Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Eli Newell
Hometown: Portland, OR
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
College: Wesleyan University
College major: Religion
YouTube: Don’t Kill Eli
Short bio: Eli Newell is a man of many talents. Growing up in Oregon, he was surrounded by a family of fishermen, ranchers, rodeo riders and lumberjacks. He began traveling at a young age and at last count has been to 40 countries over five continents and 49 of 50 states (Mississippi, your days are numbered…). In High School, Eli spent a year in France and later worked with Mercy Corps for a year in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
As an actor, Eli trained at the Atlantic Theater Company and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC. He spent years performing improv and sketch at the UCB Theatre and on the road with the UCB Touring Company. His TV credits include Delocated, Conan, Kimmel, both Children’s and General Hospital(s), and more.
In his spare time, Eli loves camping, hiking, deep sea fishing, or getting beat up training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing and Krav Maga. He is also known to throw amazing Bacon & Bourbon parties and he emcees the annual Firecracker Wiener Nationals (a 4th of July wiener dog race on the Oregon Coast that benefits the local animal shelter).
Eli’s latest project, “Don’t Kill Eli”, is a travel show that puts viewers in the director’s chair. Viewers vote in this real-life “choose your own adventure” and tell Eli where in the world to go and what to do. His only ask: please don’t actually kill him.
Languages spoken: Rough French and rougher Russian and roughest Spanish.
How often do you fly? Often.
How many countries have you been to? 40
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: I was first inspired to travel by my dad, Robert, an attorney and also co-founder and active board member of Mercy Corps. For as long as I can remember, he’s been jetting off to third world countries to visit MC projects. I didn’t really pay attention until ’91 when he left for well over a month to help lawyers in Kazakhstan draft their first constitution.
Favorite American city: PDX/NYC.
Favorite international city: Istanbul.
Least favorite country: Guinea.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Uzbekistan?
Favorite beach: Nedonna Beach, Oregon.
Favorite food: Mom’s lasagna.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Laphroig.
Favorite travel show(s): The Long Way Round.
5 things you bring on a plane: 1. Sleeping pills, 2. Um… zzzzzzzzzzz.
What do you always seem to forget? Chargers.
What do you like least about travel? I’m 6’4” so long flights in cramped quarters are extra uncomfortable.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty-free store? Booze?
Favorite travel app(s): Miniatures.
Most embarrassing travel moment: It’s a long story that involves squatting in a field in Uzbekistan and locking eyes with a 10 yr-old-girl, her little brother & their cow.
Worst travel moment: Delirious hallucinations in a small Turkish hospital. Most of my scary/embarassing stories involve some form of food poisoning.
What’s your dream destination? 1968 NYC.
Best travel tip: Be in touch with yourself and how you’re feeling. Just being away from home raises your baseline level of stress but you don’t always realize it. Also, don’t feel like you have to talk to that guy who came up to you and just wants to be your new friend. If somebody did that to you in your home country, it’d be pretty weird, right?