What can transpire when a seemingly silly idea grabs hold and blossoms? The backbone of this series is about women adopting new attitudes or tackling extreme ideas and running full bore into triumph. Kate Cox and Victoria Cavaliere decided one day to prove to the world that you can travel for two weeks on only $1,000. Oh, and they’ve created an independent television show around the concept, just to add fun into the mix. Welcome to Off the Radar Travel.
Q: Your concept is cool. How did the idea come to fruition?
A: Off the Radar Travel was born of this basic conundrum: How can we be moveable objects when time and resources are fixed and unmoving? We kept wondering, what if minimal resources aren’t really the limitation we think they are? What if they’re the ticket to a more authentic experience when you travel? We had our two weeks of vacation, about a thousand bucks and enough wanderlust to fuel the whole human race. So, we decided to test our theory: 2 weeks in a country on a grand. Could we see more on less?
Q: Many people are taking advantage of multimedia tools and starting web TV shows, what makes yours distinct?
A: Well, Off the Radar basks in uncertainty! We don’t know the outcome of our mission on any given trip. The idea is to find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s not about how much bizarre food we can eat or how many beautiful vistas we can photograph. It’s more concrete than that: If we spend 50 lempiras on a taxi to our next destination, do we need to stay in a cheaper hotel? Can we get abroad on miles and then fudge the rest? Imagine us as pocket companions. We’re real women traveling—foibles, triumphs and all.
Q: What were some of the surprises you discovered trying to travel for two weeks on a budget of a $1,000? The pluses?
A: For one thing, that budget of time and money means you’re running lean and mean. So it’s like instant prioritizing. The stuff you struggle to sustain in your daily life takes a backseat to moments. Moments are always the surprise. One of the pluses of this is that you become more flexible, mobile and quick-thinking. Destinations are a surprise, too. So, you want beaches and culture, but you want a value and you don’t want crowds? Think Honduras instead of Costa Rica. In some ways, the budget gives you more choices. You start exploring the destinations you’d never thought of. You get creative.
Q: Do you think the cost of traveling is what stops people from doing it?
A: It’s a big part. But it’s also an ever bigger excuse. And that’s a myth Off the Radar wants to dispel– the idea that you can’t find enough money to push your own four corners. In many cases, people stay grounded because of fear of the unknown. If we see travel as our key to a world that feels less mystifying and polarized then it begins to seem more like a priority than a privilege. In the same way that you budget for a car, groceries, or a fabulous new handbag, you can find ways to travel affordably and in line with one’s personal financial reality. That’s also why we set the budget so low for the show. If we can have a really awesome experience (we are not talking dorm hostels and ramen here!) on what we would at least spend at home in two weeks anyway, how can money be a reason to never take that dream trip?
Q: What does your series cover? What can we expect from it?
A: One of the best things about Off the Radar is that it is entirely relatable and yet unique. We did some research and found that the vast majority of adventure travel is done by women, regardless of age or marital status. On many of those trips, women are traveling together. However, there’s never been at TV program (that we know of) that reflects this reality. On top of that, we want to take our viewers to some pretty unexpected spots. Upcoming episodes are slated for Laos and Oman. Exceptional travel destinations that don’t get nearly enough press. And because they don’t, they are also a bit more affordable! We also want to show people how to get Off the Radar in their own backyard. Microtrips, if you will.
Q: So, if any enterprising women want to shoot their own TV show, what type of camera did you use? Editing suite? And web uploader?
A: We used a Sony HD NXCAM HXR-NX5U (just one!) and had a couple wireless mics, a tripod and we traveled with 1TB drives to offload the day’s footage (since P2 cards are too expensive to buy in bulk for two weeks of shooting). Though both of us have now upgraded to Apple computers (trusty iMac and trusty MacBook Pro) we actually logged the footage using an old Dell laptop. We just couldn’t afford to upgrade at the time. Editing was done on FinalCut. We’ve been uploading clips using Vimeo and our very affordable GoDaddy domain and WordPress blog. Web tools have become so user friendly and so professional-looking, it’s possible to build an entire web presence for very little money.
Q: You describe yourselves as “office bums”, can you elaborate what that means? (Since I’m a former corporate drone.)
A: Well, all that really means is that we have jobs that keep us tied to home for most of the year. In our case, New York City. We’ve had different experiences professionally, and jobs that we’ve either loved or loathed, but a reality has been PTO (actually, we’re both freelance now, so NO PTO!) and understaffed workplaces where it can be a scramble to get away. We think a lot of people have that same reality. No matter how happy and fulfilled (or miserable and bored) you are professionally, and even if you travel for work, traveling to grow personally has to remain a priority. Sometimes, you have to think outside the box to get it going.
Q: Finally – I think a lot of women don’t do things because they feel their ideas are crazy. What advice would you give them?
A: We have a special aversion to the word crazy and find that it is often used when your idea or opinion is spot on! Making a project a reality often just starts with talking about it — out loud. The more you hear yourself say something — “I want to hike Kilimanjaro” or “I want to start a catering company,” the more it becomes…doable. No dream is crazy and no idea too big to implement if you’re willing to put the time, effort and love behind it!
For a change, I have nothing more to add, except I urge you to watch Off the Radar’s zippy trailer for the pilot episode:
Chicks Conquering the World is a monthly series about women overcoming the odds or doing unique and different things. If you’d like to be featured or want to nominate someone, contact me at: [email protected].