Mike Corey of Kick the Grind TV is a Biologist turned World Traveller. His videos take us to some of the most unexpected adventures on our planet. Swimming with pigs, sleeping on the great wall of China, and Snake Venom tattoos in Thailand. His content has us asking “Whoa.. you can actually do that?!”
Over the past few years Mike has won 3 travel video blogging competitions, been featured in film festivals, had his work in publications like the Huffington Post, and has been interviewed by Facebook. His motto is “Our World is Absolutely Incredible”, and he definitely has no problem proving it.
Thanks for wanting to be part of our Positive World travel Community! What’s the way you make your travels positive?
Tourism can be uplifting both personally and economically, but it can also destroy a culture. Respect is paramount. Travelling with your mind open, and your patience at hand, makes the world a better place. I preach that.
You recently came back from travelling around the world for 80 days, what was the best and worst thing that happened to you on this trip?
The “worst” experiences are always the best stories. There are 2 memories that really stick out.
Summiting Mt Fuji in Japan without the group, and having to huddle human caterpillar style with people I barely knew to make it through the long cold night.
Also losing to an 11 year old Cambodian Girl in a game of dirt tictactoe. She challenged me to a game after turning down buying her postcard. “I Win.. You buy card”… Little did I know she was a Tictactoe savant.
Share with our readers 2 songs which make up your travel playlist or remind you of your travel adventures.
My life revolves around music.
“Watch the sun come up (Live Studio Version)” by Example.
This song is about having left too soon, but also realising that’s exactly why the memory is so special.
An artist named Emancipator is at the top of list too.
It’s discovery music. Trip-hop that’s heavily influenced by the natural world. This is the perfect music to plug into, and leave our planet for a little while to get some work done.
“Lionheart” is a great place to start.
I also have to give Wonderwall by Oasis a shout out. Mainstream Yes… But that song has popped up on every far flung beach, drunken hostel sing along, and sleepless train ride with friends. It will always have a special place in my heart.
You are a breakdancer, when do you get a chance to still hang out with friends and dance and when will we see some popping and locking in your videos?
I’m in love with everything acrobatic. I started off Bboying (Breakdancing), and now have branched off into gymnastics and parkour as well. I just feel it’s a much more natural and practical way to stay fit compared to the “abnormal inflation” that happens at most modern gyms.
I have included bboying in a few of my videos (especially for contest submissions), but believe it or not it’s proved to be a excellent skill for travel. Busking in Bangkok for spare change, dance battles in sea gypsy villages in Indonesia, or even just the group dance party at a local bar. Music and Dance are universal languages, everyone should be able to speak a bit.
Also, with the kind of shooting I normally do I have to be in good shape. Otherwise either myself, or my camera gear is bound to take a fall.
What book or movie has inspired you to travel and why?
The movie “The Beach” was a big inspiration.
“Paradise isn’t a place you can look for, it’s how you feel for a moment in life”
You travel, and you experience moments where life is euphoric. Nothing else matters, and you could stay there forever. Much like the song above though, the magic is quickly lost by doing so.
That movie was made for true backpackers, one of the few I’ve come across.
You have a fascination with bugs and reptiles. Explain to our readers where this came from?
I just think that some of the most fascinating creatures on this planet are bugs and reptiles. Some can walk on water, others can see more colours than we can. How is that not cool? I grew up looking under a lot of rocks, and asking a lot of questions. That curiosity eventually led me to travel, and I attribute that same curiosity to helping me create the job that I’m doing now.
If someone wrote a book about your travels what would the title be?
Not sure on the title, but the epigraph would be this quote by Alistair Ried – “Only the curious have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all”
Like I touched on above; The curiosity for how things work, why the best are the best, and how things so small can be so beautiful allows me to keep my eyes wide open. Curiosity is what drives me to see and understand the world, and to keep learning and improving.
What interests you more people or destinations and why?
Every story has a character. Travel Videography needs a character – we relate to people, not mountains.
Destinations are unique because of it’s people. I’m known for my work with the natural world, but I’m just an interested in the stories surrounding what I capture.
Without people, there wouldn’t be culture, and experiencing world cultures is why we travel.
What is the best travel gadget you have and why?
Earplug headphones are usually the first thing in my bag. Great for drowning out sounds of airplanes or snoring travellers in dorms – plus they’re cheap! Another notable gadget is a head torch. Definitely dorky, but very useful. (especially for finding frogs at night)
What do you miss about home when you are on the road?
To be honest there’s not too much. Tools like Skype make it easy to stay in touch with friends and family. If anything I miss the advantages of being stationed. The ease of organizing projects, networking, and activities. A little routine once in a while is nice, it’s great to come back to home base and plan the next adventure.
If money was no object where would you travel to and what would you do there?
The islands of Easten Africa. Socotra, Zanzibar, Seychelles, Madagascar, . All jewels of biodiversity. All just like Galapagos, filled with endemic and unique creatures. They don’t get much press because tourism isn’t developed in that part of the world. But that’s my dream trip, and someday it’ll happen.
You have won some major video blogging competitions. What is your secret and do you have a formula to winning?
This isn’t going to be answer people are wishing for – “There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going”
It took a lot of hard work, late nights, locked-in weekends, I’ve lost friends, and made even more.
Find your passion. Sit down and figure out what you love, and then just push. There are so many great people out there, being good is a waste of your time. My first video I ate sushi hamburgers and talked about finding bugs. I breathed fire and did a few magic tricks. Different is interesting, and one of the hardest things in life is to just have the balls to be yourself. Keep in mind these arent exacly “contests” either. Companies are looking for a brand ambassador, so approach travel contests with all the professionalism as a job interview, because in reality that’s exactly what they are.
If you spend all your time working on the skill set you’d expect a winner to have, someday I guarantee you’ll become one.