Africa Travel Week

Bitten by the travel bug

Keith Jenkins founded iambassador and began offering social media and marketing services in 2011. Keith is the Founder and Publisher of the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate.

Keith has visited more than 70 countries across six continents. In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith often speaks at travel and social media conferences. He is also the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, a community of more than 3 000 travel bloggers. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet and National Geographic Traveler and has spoken at TEDxTalk.

How did you fall in love with travelling? When I was a child, my parents gave me a set of geographic encyclopaedias. Reading about places and people around the world kept me entranced for hours. When I went on my first overseas trip (to Hong Kong) with my family, at age 7, I knew that this was what I wanted to do: travelling and seeing all these places, I’d learned about with my own eyes, learning about the history of these places, and meeting people from different cultures. I guess you could say I was bitten by the travel bug at a very young age. Interests come and go but my love for travel has never waned.

Keith calls Amsterdam his home © Keith Jenkins

What kind of traveller are you? I’m known as a luxury travel blogger – I do enjoy good food, wines and accommodations. More importantly, I enjoy exploring and seeking new experiences. My favourite way to explore a place is to simply stroll around, often without much of a plan aside from a handful of ‘must-sees’. My interests include food/wines, architecture and history so I always tend to use these as a guide. That said, I’m also happy just sitting at a terrace (or a beach) with a drink and watching the world go by. 

What’s your travel philosophy? Travel with an open mind and embrace the lessons from your travel experiences.

What are your top travel essentials? My phone and comfortable walking shoes.

Where was your most memorable trip? I went on a five-month solo round-the-world trip in 2008, a trip I’ll never forget. I got to see places I’d previously only dreamed of visiting like Bora Bora, Easter Island, the Great Barrier Reef, the Atacama Desert and Patagonia. The experiences I gained and the lessons I learned during that trip had a profound impact on myself and my outlook on life. To learn more about that trip, click here.

Bora Bora © Keith Jenkins

How has travelling changed your life? Travel has certainly broadened my horizons (such as identifying and confronting old fears, opening my eyes and ears to the fears, challenges and joys of others, and making me more aware of the intricacies of relationships between individuals and communities). It has provided me with invaluable insights into my person and how my actions impact others and the environment. In other words, it has made me a more positive, more balanced individual. Yes, I got all that from travelling!

When borders open again and the world starts to return to ‘a new normal’ what’s your first travel destination on your list? I have plans to spend parts of the summer in France and Spain. I haven’t made any changes to those plans, so if borders open again and we’re allowed to travel this summer, that’s where I’ll be going.

Best travel advice you can share? Don’t over plan. Give travel the opportunity to surprise you. And don’t over pack. Leave some room in your bag for a souvenir or two – make a contribution to local communities by purchasing locally-produced items. One more bit of advice: make a conscious effort to enjoy a view or an experience through your own senses and not only through your camera lens.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.