A True Connoisseur of Travel: Kenneth Surat

Kenneth Surat

All of us love to travel, once in a while. We might even go on a holiday and tick off places from our bucket list, but only someone who’s truly passionate about discovering the world can make travelling their profession. We might pack loads of bags for just a 10-day trip to a foreign country, but can you imagine travelling around the world with just a back bag? Such is the life of Kenneth Surat who is not only a travel blogger and vlogger but is also a stylist and decorator. His passion for travelling has allowed him to travel to more than 40 countries including Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. As a true travel enthusiast, he loves meeting new people and believes that listening to people around the world is what helps one to grow as a person. He has worked with several tourism companies, airlines, and tourism boards in countries like North Marianas, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and U.A.E. Today, aside from travelling he also decorates and creates leather crafts for Surat Journals. Currently, he is also the brand ambassador of Stanley Philippines and Deuter Philippines.

What is your background?
I graduated as a Bachelor in Architecture, worked in Dubai as a Senior Interior Designer and now as a decorator back in the Philippines. I am also a travel, lifestyle and interior decoration blogger and vlogger.

What inspired you to choose travelling as a career and what steps did you take to achieve that goal?
2008 was the first “long trip” I took. I traveled around China for a month without even knowing that there are people who travel around the globe for several months and even years. I was so amazed with their stories. Traveling from Europe connecting to Mainland China, then continuing their journey in Southeast Asia. While I thought I was becoming a great explorer with my 1-month adventure around (1/4 of China).

Ever since then I researched this world while I also started traveling baby steps around Europe, America, Central Asia, and Asia. Now I can say that traveling became part of my identity. Before the pandemic I spent 3 months around South America exploring and documenting my journey.

As a Travel Blogger, Vlogger, Artisan and Decorator, what motivates you in life?
Hmmmm… I think life has so many things to offer. As we are not getting any younger, I can say that if you have a dream, go for it.

Out of all the countries you’ve travelled, which is your most favorite and why?
Probably my most recent trip. South America is so rich in culture and history. I can say Peru is on top of my list. I also love exploring East and Southeast Asia. Aside from considering it as my turf, going around SEA is very cheap but offers a lot to anyone who will visit…. especially THE FOOD! I can say that Asia is really a food heaven.

What are some lessons you’ve learned as a Travel Blogger?
I can say that it isn’t for everyone. You have to think about what you want to achieve in travel blogging. Is it a hobby to document your travels or you want to create a career and become a fulltime travel blogger?

What can you tell us about your future travels and other work that you’re looking forward to?
Before the pandemic I was planning to travel to Japan for a month, but with the pandemic still very present, I am more focused now with Interior Decorations. Maybe when we can all travel leisurely again, I will push through with the plan to backpack around Japan and South Korea.

Kenneth Surat
Photo by: Kenneth Surat

What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced as a travel blogger or while travelling?
Hmmm… I think mixing both together sometimes is a bit challenging. Because whenever I travel to a new city, I always tell myself to explore in the morning, then write in the evening. Writing always gets sacrificed because after a whole day exploring, you just want to sleep.

I think the challenge really for every traveler is the language. But that is also the beauty of traveling, you are pulled out of your comfort zone to try and discover new things.

What is your most favorite memory or experience you’ve encountered while travelling?
There are so many to be honest. But it is always the people you meet. Friends you built while you are on the road.

How did the current pandemic affect you and your career?
Since the pandemic, I just stayed here in Manila. But luckily I got so much travel content from my previous trip to use. As mentioned previously as well, I focus on interior decorations while we are in this situation. Surprisingly, there are so many people who want to have their houses fixed.

Q10 From styling, decorating, and travelling what do you enjoy the most?
I can’t choose to be honest haha. I love them both.

If you could choose one city or country to travel again, which would that be?
It will probably be JAPAN. I think I haven’t explored this country very much yet and I am excited to see more that it can offer.

What advice would you like to give to young travel enthusiasts and people who love to travel?
When the time comes that we can all travel again, my advice is that don’t be afraid to explore paths that are not famous in travel books and magazines. Be open in meeting people and listen to their stories as you also share yours.

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