For the British-Canadian trio behind "A Brit and a Broad" the entire world is a tv studio as they document their global travels in their video blog.
Macca Sherifi loves to stand in front of a camera - and to travel the world. He was able to combine both of these passions together with his colleagues Brianna Wiens and cameraman Brian Ceci, to create the "A Brit and a Broad" video blog. In order to stand out among the mass of video blogs the three of them rely on extraordinary pictures from more than 20 countries: be it a glacier hike in Greenland, a tour of the Andes in South America or jumping from a sailing yacht into the tropical warm waters of the Caribbean. In "A Brit and a Broad"the camera is always filming.
DW: Macca, your're a Brit and Brian is Canadian - so where does the "Broad" come in?
Macca Sherifi: The Broad is a Canadian too! She’s the one of bridges the gap between Brian and I. When Brian and I were talking about traveling again, he said he was planning on taking some time off from work to visit Central and South America with his girlfriend. I already knew about Brianna as she was an actress from Vancouver, but it wasn’t until they started talking about travelling together that I met her via Skype.
Brian, who pursued his career as a cinematographer, and Brianna both had the idea of doing a travel series which I thought was great since I, being a travel writer and photographer, really wanted to get into video and presenting. In a way, I kind of crashed their party and the three of us decided to do “A Brit and a Broad“, to make a travel show.
What makes "A Brit and a Broad" unique?
Like most travel bloggers, we aim to inspire people to travel. I know that sounds cliched, but it’s true. We are not neccessarily “vloggers“, (that is people who share their daily life and adventures in front of a camera), but we create a travel show which can be seen online and also on Apple TV. Since Brian is a genius behind the camera and has his own production company, we like to think of “A Brit and a Broad“ as the “next level“ of video travel blogging.
Considering your professional approach, have you faced the danger of coming across as “too professional to be considered authentic“?
The first series that we did - all the way down from Mexico to Panama - was very real, very raw. It was three people going backpacking and documenting that, even though the production values were already high.
We added a level of professionalism to our videos from the outset: The way it shows off a destination, it really entices people to travel there. Brianna and I didn't want to become traditional travel vloggers, meaning that people watch us because of our personalities. Instead, we wanted people to watch our show because of the travel experiences - the food, the sights, the activities. We wanted to draw people in, to encourage them to travel.
How do you pick the destinations you are going to?
Mostly, it is destinations that not everyone travels to, such as Greenland for example. We had the feeling that hardly anyone travels to Greenland. We, however, thought it was very romantic and we wanted to showcase this to the world.
That actually has become our ambition with “A Brit and a Broad“ moving forward: showing off destinations that are not overrun by tourists, destinations unknown. We rather want to put a spotlight on some of the smaller countries that are beautiful in their own right and inspire people to go there.
How much time do you spend on the road per year?
We usually travel together four to five times a year which sums up to about 30 to 60 days. That is when we shoot our longer episodes. When we are apart, we’re still usually traveling. Brianna has spent a lot of time all over Canada and the US while Brian travels a lot with his production company. He even does a lot of volunteering work in Africa. As for me, I usually spend 6/9 months travelling per year. I think I’ve gone to 16 countries this year already!
Right now, you are in Bali, Indonesia, having traveled many parts of the country during the past few weeks. Which places have left a lasting impression?
All of Indonesia is stunning – and big! It is the fourth largest country in the world with 256 million people and roughly 17,500 islands. For me, Prambanan was one if the most stunning temples I have come across in my life. We also managed to get over to Raja Ampat , West Papua, which probably is one of the most remote and hardest-to-get-to places in Indonesia - since 2012/2014 tourists were even banned from going there because of severe political tensions, but that’s now been lifted. It is made up of lots of little islands with rocky mountain formations popping up out of the sea. Sailing around all of these was absolutely fantastic - definitely a bucket list moment!
Does the fact of Indonesia being a Muslim country make any difference for you as a traveler?
We certainly pay attention to it and want to display that aspect of traveling to our audience. People who go to different countries and do not want to learn about the culture and the society don't get a true aspect of what the country is like - I think it is fairly ignorant to do that too. We always try to learn as much as we can about the traditions and the heritage of the people through talking to them. At the end of the day, we are telling a story, but it is that local perspective that really highlights what a place is really like.
Was there any person during your Indonesia trip who impressed you more than other people?
On the second day my trip to Indonesia, we went on an offroad tour and stopped near a tea plantation in Bandung where we met an 86-year-old man. He had been working on the plantation pretty much his whole life for more than 60 years. Speaking to him, even though it was translated, was so interesting. He said that the one thing Indonesia has seen over the years is constant growth. When he was growing up, Bandung was a smallish city - now it's a metropolis. For him, it must have been absolutely shocking to see this development.
What has struck you about daily life in Indonesia?
Everyone eats Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng with sambal (a spicy anchiovy paste), the predominant flavour of the country [laughs]! Also, I find Indonesians are incredibly curious. Despite seeing such a surge in tourism over the last decade, they still come up to you and want to know where you are from and why you’re travelling in the country - I like that.
What is the next adventure that is awaiting "A Brit and a Broad"?
The two places we’d like to shoot a new series in above all others are Japan and New Zealand - with a mixture of incredibly landscapes, some of the craziest sights and activities, and a strong sense of culture, they’re the things we love to capture, those real life experiences.
Also, I would love to do a trip from Estonia all the way down to Bulgaria and visit countries like Latvia, Lithuania, pop into Ukraine, I think that would work really well - and I genuinely love Eastern Europe! It is a destination that people rule out for absolutely no reason. It's beautiful and there is so much to see and do there. In terms of travel destinations, we often think far, but for me, living in London, there is just so much Europe on your doorstep and we love exploring that!
by Matthias Steinbrecher und Taina Niederwipper