Long before The Daily Travel Podcast launched, Chris Christensen was blazing the trail for travel podcasters to follow.

Chris has been producing his podcast since 2005, just a year after the medium began. At the time, he loved podcasts but hadn’t found the right subject. He considered a range of topics — including religion or tech — but after a night spent with friends at his home, he recognized the best stories were travel stories. Nobody had a travel podcast. And right then he knew he had to do a travel show. Today, nine years later, his show, The Amateur Traveler podcast, gets over 1 million downloads per year.

I sought out Chris at New Media Expo in Las Vegas and without hesitation he agreed to come on my show. We discussed the value of exploration to the individual as well as Chris’ recommendations for exploring Istanbul beyond the prescribed tourist trail.

What are your favorite spots in Istanbul? I’d love to hear it in the comments.

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Words from an Explorer:

“The best travel stories get us outside our everyday experience and challenge what we think of as normal.”

Tweet this quote or thank Chris for sharing his story!

What You’ll Learn:

  • How Chris got his start with travel at a young age with his family
  • Chris’ favorite National Parks, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon
  • How a trip to Tanzania to help orphans with AIDS led Chris to explore, and realize that he’ll never reach his limits. The more confidence you get, the more you go ‘Well this isn’t hard at all.’
  • How the best memories come from when the travel changes you. And what that means.
  • How learning Mandarin unexpectedly helped Chris in Japan.
  • Chris leads us through why he loves Istanbul, not just for its amazing history and big sites, but it’s Muslim people and tiny hidden gems that only explorers will find by venturing out on their own.

Chris’ Best Travel Advice:

  • The First Step: Book a tour, for example with GAdventures, to break the ice.
  • Money Saving Tip: Go shoulder season (May or September, just before or after the crowds for better weather and smaller crowds)
  • Finding Cheapest Airfare: Start with a metasearch engine (TripAdvisor Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak, Mobissimo). Then spot check the results (Southwest, for example, won’t be included in the results). If you don’t know where you want to go, kayak.com/explore
  • Packing Tips: Nobody ever comes back saying, “Boy I wish I packed more.” Pack less, buy what you need. Leave stuff behind, and make a list.
  • Favorite Internet Travel Tool or Resource: The Amateur Traveler, of course! Also, TripAdvisor for it’s alternative accommodations.
  • Favorite Travel Book: In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson
  • Weird Food: Spicy Crickets and Guacamole, in Oaxaca

Mentioned on this Show:

Music credit: Imogen Heap – Wait It Out (Artec Remix), Intrepid Journey, by Aaron Static

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I’m a lifelong international traveler, the host of The Travelers podcast, and founder of Holocene, a framework and community for writing the story of your life using travel and creativity.