1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
The first place I ever went OMG WOW has to be my backpacking trip to Havasu Falls in 2003. This paradise is actually located in Arizona, USA and has the most stunning scenery I have ever witnessed. I always tell people paradise can be right in your backyard if you look hard enough.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
If I had unlimited resources I would go to Venezuela to climb up the world’s highest waterfall Angel Falls which plunges off the top of the plateau called the Tepui. I would then explore the top of the Tepui where strange looking ancient rocks seem to have fallen from the sky.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I was afraid of traveling alone because I am a shy person and I didn’t think I would have a great time. What I did to overcome this was jump in the deep end and actually go on a trip by myself. I soon met new friends and quite quickly I wasn’t alone – Now days most of my traveling is by myself.
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
My most popular apps I use all the time are Instagram, Twitter, Gas Buddy, Weather, Facebook, Maps, and Sound Cloud. These apps allow me to stay connected to the world, be informed about the weather, know where I am in the world, and provide some easy listening music all the while.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
Havasu Falls in Arizona is by far my favorite place in the world, but I’m mixed if I want everyone to see it – at least not at once – not sure the canyon could fit that many people haha.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
The past is gone and the future will never come, so cherish now because that’s all we have.
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
On my trip to Belize the scariest thing happened…our driver left us on a remote road in the middle of the jungle. We clearly were not at our destination, we spoke hardly any of the native language, and we were lost. This was in 2003 and we had no communication to the outside world. In a twist of fate, a local Mayan family responded to our distress and kindly took us in their home. This family was amazing – they feed us, gave us tours of the ruins on their property, and drove us back to town. A life changing moment and one that surprised me to realize just how kind some strangers can be in the world.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
Every destination I have visited served a mission. I am a man of purpose, most of traveling has been to document and film and awe inspiring place to share with the world. These were inspired because of beautiful photographs or videos I saw on TV and Film.
9.)I travel because….
Because travel provides movement and movement is life. Traveling keeps my mind fresh and new. I know when its time to travel when I get depressed – in those times I say to myself…”Alright JJ it’s time to pack your bags and get outside.”
For up-and-coming travel writers, JJ recommends: I love receiving my monthly subscription of Backpacker Magazine because it has the most inspiring images of trips around the world. A must have if you want your daily dose of inspiration and a beautiful coffee table ornament.
Back in college, JJ discovered his love for nature on his first backpacking trip, and quickly saw that exploring our earth was the key to helping the world.
Since that time JJ has led countless groups of people all over the world to explore some of the most beautiful places on earth and now he produces engaging media to inspire people to get outside and explore their backyards.
Our next Travel Influencer interview will be up in a week, follow the series here.