Keith Jenkins is a true inspiration to those seeking adventure. As an investment banker, Jenkins quit his job and followed his true passion, travel. Not one to allow circumstances to get him down for long, Jenkins has created a whole new career for himself by sharing his travel adventures through his ebook Travelations and through his TEDxTalk’s on passion and empowerment. I sat down with Keith to learn more about his experiences and what keeps him traveling
Leon Logothetis: Your story very is similar to mine: you were working as a banker in the corporate world and felt disconnected with your life until you eventually lost your job during the financial crisis. Tell me about what inspired you to travel the world for a living.
I left banking a few months before the financial crisis hit (with the fall of Lehman Brothers) because I was close to a burn-out and felt disillusioned. The plan was to take a sabbatical from banking for six months, travel the world and get a new job in banking when I returned. However, the financial crisis was in full swing when I returned and there were no jobs. This is when I turned to blogging and social media, at first simply as a means to share my travel stories and while away my time until the first job offer came around. I’ve always been passionate about travel and recording my experiences in a diary so starting a blog was a logical step. As my presence on social media grew, I began to meet many like-minded people and we inspired and helped each other to grow in travel blogging. By the time the first job offer came, I was having the time of my life! Travel inspires me and it’s this inspiration and passion for sharing my experiences that drove me to create a new path for myself. A business plan and several years of perseverance have paid off – travelling the world and sharing my experiences is my new career.
Keith Jenkins: What’s been the most exciting trip you’ve taken to date?
I’ve had many amazing trips around the world but one trip in particular will always stay etched in my mind forever. This was the blogger trip to Costa Brava, Catalonia, in 2011. In one week, I got to skydive, dance with local musicians, stroll around the most beautiful villages and towns, visit the Salvador Dalí Museum in Figueres (after the crowds had left) and speak with one of the famous painter’s apprentices, interview Ferran Adria and eat at his restaurant El Bulli (at the time the best in the world), and dine at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona (currently the world’s best)!
LL: Do you prefer to travel by yourself or with others? Why?
KJ: A bit of both. I love solo travel and the freedom it offers. I consider my 2008 solo round-the-world trip a life-changing experience because of the many things I learned about myself. The best thing about solo travel is that it can be anything you want it to be, because, ultimately, everything you do is totally up to you. It all depends on the experience you want out of it and if you want to take this opportunity to discover yourself or challenge your boundaries.
On the other hand, I enjoy travelling with friends or my partner mostly because of the company. In addition, travelling with someone may also lead to new experiences (things which I may not think of doing myself).
LL: As you know, I traveled the world with kindness as a currency, seeking help and goodwill from others along my journey. Can you share a story of someone being kind to you while you were traveling?
KJ: I’ll never forget the time I was traveling around eastern Turkey. I was bitten by an insect and that evening, I came down with a high fever. I was in a small town near the Syrian border and there was a clinic there. The owner of the accommodation drove me to the clinic where we found a long line of people, some with children. I joined the line but the people wouldn’t have it. They ushered me into the clinic, insisting that I should go in first – I was so thankful for that as I was feeling very ill. The doctor conducted a thorough check-up and prescribed some medication. The owner of the accommodation insisted on paying for everything as I was his guest. During the next few days, he and his wife took care of me (I later heard that some of the town-people had also dropped by to ask about my well-being) until I was well enough to continue my trip. I was simply bowled over by their kindness and incredible hospitality.
LL: You’ve been to so many different places and have the pleasure of writing about it and sharing your travels with others. Experiencing other cultures and connecting with people is something so important to me and something I love sharing. What does travel mean to you?
KJ: Travel means many things to me. It’s relaxing, invigorating, inspiring but above all, I see travel as the best school there is! Travel has taught me so much about our world, its people, cultures and history, and most of all, it has taught me so much about myself.
Read more about Keith’s travels on his site, VelvetEscape.com.