Wander shots: Keith Jenkins

2012-10-16 13:20
Keith Jenkins, the personality behind the awesome travel blog Velvet Escape, recently visited South Africa as part of the I Love Cape Town campaign. We chatted to him about his life as a travel blogger...

What moment during your #LoveCapeTown trip do you most want to share with your Velvetescape audience?

Wow, it’s hard to pinpoint a single special moment – there were so many of them. What I would like to share with my readers is how inspiring Cape Town is. If the scenery doesn’t inspire you, its people will. One example is our meeting with Dr Mugendi. His passion for design and drive to find ways to use design as a means to improve the livelihood of communities were very inspiring.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome since starting Velvetescape?

When I first started, travel blogging was seen by many, especially the tourism industry, as a fun hobby, not much more than that. As a consequence, travel bloggers were, in most cases, simply not taken seriously – and that’s tough if you’re so passionate about it and want to make a career from it. The biggest challenge was (and still is) getting the industry and travel brands to recognise the value professional travel bloggers can provide. Blogger-driven campaigns like #GoJordan and #LoveCapeTown certainly help in raising awareness but we’re not quite there yet.

Tell us about your most recent trip, before coming to South Africa?

I was with Melvin (@Traveldudes) at Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil for the first Brazilian travel bloggers conference. It was a fantastic event; the Brazilian bloggers’ passion and enthusiasm for blogging was absolutely infectious. We visited the spectacular Iguaçu Falls – seriously, if you haven’t been there, add it to your bucket list! – on both the Brazil and Argentina sides, the humongous Itaipu Dam and crossed the Parana River into Paraguay. It sure was a fun trip!

What’s your top 5 travel bucket list? How close are you to realizing it?

Here you go (chances of realising it within parentheses):

  1. Antarctica – then I can say I’ve visited all continents! (moderate)
  2. Outer space on the Virgin Intergalactic, preferably with Richard Branson (remote, but it’s nice to dream about)
  3. Madagascar (pretty good)
  4. Galapagos islands (pretty good)
  5. Swimming with beluga whales in Manitoba (very good)

In your opinion, the travel trend to watch in 2013 would be?

I see smartphones growing in importance as a tool to research and book travel. Mobile content will be in huge demand. Users already use their smartphones to connect with and influence each other via social networks. Bloggers, with their social networks and online content, are well-placed to benefit greatly from this trend.

What’s been the most useful travel innovation for you?

Erm, a suitcase on wheels. :)

Your biggest extravagance while travelling would be?

Food and wine. I love to eat and drink well.

What would your absolute worst travel nightmare entail?

Getting lost on a cold night, in the pouring rain, with no shelter and no one around, walking aimlessly around for hours only to find I’d been walking around in circles. Oh wait a minute… that wasn’t a nightmare.

Who would you most like to sit next to on a plane and why?

Easy. Sir Richard Branson! I bet he would be highly entertaining and very inspiring. I always find myself dropping his name in these interviews. I wonder why. ;-)

Best piece of advice you’d give to aspiring travel bloggers?

Word hard, learn as much as you can, don’t be afraid to try new things, pour your heart and soul into your work and be inspired by anything and everyone. Oh yes, and persevere!

Complete the following:

Waking up in a villa on a gorgeous, white sandy beach with a slight breeze swaying the palms, and turquoise crystal-clear water gently lapping on the shores this weekend would be awesome because I so need a holiday! Yes, even travel bloggers need a holiday!

The one place I’d really love to be right now (nod to previous paragraph) is Seychelles. Mauritius or Reunion would be cool too. ;-)

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