Today on Culture with Travel, we’re introducing you to Brad from True Travels with Brad. Brad is living proof that you can travel, earn money, and have a great time by making people laugh along the way!
Tell us more about yourself! You travel the world extensively – how do you do it?
I’m an improv and sketch comedian in New York City, and I’m working to make travel my career. In 2017, I somehow managed to sneak out for 93 days to 16 countries, and my job hasn’t fired me yet! I’m traveling 100,000 miles to make comedy videos for my show, True Travels with Brad (cough cough it’s on Facebook and YouTube cough cough). In between trips, I’m performing in live shows at the People’s Improv Theater in Manhattan, and working on a sci-fi dark comedy film, Villains.
What advice would you give others who wonder how to make a living from travel?
Hone your craft. It’s not a bad thing if you feel like you’re spending all your time learning how to color-correct footage, or taking a writing class, or practicing speaking on camera, but keep improving your process. If you’re just starting out, odds are you have a lot of things you can improve on, so keep at it and eventually, you can make your work so good they can’t ignore you. God knows I still have a long way to go, and hopefully that improvement process never stops.
After that, the second thing is to make connections. Put it out there ALL THE TIME. If you are going to make a name for yourself in the travel scene, it needs to be such an integral part of your daily conversations and posts.
By now, a lot more people in my circle know me and what I want to do, and as a result, I’ve had three rounds of interviews for a Travel Channel pilot, had my show pitched at Conde Nast Traveller, and was even asked head down to Mexico with a Nat Geo travel writer, all because people are starting to know me as the comedian traveling 100,000 miles a year. It’s still baby steps, but I’mma keep knocking on that door, baby!
Where and when was your favorite comedy (work) experience abroad? Why?
You’re actually catching me at a great time for this, as I just wrapped one of my most engaging travel periods recently. I was flown to Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, to do some comedy work for the Philips Corporation. I went with my friend Isabelle, who I went to India with this year to film for True Travels with Brad, and we were flown out to host their yearly medical imaging sales training conference. We performed comedy sketches about fluoroscopy systems and Digital X Ray machines for about 1000 salespeople all over the world. If you’re wondering if it’s hard to write a sketch about an MRI machine, the answer is yes. Yes, it is. We did a great job, though.
After that trip, I returned home for about 2 1/2 days before heading to Singapore on a solo trip, and of course, shooting footage and writing for the show. HOLY COW, what a unique place! Their unusual location, size, and history have all combined to form a special mix of modernity and social order. I’m still crafting my story from Singapore, but believe me, it’s going to make for a special episode.
Why do you personally love to travel?
I love traveling because I’m enamored with both the process and the result. And that’s an important distinction. Of course, I love the view from Cotopaxi in Ecuador or catching the sunset at Angkor Wat as much as the next guy, but I also truly love the introspection on the 14 hour bus ride getting there, the minimalism of living out of a backpack, the freedom through uncertainty the road provides so readily. Travel is uncomfortable and keeps me adaptable and resilient, and that’s why I love it. Also, for the cheap haircuts.
As a travel entrepreneur, what mark are you hoping to leave in the world?
I want nearly everyone in America to know they CAN travel. “I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I have too many responsibilities” are all seemingly insurmountable obstacles to the average person getting out there.
And yet, this year alone, I met a man in Malaysia two weeks ago traveling the world on $7,000 a year. I met a family in Ecuador traveling for two years with a 3 and 5 year old, and I met a man in India that asked to make his high-powered advertising job in L.A. work from the road. Each of these people sacrificed a lot to make it happen. I asked all three of them if they regret making those hard compromises. Cue the laugh, followed by the deep sigh, then the glance they give you that says “we both know there’s something special out here.”
I still remember the first time I got a message from an old friend saying my video “Quit Your Job Now: A Guide to What We are Actually Doing Here” inspired him to take his first solo trip out of the country, to Mexico City. We hadn’t been in touch, and he did it all on his own and loved it. I teared up when he told me that. Something powerful happens when you allow yourself to do something that scares you, and if I can share that with 3 people, great. 3,000, even better.
Have a question for Brad? Post it in the comments!