The Travel Vlogging panel took place on Saturday at Summer in the City 2014. It featured BriBry, James Mitchell, Lancifer, and Louis Cole. It was chaired by Jazza John.
The panel began with a Louis Cole-shaped hole in it. He soon appeared though, bouncing into the room with camera in hand, vlogging his slightly late entrance to huge surprise and applause.
Each of the panellists had a genuine passion for travelling, but approached it from different directions. BriBry and Lancifer travel mostly for their music, James Mitchell and Louis for their own enjoyment, but all of them do it for the experience.
BriBry mentioned a life goal of his to visit every country before he dies, revealing he had managed 28 countries thus far. Louis replied that he had been to 54, while a slightly shocked James lamented over only making it to 4. That’s not to say that James had less to say throughout the panel, though; his insights caused several uproars of laughter.
The discussion began on the pros and cons of documenting the experience of travelling. Louis talked about a trip to Rome in which he didn’t bring a camera, and while he enjoyed it said he regretted not chronicling it. He also noted that it takes time before documenting feels natural. The panel agreed that being able to look back at footage of a trip for their own enjoyment was a major factor in them vlogging their travels.
The conversation then turned to organising trips. James stated that due to money he likes to plan things in advance to make sure he has cheap flights and accommodation. Louis however believed that to get the most out of travelling you shouldn’t pre-plan too much. “It’s much better if everything’s spontaneous,” he said. “It allows things to become more of an adventure.” But he did recognise that he often knows people in the places he travels to, which can help with this approach (although made the point that he never assumes he can stay with anybody). Louis additionally pointed out the advantages of hiring a car. “Sometimes I’ll rent a vehicle, because then if I don’t find somewhere to sleep I can at least sleep in the car, which I’ve done a few times,” he said.
Lancifer was also keen to emphasise that you can travel cheaply, but admitted being a musician helps with that. “I just did ten countries on under two hundred bucks,” he said. “That has something to do with the music thing, but there are ways.” He told a story of when he posted an ad on craigslist saying ‘musician looking for free couch’. “I ended up living with an old guy who would get up at 7am every morning and cook chicken and watch Superman, it was crazy!” he said. “If you’re broke you can still travel”
This led Louis into telling another story about staying with a stranger. A woman he met on the street, overhearing that he had nowhere to stay that night, invited him to stay at her house when he and Lancifer were in Boston. After her mother picked them up, Louis was welcomed by the family with open arms. “It was amazing,” he said. “Her mum ended up after like, half an hour chatting with me, inviting me on this holiday with them, and I was like ‘This is bizarre’. So yeah, great things happen.”
Lancifer believed these stories help illustrate an important part of travelling: what you learn through it. “It’s so much of an educational experience just from the people you meet, and the things you experience,” he said. “You get in interesting situations and conversations with people you would never normally have met, and you learn things from them.” James agrees with this sentiment. “You learn so much about yourself,” he said.
However the panel all agreed the importance of staying safe when staying with strangers. Lancifer made the point that girls are more vulnerable and Jazza John agreed, suggesting that in foreign countries girls should never travel alone. This serious point was lightened up somewhat by an anecdote from BriBry which caused the audience to burst out laughing. He said how a boy in Bosnia threw a stone at him, so it helps to travel with a friend.
The conversation progressed into a discussion on the best and worst trips the panel had ever had, with BriBry mentioning about how he became temporarily banned from Canada. Lancifer suggested that the “worst trips become the best adventures”.
Louis then talked about how his best and worst experience probably all came together in one trip. “I landed in Australia with zero money, and ended up living for a week in Sydney, completely homeless, with like nothing,” he said. “It was tough.
“You kinda experience what it would be like for people who deal with that every day,” he continued. “Developing countries, or people not as privileged as we are.”
But he said because of that experience, and what that led to for the rest of the trip, it was also one of the best trips of his life. “I learnt so much about myself,” he said. “It was such an eye-opening experience.”
The panel then began to talk about their own advice and top tips for travelling. Louis discussed how blogging can be a way to get to places. He revealed how he had been approached to go to Australia for a month, all expenses paid, just to do Instagram posts. Jazza suggested that being resourceful and helpful can save costs, and explained how he made social media accounts for hostels in return for being able to stay for free. Lancifer emphasised persistence, especially for trying to book a music venue in a country. He told of one time he had sent 100 emails to get one show in Paris. BriBry admitted he even pretended to be a fake manager called Sarah on emails to give his correspondence more weight.
The panel ended with opinions on travelling and its impact on the panellists lives. “It’s the best way to live life,” said BriBry. Louis agreed with him. “If you start travelling a lot, you may never stop,” he said, bringing the panel to a close.
TenEighty briefly caught up with Louis after the panel, and asked him what he thought of it.
“It was good fun, good questions,” he said. “I always enjoy sharing about my travel experiences, and it’s interesting to hear other peoples takes on it. It was so cool to meet you guys.”
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