The following is an interview with Juno Kim, co-founder of Unquote Travel.
Unquote Travel: Please tell us your story. When did you first get interested in traveling, and how did you pursue your passion?
Juno: Growing up in Korea, my family traveled to mountains and beaches in every school holiday. We traveled more than an average family. That might have sparked my longing for exploration.
My first backpacking trip was back in 2004, after my sophomore year of university. I just wanted to go somewhere overseas and live like locals do. I still don’t know where that desire came from. It was a very foreign concept that wasn’t too familiar in Korea. Back then, and to this day, the most popular travel concept is ‘bucket list’ travel to see famous places like the Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls, and the Great Wall of China. But I was different. I bought a big backpack for the first time, packed (terribly), and left for New Zealand, a country I knew nothing about. That one-month trip changed me for good. I learned that the world was much bigger than what I knew. I witnessed that there were people living in totally different ways and that was okay. I tasted a new cuisine, I saw such foreign and beautiful landscapes, and I truly realized what was it like to be independent.
Fast-forward seven years; I left my engineering career to be a full-time travel blogger in 2011. Yes, a crazy decision, indeed. I traveled to fifty-some countries during the last five years while building Runaway Juno Media. Working as a professional blogger, new media specialist, photographer, and freelancer supported my travels and this unconventional lifestyle.
Unquote Travel: Let’s talk about the company name: Unquote Travel. It’s quite unique. How did you come up with the name and what does “Unquote” mean to you?
Juno: To me, our name ‘Unquote’ means something out of ordinary; thinking outside of the box, traveling off-the-beaten-path, trying something new and exciting. The name makes you stop and think, and I believe that’s what makes this name ‘extraordinary’.
Unquote Travel: What do you do in Unquote Travel?
Juno: I’m the communication manager at Unquote Travel. It’s a fancy way of saying working in social media, blog content, and building relationships with potential partners.
Unquote Travel: This is a standard question for those of who are working in the travel industry; where is your favorite place in the world and why?
Juno: Alaska. New Zealand. Chile.
It is a hard question since I love a lot of places. As a digital nomad, I would like to think that I’m on a quest of finding the perfect home. If I could live in Alaska, New Zealand, or Chile, I would be very happy.
Alaska has everything; landscape, nature, culture, tourism, and people. The landscape where the ocean meets massive mountains is just utterly inspiring. It’s an adventurer’s, photographer’s, and nature lover’s playground. People are also genuinely warm, welcoming, and pleasantly quirky. I love everything about Alaska.
As I mentioned earlier, New Zealand holds a special place in my heart. I’ve thought to myself ‘Why don’t I live here again?’ whenever I visited. It is still my hope to make it happen someday.
Chile quickly became one of my favorite destinations during my visit last year. It’s an amazingly diverse and environmentally sustainable country. Five days in the Atacama Desert was like a dream.
I’ve always been drawn to glaciers and deserts, and that might have something to do with this answer.
Unquote Travel: If you’re planning a perfect itinerary, what would it be?
Juno: My dream itinerary is simple. Rent an apartment in Lake Tekapo (South Island, New Zealand) to stargaze and take astrophotography (photos) every night, and travel around New Zealand for a month.
Unquote Travel: Tell us about your travel philosophy.
Juno: Travel in comfort. We all have to remember that everything is subjective. Everyone has a different starting point. In this era of digital media, it’s easy to compare ourselves to others. But the real substance comes from within. Traveling is one of the best ways to get to know yourself. By traveling and pushing your boundaries, you can learn new things about yourself. Step by step, find your comfort level and push it further one step at a time.
Unquote Travel :What famous travel personality do you best relate to?
Juno: Not a travel personality, but if I dare say, I relate to Carl Sagan. He was a dreamer, storyteller, and a lover of mankind. His generosity and passion for sharing his knowledge inspire me deeply. I want to do the same, though not through science, but in the field I work, which is tourism.
Unquote Travel: Do you have a blog or do you do any other travel-related work we might find interesting?
Juno: Come to RunawayJuno.com to read more my travel stories and see more photos.
I also work as an outreach specialist at Gogobot.com.
Unquote Travel: Any exciting upcoming travel plans? Please, do tell!
Juno: Going to Chiang Mai, Thailand for a weekend retreat with good friends! I’ve never been to Chiang Mai, so I’m quite excited. We are going to spend two days in Sri Lanna National Park.
Unquote Travel: What do you want to achieve through Unquote Travel?
Juno: I want to provide amazing trips that only we can provide, but also I want to get people into the sustainable travel mindset. We are dedicated to sustainable tourism, and it’s our wish to partner with other companies who are sharing the same vision.
Unquote Travel: Where can we find you on social media?