Dallas-born modern adventurer Samantha Brown has made a career out of showing us the world for decades. And now, she’s coming back to her hometown to teach others the ropes for traveling.
Brown, the host of Places to Love on PBS, is a featured speaker at the Dallas Travel and Adventure Show September 11-12, where those with wanderlust can learn how to navigate the new norms of travel. Attendees will also learn how to safely resume travel and book future trips. Experts from around the world, like Rudy Maxa, will share their professional advice about the locations open for travel, where you should go and how to book safely.
As a veteran world-traveler (you might remember her from the Travel Channel), Brown has the scoop on all things related to exploration.
As the host of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” on PBS, what are you loving about this phase of your travel career?
The best part of the show is that I have total control. I love utilizing my vision in a way that allows me to respect and listen to people. Travel is where we show up as human beings, so we should make it available to all.
The show produces 13 episodes per year, but there’s only 8 in 2021 due to COVID restrictions. There are so many episodes I’m excited about like San Antonio and Dallas. We did our very first episode for the program in Houston, and then we recently went back there. Texas will be well represented in Season 5.
Because international travel has been severely limited as a result of the pandemic, the show is focusing on domestic destinations. There’s so much to see right in our own backyards.
I love how travel is reaching out to be more inclusive, too. For instance, there are places that offer things like nature trails for neurodivergent people. Everyone’s invited!
What are your thoughts on travel as we head into Fall 2021?
The Delta variant uprooted everything. People will stay a little closer to home. I had planned to be in Europe but we changed those plans. Second verse, same as the first.
You say to “focus on the comma not the exclamation point” when we’re traveling. What do you mean?
So much of social media and advertising revolves around the “best of’s” and phenomenal views. This sets the tone that travel is unattainable. But really, it is wherever you are. There are moments that really make travel powerful. It may not be at the Vatican in Rome. It could be at that roasted chestnuts place where a man has made the chestnuts for decades, a recipe handed down from his family. It’s the smaller moments that can be the most powerful, so keep an eye out for them. Make space to have those smaller moments.
If you gave one tip for travel, what would it be?
Make time to just wander. Put the phone away. Go down a street because it looks good. Sit down in a cafe. Enjoy life. Allow yourself to be in the moment. I did that in Dallas when I spontaneously went for a walk and discovered Clyde Warren Park.
What are some of your favorite places?
I love Houston for its phenomenal diversity, great food, great art and the whole vibe.
Santa Fe is one of my favorite places. I brought my mother and sisters there. It is a place that I go back to, and that says a lot.
I love all of Asia as well; Beijing, China, Japan. The cultures there are so different from my experiences growing up. Everything becomes a discovery.
Lastly, I loved Cambodia. They have a beautiful culture there. They are so soft and welcoming.
Do you envision travel pivoting in the next few years?
Travel is where we meet people face to face. Everything we do now is through social media; It’s eroded how we treat people. There’s no substitute for just being there. Through travel, we become friends again as people. We’re living through a difficult time. We’re all trying to figure out what’s next.
What has been key to your global popularity for over two decades?
I’ve never approached my job as an expert. I just wanted to be a real person. I want my audience to think, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ Let’s figure this out together. I’m still curious.
What can attendees expect from the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show?
It’s wonderful because you have so many people planning their travel through the internet. At the show, you can be in a space where there are a lot of destinations represented and there’s a person behind the table teaching you about them. We’re all just done with being on Zoom. It’s a really fun, engaging experience.
For those looking to hear more about Samantha’s Tips on Making Travel Count, visit the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show, September 11th and 12th at Dallas Market Hall. For FREE tickets, courtesy of Samantha, use promo code SAMANTHA100 by clicking here.
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Cover photo courtesy Samantha Brown
Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She began her travel writing career with Austin Woman Magazine when it premiered in the fall of 2002. Now, she can be seen on TV shows across Texas, offering travel tips, in addition to her long-running “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.