While the world of food and travel has become somewhat of a visual phenomenon, Sonia Gil is showing viewers that world from a different perspective
Sonia Gil is the host of Sonia's Travels, an independent online travel show and Vlog on YouTube.
The show, which airs weekly on the video sharing website, takes a unique approach to its category by straying far away from what most people are already used to.
While many food and travel productions have made their name by showing people scarf down massive cheeseburgers and having a great time at a bar with the locals, Gil takes her viewers back to the heart of what traveling to a foreign destination is all about.
This is not a show about every restaurant in a given area or specialized tours that aren't realistic for most travelers, Gil says. Each show is surrounded by a small idea - a tip that might make a difference in a particular place.
Gil, who comes from a family of travelers, says that her goal with this production is to get her fingers on the pulse of each city she visits and learn its secret code. Whether its exploring bicycle trends in Miami, an island dedicated to museums in Berlin, or the pet pooches found in Venice, every city has a secret code -- that special something that makes it tick.
For me, traveling is about opening your senses to people, to their places, to their food, to their language and even the games their children play, Gil explains. It's about trying to experience, trying to understand, and in the process trying to learn something about yourself.
While Sonia Gil has become a travel entrepreneur who speaks 5 languages and has lived on four continents, she is also a co-founder of the digital language learning service, Fluenz. Fluenz is a language learning software service that recreates a one-on-one tutoring experience with the goal of getting learners to be able to speak a language fluently in the least amount of time. As most language learning applications rely exclusively on text and graphics, the Fluenz program uses videos to place a teacher at the center of every session.
Not only is Sonia a co-founder of the company, but she is also the teacher behind the Fluenz tutorial videos. And according to her, there is a significant link between the Fluenz project and Sonia's Travels.
If you look at all of the places that we've been to on 'Sonia's Travels,' they are places that speak the languages that we teach on Fluenz, Sonia Explains. I'm the teacher on the software and I speak all the languages, so you learn with me on Fluenz and then you travel with me on 'Sonia's Travels.'
Sonia's Travels, in production since August 2011, has shot episodes in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Venice, Milan, Berlin, and Paris with upcoming cities to include Miami and London.
While the show and the language learning software might come off as a business venture, Sonia describes the combined project as more of a passion that she considers to be quite personal.
To me, finding the secret code of a city is something that comes from a very personal perspective -- It's a city's rhythm, its food, its people and how they dress, Sonia Explains.
It's about what makes that place so special and then showing my viewers what that is and reminding them to look out for it. Because to be completely honest, it's very easy to just look at your map and look at your guidebook and completely miss out on everything that's around you. I see it happen way too often.
Sonia recently achieved the ultimate new media accolade by winning the People's Voice Webby Award for Best Web Personality / Host for her work on Sonia's Travels.
The show was considered to be an underdog in the category and was one of only four travel properties awarded.
Winning the Webby award certainly gives the show some validation, the 'Sonia's Travels' host says. And the fact that we are so new, not only means that our audience is growing very quickly, but it reassures us that we are doing the right thing.