Kristen, you spent 300 days traveling through 11 countries, across four continents, on 12 flights and spent $9500CAD, how did you do it?
When people learn that I only spent that little on a trip around the world, they ask me, “did you just sit on the streets, watch people walk by, and eat one meal a day?” The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! In fact, my adventure was the exact opposite. I never limited myself, but I did travel to many countries where living expenses were a lot cheaper than what I am used to in Canada. For example, I spent 35 days in a guesthouse in one of my favorite places in the world – Rishikesh, India! The bonus part is that it only cost me $80 CAD!! My room had a double bed, cable television, a balcony, filtered water, a huge washroom and unlimited clean sheets. It was fantastic!
Another place I stayed in for a month was a very basic wooden beach hut in Koh Phangan, Thailand. It cost me $2 CAD a night, which I split with one other person. The beach hut was one of the most amazing places I’ve ever stayed at. The only reason I found this place was by talking with locals and expats who had been living on the island for years.
I also ate 3-4 meals a day, but instead of going to restaurants all the time, I’d eat street food or buy groceries and cook my own meals (if I had access to a kitchen). I also couch surfed or stayed with locals who I met throughout my journey. Since I saved so much on accommodations and food, I would spurge a little on things like my PADI (scuba diving certification), Bollywood dance classes, sitar lessons, hot air balloon ride, white water rafting, Reiki course, massages and so much more! Just be smart with your money and it really can go a long way.
You became PADI certified, took sitar and dance lessons, went white water rafting and flew in a hot air balloon…i take it you like adventure then?!
Oh yeah! That’s what I do…adventure! I am literally up for anything and everything. Adventure isn’t just about extreme sports for me either; it’s about traveling off the beaten path, staying in remote villages and eating bizarre food. I want to experience everything this wonderful world has to offer, and while I do it, I want to share it with others so they are inspired to do the same.
When I was in my last year of high school, I became really great friends with a bunch of exchange students from South America. We did EVERYTHING together and I felt like I had found a group of people I connected with on entirely different level. I felt like I should have been born in South America because everything about the culture spoke to me and I just felt at…home with these girls. Luckily, my high school has an exchange program where I could spend 4 months living and volunteering in Paraguay, South America and earn credits. Even though I was graduating, I decided to go back to high school for an extra year just to participate in this program. At the age of 17, I lived in Capiata, Paraguay with a host family in Paraguay, teaching underprivileged children and speaking fluent Spanish. I knew as soon as stepped foot in Paraguay that my life was about to change. I was right. Ever since then, I’ve been traveling the world and learning about different ways of life as well as myself. It amazing how you can find little part of you in every country you visit.
What inspired you to set up Hopscotch the Globe and did you know much about travel blogging before you started?
Since travel has been a big part of my life for years, I have been involved with the travel blogging community for a while. When I would research countries I wanted to visit, I would come across certain ‘travel blogs’ and get hooked. There are 3 bloggers in particular who really inspired me to start documenting my travels. Those 3 bloggers are creators of The Lost Girls World. I have been following Amanda, Holly and Jen’s adventures since the beginning of their travel blog…and I mean when they were just a basic WordPress blog. Since then, they have BLOW UP and now have one of the most popular travel websites and a best selling novel called, “The Lost Girls: Three friends, four continents, one unconventional detour around the world.” I actually Skyped with one of the Lost Girls, Amanda right before my trip asking her about how I can start my own blog and any suggestions she had for me. After that Skype call, I bought my domain and began designing my website. I had no experience with html or setting up a blog (except those basic blogspot blogs) before this, so it definitely wads a learning experience. Thank goodness Google is such a great teacher.
How would you describe your travel style?
I am an adventurous backpacker who LOVES roughing it in the outdoors and stepping way out of the box and beaten path. However, I also don’t mind a little bit of luxury once in a while. Some would call me a bohemian fashionista and I think that speaks well for my style as well as my personality.
Oh, gosh! There are so many tips to share! I’ll try my best to cover quite a few:
Invest in the proper equipment. If you’re just starting out, you don’t have to go and buy the most expensive camera and mic. Even a point and shoot will do. However, not matter if you’re an amateur or expert, I would invest in an external mic, LED light and tripod. Someone who shot using a point and shoot but who has great audio, good lighting and steady shots will keep me coming back for more compared to someone with a just an expensive DSLR with everything else lacking.
Bring enough SD cards. I always make sure I bring about 5-6 SD cards with me. I do end up dumping all of my footage onto my computer, but if I’m out all day shooting, I don’t want to limit myself because I ran out of room.
Use a tripod! There are so many people out there who do not use a tripod when they really should. If I’m watching a video that is shaky the entire time, I’ll stop watching.
Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. The majority of the time, I’m shooting my videos alone. While I can get most shots myself, I’ll never hesitate to ask a stranger to help me record something if I need to.
Be prepared for rain and humidity. You don’t want any damage done to your equipment, so make sure you prepare for all types of weather conditions.
Don’t use copyright music! Use original music or buy royalty free music. I use Audio Jungle and Vimeo Music Store the most. There are also some website that provide royalty free music for free just as long as you credit the artist.
Don’t make a video too long. You want to capture your viewer and keep them interested the whole way through. I usually say that a video between 3-5 minutes is the perfect length.
Practice makes perfect! Go out in your own town and use your equipment. Try different shots, play with lighting and get to know your editing software. The more your practice before a big trip, the more comfortable you will feel and the better your videos will be.
Get a lot of b-roll. B-roll is the footage that helps your video come together. It’s great for voice-overs and telling the over all story.
Watch other travel videos. The best way to learn is to watch how other people are doing it. Watch other traveler’s videos and make notes on what you like don’t like about them. Look for other filmmakers who produce really great content and aim to make your videos that same quality or even better!
What equipment (camera, editing software etc) do you use for making travel videos?
Right now, I have a Sony NEX 5N, a GoPro Hero 2 and a Pentex Optio WG1. I shoot most of my stuff on my Sony. I also just invested in a shotgun mic and LED light , which is very necessary for anyone wanting to make quality travel videos. I use Final Cut Pro for editing, but I have also used Adobe Premiere in the past. I prefer Final Cut though.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of traveling the world, but a bit nervous about doing so?
Feel the fear and do it anyway! There is always going to be that feeling of fear in anything new that you try. Embrace it and do what scares you! Traveling is the BEST thing you can do for yourself. How can you spend your life in one place not knowing what else is out there? You’re just limiting yourself. The world is so amazing and so EXCITING! If your friends and family are scaring you by telling you that you could get hurt, kidnapped or even killed, let me remind you, that can happened in your own backyard. I have a travel series geared to questions just like this called “So You Want to Travel the World.” I recommend anyone interested in travelling the world check it out.
I just got back from Puerto Rico where I took part in the “Vloggers in Paradise Film Festival.” Myself and 5 other vloggers were invited by San Juan Marriott Resort and Casino to film our own personal experience in Puerto Rico. We had 24 hours to film and 24 hours to edit. There was a gala on our last night where all of our videos were showcased to a panel of judges and industry professionals, and I won the Judges Choice for Best Video!
I’m going to Hocking Hills in Ohio in a couple of days and will be doing some really neat stuff like cannoning and flying in a small plane to shoot some aerials. I can’t wait!