Mike Corey (Fearless & Far): "Travel in its essence is a search for truth and authenticity in the world"

We chat to Wanderlust Travel Media Influencer of the Year nominee Mike Corey (perhaps better known as Fearless and Far) and learn more about his life on the road...

4 mins

Mike Corey never backs away from an adventure, no matter how strange it may be. As a Canadian adventure travel YouTuber, Podcaster, and Emmy Nominated TV Host, Mike aims to inspire others to chase their fears in his own “teaching-by-doing” style, by plunging headfirst into beautiful, unknown locations and participating in undocumented cultural celebrations.

Whether it be Kambo frog venom rituals or camping in abandoned castles. You’ll always find him immersed in exciting adventures on The Weather Channel's Uncharted Adventure, Wondery Network’s Against the Odds Podcast, or on his personal Youtube Channel, Fearless & Far

His incredible, outrageous and very real travel experiences, and ability to inspire such a large audience with his digital content, is why Mike Corey has been nominated as a Travel Media Influencer of the Year in the 21st Annual Wanderlust Travel Awards

Here, Wanderlust gets to know Mike a little more as he tells us what he thinks are the world's next up-and-coming destinations; what the true essence of travel is; and what the setbacks of travelling for a living are.

Hey Mike! Let's get started. Where do you believe are the next emerging destinations and why?

I started travelling during COVID very early on, from around mid-July [2020]. From there, there was only two countries that were really open; Mexico and Turkey. And the thing that I noticed right then is all of the people who were travelling professionally and making content went to those two countries. They're not off the beaten path per se, but I think both countries are very misrepresented.

People always go to Cappadocia or Tulum. They always go to Cancun, or they always go to Istanbul. But they're both massive countries and in my opinion, as someone who's been to almost 100 countries searching for the world's weirdest and wackiest stuff, those two countries have everything for everybody. For example in Mexico, everyone usually goes for the beaches, but do they know about the exploding hammer festival? There's a museum of mummies where they take school kids and you can see desiccated corpses. There's an incredible amount of things to do!

It’s the same with Turkey. In Turkey, there is a group of people who live in a valley that speak to each other in whistles, so they have an entire language based on whistles. And also Göbekli Tepe is an archaeological site that is older than the pyramids. I'm a big fan of any place that has all these hidden secrets. Ancient countries that have so much history and culture and food. Amen!

Mike in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Mikey Corey @fearlessandfar)

Mike in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Mikey Corey @fearlessandfar)

What is the true essence of travel? And what does the word travel represents for you?

This is a question that I've thought about a lot, and also a battle when making travel content. In my opinion, and I think the opinion a lot of people, travel in its essence is a search for truth and authenticity in the world, and in yourself.

When something's happened in your life where you're like ‘I need to get away’, you go to find the bits and pieces to fill your broken heart for whatever reason. That's generally how people get the travel bug because maybe they don't know what they're looking for. And maybe a heart is not broken. Perhaps you’ve got fired from your job, or whatever it is, people go to search for something when they travel. And so, authenticity and truth is really it.

I say it’s a battle when you're making content. For example Instagram is kind of a place where generally authenticity isn't always the most important thing, like reality TV is not reality, I hate to break it to you, if you didn't already know it's scripted, right? And so for myself, and many other travel creators, we feel like we're kind of like the last bastion of truth on Instagram. It's almost incentivized to go take a surfboard to a beach, take a photo of a surfboard, but not actually surf, you know? So it’s just an illusion that you're surfing. But travel at its core should be authentic. And so for myself, that's what you see in my channel, I get labelled sometimes that I'm faking stuff, or the crazy story wasn't real. I guarantee you everything you see in my YouTube channel is very real. Sometimes I wish it was fake, because God, some of the adventures were pretty harrowing. Like getting shot at by the military police in Turkey or getting lost in the Congo. But at the end of the day, I learned some lessons from that.


Do you travel solo or with people?

For most of my YouTube career, I’ve travelled primarily by myself. But since Fearless & Far has grown by around a million subscribers in the past two years, I've been doing more television. But when I get back to Fearless & Far, I'm going to be building the team out. For some adventures it's easier to just have a GoPro in my hand, but it's good to spend time with people. Actually, it's better to travel with people and I always have a local contact, but travelling with friends is the best. I'm a solo traveller. I'm a huge advocate of solo travel. But the solo part of solo travel is really only the aeroplane until you get there, then you hang out at a hostel you meet some people and make friends. So, solo travel is a little bit of a misnomer because you rarely are you ever solo.

But right now for television, we just had like 12 people on set with us. We've got three cameramen, a sound guy, drone guy, producers, directors, etc. So that is a lot of fun as well, because I can focus on doing the hosting part. Always having something to say is takes some practice for sure.

Cappadocia cave camping (Mike Corey @fearlessandfar)

Cappadocia cave camping (Mike Corey @fearlessandfar)

Inside Optymistychna Cave in Ukraine (Mike Corey @fearlessandfar)

Inside Optymistychna Cave in Ukraine (Mike Corey @fearlessandfar)

Are there any setbacks in the job you do?

Yeah, totally. I've been on the road for the best part of 10 years, and life's great everyday. I get to be curious, learn new things, meet new people. But some of the best memories I have are travelling with other people. So for example, because I had a biology degree, I wanted to go see animals as I love animals. But when I think back to my favourite travel memories, it is always just about the people. The old man I had tea with in the mountains, or, the woman who had the sheep and gave us some cheese. So I've realised that relationships and people are really important. And that's one of the hardest things to maintain when you’re always moving. Because you're missing birthdays and weddings and people having their first baby or getting a dog and it’s difficult sometimes. But I do try to go out of my way to be there when I really can, even if it it’s a bit inconvenient sometimes.

What inspired you to become a travel influencer in the first place?

It’s funny, influencers don’t like being called influencers. I've been trying to figure out why. I think it's because the word influencer has these negative connotations, right? But at the end of the day, it's a word and we attach things to them. Even if we change the word is basically will mean the same thing.

So for me as an influencer, I never wanted to be one nor did it really exist, nor did I ever think I was going to be in the spotlight. I wanted to be, and I probably judged people who did, but secretly because I was too scared to do it myself. And people who follow me know the story, but basically I had a phobia public speaking. For me, it was the most terrifying thing I could possibly think I could do. But then I found travel, and found a bit more independence. When you're travelling, you can make all the plans you want. But somehow, someday, you’re going to find yourself at 2am in the middle of some Japanese woods, because you took the wrong train because someone told you the wrong thing. And now you have to figure out how to get home. Things like that happen all the time when you travel often. And when you get thrown in these situations you become much more resourceful, flexible, confident, open, all of these things. You also see the kindness of people. I'm telling you from years of research the friendliest people are in the furthest away places every single time. If you're a poor soul is lost somewhere, they will go out of your way out of their way to help you and show you hospitality take you into their house.

I got a bit lost at a certain point. I graduated with a biology degree and then life gave me a 123 punch, then I travelled to find the answers. I realised that if I did the things that I was most afraid to do in life – like travel and speak publicly – then life would just shower me. Every time I have to do something that I feel like I don't want to, I ask myself ‘why?’. And usually, it's because there's some little fear buried in there. That's stopping me. But if I go do that thing, life is like, ‘okay, you pass the test, here's everything you've ever wanted’.

(Mike Corey @fearlessandfar)

(Mike Corey @fearlessandfar)

Mike is nominated in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards as Travel Media Influencer of the Year. To vote now (and be in with a chance to win a trip to India, Jordan, or Iceland) head to wanderlusttravelawards.com


Follow Mike's YouTube channel and Instagram page

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