Social Media Spotlight: Jordan Brown Shares New Girl's Perspective on Los Angeles
Photo via Jordan Brown
Traveling is no longer a solely personal experience. It’s shared with friends, family and strangers through myriad social media channels. And some people are just better at it than most.
To that end we introduce you to Jordan Brown, the first of what we hope will be many social media spotlights, highlighting travelers from all walks of life who illustrate the value and beauty of their respective locations with brilliant snapshots.
As for Brown, she is a new Angeleno who is embracing every last drop of wonder this city has to offer. Thankfully, she is sharing that on Instagram, Twitter and on her blog “New Girl’s” Guide To Los Angeles.
Thankfully, the busy traveler afforded us a moment via email to give us a bit more on her life and what led her to LALA Land.
TravelPulse: As a native Angeleno, I love when new people come to the city and discover its amazing beauty and culture. What brought you out here? What do you do for a living outside discovering the city, traveling and writing? I noticed you have a book out.
Jordan Brown: I moved to the vibrant city of Los Angeles in the spring of this year for a full-time job in the field of education. Blogging, writing, photography, and adventuring are all hobbies that I’ve grown to fall in love with and today take up most of my free time. Since I was young, hobbies have been a way for me to express myself creatively, take a break from the hustle and bustle of work and school obligations, and connect with others who have similar interests.
Work is and has always been important to me, but I think equally as important is what we do outside of our 9-5 routine to cultivate a meaningful and enjoyable life. And yes, the book I wrote when I was 22 is a compilation of stories from my own life and about 60 other young women, titled The Girl’s Guide to Loving Life. In the content I produce – whether it’s in photography, blogging, or writing – I consistently like to ask myself, “How can I create something that will help inspire others?”
TP: What is something that surprised you about Los Angeles?
JB: When I first began telling people I was moving to Los Angeles, many people were excited for me and had wonderful things to share, but some had reservations. I heard everything from “the traffic is always awful” to “the people are so rude” to “watch out for the smog!” to “everything is so expensive.”
Sure, there are times when I have thought some of the above, but what I’ve found is this: this city is what you make of it! I definitely dealt with anxiety and discomfort when moving to one of the biggest cities in the county, but I decided to embrace the newness, own being the “New Girl” in town, and spend my time and energy on discovering and learning more about this city I now call home.
So, what surprised me most is how much there is to see, do, and experience here! L.A. is an amazing city full of energy, culture, history, art, and attractions - which results in endless things to do and see - no matter your budget. I typically gravitate toward free or cheap, random “off-the-beaten-path” adventures.
I now have Angelenos who comment on my Instagram posts saying I’ve done more here in 6 months than they have in their entire lives here…so I hope my adventures are inspiring other locals to do something out of their typical routines!
TP: Do you have a favorite place people might not necessarily have on their radar before traveling here?
JB: Oh goodness, that’s a tough question. While I’ve grown to love LA’s tourist hotspots (LACMA and Urban Lights, Griffith Observatory, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Sign, etc.), I’ve stumbled upon so many special places that not as many people know about. Here are some of my favorite hidden gems so far:
• Paddle boating on Echo Park Lake ($10/hour per adult and you will see beautiful views of the LA skyline in the background. So peaceful and serene.)
• Downtown gems: The Last Bookstore, Bradbury Building, LA Original Flower Market, Grand Central Market. There are so many unique things to see and experience downtown.
• I also recently visited the San Pedro area and fell in love! Wayfarer’s Chapel, The Korean Bell of Friendship and Sunken City are must-sees if you’re ever in the South Bay.
Lastly, if you take a look at my Instagram, you’ll see that I am obsessed with the Los Angeles skyline and am always on a mission to find the best spots to photograph it. So far, I’d recommend Angel’s Point at Elysian Park, the East Trail at Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, and right outside of the John Ferraro Building downtown.
Details for all of these spots I adore are listed under the Do & See tab on my blog: http://www.newgirlsguidetola.com/do--see
TP: Your pictures are wonderfully vivid. What do you use to take them? Any favorite apps that you use outside Instagram? In-phone or desktop editing?
JB: Why, thank you! I take all of my photos with my DSLR (Canon Rebel t6i) and typically bring three different lenses with me wherever I go. It’s a lot to carry, but my camera bag has become part of my every weekend ensemble :) Sometimes I also take pictures with my iPhone 6 if I’m out and about and don’t have my camera with me. As far as editing goes, I send the pictures directly from my camera to my phone (thank gosh for built in Wi-Fi!) and then open them up in the Instagram app.
I do not use any external editing app, and I haven’t used a filter on Instagram in months. I simply play with the Instagram editing features (brightness, saturation, warmth, shadows, etc.) if needed – but more often than not, what you see on Instagram is almost exactly what’s taken on my camera.
TP: Do you have any travel tips you have gleaned over the years?
JB: I’d love to offer these three travel tips to anyone reading this:
1) Expect the unexpected. When adventuring and traveling, whether local or abroad, it’s inevitable that something won’t go according to plan…and I’ve learned that’s A-OK. Sometimes stuff happens that will throw you off your so-well-thought-out plan (like missing a train, getting lost and having no cell phone reception, getting a parking ticket, etc.), but you can learn to trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way, and don’t forget this – sometimes the unexpected detours make the journey more memorable and/or rewarding.
2) Attitude is everything. Someone recently told me "I avoid downtown Los Angeles at all costs!" and I thought to myself…that’s no fun. Downtown is one of my favorite places to explore in LA because there's something interesting to see on every corner. I think that while being in any city, your attitude has a lot to do with your experience. Sure, parking can be a total pain in the butt and the one-way streets can be confusing, but if you throw on your adventure pants and accept some of the natural stress and discomfort, I think you'll be amazed at what you can discover.
3) Be open to exploring alone. When you travel or explore alone, you’re on your own time and can do exactly as you please throughout the day. You don’t need to check in with anyone or wonder if the other person is tired, hungry, done exploring, etc. Your day is totally up to YOU! I understand that going on an adventure alone may seem scary at first, but if you can challenge your insecurities and try it out a few times, I think you’d be surprised at how enjoyable it can be. I love traveling with friends and family, but I equally love exploring alone because it’s an opportunity for me to cultivate mindfulness and reflection, set my own intention and agenda, and also allows me to save energy from communicating (the introvert in me appreciates this).
TravelPulse: What places are you dying to visit, whether in LA or abroad?
JB: I NEED to see Random International’s Rain Room at LACMA and Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Room at the new Broad museum! My LA Bucket List is ever growing and also currently includes: the Getty Museum, Natural History Museum, Point Dume in Malibu, horseback riding to the Hollywood Sign, oh…and Disneyland obviously!
Outside of Los Angeles, I am dying to hike Machu Picchu, swim in the cenotes (underwater caves) of Cancun, sleep on the Great Wall of China (yes, certain tours allow you to sleep on the wall!), trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and take a photography tour of Iceland.
TravelPulse: Lastly, what is something you would like to tell people about Los Angeles that they might not consider?
Jordan Brown: Did you know that Los Angeles is home to over 100 neighborhoods? I’d argue that Los Angeles is one of the most unique and diverse counties in the United States that offers something for everyone. From the warm, sandy beaches in Santa Monica, the museums Downtown, the culture and history on Olvera Street (the birthplace of Los Angeles), the vibrant LGBT scene in West Hollywood, the nightlife in Hollywood, the trendy coffee shops in Silverlake, the authentic Mexican food in East Los Angeles, and SO much more – there’s just no possible way you won’t find something you absolutely love about the City of Angels.
Los Angeles isn’t called the Entertainment Capitol of the World for nothin’ – be prepared to have your socks knocked off by how many amazing things there are to see, do, and experience here.
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