Talk time: 10am, Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Talk name/title:
Social Media and Travel Storytelling
Speaker’s name: Dylan Lowe/ The Travelling Editor

Why do you love to travel?
The comfort of unfamiliarity. Absorbing new sensory observation. Exposure to different cultures, people, stories – and enhancing myself through them. The spontaneity in travel decisions that leads to serendipitous encounters. Switching on the explorer mode and see the world in a more curiosity-spurred scope.

Who would be your ideal travel partner and why?
Someone willing to push his or her boundaries and borders of comfort zone.

What was your favourite destination last year and why?
I’ve always been a hispanophile – and my trip to Girona and Costa Brava was a reaffirmation of my love for all things Spanish. I adore the food, the freshness of it and the Spaniards’ compulsive emphasis on standards of ingredients.

The other place I went to in 2012 that was perhaps my favourite was Chiang Mai, north of Thailand. Seeing mates and renewing friendships aside, I was fortunate enough to visit the Elephant Nature Park on Boxing Day – the sanctuary houses elephants the devoted team of animal lovers rescued from captivity, every one of which with an individual story of hardship and stark reminders of the unethical practices of tourism.

Describe the most unusual situation you’ve found yourself in while travelling.
I have a fair share of unusual situations when travelling – my style is that of a reckless plan-less improviser, after all. Most recent, when I was in Kuala Lumpur, I got lost trying to find my hostel after being dropped off somewhere in town whereupon orientation escaped me. I wandered for hours before giving up; I asked for direction one last time – to my surprise, the man decided to guide me all the way, without asking anything in return.

He was also homeless, and has been for seven years, embroiled in alcoholism and excommunicated with his family for four years. Such was not only unusual but a rarity to meet a kind and good-hearted soul, and it’s certainly taught not to judge people by their appearances and immediate state so lightly.

Name two up-and-coming destinations for 2013.
No longer are the days when ‘Reykjavik’ struggles to articulate on more tongues than there are interests in visiting mystic Iceland. With its secret landscape not so secretively yearned after any more, a cranky culture and sighting of nature’s greatest light show – the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights – promised to all visitors, Iceland is fast becoming the hippest place to visit.

If you could return to any country you’ve been to, what would it be and why?
I’m currently going through withdrawal, having just returned from Southeast Asia on a two-month tour around the region – one particular country I’d go back in a heartbeat is Vietnam. My ear cavities are empty in the absence of reverberation from motorbike engines, my eyes the vivacity and versatility of street scenes. Not to mention the food – simply cannot have enough of Vietnamese food in its full palatal vibrance and accessibility, where great eats can be reached within 100 steps from your front door.

What’s the one thing you can’t travel without and why?
Ever since I got my first iPhone – the one I’m using right now and had taken around Southeast Asia with me – I simply cannot do without its versatility in doing numerous things all in one lightweight rectangle. Communication, granted, feels as at ease as the flicks and swipes it takes to manoeuvre the machine; additional things like capturing and editing images, recording audio snippets, recording my immediate thoughts – and swiftly publishing them – are just so simplified in both bodily mass and accessibility.
And I could’ve ended up homeless so many times if it wasn’t for hotel booking apps I have on my trust little gadget.

Give us an overview of what you’ll be discussing at the TNT Travel Show:
I’ll be discussing about how different social media platforms, such as the ever-popular Facebook and Twitter, can be used to record and convey the various anecdotes garnered when travelling. Using some of the storytelling techniques I’ve recently experimented during my stint in Southeast Asia, I’ll also be covering programs like Instagram and Audioboo to showcase just how I was capturing moments using literature, visuality and audio together to bring dimensions to online storytelling.

This talk will be relevant to anyone who travels with social media on their fingertips, be them one-time holidaymakers or serious voyagers. The talk will be orientated towards consumers media, so either you’re seeking tips on keeping family and friends posted on what you get up to on the road, or wanting to polish your social media storytelling techniques as a travel writer or blogger – or both – then you’ll find this talk helpful to you.