I must say that in my 29 years of life and 25 (or so) years of watching and having vivid memories of television, I have never seen as engaging a television personality as Samantha Brown (with the exception of the equally cheery Rachael Ray). This firecracker of a hostess is the backbone of a slew of popular Travel Channel shows, including Great Hotels, Girl Meets Hawaii, Great Vacation Homes, Passport to Europe, and Passport to Latin America. The locations Samantha (affectionately known as Sam) and her team travel to are without a doubt breath-taking, but it is Sam’s inviting personality and unique perspective that takes us one step further, affording us the luxury of surpassing the all-too-common guided tour, instead giving us the opportunity to kick back for a spell, take in our surroundings, and walk away with an experience we’ll never forget.
As a traveler, nothing is off-limits for this fearless hostess. She is eager sink her chops into anything even remotely unique to the everyday travel experience, willing to ride horseback on a dusty trail for over an hour just to dine at the locals’ favorite restaurant or become a factory worker on the production line for chocolate-covered squid. And being the queen of detail, she takes it upon herself to bring every aspect of each city she visits into her journey. She pays close attention to the most elaborate details, from the delicate beauty of a draped half-canopy bed, to the perspicuity of a gorgeous Marilyn Monroe-blessed swimming pool where the unique tiles can only be found on Catalina Island. Her keen eye saves us a lot of work as she notices what the average travel-goer might overlook in the hurry of a timed vacation. She and her crew go to great lengths to ensure that every element is not just noticed, but stroked and caressed, leaving no intricacy as the responsibility of the future visitor. By the end of an episode, we feel we have all the information we need to confidently venture out on our own expedition, for she has already given us a road map and lovingly left her tracks in the dirt.
There is no doubt about it; Sam is a pro at what she does. Whether she is eloquently whisking us away in the ambience of a luxurious hotel, gleefully engaging in spirited conversations with the local townies, or effortlessly showcasing her broad body of knowledge on the history of a city, we can’t help but be impressed by the many hats she is able to wear. She is seemingly, by nature, refined in elegance, extraordinarily intelligent, and ironically, sometimes downright crude in her actions. She is clearly youthful and carefree – something we could all stand to be a little bit more of. But most importantly, she is refreshing, able to display the delectably comedic and innocent characteristics of a vintage cartoon, inviting the most standoffish personality to step in a little bit closer, if for no other reason, to get a personal glimpse at a rare and intoxicating burst of joviality.
Without missing a beat, I make sure to catch the repeats of Great Hotels everyday, which is usually followed by an episode of Passport to Europe. I also make a weekly date to watch her new series, Passport to Latin America, which airs every Wednesday night at 8/7c. In every episode, I look forward to her humor, which usually has me laughing aloud as I watch in amazement at her innate ability to manifest her quick wit into creative, comedic situations. And though her schedule must be exhausting, she never lets a location slip through the cracks, greeting her viewers each episode with a vibrant sense of duty to showcase the very best aspects of every inch of land she walks on. Lucky us!
Travel Channel’s girl-next-door makes it easy for us to enjoy first-hand the often hidden and overlooked delights of a nearby or faraway potential-Mecca. So if you crave a creative, detailed, and plain ole eventful journey through the fascinating cities of our world, I strongly encourage you to cop a squat, buckle up, and get ready for the joyride every avid traveler-wannabe has been waiting for: The Samantha Brown Experience.