I’m Booker, a 15 year old from New York who hosts a travel show on the web, Booker Travels, which is meant to encourage kids to get out of the house and explore the world.
I have been traveling since before I could walk, my relatives and friends are spread out all over the globe so having to visit them at a really early age got me started. We didn’t set out to make Booker Travels on purpose, it just happened by chance. My mom is a documentary filmmaker, so she would always take her camera with us on our trips. After our first trip to the Amazon, when I was 7, we looked over a short edit that she made with the footage from the trip. That was when we realized that we had something special. We continued filming as we traveled (London, the American Southwest, Long Island) and began sharing short videos with family and friends, together with a blog based on my journals.
BOOKER TRAVELS - Barcelona: Seeking Gaudi
Booker Travels was launched in April of 2012, and it started when we took a trip to Barcelona. It's funny because I think that our show followed the footsteps of a good trip. It began with us just doing what we loved and going with the flow, and to this day it has maintained a really laid back feel, even when we are filming on trips.
Booker-Mitchell in Barcelona
Throughout my travels, the biggest lesson I have learned is the best trips are either when you make yourself at home, or extremely uncomfortable and take big risks. When you make yourself at home you get to know your surroundings quickly and meet locals. When you take risks and put yourself in uncomfortable positions, you end up having the most memorable moments and best stories to tell about it.
BOOKER TRAVELS - Nicaragua: Masaya
Unfortunately traveling usually requires a lot of money, but trips with the smallest budgets such as a road trip down the coast with some friends can also be the best. People stress out too much about traveling. People can travel within their own city or town even. Traveling is just exploring new things and making the best out of it. I think that traveling makes people think and change for the better, and I encourage everyone to just get out of the house and do something they wouldn't normally do. For me there is no better feeling than exploring new places, helping out, and becoming close to people who I just met for the first time. That is how Booker Travels started, just as a passion to try new things and go to new places.
BOOKER TRAVELS - Amazon: Peaceful Thrills - Part Two
In December I was named one of National Geographic's Travelers of the Year. Its weird to think that what I have been doing got me there, but it just goes to show that nothing bad can come from traveling.
My dream is to keep traveling and continue to do Booker Travels for as long as possible, and my main goal for the show is to inspire at least 10 kids to get off the computer and explore the world. Traveling gives people great insight into the world, and can help out with everything from communication skills to life changing moments.
Picture of me sleeping outside in Amazon!
I am really lucky to have such an opportunity handed to me, and I just got back from San Francisco, California, where we filmed enough footage for at least five new episodes. On that trip, I visited the Boudin Bakery and met their head baker who showed me the mother dough of sourdough bread, I walked with graffiti artist Eli Lippert to see the Mission district’s murals and graffiti, interviewed Aaron Pope, manager of sustainability programs at the California Academy of Science to learn about the building’s Living Roof, searched through old LPs at Amoeba Music with the help of David James, and got a history of San Fran skating from professional skater Walker Ryan.
These episodes will be coming out around mid-March, right after we finish our season on Long Island. Please check us out on our website:Booker Travel website and Booker Travel's YouTube Channel.
For the National Geographic’s Travelers of the Year story, check out the December/January issue of National Geographic Traveler Magazine on news stands or National Geographic’s website.
Photo credits : Ray Patrick and Rob Langhammer
Live Life Outside