A life of adventure is thrilling in theory and significantly harder in practice. It takes real grit, a pinch of madness, and a wild heart. Kellee Edwards knows this all too well. She seems to take her travel advice straight from Indiana Jones. She’s been certified as a diver, a pilot, and spent years traveling the world with a camera and dream.
That dream was to be the first black woman to host a Travel Channel show. And it’s not a dream anymore. It’s a reality.
It’s hard to fully fathom all the hard work that goes into being a professional traveler. We see the Instagram influencers and TV hosts deep into their careers. What we don’t see are the years of hustling, struggling, and taking huge financial bets on yourself. Edwards likes a little gamble. And, for her, it’s just paid off big.
Edwards spent her young adult life chasing her fears and overcoming them one step at a time. That pursuit eventually led her to Travel Channel where she hosts the wholly unique Mysterious Islands. The show is an outlier in the travel TV world. As a black, female host, she’s bringing a new point of view to a very white and male-dominated medium. As an adventurer, Edwards is going to places that few dare tread. The combination is straight fire.
We got a chance to talk with Edwards just as season two of Mysterious Islands dropped over the holidays. Talking with someone like Edwards is part edifying and part inspirational. It’s the sort of chat that inspires you to take on your fears and trust that luck favors the bold. Let’s jump in.
So let’s take a step back and talk about how and when you started traveling.
So I grew up taking road trips with my parents. From a very early age, my dad took me to the great outdoors. I was born in Chicago and spent my early childhood there; but, I grew up in San Bernardino, CA, in a very middle class family. Still, hitting the road was a big part of the world he was familiar with and he gave that to me.
So your dad traveled a lot?
He’s a truck driver by trade and loved camping in the great outdoors. He was the first person that I saw swimming in the ocean. So in a lot of ways, he was just like that person who introduced me to a world that I was not familiar with coming from the south side of Chicago.