Storyteller Josh McNair | California Through My Lens Travel Blog

In this Culture with Travel interview, we talk to storyteller Josh McNair from californiathroughmylens.com. Learn about Josh’s various travels and perspectives in our interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself! Why do you love travel? How do you think travel unites us or teaches us more about the world?

My name is Josh and I have been running the website CaliforniaThroughMyLens.com for over 6 years and ThroughMyLens.com for 2 years. I love exploring the world around me and encouraging others that you do not need to travel the world to have a good adventure, you can do it right outside your backdoor. Through my time traveling California, I have found so much amazing stuff to do, even in cities I would normally skip over, there is usually something historic or adventurous to try.

What surprising aspect of culture do you love about where you’re from (your specific town/city) that travelers may not be aware of?

I am from Southern California and I love all of the unique cultures represented in the big cities like Los Angeles. It is truly a melting pot and it is awesome to learn about new cultures and try interesting food without even leaving the state. California can seem like a fast placed society with everyone in a rush and tons of traffic but once you take the time to explore some of its attractions you will realize there is a lot to love under the surface as well, be that the beautiful beaches, nature, food or history.

Which dish do you feel best represents where you’re specifically from? Share a picture and tell us why you love it!

Oh man, in Southern California it is all about Mexican Food. We have this burrito that many of the local spots make called a California burrito and it is essentially carne asada, salsa, cheese and French fries. The French fries would seem like a strange addition but they work incredibly well. That and In and Out Burger are probably my favorite “local dishes.”

California Burrito (Photo credits to dailycal.org)
California Burrito. Photo credit: dailycal.org

Share about a custom/tradition you observe, and talk about the role of family in your life. What does family mean to you?

For me, Forth of July is always a big celebration in America and with my family. It is a time where we come together in the heat of the summer, enjoy a pool, BBQ and fireworks together. I love that time with my family celebrating the freedom that we have in this country and it is always just a great time to hang out and enjoy the food and festivities.

Independence Day Parade (Photo credits to history.com)
Independence Day Parade. Photo credit: history.com.

Art and dance can tell a deeper story about local culture. Tell us the story of a specific artwork or dance that has a meaning for you. Share a photo, if you can. 

Something that I find a lot of beauty in personally is nature. This is one of the reasons why I am super into hiking and always looking for new places to explore. When you see something beautiful like the tunnel view in Yosemite – it can truly take your breath away and to me places like that have a lot of meaning.

Yosemite from Josh McNair

Languages not only give us the power to communicate but also can unite us across cultures. Share a favorite saying you have, or teach us something in your native language. 

One of my favorite quotes is a greek proverb that says, “A society grows great when old men plants trees whose shade they know they will never sit under.” I love the way this relates to travel more than language, as I feel that when people experience beautiful things, like Yosemite, it will make them more attached and interested in preserving those things for future generations. I love to encourage people to get out and see what is around them, that way they will hopefully want to protect it and keep it beautiful.

Have you ever met a stranger during your travels who made an impact on your life in a certain way, or maybe it was you who helped someone else? Share the story! 

One of the things I love about travel is that there are always great opportunities to meet new people and share experiences. While not in California, I was walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain a few years ago, and for me meeting people was one of the most rewarding parts of the process. You can walk with someone for 20 minutes and you may never see them again in your life or you may see them in your hostel that same night. I made friends with people that we kept in touch with after leaving and I even exchanged postcards with an elderly French woman who I saw a few times on the journey. Travel has a fun way of making those connections that you may not have made without it and it can be very rewarding.

Follow Josh’s travels via California Through my Lens, and on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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