to you, you spend less time researching and learning about the experience beforehand and often will come in unprepared. Make the most of your experience by learning about the location prior so you can fully engage with your destination when you are there.
What are the must-have items that you pack with you every time you take a trip?
Not just because I’m a filmmaker, I recommend a GoPro camera for any traveler. It is tiny and lightweight, very durable and waterproof, and it takes incredible video and photos. Besides that, pack comfortable shoes (ditch the heels!), headphones, a notebook, camera and a scarf—they are so versatile!
What are your favorite travel rituals?
I like to wake up early on the very first day and go for a run. Usually after a long flight, it feels good to stretch your legs, plus you get a good ‘lay of the land’ and often discover spots to return to later that you wouldn’t have found on a map. Early mornings also tend to offer a slice of life– without tourists– and a chance to see the true culture.
Where are your travels taking you to next?
Living in NYC, it’s easy to take weekend trips, and next trips are the Hamptons, Boston and New Jersey! More exciting trips are Austria for a film shoot at the end of the month!
Tripfilms is the largest travel video website with over 13,000 travel videos from over 4000 destinations. Tripfilms is a place for our 50,000+ travelers to share their experience, get tips and showcase their work. We also reward our best filmmakers with their own travel shows and paid travel assignments. We share outstanding travel videos from real travelers for real travelers.
We’ve partnered with a variety of travel blogs, travel publications and travel planning sites to distribute quality video content. We also are the go-to destination for tourism boards, PR agencies, hotels and travel operators looking to produce inspiring travel content.
We invite anyone with travel video to share your experience with us and upload your video. Join our inspired travel community at Tripfilms, Facebook and Twitter and be eligible for assignments around the world. Come see the world with us!