In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we speak with Victoria Brewood, the British world traveler behind not one but two phenomenal travel blogs, American Travel Blogger and Pommie Travels. We chat with Victoria about what sparked her love of travel, why she feels travel is important, her favorite things to do in Cartagena, and much more! Check out her best advice for people who want to travel and find out where she’s off to next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
My mother started taking me on last-minute holidays as a teen…we would go to the travel agent in the high street and then the next day we’d be jetting off to Spain or somewhere in Europe. I loved the excitement and the thrill of last-minute packing! It was so exhilarating. When I was at university I went to Portugal with my friend and while I was there I met some Aussie backpackers. They told me I should travel to Australia, so I did. I booked a solo backpacking trip and that’s when I really caught the travel bug.
What does travel mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important?
I mean, we get one life (as far as we know) so if you know there’s a big wide world out there full of exciting things, wouldn’t you want to say you’ve seen it before you die? Travel for me has made me more considerate, more self-aware…it makes me realize that there’s actually a lot of kindness in the world, which is the opposite of what you see in the media. I’ve met so many incredible people traveling and I have moments to cherish forever. I think travel really expands your thinking and broadens your horizons.
You run two travel blogs, American Travel Blogger and Pommie Travels. Can you please tell us about them? How did they come about and what makes them different from other travel content out there?
Pommie Travels was my first blog, which I started in 2009 after I left university. It was the recession, people weren’t hiring and I didn’t really know what to do. I applied for a Masters at the London School of Economics and was accepted but couldn’t get a bank loan. I thought about doing a law conversion but in the end, I decided to save up some money and go traveling. I started Pommie Travels with the intention of getting my work noticed so I could write for newspapers or guide books, but it ended up being my main source of income. I write a lot about solo travel and self-improvement, in addition to giving destination advice.
More recently I started American Travel Blogger because I moved to the U.S. and I’m so passionate about U.S travel. It’s a big country with a diverse landscape and there’s so much to see and do. The blog has become quite popular with people who want to plan road trips across America, as well as British expats who are moving to the U.S.
You’re from Manchester, England. What makes Manchester such a great travel destination? What do you suggest people do there when they visit?
Manchester is a seriously underrated city. Everyone goes to London but I love my home city so much. Northerners are friendly and the city has a proper soul to it. For food and drink, head to the Northern Quarter, which looks a bit like New York with its cobbled streets and fire escapes. Of course, if you’re into sports, don’t forget to catch a soccer match. I’m a Manchester United fan!
Even though you’re from England, you have a passion for traveling across the United States. What first attracted you to the U.S.?
I think it was the movies that really attracted me to the U.S. I would watch films and think, “one day that will be me!” Eventually, in my early 20s I booked a trip to New York and I’d never felt so alive. After that, I did a huge trip around North America visiting LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Austin, and Toronto. I fell in love with the U.S because everyone here is optimistic and the positivity really rubs off. In the UK people are always complaining but in America, people are all about the hustle and they’re super friendly.
How many days/weeks do you travel in any given year? What types of places do you like to visit?
I travel a lot less now. There was one point in my 20s where I was on press trips for almost every day of the year. I was exhausted. These days I’d say maybe I only travel for up to 6 weeks of the year. I do much shorter trips for maybe 3-4 days at a time. Some people can travel and work quite well but I’m just not one of them – I’d rather take a few days off, really enjoy it, then get back to my laptop when I’m home. This year I went to Cuba, Colombia, Los Angeles, and Barcelona. I prefer beachy destinations but with good nightlife too.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
I’d just like people to feel inspired to go places. It doesn’t matter where. It could be exploring your home country or traveling overseas. Traveling on your own doesn’t have to be scary, it’s actually quite a liberating experience and nobody will think you’re weird for doing it…they’ll think you’re brave! I also hope that people will realize that if you want to be successful, you just have to stop giving yourself excuses and actually put things into practice. It’s all about taking actions that lead to where you want to go.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
Always a tough one. I’d say Cartagena in Colombia, Portugal (Porto and Lisbon are beautiful) and the south of France.
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, the best place to have lunch, the best sightseeing, etc.
For Cartagena, I would say…
- Take a boat to Blue Apple Beach House, it’s amazing
- Watch the sunset at Cafe Del Mar
- Walk around the colourful Old Town and eat at La Cevicheria
- Have a drink at Movich rooftop
- Hire a boat and go to the Colon boat party. That was an unforgettable day.
How many countries have you visited so far?
I think I’m on 54.
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
Japanese (I could eat sushi all day), Chinese, Italian
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
That’s a tough one. I’ve had so many great meals where I think “this was the best meal ever!” and then I forget what I ate and where. I love La Vara in Brooklyn, New York. Get the deviled eggs, the Persian cucumber salad, and the octopus.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Up in the Air with George Clooney
What is your favorite international airport?
Amsterdam Schiphol is really nice. I love the airport in Austin Texas too. It’s small and has a taco truck, yum!
Which city had the friendliest people?
Manila, Philippines. The people all over the Philippines are so friendly.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
My friend Caitlin. She’s really go-with-the-flow and is down to have fun. I met her in Brazil in a hostel – I was supposed to go all over Brazil but we ended up sticking in Rio for three weeks and having a great time.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Sleeping. I sleep like a baby on transport.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
It’s good to have a plan but also be prepared to divert from the plan. You never know who you’ll meet, so sometimes it’s worth just going with the flow and seeing where life takes you!
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Passport, camera (I have the Panasonic G80), laptop and a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
The Maldives would be nice, still yet to go there
What is your favorite travel quote?
“Cover the Earth before it covers you” – Dagobert D. Runes
Where are you headed next?
Most probably Miami for Art Basel.
Victoria is a travel blogger and content creator hailing from Manchester, UK. In 2008 she packed her Broadcast Journalism degree into her suitcase to travel the world and be her own boss. Since then she’s visited over 54 countries, sharing travel tips and destination advice on her blogs PommieTravels.com and AmericanTravelBlogger.com. She currently resides in New York, where she offers photography services for other travel influencers and bloggers.
Learn more about Victoria Brewood’s travels on PommieTravels.com and AmericanTravelBlogger.com, as well as her YouTube channel, Pommie Travels Twitter, American Travel Blogger Twitter, ATB Facebook, PT Facebook, and PT Instagram.