‘Celebrate whatever inspires you,’ Says wander man Jeremy Jauncey
(The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2017 - 12:00am

Allow a transportive image to take you places, even if only in your mind.

It was in sharing his wanderlust that Jeremy Jauncey, back in his early twenties, nursing an injury and foiled professional rugby aspirations, created passion project-turned-social media creative agency Beautiful Destinations.

Now 32, he hasn’t been everywhere, but he’s getting there. As you read this, he is seeing more of Palawan. Born in Venezuela to a Scottish photographer father and a Colombian mother and raised in London, growing up in diversity has him craving new cultural experiences. He’s stopping by Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina soon, and we can come along through a series of TV shows Beautiful Destinations will roll out by the end of the year.

To think that it all started with a smartphone and an Internet connection, just something on the side of his digital advertising career. The New York-based company has 15 million Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat followers from 118 countries speaking 24 different languages, tuned in to their campaigns for leisure companies, international resort chains and tourism boards seeking to market themselves on social media. It was a campaign with the Philippine Department of Tourism that first brought him to the Philippines. It just so happened that among Beautiful Destinations’ followers is Bench founder and CEO, Ben Chan, himself a world traveler.

Now on his fourth trip here, there are billboards of Jauncey above EDSA Guadalupe wearing Bench’s spring/summer line of swim shorts (photographed smack in the middle of autumn in New York), introducing him as one of its diverse new roster of ambassadors. Bench is the country’s leading clothing and lifestyle brand, and it is with this clout that their #LoveLocal campaign features globally recognized personalities who not only look great in their clothes but also have advocacies that resonate with theirs. Every passerby wondering who these guys are — they aren’t the familiar faces of our country’s top actors — could be somebody who got curious, Googled, and learned how one can lead a better life, hopefully wearing Bench’s essentials.

Last week, Jauncey touched base with fans through inspiring campus talks in De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and the University of Asia & the Pacific. In between, Bench hosted an intimate lunch for him with VIPs and members of the media. What can possibly make a life of traveling the world even better? He tells us his ways.

• The most touching experiences in your travels will be with people, not things. (His was in Palawan.)

“I was canyoneering my way down to Kawasan Falls in Palawan when we got to this huge pool and one of the shoes I was wearing fell off. I was walking barefoot and there were kids around this tall (gestures to knees) who came up to me, around five years old, and they pointed to where my shoes were in the river and they pointed to my feet. Then they dived in! Swam to the river, and they got my shoes back. This is very representative of Filipino culture.”

• Ask the person you’re interested in for travel tips. (He didn’t, but he got closer to his half-Filipina girlfriend when she volunteered hers.)

“I’ve been single for eight years, traveling a lot and focusing on work, and then I met a girl in the States last year. We emailed each other even if we hadn’t met. When she messaged me, I was expecting her to give her phone number but she gave her email address. I was about to go to the Philippines, so I said, ‘Let’s connect when I’m back.’ She replied with four paragraphs of things that I should do. Her mom’s from here, she has her whole family here. She was saying, ‘This person you should connect with, my cousin this, my family that.’ It was unlike any experience I had from a person before we even met. She mentioned on social media that she liked ube-flavored polvoron so I got her a pack of that when we went on our first date. This weekend’s plan is to meet and greet half of her family.”

• Remember to pay it forward.

“The universe finds a way to give it back it you. In Malta, we went into a village and took the drone up. We were surrounded by about 20 kids and they pulled my shorts, asking, ‘What are you doing?’ and we showed them onscreen the drone, 100 meters above us. The reaction we got from the kids to let them see their country in a different way was priceless. When we put the drone down, one of the kids’ parents came up to us, saying, ‘What you showed to our son, we’ve never seen before. Please come into our home and have dinner with us.’ We ended up having a genuine local experience with the family just because we took the time to speak to one of the kids.”

• It won’t always go as planned — and that’s okay.

“When I was in Thailand, I fell and cut my foot open. It was very small. When I woke up the next morning, it got badly infected so I went to the hospital. My doctor said to me, ‘We’re gonna need to amputate it.’ I was scared. Thankfully, because of insurance, I was able to get a second opinion and he just prescribed medicine. Try to see the good side. One of the mindsets we talk about in the brand is everyone sees the glass either half-full or half-empty, but the glass is completely full and overflowing if you look into the right places. Things will always work themselves out.”

• Don’t neglect your body.

“One is the psychological benefit, that high I get. If I have a long-haul flight, I usually don’t do anything. The next day, I will look for a place to train. If there’s no gym, I do freeletics — bodyweight training where I do push-ups and press-ups. I travel most times with a heart rate monitor in my bag so in my room. As for my diet — I love lechon! — it’s about planning. Am I gonna have a big delicious lunch? Then maybe I’m gonna train a little harder in the morning.”

• Travel for the selfies.

“I celebrate whatever inspires you to get out and see the world as positive. A lot of people’s first experience of the world and a different culture is through their phones, even if it’s a very narrow experience of what the world is really like. The places that inspire me are those I’ve seen in an amazing image that takes me a million miles away. I had that with Santorini in Greece. I’ve seen that sunset shot so many times. I went and had the most amazing experience, seeing it for real.”

* * *

Get updates about what’s next for #LoveLocal and follow @benchtm on Instagram.

BEN CHAN
Philstar
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