Keith Jenkins is the Founder and Publisher of the multiple award-winning Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate. He has visited more than 80 countries across six continents. Velvet Escape is about getting away from our daily routines & exploring, being adventurous, reflecting & doing it in style.
1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
The first trip I vividly remember was a family trip to Hong Kong when I was eight-years-old. I’d read so much about Hong Kong that when we got there, I became my family’s tour guide. I was so excited to see the skyline, the neon lights and the bustling harbour! It was so amazing to see all the photos I’d previously seen in magazines and encyclopedias come to life! That trip really made me realise how amazing travel is.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
If I had unlimited resources, I would fly into space to see the Earth from above. I think I would just stare out the window in stunned silence! On Earth, I’d love to visit Antarctica and marvel at the icy peaks and wildlife.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I always use travel to challenge myself and test my boundaries. In the case of my fear of heights, I’ve done numerous things to try to overcome that fear, like sky-diving, zip-lining and abseiling. I can’t deny the fear I felt and how it made me tremble but I forged ahead somehow. After that zip-lining experience, I wrote in my Velvet Escape:
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
When I travel, I always use these apps: Whatsapp, XE currency, Google Translate & AccuWeather.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
Any place that prioritises nature conservation and education. I wish more people can see, with their own eyes, how our actions and behaviour are detrimental to the health of our planet, and thus to our very existence.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
Travel with an open mind. It’s a popular bit of advice and I’ve found it to be especially powerful and life-changing.
I was travelling around eastern Turkey near the border with Syria and I fell ill. The kindness of the owner of the guest house and the town folk was incredible. My host brought me to the clinic where there was a long queue of people waiting outside, some with crying children. I stood at the end of the line but they refused to allow this. As I was a guest in their town, they insisted that I was rushed in immediately. After the consultation, my host paid for my medication even though I told him it was all covered by my health insurance anyway. He and his wife nursed me until I was well again. I’ll never forget this moment of immense kindness and generosity.
8.)I travel because….
It inspires, teaches and excites.
Lastly, can you please recommend a resource for up-and-coming travel writers; this could be a course you know, a book, conference etc.
I can recommend the book: Break Into Travel Writing by Beth Blair. It contains lots of helpful tips and great pieces of advice from other travel writers and bloggers, including myself.
In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith is the CEO of iambassador – the world’s premier professional travel influencer network – a company he founded in 2011. iambassador collaborates with tourism boards and brands around the world to produce innovative online marketing campaigns and has, since its inception, won various global awards. Keith also speaks often at tourism and social media conferences about influencer marketing and trends. Furthermore, Keith is the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, a community of more than 3,000 travel bloggers. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, and has spoken at TEDxTalk.
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