Get to Know the Travel Squad Podcast

Get to know the hosts behind the podcasts! Way back in our podcast archive we have an episode introducing ourselves, sharing how we all met, what inspired us to start traveling, and giving you other bits of backstory on us to help you all get to know us.

Since then we have had so much growth and new listeners along the way and we thought this weeks mini episode would be a great time to reintroduce ourselves so that our newer listeners and more recent squadies can get that backstory more.

You can also read more about our story and how the podcast got started and evolved.

Get to Know the Hosts – Episode Transcript


Hey squadies, the Travel Squad Podcast is back with the Just the Tip, a new Friday MIDI episode where we give you quick travel stories, hacks and recommendations to set you off into the weekend, right?

Way, way back in our podcast archive, we have an episode introducing ourselves, sharing how we all met.


What inspired us to start traveling and giving you other tidbits of our back story to help you get to know us?

But it’s been quite a while.


And since then, we’ve had so much growth and new listeners along the way that we thought this week’s mini episode would be a great time to reintroduce ourselves so that our new listeners and most recent squaddies can get that back story and hopefully help you all appreciate this podcast a little bit more.


And this actually was also a request from someone on Instagram.

So if you have any requests for mini episodes or full length episodes, you can always DM us at Travel Squad Podcast.

So as you know, the Co hosts are myself, Brittany, Kim and Jamal and I grew up in Woodland, CA which is the same hometown as both Kim and Jamal.


But originally I was actually born in Guam and Guam is AUS territory.

It’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at the boundary of the Philippine Sea.

My mom is Filipina and my dad was in the Navy at the time and they both ended up at the same College in Guam.

They met.


I guess my mom really flirted with my dad.

They had me.

Then two years later they had my brother.

And then when my brother was 2 weeks old, we moved from Guam to California, specifically Northern California, in a town called Madison, which has like a population of probably like 200 people.


And then we moved a few years later after my dad built a house into woodland, which is the hometown that we all grew up in.

Kim and I actually met when we were in junior high.

We were both in the principal’s office up to no good, and we’ve been friends ever since.


I think we’re like, what are you in the principal’s office for?

And I think we shared stories and then we’re like, it’s lunch break, you want to hang out at lunch?

And we just consistently hung out ever since.

And then Jamal and I, we met when I was working at Target, worked at Target for the last few months of my senior year of high school.


Jamal was the cart pusher at Target.

Oh yeah, cowboy.

And we met Ben and we started dating by last few weeks of high school and then into college.

A funny story, I was actually enrolled into Jamal’s dad’s class ’cause he was a professor at UC Davis before I even knew Jamal, like it was just one of the pre rec classes I had already signed up for.


So he asked me what classes I was taking at Davis, and I told him he was like, you’re taking my dad’s class?

Oh my God, it’s such a small world and such a small town.

Yeah, seriously.

When Jamal and I first started dating, we did a few getaways to like theme parks and some camping trips, but no major trips.


And after I graduated from Davis, Jamal and I went on a two week trip to the Philippines with my family.

That was my mom’s graduation gift to me was this big huge celebration in the Philippines.

We went to the Hot Springs there.

My family bought like a whole roast pig and I have tons of cousins, probably like 50 cousins, lots of aunts and uncles.


So we all had this really big celebration in the Philippines and then we went island hopping to a few different islands as well.

And then when we came home, we had already had this kind of set in stone that we were going to move to San Diego because Jamal got a job offer there.

So we dated for about 8 years before we got married.


And when Jamal proposed to me, never thought he would because it was eight years in.

I made her work for it.

He proposed to me on top of the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska on our Alaska cruise trip.

And so once we were in San Diego, we were engaged.


I didn’t know what to do with my degree from Davis.

Like, I wasn’t sure what route I wanted to go into.

So I decided to go back to school, following my mom’s footsteps.

Become a nurse.

Been a nurse since 2016.

I’ve always specialized in Hospice, but throughout this whole journey I was doing trips with my family and with Jamal.


Small things here and there, but I really wanted to get more into travel.

And so our first international trip without family was a cruise to the Bahamas with Jamal.

I was probably 23.

Jamal was like 25.

But I feel like cruising’s a great way to start traveling because it’s like it’s super easy to do.


Everything’s pretty much planned for you.

All you have to do is pick your excursions and book your flight.

Is that the cruise that you showed me the pictures of?

And you were wearing this nice watch in it and you were like, what do you think of these pictures?

And I pointed out the watch immediately.

I think so, yeah.




Even I remember that cruise for you.

Thank you.


That just kind of inspired us to start traveling along with my mom used to take us on a lot of different summer vacations every year.

We did four years of back-to-back cruising with my mom.

We went to, we did the Mexican, Riviera, Catalina and Ensenada, Bahamas, Jamaica, and it was so much fun and it made travel seem like, super easy.


I feel like if a single mom could do it, why couldn’t I do it?

So that kind of inspired me to start traveling.

But to round out my segment, I love to travel and I have a few bucket list trips that I want to take.

My top three are Antarctica to sing the Penguins and to do a polar plunge, New Zealand to see the waterfalls.


And there’s just like so many epic hikes in New Zealand, the landscapes amazing and beautiful, and then Kenya and Tanzania to do a wildlife safari.

Hey squaddies, I’m Kim.

I AM 34 years old as well as Brittany.


Brittany’s like a month older than me.

I currently live in Austin, TX.

I used to live in San Diego with the two of you, but about two years ago I moved out here and have been loving the Texas life.

So as Brittany said, we all grew up in Woodland and I’ve really been a California girl my whole life.


I was born in the LA area when I was young.

We moved up to Northern California in Woodland and I lived there most of my life.

I went to College in Sacramento and then right after graduating college I moved down to San Diego where I was there for about 8 years before moving out here to Austin.


So kind of been all over, but loving living in a different state and being able to explore in that way.

It’s it’s a totally different type of travel when you like live there and you could do day trips and weekend trips to other cities.

But going back to San Diego, like, Brittany and I have always been close growing up since we were 12 years old.


But then when she moved to San Diego a few years before me, of course when you’re there’s distance like that, you’re not as close.

There was maybe a time or two I came down to visit and we saw each other, of course.

But once I moved to San Diego, that’s when we got a lot closer in our adult life.

We started going on hikes all the time.


We would get afternoon tea, we would go to lunch or dinner or something like that.

And then in 2016 we started traveling together.

We took our first trip to Peru and then it was kind of all of us traveling together until now.


It hasn’t really stopped.

So for my day job when I’m not podcasting, I work in PR and marketing where I have worked since college.

So about 11 years now, I started at an in house role for a brand but only did that for a little while.


I mostly have worked at digital marketing agencies which allows me to work on all different types of clients, do all different types of marketing and PR and and actually the career’s important because that’s kind of how I got into travel.

So growing up I never really travelled while I loved Brittany’s family because they always went on cruises.


I remember when you went to Jamaica and you came back so dark from your tan, and that was like a still a big joke we say today.

But my family never really traveled like that.

Like I said, we lived in Northern California.

We went to LA every year to visit family for the summers and hang out with them, go to amusement parks, do that kind of stuff.


So our trips were more family oriented than like travel destination oriented.

I didn’t actually leave the country until I was 26 years old, and I didn’t travel with any family.

So until I was about 30, for my 30th birthday, my mom came on a cruise with me and some friends out of Florida, and it went to Turks and Caicos in the Dominican Republic.


And it was so funny to see her, like, dancing on a catamaran with a rum punch in her hand.

And she just loved it.

I was so happy that like, she could get out of the country too.

I could totally see your mom doing that.

Yeah, she was loving it.

It was so fun.

So my first trip ever out of the country was actually a road trip from San Diego to Rosarito, Mexico.


I know Jamal’s upset about this because.

Yeah, I’m, I’m, I’m still upset about it, Kim.

I’m still upset about it, ’cause we were.

I I don’t mean to steal your Thunder.

We were about to go to Peru do the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu hike, literally 2 weeks later and I’ve traveled with a lot of other friends, kind of popped their travel cherry so to speak.


And I was like really excited that me and Brittany were going to take yours.

And then you just go and like rune it on something so frivolous I feel like.

I just got cool about Yeah, like Peru was such an epic trip to to fly somewhere and be in this completely other world.


But yeah, my first time actually leaving the country was a road trip from San Diego to Rosarito.

It’s only like 30 minutes.

But this was back in 2016 when we didn’t have international phone service on our phones.

We were just a group of girls that had never really been out of the country.

Driving in Mexico, where the street signs are not that great, They’re all in Spanish.


None of us speak Spanish when you actually get into the neighborhood, some of the streets don’t even have signs on them.

So we’re using written paper instructions to get there.

And like, none of us have phone service.

We’re all girls, like, never been to Mexico.

So it was a really fun trip and it ended up being such a fun weekend and a real experience to be able to see a new country for the very first time.


And then coming on the heels of that, going to Peru and truly never stop traveling after that.

I really had the travel bug and still do.

And I’ve been to 16 countries now in just eight years.

So it’s been fun and it is not stopping anytime soon.

And you know, going back to my career, I said I’ve worked in marketing digital agencies for a long time, and I’m so thankful that I do because this is actually really what got me into travel.


One of my clients was Expedia.

I did a ton of partnerships with bloggers where we would actually send them on trips, then they would write about their trips, and it was kind of that influencer experience before.

Social media influencers as we know them today became what they are.


Bloggers were really the big thing back then.

And I just was reading Travel blog after travel blog after travel blog in the US and Canada internationally.

And I discovered all of these amazing places in the world that I’d never known about.

And my eyes and my world just really opened up.


And I started making this bucket list list of all these amazing trips that I want to take and started talking to Brittany about the Inca Trail.

And then, you know, one thing leads to another.

And here we are.

And so it’s not stopping.

My bucket list continues to grow.

The more you learn, the more that gets added to the list, right?


It will never end.

I don’t think even after going to every single country in the world, there’s still so much to do.

The second time or third time you go back there.

There are three destinations that I really, really want to go to in the next, let’s say, five years.

I’m going to knock these out.

Egypt, which I hope I can go to in 2025, We’ll see.


But Egypt?

I want to ride a camel in front of the pyramids and get that iconic shot and just see those ancient ruins like I’m already going thinking about it.

Iceland, I want to go during the dark season so I can see the Northern Lights.

I just think the Northern Lights would be so cool to see.


And then lastly, South of France, San Tropez.

I want to have a luxury yacht weekend and meet my billionaire future husband.

Love it.

That’s a really solid 3 bucket list trips that you have going on, Kim, and I’m really excited for you.


And you kind of hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

Like you can go everywhere and there’s still places that you want to go even though you’ve been there because you’re having a different experience seeing something maybe you didn’t see the first time.

And that’s what I really love about travel.

You know what I mean?

Just just always so much to get you excited about.


But Brittany’s gone, Kim’s gone.

Jamal’s here to tell you a little bit about himself.

I’m going to sound like a broken record.

Brittany said it.

Kim said it Woodland, CA is our hometown 1015 minutes right outside of Sacramento.

I am a born and raised Woodlander.


Lived there my whole life until we moved to San Diego in 2011.

And like Brittany said, we ended up meeting at Target right as she was about to graduate high school and she made a little reference about her mom kind of flirting real hard with her.


Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree because that was totally Brittany on me.

I guess she really liked.

Your muscles just came out.

I think that’s what drew her to me, if you want me to be really honest.

And of course, ever since I met Britt, I knew you, Kim, right.


But like you said, it’s really that that move down to San Diego, when you moved down, that really kind of got us a lot more closer in adulthood, right?

But you know a little bit about just kind of my personal background.

My dad is Lebanese, born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, only came to the United States, to UC Davis to get his PhD.


And when he was a student here on his student visa in the US, he met my mom at a nightclub in Sacramento.

They were out partying one night they met, got married, and you know, they moved back to Lebanon.

But of course, because of the war, they had to move back.


So I was born here in the United States after they had moved back because of the war.

So realistically after Brittany had graduated from UC Davis, as we mentioned, we moved down to San Diego.

It was to start my career.

I am an insurance professional and licensed insurance agent and broker specializing in employee benefits, health insurance, life disability, long term care, the whole works on that side of things and I really, really do love it.


And a little side note for you squatties, I do also sell travel medical insurance, so if you need travel medical, just be sure to DM us, e-mail us or you can subscribe to our newsletter.

We always have the link in our newsletter for the travel medical and you can just click on the link and purchase it from there yourself.


But that is absolutely essential and I’m going to give a shameless little pitch as an insurance professional to let people know you need some type of insurance when you travel.

I’ll back you up on that too, if you do need it and say you’re actually in the airport going on your trip.

Jamal’s really fast.

So if you hit him up and you tell him, here’s where I’m going, here’s my day, I have done that myself with you and you’ve hooked me up with insurance for a trip while I’m on my way there for.


So it was like 20 or $30?

Yeah, yeah.

So squatties, feel free to reach out or like I said, just go ahead and subscribe to our newsletter.

That link is always in there and you can go ahead and just purchase it yourself.

It’s relatively easy.

But the first international trip that we took without family was a time that me and my friends had gone to Washington.


My childhood best friend, his family was originally from Washington.

After high school, they moved back to the state of Washington.

And it was that first Christmas after the fact when we graduated and a whole bunch of us guys were like, oh, let’s go visit Nate up there.


And all of us were at least 18.

And we were so close to Canada, we were like, well, we should go to Vancouver.

And then we realized, oh, well, Vancouver is in British Columbia.

The drinking age it there is 19.

Not all of us are 19, but all of us are 18.


Well, the next province over is Alberta.

And in Canada they have different drinking ages based on the province.

And Alberta is 18.

So we were like, all right, well, we’re going to Alberta.

What’s the biggest city?


Well, guess what?

It was about an 8-9 hour drive away in the dead of winter for the Canadian Rockies.


But we’re like, we’re going to make it, we’re going to go.

So I mean, you could imagine the fun and debauchery we kind of had as young 1819 year olds is just going out of the country for the first time without adult supervision and parents having a good time.


They had MapQuest.

I remember that, you know.

Trying to print out direction.

I mean, yeah, I mean we’re talking this is 2005 MapQuest printed out kind of how you had the handwritten ones in 2016 just because of the lack of international data, Kim.

I mean, this was the day and age of still, you know, MapQuest.


So I mean that was kind of really the first international trip that we took without family.

You know, I was fortunate enough.

Like as a child, we did travel a lot.

Like I said, dad was Lebanese.

We went back and forth to Lebanon, summer vacations, but a lot of our actual travel as a family was like domestic within the US, maybe to national parks.


I remember going to Yellowstone as a kid, of course, the Redwoods, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, things like that.

So we did a little bit of travel, but nothing too extravagant.

But what kind of really inspired me to start traveling is, of course, I love the little trips that we did with Brittany.


But growing up in a multicultural household and going to Lebanon several times and just seen a different culture, you can kind of really appreciate it, like, even as a kid to recognize like, hey, like, yes, this is my world over here where I live.

But there’s such a bigger world out here and so many things that are cool about it, the food, culture, people, friendliness, etcetera.


And that’s kind of really what inspired me to start traveling And of course, just my life with Brittany.

And the little things that we did just kind of escalated to the point where we are now.

But my three bucket list trips, I’m going to steal one from Brittany.

I have to go Antarctica.


I mean, I want to hit all 7 continents, and Antarctica would be absolutely epic.

I really love the African continent.

But more specifically, I want to go back and go to Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, more particularly in Zimbabwe, to Mana Pools.


It’s a National Park and it’s the only place where you can still do walking safaris in the Bush in Africa.

Of course you’re guided out there, but can you just imagine just walking on the plains?

No that that sounds dangerous.

There’s a lion.

Who knows?

Well, that’s why it’s the only place left that you can do it.


You know, Brittany’s dad and girlfriend ended up doing Mana Pools and they absolutely loved it.

And I really want to go out there and do that.

And you know, the last one I’m going to give here, someone might say, like, that’s really where you want to go.

A couple of my bucket list trips are already booked coming up here for the remainder of 2024 up into 2025 S just like off the top of my head, Hong Kong Disneyland.


And the reason why I say that is that is the last Disney park that Brittany and I need to hit.

And then we’ve been to every single Disney park in the entire world, Japan, China, Europe, here in the US, we need to make it to Hong Kong Disney and that’s Jamal and.

It’s hard to believe that you still have not gone to Hong Kong Disneyland.


I know we had this set to go in 2020 COVID hit.

I mean this was going to be a March 2020 trip and then COVID hit and obviously you know you’re not going to China and then it kind of really spread everywhere else.

And so since then have not had it.

So since then have not gone on it.


Well, hopefully very soon you can change that.

I hope so.

Well, squadies, hopefully this gives you a better look into who we are, who you hear in your earphones twice a week, every week.

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