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Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Pamela Holt Is Helping To Change Our World

Get more footage than you need! I look back at some of the experiences I share on camera and the lens only captures part of the story. I would need 4 cameras to really share with the audience the overall picture, and while getting b-roll is great, it’s not live, it’s not moving, it’s not the same.

As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Pamela Holt.

Pamela Holt is a travel expert, Executive Producer & Host of the new streaming series, Me, Myself & The World: The Art of Solo Travel, now streaming on Amazon Prime and GoTraveler. Season 2 of Me, Myself & The World is slated to launch on February 1st, 2024 on Amazon Prime, Freevee, GoTraveler and more.

Born in California and raised in Hawaii, Pamela began solo traveling at the age of 19. Today, she’s journeyed to over 92 countries and territories solo, including Antarctica, Bali, Japan, Singapore, and nearly everywhere in between. From living in a hut deep in the Amazon rainforest to getting detained in Russia to jumping from the highest commercial bungee in the world in South Africa, Pamela is inspiring others to join her solo travel revolution, explore the world on their own terms, and seek adventure in everyday life. Her travel expertise has been quoted in FOX, KTLA5 Morning News, Conde Nast Traveler, Business Traveler, and more.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

As a traveler, filmmaker, and storyteller, it’s a joy that each role plays a part in my life and they often feed into each other. I began traveling internationally with my family at 13 and quickly caught the travel bug after spending my 14th birthday in glamorous Hong Kong. Storytelling and filmmaking, while they came later, are the mediums I prefer to use in order to share my love and passion for travel — and to find fellow wanderlusters.

Having studied theater, film and television at UCLA, I developed a passion for storytelling at a young age. Despite making headway in my acting and musical theater career, my plans came to a screeching halt when I experienced a traumatic car accident at the age of 35. Nearly immobilized, I later required extensive spinal surgery that I wasn’t sure I’d ever recover from.

On the heels of accomplishing major career highs, I realized the long road to recovery ahead meant I had to pause my acting and singing pursuits. It was in recovery that I decided to marry my two passions in life — travel and storytelling — which would inevitably take me on a journey to the farthest corners of the world. As I was wheeled into the OR, I made an “80 by 50” promise to myself — travel to 80 countries before turning 50 years old — and the minute I regained my strength, it was wheels up for me.

Now 54 years old, I have certainly made good on this promise — I have journeyed to over 91 countries and territories solo, including Antarctica, Bali, Japan, Singapore, and nearly everywhere in between. From living in a hut deep in the Amazon rainforest to getting detained in Russia to jumping from the highest commercial bungee in the world in South Africa, I hope to inspire others to join my solo travel revolution, explore the world on your own terms, and seek adventure in everyday life.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I have accidentally forgotten to press “record” on the camera more times than I’d like to admit — leading me to miss once-in-a-lifetime shots that are just impossible to recapture via reenactments. This taught me to go back to my roots and follow the basic practices of filmmaking: set up the shot, check to see what story the lens is capturing, triple check the microphones, and, oh yeah, PRESS RECORD!

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I met a Balinese Healer in Ubud, Bali Indonesia. It took some time to get to him — he’s the real deal and it seemed I had to know someone and be vetted before receiving the introduction. The healer is 97 years old and a former member of the royal family of Bali, when Bali was a kingdom. Most “healers” charge anywhere between $200 — $400 for a “session,” and prices rise rapidly if you book through a luxury hotel. It was pure coincidence how I got the “introduction.”

I had just completed my first water ceremony at Bambu Indah, an eco-resort in Bali. I felt so at peace after this spiritual experience and decided to follow it up by taking in the sunset over Ubud. There was one chair left, as it turns out, next to a journalist from Dubai. I mentioned that I was trying to get to this healer that I had read about online. She showed me the name of her contact and to my surprise, that was the exact person I was looking for. We called him immediately and it turned out that he just had a cancellation for the next day. I scooped up the appointment with joy and excitement!

The next day, the guide picked me up and we instantly had a connection — setting in motion a friendship that has lasted over 4 years! He took me to the healer and as skeptical as I was, it transformed into one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I truly felt the incredible healing effect of this healer. My life changed that day. Was it mind over matter or the true healing effects of this man? I’m going with the latter. He helped me get out of my way and clear the playing field for my success.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

I have always admired Amelia Earheart’s spirit for adventure. And, as it turns out Mrs. Honey, my 3rd grade teacher, happened to be Amelia’s niece! Mrs. Honey truly helped foster my appetite for adventure, starting with a simple assignment to create a “bucket list” of 10 things we would like to accomplish in life. I happened to be big into “firsts” at that time — the first woman who (fill in the blank) and Amelia Earheart was top on my list of someone I wanted to emulate — a woman who was independent, took chances, and lived life adventurously! I loved that she was known for breaking barriers and pushing the envelope. It intrigued me and I wanted to be a “solo flyer” in life. My 3rd grade bucket list included mostly travel-related items, like traveling to Russia and China and learning Japanese. Looking back, it’s remarkable to know that I made my bucket list a reality.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

Through storytelling and filmmaking, I strive to inspire people to discover the life-changing benefits of solo travel. There is this great quote that says it best — “Traveling alone will be the scariest, most liberating, life-changing experience of your life. Try it at least once!” — Unknown

If I can help inspire one person every month (heck, every week) to explore solo travel, that begins the butterfly effect of change that solo travel can bring to a soul — I can’t think of a better legacy to leave behind! Solo travel does more than help the person traveling, it has the opportunity to inspire even those around you to grow in their own way. Case in point — a friend saw my solo traveling as inspiration and took up a long-desired passion — and now her passion is inspiring even others!

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “a-ha! moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

Yes, there was an “A-ha” moment! I was working for Kevyn Wynn and Steve Wynn (yes, the Wynn family). It was a job that really moved the needle for me in terms of business education. I loved it and was honored to work with such power-house business owners!

It was in that job — those very long-houred weeks that I got clear on how I could and should marry my passions — filmmaking and travel. With the education I had during this job and my job working with another powerhouse woman business owner, Heidi Wasserman, I realized I was ready to “leap and let the net appear” on my own! My background in filmmaking and years of on camera experience were finally getting put to great use.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I’m happy to report that there are more and more individuals inspired by my stories as a filmmaker — they reach out to me to share their solo travel experiences and what that experience has meant to them. One woman in particular reached out asking for help on how to get started solo traveling and how to feel safe. She ‘just needed to get away’ but was afraid to do it on her own.

We talked until we got to the root of her fear — what was really at the core of her trepidation and anxiousness? Once we got to the root of her hesitation, the solution was easy to identify. Anxiousness turned to excitement and empowerment and she was off on her travels.

It’s that butterfly effect that can be so impactful.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Stream my series, “Me, Myself & The World: The Art of Solo Travel” on Amazon Prime and Go Traveler. Season 1 is already available for streaming and Season 2 premieres on February 1st, 2024.

Join my solo travel revolution and consider solo traveling at least once in your life. Solo travel is so much more than a vacation — it can be a life-changing experience that expands your worldview, instill newfound confidence, and empower you to embark on new adventures.

I’d love to see study abroad programs become more of a priority in our education system. Exposing children to cultural immersion programs and sponsoring them to experience the world through someone else’s lens first hand is just something you can’t teach in the classroom.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Get more footage than you need! I look back at some of the experiences I share on camera and the lens only captures part of the story. I would need 4 cameras to really share with the audience the overall picture, and while getting b-roll is great, it’s not live, it’s not moving, it’s not the same.

Back up daily to the cloud. This is easier said than done when traveling in remote areas or destinations still working on 3G! Traveling can take its toll on hard drives and if you lose one — or it’s damaged, you’re outta luck.

Have a double backup of microphones on set. And triple if you have the device capability! Take it from someone who lost audio on two separate interviews!

Have a personal deadline for edits. I watched the episodes so many times I lost count. Each time, I would find one more thing to change. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day. Now, I set deadlines and don’t get lost in the minutia — I make fast and clear edits and move on!

Once your series airs, don’t dissect it. I watched an episode with a friend and suddenly started seeing additional edits I could have made — and it drove me crazy. I make sure to watch episodes with family and friends sans a pen and paper now.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Doing good (for others) is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself. It’s the infinity symbol — it just keeps going around and coming around.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why?

I’d love to collaborate with Elon Musk! I’ve secretly been toiling away — creating an entertainment company that aligns with his visionary brands. He is so next-level in everything he does, I find it inspirational. And who better to collaborate with, than someone who personally inspires me to dream bigger, take bolder actions, and turn more groundbreaking ideas into reality? Or… virtual reality!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!

I left my job and mortgaged the farm (ok, my retirement fund) to create this series. It has changed my life profoundly, not just in the opportunities it brings for my career, or the growth that I’ve experienced in creating TV, but for what it’s done for my soul. It’s true, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life!”

How can our readers follow you online?

Me, Myself & The World: The Art of Solo Travel— is streaming on Amazon Prime, GoTraveler, Freevee, Tubi, Sling TV, and more…

GoTraveler Link:

Amazon link:

Socials: @ThePamelaHolt (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and X)

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!

Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Pamela Holt Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.