Beyond Borders: A Traveler’s Odyssey with Chris, Uncovering Hidden Gems and Embracing Diversity

Join us on an adventurous journey “Beyond Borders” with Chris, known as Authentic Traveling, as he uncovers hidden gems and embraces diversity in his travel odyssey. Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Chris embarked on his blogging voyage inspired by his extensive travels across South America, Central America, and teaching stints abroad.

With a passion for authentic experiences, he founded Authentic Traveling to share the essence of his explorations, from rural villages in northern Thailand to bustling cities worldwide. Through short-form videos on TikTok and longer content on YouTube, Chris offers a unique perspective, focusing on culture, people, and cuisine, rather than just tourist hotspots.

Dive into the world of Chris, the intrepid explorer behind Authentic Traveling, as he shares insights into his globetrotting adventures. From his humble beginnings sharing travel photos on Instagram to crafting engaging videos on TikTok and YouTube, Chris’s journey has been one of discovery and connection.

With a keen eye for uncovering both renowned landmarks and hidden local treasures, Chris invites fellow travelers to join him in exploring the richness of diverse cultures worldwide. Through his blog, Chris aims to inspire others to step off the beaten path and embrace the authenticity of each destination, one adventure at a time.

Hi Chris! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Would you mind starting by telling us who you are and where you’re from, and of course the name of your blog?

My name is Chris, but I often go by the name Authentic Traveling, which is my handle on all the social media platforms I’m on—YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. I’m originally from Denver, Colorado, USA, and of course, yeah, Authentic Traveling is the name of my social media pages.

When did you start your blog and why did you decide to start a travel blog?

I started quite a long time ago, just with a personal Instagram where I would post pictures of myself traveling. I’ve always really enjoyed traveling since I was young. It’s something I got into a little bit when I was in my university years. I had some opportunities to travel to South America and Central America, which was a big inspiration for me. I also had opportunities to teach English abroad, so I did a lot of traveling. The idea for Authentic Traveling came up when I was living in Thailand and visiting small villages in rural northern Thailand. There wasn’t much information about them online, very limited knowledge.

So, I thought, “I’m going and finding these really interesting things to do. I should be sharing that with people.” That’s when I started the travel blog, Authentic Traveling. It was about getting out there and exploring, finding the real essence of the country—not just the major tourist sites, but the unique and authentic experiences. Over time, I transitioned to short-form videos, especially on TikTok, focusing on my travel experiences, thoughts, and food, while also working on longer-form content for YouTube. I aim to provide an authentic view into my travels, focusing on culture, people, and food, rather than just the typical tourist destinations.

How do you plan your travel itineraries to ensure a balance of popular tourist attractions and hidden local gems?

I try to include both popular tourist attractions and hidden local gems in my travel itineraries. While it’s important to visit major landmarks in a city, I also want to showcase the real, everyday experiences of locals. For example, if I were in Paris, I would definitely visit the Eiffel Tower, but I would also make a video about something like eating at McDonald’s in Paris, which is surprisingly popular among locals. I aim to meet people before I visit a destination to get a genuine insight into the city’s culture and highlight both well-known attractions and off-the-beaten-path experiences in my opinion.

Can you discuss a time when you faced a significant challenge during your travels and how you addressed it?

While I haven’t faced any major challenges during my travels, I’ve encountered numerous small inconveniences along the way. One approach I take is to embrace these challenges as opportunities for deeper exploration. For example, if my travel plans are delayed, I see it as a chance to explore the destination more freely and discover hidden gems. I try to maintain an open mind and adapt to unexpected situations, focusing on making the best of every experience.

How do you handle negative feedback or criticism about your travel blogs?

As a content creator, it’s essential to have a thick skin when dealing with negative feedback online. While I receive negative comments occasionally, I choose to ignore them and focus on my positive interactions with followers. However, if I receive feedback about factual inaccuracies, I take it seriously and aim to correct any mistakes. Ultimately, I prioritize engaging with my supportive audience and embracing constructive criticism to improve my content.

You’ve been to 162 countries out of 197. What place would you really like to visit and why?

With only 35 countries left to visit, I’m particularly drawn to destinations that are off the beaten path and less frequented by tourists. Yemen, Eritrea, Somalia, and Syria are among the countries I’m eager to explore due to their rich cultures and historical significance. I enjoy challenging misconceptions about these destinations and experiencing them with an open mind, seeking authentic and unique travel experiences.

How do you handle cultural sensitivity when talking about various destinations?

I believe it’s crucial to approach different cultures with respect and understanding when creating content about various destinations. While it’s essential to be mindful of cultural sensitivities, I also believe in maintaining authenticity and not shying away from discussing challenging topics. By keeping an open mind and engaging with local communities, I strive to capture the essence of each destination while being respectful of cultural differences.

How do you ensure your personal safety and security when traveling to unfamiliar destinations?

Personal safety is a top priority when traveling to unfamiliar destinations. I rely on local knowledge and advice from trusted individuals to assess security risks accurately. By connecting with locals and gaining insights into the current situation, I can make informed decisions about where to go and how to stay safe. Additionally, maintaining situational awareness and being adaptable to changing circumstances are essential strategies for ensuring personal security during travels.

How do you handle language barriers when traveling and how does this influence your blogging?

Language barriers can be challenging when traveling to countries where I don’t speak the local language fluently. While I speak Spanish, which helps me navigate many destinations, I sometimes encounter difficulties in regions where English is not widely spoken. Despite this, I find ways to communicate through gestures, translation apps, or seeking assistance from locals. While language barriers may impact the depth of my interactions, I still strive to capture meaningful experiences in my blogging by embracing cultural diversity and maintaining an open-minded approach to communication.

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