In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we speak with Jon Barr of Here Be Barr, a former sportscaster turned world traveler. We chat with him about what inspires him to travel, how a health crisis impacted his career and priorities, travel tips, and some of his favorite places to visit. Check out his favorite destinations and find out where he’s going next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
I actually didn’t really catch the travel bug til my mid 20’s when I started to decide that living a full time 9-5 existence wasn’t for me. I worked many seasonal positions due to my broadcasting career, which left me ample time to travel between jobs. And I haven’t looked back.
You are a former sportscaster. What was the transition from that to travel vlogger like, and how has being a journalist impacted your travels?
The transition was both easy and difficult, depending on what aspect of travel vlogging we look at. I actually had a lot of experience, speaking in front of a camera, so that transition was rather seamless. However, my background in editing and shooting was pretty minimal. Those were two skills I had to pick up on the fly. Having a degree in Journalism has impacted me a lot, as I now know how to tell a story and always weave the most important elements and facts into it. It’s like I’m chatting with my viewers/listeners on a sports broadcast only the content is travel related.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places you like to visit?
The last 6-9 months I’ve been “traveling” in my home base of New York City. I’ve focused a ton of my efforts on showcasing my home, and its paid dividends with a lot of new subscribers. In the past, I used to travel a lot more frequently, perhaps 4-6 months of the year. I am gradually, upping my volume of travel and the second half of 2019 should see some more content outside of New York City.
You are currently 2 years cancer-free. First off, congratulations! How did your diagnosis affect your travels? What advice would you give to travelers who have health-related issues?
Thanks for the kind words. I think the diagnosis, actually made me take a step back from my YouTube career, and my life priorities. I was at one point, overly obsessed with trying to grow my channel. After I got sick, I realized that if people don’t watch my videos, or the vlog isn’t perfect.. there are far worse things that can happen to me. That being said, I appreciate things more, and I want to travel as much as I can because I know that I can’t take my good health for granted anymore.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
I want to teach people to travel the same way that I do. Avoid tourist traps as much as possible, really to get know a city and appreciate it like a local. I’m also a big fan of quirky/off-beat activities. Visiting a museum in Las Vegas dedicated to old billboards/glowing neon signs from casinos is a prime example.
You live in New York City. What is the best tip you can give to someone who wants to have a good experience there?
Too many to list in one interview. If we had to break it down into a short answer… Don’t just base your trip on Manhattan, explore this crazy place which has some of the most diverse offerings on planet earth. And don’t try to do much on one trip. I’ve lived here almost a decade and I have so much to learn and see.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
In no particular order : Mexico, Thailand, and Malta.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of your top 3 destinations. Like a mini-guide or a to-do list of sorts. It can be anything from your favorite hotel, best place to have lunch, best sightseeing, etc.
Top 5 Mexico:
1) Visit the Mayan ruins/cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula
2) Eat the incredible Street Food of Mexico City
3) Spend the night in a Puebla Magico.. any Puebla Magico . (Bonus for Mazamitla)
4) Go to just one Mexican Soccer Game
5) Explore the incredible jungles/rivers of Huasteca Potosina.
How many countries have you visited so far?
33, according to my Instagram profile.
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
- 1) Mexican food 2) Indian Food 3) American BBQ
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
I’m going to have to go with something in NYC. Let’s say the Nonna Maria Slice at Bleecker Street Pizza. The Tacos at San Taco in Mexico City are a close second.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Not Hostel, hahaa.. I’ll go with the Hangover since it’s a comedy and they did travel to Vegas.
What is your favorite international airport?
I’ll answer Mexico City’s only because I have access to so many different lounges inside of there and when you land seeing the huge cityscape from far away is incredible.
Which city had the friendliest people?
Who is your favorite travel companion?
My wife !
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Answering YouTube/Instagram comments.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Wow, great question.. The most exotic place I ever vlogged was probably in the jungles of Huasteca Potosina, Mexico.
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
Don’t plan every little step. Leave some things open to chance.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
My vlogging camera, a small carry-on suitcase, my Brevite backpack, and my wife (unless it’s a hiking trip).
What is your ultimate dream destination?
What is your favorite travel quote?
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Where are you headed next?
New Orleans, LA for my friends bachelor party.. but going to create at least 1 Vlog out there !
I’m Jon Barr, an ex-sportscaster turned travel vlogger. If you’re looking for waste no-time, incredibly informative videos loaded with useful travel tips, you’ve come to the right place! My vlogs are made for the savvy traveler. Follow along to learn all of my travel tips, tricks, and secrets. Connect with Jon on his YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.