Phoebe in Yosemite with a camera and red beanie

Building A Travel Community with Phoebe Escott-Kenny

Creating a travel community is not an easy task, but it’s something that travel blogger Phoebe Escott-Kenny excels at. Originally from Australia, and now based in Frankfurt, we chose her as one of our foundation female creators for her down to earth attitude, generosity of spirit, and beautiful content. What started as Phoebe’s blog is now a hub for people looking for genuine connection in a world where artifice is king.

Phoebe from Kaptain Kenny Travels on a boat in Croatia on a sunny day
Photo Credit: Kaptain Kenny Travel

Her travel blog is a wonderful reflection of her honest and generous attitude. Full of advice and tips, her articles are exactly what you need when planning your next adventure. As an added bonus, she’ll also reach out to her travel community so that you’ll have a local connection when you arrive. Phoebe is all heart, and it really shines through with everything she does.

As well as running a wonderful blog, Phoebe also has a successful business teaching English in Frankfurt, which she’s quick to point out is actually her main source of income. She very kindly took some time out from her busy schedule to answer some questions for us about the path that led her here.


The Journey to Being a Travel Blogger

So Phoebe, tell us about how you ended up as a travel blogger

It was all an accident! I was on a 6-week training course in Ireland and happened to have a new DSLR camera with me. During my days off I did some day trips and discovered how beautiful Ireland was and took some wonderful photos.

After uploading them to Facebook, someone said ‘Geez Phoebe, you are always uploading so many travel snaps. Why don’t you just start a blog?’ At the time I thought it would be really ‘cute’ and ‘oh-so-easy’ to ‘just’ set up a blog. Nearly two and a half years later and now it’s really a huge part of my life, and I’ve now also created a travel community around the blog.

What’s the most challenging part of being a travel blogger and building a travel community?

Where do I begin?

1) Being a one-man-band

2) Having no ‘team’ to bounce ideas around with (which is why I created a Telegram group with other bloggers within the travel community so we can ask each other questions when needed. Support is key!)

3) Needing to have a list of skills to make it work: photography, videography, personality, confidence in front of a camera, writing and grammar skills, communication skills, marketing skills, business skills, doing taxes, sending pitches, negotiation skills, Google and SEO knowledge, social media know-how… I mean really the list goes on.

4) Finally, being able to juggle all of the above with your regular day-to-day life, which for me is teaching English as that’s how I make the majority of my money.

5) Oh wait, one more. TIME. I need to give myself days off too as I am a human being.

How has travel changed you?

I wouldn’t say that travel itself has changed me, but rather scenery and mother nature has, which is the offspring of travel. Because I’ve been able to see 40 countries in the last 5 years, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful nature, which I’ll just never forget. It makes you realise that this planet is diverse and full of different people wherever you go. But we all have one thing in common.Everyone loves their friends and family and wants to have a good life. Most people are inherently good and I think travelling a lot breaks down your biases and prejudices towards other customs, cultures and people.

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There are so many places I’m dying to see that I either a) never learned about in school or b) never knew much about or c) had any previous interest in seeing. That’s the beauty of the travel industry and seeing other creatives’ work – it inspires you to see places you never thought you’d care about. And that’s why my travel wishlist is getting longer, not shorter.

Tell us about the causes you’re passionate about and why.

I love the organisation Lend With Care. It’s a micro lending company based in the UK. Basically, you go to their website, choose an entrepreneur in a developing country whose idea you like and you give them money which they pay back in small instalments. I love it because 95% of the time, you get your money back and then you can reinvest it into other business owners or you can withdraw the money. It’s a great way to give people a helping hand with them keeping their dignity and pride! It’s not a handout because they pay it back. I think I’ve given 50 loans so far. The smallest amount you can give is 15 bucks so it certainly doesn’t break the bank.

Where to travel, plans and favourite destinations

How do you choose where to go?

I like to get a lot of inspiration from Instagram. I’ve got a really supportive and friendly travel community there in my hashtag #teamkaptainkenny and so many people in there are SERIOUS travellers with insanely cool ideas and talent. Once I’ve heard about a new location or country to visit, I usually type that into Google + ‘travel blog’ to see what has already been written about it.

What is your favourite travel destination and why?

So hard to choose! Let me list a couple:

1) Faroe Islands for the insane and wild scenery, empty open spaces, 50 shades of green and interesting birdlife.

2) New Zealand for its combination of good food and coffee, varied landscape, friendly people and value for money. You can see and do everything in NZ.

3) Ireland will always have a special place in my heart. My Grandma was Irish and I got her citizenship and I’ve already spent 8 weeks there in total in my life. It’s full of the funniest, wittiest and kindest people with beautiful scenery to boot.

4) Maldives for a magical, azure getaway. Living on your island for a week is like ‘Castaway’ luxury style.

5) The Seychelles for those who want to mix Maldivian ocean with mountainous, Hawaii-like terrain. If you’re a fan of island hopping, rainforests, hiking and warm water + coconuts, you’ll love it!

What are your top 3 destinations for the next 12 months?

1) Definitely hoping to see the Dolomites in Italy, probably in the next two weeks. (Note: Phoebe did indeed make this happen!)

2) I would love to add Greenland or Iceland to the list this year too.

3) And finally, I’m also hoping to finally make it over to Canada in September.

The crystal clear waters of Lago Ghedina in the Italian Dolomite Mountains
Photo Credit: Kaptain Kenny Travel

Top Travel Tips for Packing & Budgeting

I never leave home without my….

How lame is this but my BATTERY PACK. As I use my phone for so much, I sadly cannot live without it. So let me flip the question around and ask myself what I cannot live AT home without? The answer is this: my vintage 1950’s old school map of Scandinavia. It was from a Stockholm school and I bought it for 30 euros a few years ago at a vintage shop in Hamburg. It’s nearly 3×3 metres and when I came home, my husband said ‘What the heck is this?’ I told him it’s the best purchase of my life and that every future guest at home would undoubtedly gravitate to the map.

Whaddayaknow? Every time this happens, I give him the old fish eye as if to say ‘told you so…’ Hahah!

Essential travel gear

Good question! I like to buy things, which are a mixture of being stylish, practical and waterproof.

Backpack and wall map
Check out Phoebe’s blog post for the Ultimate Winter Packing Guide

1) A fully waterproof rain jacket – I have a selection of fun colours that have the added bonus of making my photos pop!

2) Waterproof and comfortable hiking boots

3) A tartan Scottish blanket which I use as a scarf

4) A waterproof backpack from any of those cool Scandinavian brands

5) For hot weather, I literally own the same loose v-neck singlet in 8 colours. I tuck them into my shorts or jeans and it looks easy every time.

What are your top tips for staying on a budget?

Some of the cheapest trips I’ve had were in the car. Sharing the cost of petrol with a friend while driving your own car is a really easy way to see Europe. I haven’t stayed in too many hostels yet but I do really love Airbnb. I think Airbnb has become a lot more expensive over the last few years but you can still find some sweet deals.

On Being a Female Traveler

We love how helpful the travel community that you’ve built is – what advice would you give to other women starting out?

1) Be kind and supportive to others.

2) Try to not criticise others’ work

3) Be inclusive. Everyone feels better when they are included and thought of.

4) Be friendly. No one likes a meanie.

5) Be approachable and kind.

Safety tips for solo female travellers?

Just have your wits about you. My Dad always taught me: ‘keys, wallet, phone.’ I usually pat myself down multiple times when travelling either alone or with people. I have never been robbed and I’ve never lost a passport because, well, I just have my shit together. I used to work at the Australian Consulate and I cannot tell you how many people got into trouble while abroad, simply because they weren’t clever. Also, don’t be afraid to trust people but also listen to your instincts! If you can feel it in your waters, don’t do it!

Who are your favourite bloggers in the travel community and why?

I don’t really have one particular favourite, or one page I religiously head back to. I will say that one of the only travel blog subscriptions I have and actively read is Marielena from Epic7 travel. I’ve spoken to her on the phone before and we’re very friendly on Instagram. She recently gave up her corporate job to pursue her travel endeavours and she writes her stories as if you are THERE. She’s so passionate about adventure, animals and the environment and her stories are encapsulating. She’s been to so many places, which I’d love to visit: Antarctica, Galapagos Islands and Palau to name a few.

Another friendly face who I’ve hosted here at my apartment in Frankfurt is Evelina from Earth Wanderess. Eve is a very conscious traveller who recently gave up flying and has taken a BUS from Sweden to Iran. She really opened up my eyes to a lot of things like using less plastic, not using straws and even drinking oat milk instead of always milk in my coffee!

Woman in red jacket stands at the famous Sørvágsvatn lake in the Faroe Islands
Photo Credit: Kaptain Kenny Travel

And finally  tell us your most memorable travel moment?

Definitely hiking through one of the world’s biggest colonies of puffins on the Island of Mykines in the Faroe islands. These birds are so ridiculous and they don’t look like they should have a license to fly. I laughed so hard watching them. And also cried because I knew I probably wouldn’t see them again as I was in such a remote place. I knew that moment was special.

Phoebe’s Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Facebook Group

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  • Marielena Smith

    Hats off to Phoebe for her vision as she built the fantastic Team Kaptain Kenny community. Phoebe is incredibly generous with her time and knowledge. And, she surrounds herself with an inspirational and helpful group of individuals – some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person! She’s inspired me to want to visit the Faroe Islands – perhaps next year. Similar to Phoebe, I love puffins and relished my opportunity to see them in Iceland last year.

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