With the debut of the second season of Samantha Brown’s Places to Love on PBS, we had the opportunity to chat with the affable travel show host about the new episodes, her favorite cruises, and more.
ST: What was your favorite part about shooting Places to Love?
SB: What I love most about my job is the people that I meet. I like to shine a light on the people that you come in contact when you travel.
ST: What can viewers expect when they turn into the new season of Places to Love?
SB: They can expect a show about a more personal approach to travel. I really like to make sure that people understand the architecture, art, and the culture beyond just food. Everyone wants to go where the locals go, and be where the locals are. But, what does that really mean, and, why do we want that?
ST: What do you hope that viewers will take away from this season?
SB: I hope they get that travel doesn't have to be bucket-list big, over-the-top, or filled with exclamation points to really count in your life. I want people to understand it’s not the exclamation points — it's the commas that you should be going for.
ST: Any favorite destinations from the season that you're already dying to go back to?
SB: New Zealand! We were there for two weeks, and I just want to take my kids back there. It's just a phenomenal country and the people are the kindest. You travel a long way and are greeted with open arms by everybody you meet.
ST: What’s been your favorite place to travel?
SB: Anywhere in China, and really anywhere in Asia because I love that it gets me outside of my comfort zone.
ST: What’s on your bucket list?
SB: I haven't been to Latin America in probably eight years and I would love to go back. Among many of the places, I'd love to return to Mexico City — that's one of my favorite cities. I hope that's next for season three. It’s the most underrated capital of the world.
ST: Why do you travel, and how does traveling make you feel?
SB: I travel in order to spend time in other people’s everyday lives. When you find other people’s everyday lives exceptional, I think at some point, you're like, “Well, then mine's pretty exceptional, too.” I think it's those little things that make life important. Travel makes me feel completely at ease with not knowing what is going on; I am not in control, and I love that.
ST: Our readers love cruises. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with AmaWaterways?
SB: They made me the godmother of their newest river ship, the AmaMagna. My picture goes on the ship and so everyone sees it when they walk on the ship, and I get to go onboard anytime I want — anytime!
ST: What are you most looking forward to this summer when you embark on the new ship for the first time?
SB: Well, it's the first time I'm actually going to host a cruise, so it's really about having a more one-to-one conversation with the people who are traveling with me. I think sometimes I can get into my own bubble and say, “Okay, this is how I travel, so this is how everyone travels.” It's really wonderful when you can meet with people and see what really resonates with them and what you are totally wrong about.
ST: Do you prefer to cruise?
SB: If could cruise anywhere, I would cruise.
ST: Why is that?
SB: I love big cruise ships for their unending sense of fun and entertainment. As a mom who's in charge of other people's fun, you get so tired of having to be the person who keeps the schedule. It's so much pressure. With river cruising, I love it because you really do get a sense of the water journey. On a big cruise ship, you totally lose sight that you're even on a body of water, but the river cruise allows you to literally see life go by. It's a little message to slow down and enjoy life. I also think it's a great entry way for people to travel longer distances and experience cultures that they wouldn't if they were traveling on land.
ST: Any cruising advice for our readers?
SB: It's really important to carry on a bag so you can start your vacation right away. You're typically bringing a lot of luggage on board, and you're probably dropping that luggage off [before you board] with 3,000 other people. When you do that, you don't see that luggage until maybe 6 p.m. that night. Also, the first thing I do when I get on board is to walk around the ship, finding all the nooks and crannies.
ST: How have your travel preferences changed over the years?
SB: I stay away from major attractions now, but I don't go too far away from them. I have found that no matter what [the] major center is, whether it's San Marco Square in Venice or the Champs-Elysees in Paris, that's where all the travelers are. But, if you just go one block over, that's where the locals are. Finding these local stops, you don't have to go off the beaten path — it's just maybe one street over. So, I would say when I first started, it was all about major attractions and now, I'm really interested more in the mundane.