Meeting “America’s Travel Sweetheart,” Samantha Brown

“What’s this line for?”

“It’s to meet Samantha Brown. You know, from Travel Channel.”

“Oh, I love her! She’s so adorable.”

This was the general consensus at the 2012 Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show, yesterday at the Long Beach Convention Center. The best part was that Sam is exactly like you’d expect her to be in person. Any fan of her “Passport” series on Travel Channel knows she’s engaging, friendly, a little goofy and best of all, just like us.

She gave a presentation called “A Comedy of Travel Errors: My Globalization of Mishaps” on the main stage to a standing room only crowd. This was followed by a Q&A session with the audience before she headed to the Taiwan booth (one of the convention’s major sponsors) to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans. She met everyone who queued up and spent a little time chatting with each person. She really appreciates how fortunate she is to have such an enviable job. She told me that if it weren’t for all us then she wouldn’t be there in the first place.

Sam recounted several funny anecdotes and shared some tips on international travel. One of her main points was that people should attempt to speak a few words of the local language when traveling. Don’t be afraid of “butchering” the language because it’s much better to say something wrong in the native tongue than to assume that the person speaks English and not try at all.  They’ll know right away three things about you: that you’re a foreigner (by your accent), that you’re a kind person and that you’re making an effort. Sam also said it’s important not to have pre-conceived notions about what a place will be like before you go there. Just let it be whatever it is.

Here are some more things we learned about Samantha Brown:

  • Those little plastic-wrapped hotel soaps are her nemesis.
  • Her favorite country (so far) is Cambodia.
  • She wasn’t impressed by Naples, Italy. [Just last week I wrote that I was disappointed in Naples too, only I said it less diplomatically than Sam.]
  • The “grossest” food she’s eaten on her travels was duck tongue. She forced herself to try it in order to not offend her hosts. When she nearly gagged on it, they told her that they think it’s disgusting and would never eat it!
  • She’s never been to Africa or India.

Unfortunately, there aren’t current plans for a new series with Sam on Travel Channel. She’s been on-air for ten years now and is enjoying a little break. However, if given the option, she’d love to travel to India next.

You can follow Samantha Brown on Twitter @SamTravels.


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