Guests’ Corner: California Through My Lens

As part of the next instalment in my international version of Guests’ Corner (previously a local South African travel interview section on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust), I chatted to Josh McNair, travel blogger and photographer at California Through My Len.

Josh McNair is a passionate blogger, traveller and self-taught photographer of note. During the past six years, Josh has been successfully running his amazing travel site, California Through My Lens.

California Through My Lens not only captures the spirit and beauty of California – but it is dedicated to helping people explore the state of California through hikes, food fests, road trips and other adventures.

Since its inception (and more than a thousand posts later), the website has ranked on some top world-wide blog lists and also enjoyed some impressive features, including on Good Morning America and the Los Angeles Times.

Aside from following Josh’s inspiring travel adventures on, readers can also check out his Through My Lens site, which focuses on travel outside of California.

Both are equally awe-inspiring and beautifully documented, so be sure to join Josh on his travels and see things through his lens!

1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?

I was working full-time in an e-commerce company and was looking for a hobby to pursue on the side…

I really enjoyed taking pictures and travelling so I figured I could combine the two and make that my hobby – I would have never guessed that I would be running the website full-time six years later!

2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?


 I would say I am outdoor explorer. I love doing anything and everything related to the outdoors. Whether that is hiking, biking or getting up early to shoot sunrise etc.

I am most happy when I am experiencing what a place has to offer for outdoor adventures.

3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.

1. Hiking Mt Whitney (the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states): We had to train for it for a few months, get permits in the lottery and then go hike the mountain… it was awesome!

2. Camino de Santiago: My wife and I spent five days walking the Camino De Santiago in Spain and it was a fantastic experience. So much fun meeting new people, eating great food and being outdoors.

3. Driving Pacific Coast Highway: California is the state I primarily travel in, and Pacific Coast Highway is one of its best adventures. I spent seven days driving it to create a guide on my site – and I plan to drive it again this year.

4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why? (Please provide your home country’s name too.)

I can’t think of a good answer for my home country, but being able to travel the world and see the poverty prevalent in it, really helped me to understand how blessed I am to be given the opportunities that I have, and to look for ways to make a difference.

5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?


There are a lot of spots that have become popular through social media. I am glad people are out exploring – but some of the places have not been taking care of with the new waves of people visiting them.

6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?

1. I love the Big Sur coastline of California – it is amazing and incredibly beautiful.

2. I hope to visit Machu Picchu this year and hike the Inca Trail, as that is something I have always wanted to do.

3. Nepal is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to… Seeing all of the massive mountains, wildlife and local beauty is something I will never forget.

7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?


I love following many of the Instagramers that are travelling the world and posting awesome photography.

I feel like Instagram is such a great place to connect with other travellers, and to be inspired to visit places all around the globe.

8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

I have been wanting to hike the Inca Trail for a long time, so that would probably be where I would go currently.

9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?

If you live in Southern California, I recommend taking the train into Los Angeles.

Downtown LA has so many great places to explore (I made a video on my 23 favourites here) that are often overlooked, and being able to just walk around and not worry about a car is a great way to see the city.

10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?


Do your best to experience the culture when you travel. Don’t just stay in the hotel and eat at chain restaurants… The world has so much to offer and you should make the most of it when you travel.

To read about and see all of all Josh’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit his amazing site. Or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

Thank you very much, Josh, for appearing in this international guest travel segment. Until the next one… happy writing and reading, everyone!

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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