Featured Traveler | Keith Jenkins : Velvet Escape

Travel blogger and wine enthusiast Keith Jenkins is the founder of Velvet Escape, a popular travel blog. The investment banker-turned-traveler is based in Amsterdam and has traveled all over the world. Keith takes us on a journey through his favorite places in our latest Featured Traveler profile.

Name: Keith Jenkins

Tell us a little about yourself: I’m Keith Jenkins, the founder and publisher of the Velvet Escape travel blog and The Happy Explorer photo blog. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, I’ve visited more than 60 countries across six continents… and counting. I worked as an investment banker for ten years before turning to my true passions: travelling and writing. The Velvet Escape travel blog reflects the way I like to travel: exploring off-the-beaten-path spots, discovering exclusive accommodations and indulging in local cuisines and wines. In addition to blogging about my travels, I also provide blogging and social media consulting services and speak regularly at tourism/blogger conferences. I’m also the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network a community of travel bloggers.

Favorite city you’ve been to:

Gosh, that’s a tough one. I have many ‘favorite cities’ around the world such as Vancouver, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, New Orleans…and the list goes on! If I had to choose one, I would choose the city I live in: Amsterdam. It’s beautiful, packed with things to see and do, very cosmopolitan (almost 200 different nationalities live here!) and all within a small, village-like setting. I love this city!

Favorite restaurant:

My favorite restaurant in Amsterdam is Saturnino. It’s a quirky little Italian ristorante with tiled tables, friendly staff and superb food of course! My all-time favourites are the carpaccio, linguini vongole, spaghetti alio olio peperoncino, sirloin steak with black truffle sauce and porcini mushrooms, and the home-made tiramisu. The food is seriously good and never fails to cheer me up!

Best place to relax:

On a beach, preferably one with swaying palms; white, powdery sand; and crystal-clear water. I love Whitehaven Beach (on Australia’s Whitsunday Islands), Bora Bora (I could stare at the colors of that lagoon for days!), Zanzibar, and any of the islands in Sabah, Malaysia. Looking at the colors of the water, feeling the sea wash up around my ankles and enjoying the breeze in my face - beaches never fail to relax me.

Best place to have fun:

Amsterdam of course!

Best trip you’ve ever taken:

I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be on many amazing trips. One trip that I’ll never forget though is my five-month round-the-world trip in 2008. Countries I covered included Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Australia, French Polynesia, Chile and Argentina. Not only did I get to experience some of the most stunning places on this planet, it was in many ways a life-changing trip. I published an e-book about this trip and its repercussions called Travelations.

What one piece of advice do you have for travelers?

Travel schedules and checklists often lead us from one destination to another and one attraction to the next, and we return home feeling exhausted. My advice is to allow yourself more time and to limit the number of things to see and do on your list. Go slow! Stroll aimlessly without a map, take your time while you explore a market or simply sit at a café, strike up a conversation with the locals and watch the world go by. This is a great way to truly experience a place.

Where else can we find you on the web?

Follow Velvet Escape on Twitter and Facebook for a daily dose of travel inspiration. I can also be found on StumbleUpon and Google+.

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