Travel Talk: Journey Around the World in 10 Minutes or Less!

10-Minute Tripping, Canadian-style

From politicking to podcasting, Vancouver-based communications expert-turned-world-traveller David Brodie followed his passion and turned it into a second career. Brodie is the guy behind the popular travel podcast  Travel in 10: your 10-minute window on the world. His candid, insider-ish podcasts  are produced on location around the globe, anywhere from London, England (where he shares the scoop on hip hotels and the latest restaurants as well as tips for travelling with kids.) to Istanbul, Turkey (visiting such sites as the Grand Bazaar and the Sultan Ahmet Mosque) to Whistler, B.C. To date, Brodie has visited 43 countries around the world.

Travel in 10 host David Brodie

Travel in 10 host David Brodie

How did you get started in travel podcasting?

It started back in 2004. I had lived in Ottawa for eight years, working with Prime Minister Paul Martin. Then one night my wife and I were having dinner at a Thai restaurant and agreed that we both really wanted to  see  more of the world and get some experience working abroad. We both  wanted to have a bit of an adventure. Then the waiter started telling us about this great festival taking place in Thailand about three weeks later. Within two weeks, we had sold our house, put everything we owned in a storage locker and headed off for a one-year trip around Asia.

We really wanted to document the trip so we started a blog as we were touring Southeast Asia. When we got to Tokyo, I thought a podcast, which was just an emerging media at the time, about travel might interest people. I had the idea of starting a series of 10-minute audio shows about the best things to check out in Tokyo. I truly thought it would only get a few downloads, so I was very surprised when it quickly became one of the top 10 travel downloads on iTunes.

Tokyo at night  (Courtesy: Tokyo Tourism)

Tokyo at night (Courtesy: Tokyo Tourism)

Since then I’ve expanded Travel in 10 to include shows on a variety of worldwide destinations, as well as places in Canada. The idea of the show has been to give people a ten-minute overview of great boutique hotels, restaurants, concerts and events around the world. I also  interview interesting people who work in the travel industry, such as guidebook authors and concierges. Even though I don’t get enough time to create as many new shows as I would like, Travel in 10 consistently remains one of iTunes top travel podcasts. I’ve  also launched an iPhone and Android App for the show.

What’s your most embarrassing travel blooper?

While travelling throughout Asia we learned there is a slightly different code of conduct,  about everything from eating to greeting people, in every country we visited. This led to one embarrassing incident when we went to a breakfast buffet in a large hotel in Hanoi. My wife, Natalaya, was getting some fruit from the buffet and noticed a plate of  really nice  mangoes off to the side. She started to take a few slices and all of the sudden someone started yelling at her in a language neither of us could understand. The guy was angry. I came over to see what was happening. We both thought she may have somehow broke local Vietnamese protocol about selecting food. It was only after a bit of panicked sign language that we both figured out the problem. It was not a cultural misunderstanding. My wife was inadvertently taking food off of the plate of the person behind her in the buffet line and he wanted his mangoes back!

What are your must-see destinations in Canada?

One place that isn’t on the radar for a lot of Canadians is the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The wineries there have really taken off  in the last couple of years and I honestly think they’re as good, if not better, than what you’ll find in the Napa Valley in California. Places like Burrowing Owl Winery have these amazing boutique hotels and restaurants that not nearly enough people know about. I also plan to devote a podcast to surfing in Tofino,  which is another great destination in British Columbia. Banff, Alberta is also one of the most spectacular places in the world and the drive between Jasper and Banff is something everyone needs to do at least once in their life.

Moraine Lake, Banff Lake Louise, Alberta (Courtesy: Banff Lake Louise Tourism)

Moraine Lake, Banff Lake Louise, Alberta (Courtesy: Banff Lake Louise Tourism)

There are also scores of amazing places on the east coast. Newfoundland is one of my favorites. It has a distinct culture, breath-taking scenery, great restaurants and incredibly friendly people.

Do you recommend any particular places in Canada to visitors from other countries? Do you have any must-visit spots that aren’t perhaps covered off in the guidebooks?

That’s hard to say because there are so many amazing places.  You could easily spend years travelling around Canada. I’m really fortunate that through my work and personal travel I have been able to spend time in every province and territory in the country, and I love all of them. One place I do try to convince people to make the extra effort to visit is Nunavut. Even though it’s expensive to get to and  off-the-beaten tourist trail,  it really is  unique. All of the Northern Territories offer unforgettable landscapes and cultural experiences, but Nunavut is unlike anywhere else in the world. There are remote Inuit communities where people have been able to maintain their culture and traditions like nowhere else, plus opportunities to see scenery and wildlife you just can’t find anywhere else. It’s  a place that could  benefit from more tourism traffic. Many Inuit communities are struggling socially and financially and their culture has so much to offer the world. Our house is filled with Inuit art from some of my trips there.

Nunavut women

Nunavut women (Courtesy Nunavut Tourism)

What do you never travel without?

It used to be my laptop and  digital camera, but now it’s  my iPhone and iPad.

What’s your advice for Canadians travelling abroad for first time?

There’s nothing wrong with going to an all inclusive resort. I just spent a great week at one near Playa Del Carmen. But get off the resort property and explore. I can’t believe how many people will go to an amazing new country and sit in a gated hotel the entire time. When we go to an all-inclusive we will base ourselves there, but rent a car for at least half the time  and get away from any of the prepackaged tours. There is so much you can see and do on your own: you’ll save money over taking prearranged group tours from the resort, and, with a little bit of research (and listening to a few good travel podcasts such as those found at www.travelin10.com!),  you can have an amazing experience.