In this Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A, we chat with action adventure traveler Cody Buffinton from Exploring with Cody. We discuss what drives this Connecticut native to travel, learn about his upcoming digital series with Josh Yozura of Exploring with Josh, and pick up some helpful tips and advice that have helped him in his travels around the globe. Check out his favorite destinations and find out where he’s going next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
I always had a passion for adventure and doing adventurous things, but it wasn’t until I went on a school trip when I was 16 to Italy that I really found my passion for travel. We were supposed to spend a week in Italy traveling all around and it was with 2 of my good friends in school so it was a lot of fun, but then a volcano in Iceland erupted, causing all flights in Europe to be grounded for a week, and that’s when we really got to start exploring on our own and I knew I wanted to always be traveling with friends.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places you like to visit?
In a typical year it’s about 6 months out of the year I’m traveling, usually a month traveling and then a month home to catch up on work. This year is an exception though because I’m hosting a travel/exploring TV show which requires me to travel to 2 new countries every month for the first half of the year, and I still have to keep up with filming videos for my YouTube channel, so this year will probably be 10 months out of the year.
The places I visit vary greatly, at first it’s just been locations I’ve always wanted to travel/ones I could afford, but as I’ve started crossing those off my list, it becomes more about mixing it up and finding the ones with unique places that I can visit and learn from. For example, later this year I’d like to do the Mt. Everest base camp hike, which is a 2-week hike and learn from the sherpas there, and then maybe head to Antarctica for a 20-day adventure as well, just unique things a lot of people haven’t seen.
Some of your recent travels have included visiting beautiful waterfalls in Mexico, urban exploration at an abandoned mansion in the UK, filming at a haunted forest in Transylvania, and shopping in the markets of Marrakech. What are the benefits of being a “jack of all trades” type of traveler?
There are pros and cons like anything. For me I’m still yet to be one specific niche, (although I like to consider myself an action adventure traveler) but there’s so much out there that is why I’m kind of a jack of all trades in traveling. It’s hard for me to focus on just one type because for me that’s what traveling is, trying new things, making new friends and epic experiences. But on the flip side, the content is greatly varied which makes it hard to find a consistent audience sometimes. But for me, I’d rather try all types of videos/genres and see what I like best.
You have a digital series with Exploring with Josh coming out soon. How did it come about and what can you tell us about it?
Yeah, so Josh and I started YouTube pretty much together 4 years ago and we’ve been great friends since the beginning. Much of our early content was filming in abandoned spots in the areas around where we lived. Once we had saved up some money we were able to travel to other countries to make more abandoned videos as well as travel vlogs. From this our audience has really liked when Josh and I film together because we have a really good connection/on screen banter.
Just about 2 years ago we were contacted by a company who wanted to turn this into a TV show and we spent months figuring out how it would be created. Finally this year we started filming it in January! The premise is that Josh and I each travel to 10 different countries, and in each country we get a new co host who is a friend of our from our traveling adventures, and we explore an amazing abandoned location as well as the local town/city. Then the 44-minute episode is cutting back and fourth between Josh and I in different countries, basically competing to see who can explore the better location or just one up each other.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
It varies from video to video, but many times it’s for my audience to see the positive in a country the may have heard bad things about on the news, or how we can learn from different cultures and that there are ideas different than ours in the world. When possible I always try to find locals who can show me around or better explain their country/city and it not only helps the video but teaches me and the viewer about there perspective from a totally different part of the world.
In addition to travel, you’re also passionate about fitness. What advice would you give to travelers who want to stay fit while they’re exploring the world?
True, and this is something that I find to be increasingly hard with my even more packed schedule this year, but it means I’ve been working to keep it up much more. The best advice I can give is one that I tell myself everyday which is find a way to at least break a sweat every day, in whatever way possible. A lot of the hotels I stay at don’t have gyms or very bad ones, so I go for a run most mornings before filming and this at least gets me sweating. Also the biggest trap I find myself in is always being offered soda everywhere I go and when you’re walking around all day it sounds great to have, but at least for me, thats one of the biggest things that I can cut out and it’ll make a huge difference in staying fit.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
#1 is Norway, some of the best scenery I’ve ever seen, I spent a month there during the summer last year and it was incredible for hikes, road trips and quality of life.
#2 is Iceland, a close second and again some incredible scenery that is probably the most unique in the world which is why so many TV shows/movies are going to film there because it’s like another planet.
#3 is Japan, I love the culture and how it’s sooooo different from where I live in New York City. I love that it’s the safest country in the world and I can walk around the streets at 3am and feel completely safe, and the variety all over the country, (bamboo forests, cherry blossom parks, red shrines gates and so much more)
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.
For Norway, I’d say this:
#1 Reinebringen Hike – pretty hard hike but my favorite view I’ve seen (It’s in Lofoten)
#2 Vaeroy – This little island is a small ferry ride away from the main Island of Lofoten and you can do this island in a day, but at the top of it there is an incredible view that anyone can go see.
#3 Viking Valley Village in Gudvagen, this little village is really cool because it’s set up like a village from the Viking age, and if you’re into that as much as I am, it was a really fun day. You can see blacksmiths working, sword training, leather making, and a lot more.
#4 Saltstrummen in Bodo, this is a tidal pool in the North that creates these really cool whirlpools twice a day with the changing tides, and you can take a boat out there, or arctic snorkel it which we did and it was wild!
#5 Glacier hiking, there are multiple you can do in Norway, we did one just an hour south of Bodo and it was amazing, we had the ice picks and everything, one of the best days we had looking over this turquoise lake from the top of a glacier.
How many countries have you visited so far?
As of May 2019 Ive visited 30. I count my countries on this app called Been, that just tracks it, but I’m not very concerned with racking up as many countries as I can, because I like to spend as much time as I can in one and full explore it before moving to the next, which is why my typical trips are 3-4 weeks in just one country before moving to the next.
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
All Mexican food in Mexico!! I love going back there for the food especially their Tacos.
Ramen in Tokyo Japan, can’t go wrong with a good Tonkatsu Ramen.
Mediterranean dishes which always include some kind of really fresh vegetables and olive oil. My favorite appetizer in Greece for example is Dolmades.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
It’s hard for me to remember the name of the place because it was in Japanese, but in Osaka, which is the food capital of Japan, there are these little restaurants all over the main square where you can get a really good chicken curry or ramen and I would eat there everyday.
What is your favorite travel movie?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a huge inspiration for me, if you haven’t seen it, basically Ben Stiller works at Time Magazine, and he lost a really important photo a really good travel photographer sent him, so he travel around the world to find him and end up in different parts of the world realizing how incredible it is out there and it’s what inspired me to go to Iceland, which is one of the spots.
What is your favorite international airport?
So far I’d say Tokyo Narita airport. The Japanese are just really organized
Which city had the friendliest people?
Anywhere in the Philippines you will find the friendliest people, which is why I love it there.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
Probably Josh since we travel together the most and have great adventures when we do.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Typically I’m editing a video or something business related during my travels, but if I do have time to kill in an airport, the Nintendo Switch is amazing for travelers, I’ll play Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros with whoever I’m traveling with at the time.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
This show I’m doing now has taken me to the most exotic places to film. The #1 being the middle of nowhere in the country of Georgia where Stalin had a favorite Spa resort, and all the people there only spoke Russian. It was a crazy week of riding around in the mountain tops of this country.
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
Keep it cheap. For obvious reasons other than saving money, when you stay in cheaper accommodations like hostels you meet a lot more people especially like-minded travelers who become your friends. When you take the cheaper train across a country instead of flying you see the countryside and most likely places you wouldn’t normally see since they’re outside tourist areas. For me that’s been the most beneficial advice, it’s not always possible to do, but my best travel stories or adventures don’t start with me coming out of my 4/5 star hotel to go to a 5 star restaurant.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
- Old ID and credit card that are no longer in use, which you can give to shops that you may think are sketchy in other countries, that way if they try to mess with you, they don’t have your passport and you won’t be stuck in the country. I saw a kid once have to pay $1000 USD to some sketchy ATV guy because there was a minor scratch and they had his passport as collateral.
- Noise canceling headphones for planes and other busy areas
- Medication for different types of sicknesses, it really sucks being sick in another part of the world.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
That’s hard because a lot of those places are the first ones I traveled to, but currently, I’d say Antarctica just because of how unique it is and how few people get to go as well as the raw untouched nature.
What is your favorite travel quote?
It’s not really a travel quote but it still applies which is, “If it were easy, everyone would do it” Which is why I’m always seeking out the harder destinations especially later this year.
Where are you headed next?
Next is Namibia, which I’m super excited for because I’ve never been to the south of Africa!
I’m an adventurous traveler who creates content mainly for YouTube and Instagram, where I try to find cool experiences off the beaten path. Whether it’s rappelling into the deepest cave in Mexico while being circled by hundreds of bats, or driving to the farthest fjord in Iceland with a new friend I just met to explore an abandoned fish factory. I like to try it all and definitely love seeing where the road takes me!