Allie Janneck / Lantern photographer
Although Samantha Brown is more than capable of navigating herself through a foreign country, the Travel Channel star prefers getting lost instead – and the cute foreigners that come with it.
Brown, who hosts shows such as “Samantha Brown: Passport to Great Weekends,” “Samantha Brown: Passport to China” and “Great Vacation Homes” on Travel Channel, brought a contagious travel bug with her to Ohio State.
“Put the map away, get lost, get out of the tourist centers and just be a part of everyday life,” Brown told a crowd at the Ohio Union’s US Bank Conference Theater Monday as part of an Ohio Union Activities Board-sponsored event.
“It takes so much confidence to get on a plane and go to a different country,” Brown said.
She also said traveling is much more than just the cost of travelling and deciding which museums to visit. It is also about the emotional value of the trip.
“Traveling strengthens bonds of friendship and family and is an investment in your life,” Brown said. “It’s more than the places you visit, it’s how they make you feel.”
Brown listed her top reasons to travel, including the opportunity to challenge yourself, to see the man-made wonders of the world and to be overwhelmed by nature. Two of Brown’s favorite places to visit, she said, are the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China.
Brown emphasized the importance of pushing past the everyday tourist spots in a country and traveling to the heart of an area to experience “the effort that’s cultivated the soul of a place.”
Besides getting lost and becoming immersed in the cultures of foreign countries, Brown also advised the attendees to never doubt their instincts when traveling.
“Always trust your body and what it’s telling you,” Brown said. “I’ve discovered that the little hairs on the back of my neck have always been right.”
Brown cited an example where she was walking alone in Belize and felt unsafe, but she did not elaborate on what happened.
Some students at the event said they enjoyed Brown’s stories and that they have caught the travel bug as well.
“I’ve always watched her show (“Passport to Europe”) and have wanted to do what she does,” said Alex Day, a second-year in early childhood education who has traveled to Nicaragua for service trips.
Sarah Hayes, a second-year in environmental engineering, said she is also a big fan of Brown’s shows and said she wants to go on her own adventures.
“It was awesome to just be in the same room as her,” Hayes said. “I would love to have her job because (it) is my dream job. This event just makes me want to go travel now.”
Brown said she typically speaks at travel shows and large conventions, so a trip to OSU was a welcome opportunity to speak to young travelers. She appears at about five lectures every year but said this year she “will have to stop early,” because she is pregnant with twins.
MacGregor Obergfell, OUAB lectures chair, said around 130 people attended the event. Obergfell also said he could not disclose the cost, paid through the student activity fee, for OUAB to bring Brown to campus.