Very few things excite me more than travel talk.
That’s one of the reasons I braved the torrential rain on Sunday to see Samantha Brown, who was in town to speak at the LA Times Travel and Adventure Show. Since 2000, she’s been a host with the Travel Channel and has had more shows than anyone else on the network.
It’s easy to see why. Her good-natured spunk, warmth and natural curiosity about the people she meets on the road shines through. She even traveled cross-country from her New York home after totaling her car a few days before.
“It was my fault. Thank goodness no one was hurt and the airbags worked! “
Brown’s learned lots from her experiences with her around-the-world shows.
“Travel should not be about all the sights you can cram into the day. We are always thinking about what’s next. When you allow yourself to be in the moment in a destination, there’s emotional value in that trip. The journey should be about the people you meet along the way,” Brown says. “I usually take my day off before the shoot for a very long walk (sometimes six hours) on a personal search to experience that city and connect with the culture.”
Known affectionately as Sam, the travel aficionado is on the road most of the year — around 230 days to be exact!
Her original dream to be an actress/singer got diverted.
“Thank goodness for that. I now have the perfect job!” But don’t let her fool you; she still enjoys singing. In fact, on a show shot in Nashville, she got to write her own music and sing at Robert’s Western World, the renowned honky-tonk restaurant.
“People in country music dream of this opportunity.”
After many travel mishaps, she has four staples that she won’t leave the house without. “They’re so simple, but they can make or break a trip.”
#1 — Earplugs. Since her pricey headphones were stolen, she now uses the simple orange foam earplugs. “No one steals used earplugs,” she kids. “As soon as I get through security, I put these on. When you block out everyone’s chaotic noise, you are in your own private Idaho.”
#2 — Pinky (Rubber) Balls. “When every muscle in my body aches from being on my feet all day or I’ve had a bad red eye-flight, I put these on the floor and lay on my back. I push up with my knees and roll them on my back. It works out every kink and every knot. I stand on them and work out my arches.”
#3 — Peanut Butter. “I arrive at many destinations late when restaurants are closed and there’s no room service. It’s interesting that the world does not know peanut butter. I work with a lot of foreign crews – Chinese, Peruvian and Balinese. There’s always some need to break the ice. To get people together, I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I get very serious and say, ‘This is an important piece of my culture and we are given it from childhood on. It works!’”
#4 – “I Love New York” T-Shirts. “If it’s from your city, it’s a true thank you. Sometimes, tipping is frowned upon. This is from the heart and makes a stronger connection.”
Sue Facter writes about all things A-list. Her articles have appeared in “USA Today,” “Los Angeles Times,” “Women’s Day Australia” and various online sites.