It’s time for the next post in our interview series with The Most Interesting Travelers In The World!
Today’s interview is with Toni Frazier, Chief Writer and Owner at Enchanted Serendipity. Toni is a Melbourne based travel writer who incorporates global filming locations within her travels. But when these can’t be found – she settles for eating her way through cities, standing in historic places and makes a real effort to see every new destination through local eyes.
What inspired your love of travel – how did you get started?
I didn’t travel all that much growing up, besides family roadtrips within Australia. It wasn’t until I finished university that I even travelled overseas for the first time. What spurned my love of travel was that I craved seeing all of the places my favourite films and tv shows were filmed. As a film graduate, I had a passion for the silver screen and wanted to see what it felt like to visit neighborhoods I knew well – but had never stepped foot in. So in 2008, I set off to the US for the first time to see all my favourite places…and I never really stopped!
Tell us about your favorite style of traveling…luxury or budget? Packing heavy or light? On the go or laid back?
I am a planner. But I have to be to ensure I don’t miss out on seeing something I would regret missing – especially if it’s a film location I love. I work as a full time high school substitute teacher – which means I get more than 12 weeks holiday and I am well paid. My go-to travel style is comfortable budget – with splurges occasionally. I tend to pack heavier than I need to so I am not forced to do laundry on short trips – but when I am in the US or Canada I stock up at my favorite stores as long as I have the budget for it – so I come back far heavier than when I left!
What’s your favorite travel story: the weirdest, or funniest, or most exciting, or most beautiful trip you’ve ever been on?
I have taken so many amazing trips – one of the best I have taken was in October this year actually. As I travel to find filming locations (and I have visited LA many times), I spent a good 2-3 days driving around LA (Hollywood, Pasadena, Altadena, Glendale, Burbank etc) when I was roadtripping from San Diego to San Francisco to find all the houses, schools, malls I could fit in. I did nothing touristy at all really. Just drove around and saw film locations from things like The Office, This Is Us, tons of rom-com films. It was a real dream come true.
I also chose to stay in Buellton, California on the way up, as I love the wine focused film, Sideways. I stayed at the Sideways Inn just like Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, I ate at the Hitching Post II restaurant and I visited almost all of the wineries that were featured in the film. I had the ultimate Sideways experience. It was incredible and the best part about it is that I would have missed a lot of these had I had to plan my own trip. Movies really do find iconic and stunning locations for their films. This 1 day experience really made my trip.
I love so many parts of the US because of the films and TV shows that have been made there. Whether it is North Carolina for Nicholas Sparks and One Tree Hill, Texas for Hope Floats or even Astoria, Oregon for Kindergarten Cop – my best memories are entwining my own memories within the storylines I love so much. Plus, I finally know what it feels like to stand in these towns – and that means everything to me.
What advice do you have specifically for solo travelers?
Given the world is not 100% safe – even at home, my advice is simply this: don’t do anything away that you wouldn’t do at home. I don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but if you don’t participate in certain activities usually, why would you try them for the first time in a foreign place? Further to this, as a female solo traveler – be aware of your surroundings, stay in safe areas, and if you find yourself in instances where you don’t feel safe – leave.
What would you say to encourage someone who wants to travel but is afraid to because of cost, time, etc.?
I have solo traveled across the world for the past 10 years. I have also lived abroad twice – in London and Vancouver. If travel is something you are keen to try, but you don’t have anyone to share it with – go anyway. But only visit where you feel comfortable and safe traveling alone. I don’t make plans based on what other people can do. I base my plans on what I want to do – and if I manage to find travelers willing to join me, the more the merrier. You can’t wait for travel to happen. You have to make it happen – or you will go nowhere.
What are your top 3 tips for newbie or wanna-be travelers?
- Don’t wait for anyone to start traveling – just go!
- If you can’t afford to travel how you like to – be patient and save more money until you can actually go.
- Research – read blogs, connect with others who have been. This will give you so much confidence on embarking on any new destination.
You can find Toni on the Internet at:
- NOTE: Toni also runs a Facebook group for US travelers at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelintheusa/