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 Keane Li, writer and travel blogger at Keane Travels.
Keane Li is a passionate writer and travel blogger, based in San Francisco. He owns and runs the detailed and inspiring blog, Keane Travels – and when he’s not travelling and blogging up a witty, beautifully written storm, Keane loves spreading his time between Italy and his home island of Oahu. In addition to running his amazing blog, Keane can be found working in copywriting or penning a novel.
As a traveller, Keane focuses on anything that defines human experience, giving generous nods to both history and culture! He will eat almost anything – with the exception of durian (a type of fruit) and hákarl (fermented shark).
Check out Keane’s amazing travel blog for some of his travel highlights and insights into different corners of the globe!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
I saw the film Midnight in Paris during my first visit to Europe and decided I wanted to be like the protagonist, travelling to beautiful places and writing in cafés.
Travel blogging offers me the opportunity to collect and share my experiences abroad with others.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?
There are so many great reasons to travel – but, for me, the purpose is existential. I focus on culture and history when I travel, because it helps me better understand who we are as people.
3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.
Backpacking the East Coast: My first big solo trip will always be a memorable one. I left an analyst position at the Federal Reserve Bank to become a writer. Three days after I quit, I flew to Boston and slowly made my way down to New Orleans; this trip really helped me expand my thinking.
Backpacking through Europe: In 2015, I travelled through Europe from London to Sicily, up slowly through Italy, and onto Switzerland and Germany. I stayed mostly with friends, moved constantly and met a lot of new people… I even briefly fell in love – but that did not end well!
A Sicilian wedding: In 2017, a friend of mine from San Francisco got married in her hometown of Palazzolo Acreide in Sicily. Experiencing a vibrant Sicilian wedding with her family will definitely rank as one of my most unique experiences (the bachelor party involved the groom dressed as a penis as we walked through Ortygia..). Also, I was staying in Milan at the time, so I felt like I truly lived in Italy.
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 once visited a friend in Decorah, IA. It was my first visit to the American Midwest and I ignorantly assumed it would be a fairly homogeneous population – but I saw so much diversity.
One favorite memory was when we visited New Glarus Brewing in New Glarus, WI, a town founded by Swiss immigrants, and thus very Swiss itself… I did not expect that.
5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?
While having aperitivo with a friend in Milan, my bag was stolen from right between my legs. I felt particularly stupid because, by then, I had years of experience with travelling in Italy. The evening was cut short and I had to go to the police station to file a police report.
On the plus side, the officer said my Italian was really good! I returned to Milan later that year to undo the negative memory… I stayed a month and fell in love with the city.
6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?
Italy: I go to Italy a lot. I’ve made many friends there, and my Italian is near fluent (but could still be way better).
Hawaii: I’m from Hawaii, so heading home always recharges my spirit. There’s something magical about being in Hawaii; the air is sweet, the colours are bright and the people are always kind.
Iceland: It’s my theory that places with volcanoes have a mystic power to them. Iceland, to me, is like a cold version of Hawaii… Both have their myths and their stunning landscapes. Iceland is such a hypnotic place!
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?
It’s always best to find travel blogs written by people who live at your destination.
These are the people who know the better alternatives to places trending on travel review sites (i.e., places with long lines).
8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I’ve always wanted to live for three months in Florence. I hope to do that this autumn, but, if I could go there sooner, I would.
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?
For travellers to San Francisco, I strongly advise reading up on the city’s history before exploring. The city is beautiful, yes, but it’s even more profound through the lens of history…
The story of San Francisco is so unique and rich, and its past can be seen everywhere – if one knows where to look.
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Be mindful: In today’s Instagrammed world, there’s this constant need to see or eat everything and to get photographic evidence of it… I’m often guilty of this too.
There’s nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with sharing on social – but often it becomes a subconscious burden that detracts from the full impact of the travel experience.
Technology is an important part of travel, a useful tool – but we should all learn to be more mindful of what’s happening in the present (if anything so we’re not hit by cars on the street…).
To read about and see all of all Keane’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit his amazing blog. Or follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Thank you very much, Keane, 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.