Picture Perfect Travel
by Sarah Persitz
Meet Kristen Kellogg - filmmaker, travel curator, entrepreneur, and The Nopo’s Creative Production Manager
As the Creative Director of Border Free Media and Salt & Wind Travel, Kristen Kellogg’s career weaves a passion for storytelling and film together with travel and a love of artisan crafts, making her the perfect partner for The Nopo’s videography and creative design.
Based in Mexico City, Kristen Kellogg’s career has taken her to the far corners of the earth as she’s built an international media company focused on storytelling with a focus on lifestyle travel and food. A filmmaker, digital storyteller and travel expert, Kristen searches for the story behind every brand.
Looking back, it makes sense that Kristen would find herself behind a camera as she remembers her mother always having a video camera in hand growing up, there to capture every special moment. But it took living on the island of Nantucket after university to truly discover her love of storytelling and film.
With a degree in Communication Studies with a focus on Marketing and PR, Kristen spent the years after graduation traveling, working in hospitality and freelance writing, while searching for her purpose.
After moving from California to Nantucket, one summer she volunteered for the annual Nantucket Film Festival where she drove a documentary filmmaker to his screening. Upon arrival he received a standing ovation and applause. Smiling at the recollection, she said, “In that moment something clicked. I decided that I wanted to make films. I understood that I wanted to make something that would move people; something that would have the power to change lives and make an impact.”
Still driven by her wanderlust, Kristen spent the following winter living in the South Island of New Zealand traveling with a handycam, documenting her travels. Before heading home, she spent six weeks in Bali where she landed on her first film idea. She met a chocolate making duo who was preparing to launch a sustainable chocolate factory supporting local farmers on 11-11-11. They had the vision and a plan, and Kristen had the inspiration to create her first short documentary film to capture their story.
She came back to Nantucket and found her mentor, starting her professional learning how to film by working weddings. “It’s the perfect training ground because you can’t repeat the moment; you just have to capture it, which makes you quick on your feet,” said Kristen.
She returned to Bali that winter to make the film, and after a successful launch the following summer to a sold out crowd, there was no turning back.
With her first film released, Kristen honed her work to focus on the intersection of travel and content creation, eventually building campaigns for tourism boards all around the world, including Jordan, Thailand, Peru, Norway and others, officially launching Border Free Media, a full service content marketing agency focusing on lifestyle storytelling. But the journey didn’t stop there. On assignment for a project in Thailand, she met Aida Mollenkamp, a food and travel expert, author, chef and Founder of Salt & Wind Travel. They immediately connected over their shared love of travel, food and quality content creation.
The two stayed in touch, ultimately reuniting where the duo were speakers at a Gary Vaynerchuck conference where they shared a bottle of champagne and decided to launch their first collaboration; a joint Border Free Media and Salt & Wind Travel curated travel and food experience in Mexico City.
“We come from different backgrounds, but have similar palettes. We have a shared love of creating experiences and each brings something different to the table which is what makes our partnership so successful.”
That trip was the first of many. Today the two work in collaboration on both Border Free Media and Salt & Wind Travel, a “boutique travel company for the discerning traveler”. Their curated, food inspired travel experiences offer custom guided itineraries in Mexico, Italy, France, Spain, Hawaii and California – areas where the two have deep roots and personal experience living and traveling. “We offer a deeper cut on travel, steering folks away from mass tourism and toward the local experts in each craft, from food to speciality crafts and art, to create a more connected experience," said Kristen.
She went on to share, “When crafting our itineraries, we try to have the story unfold the way a movie would. There’s always a story arc, with our primary goal being to surprise and delight people's sense of wonder as they go throughout the trip and learn about the destination.”
Each trip offers a peek into the authenticity of the area, highlighting local artisans as a way of connecting directly to the living legacy of culture that exists through the lineage of trade and crafts specific to each location. “Our journeys are done in partnership with the local communities because we want to ensure that we make a positive impact in the destinations we travel to. We work directly with the experts; there is no middle man, so we are directly supporting those people who are keeping local traditions alive in cool ways, similar to what The Nopo is doing in their work with artisans.”
When Kristen’s not traveling the world on assignment, or leading a Salt & Wind tour, she’s based in Mexico City. Four years ago, after 9 months in Airbnb’s, Kristen found the perfect apartment in Centro Historico; a family owned art deco building that has been passed down through the generations with love.
“When I moved in it was a blank slate! It was also the first place that I lived that didn’t already have furniture, so I had to ask myself – what’s my style? In that process I discovered that I have this deep love of design, and that it’s never finished; it just keeps evolving.”
Her apartment is yet another form of storytelling as it merges with design. “As the design of my apartment evolved, I understood that I wanted it to tell a story. My home has become a constant conversation that reflects my life inside of this space, but also my travels. Every item has a story; it has the story of the person who made it or how I met them and brought their creation into my home.”
She likens this to her work with The Nopo, saying “I love being able to help The Nopo create space for that conversation by sharing these stories online to people who may never be able to visit the places we’re highlighting. But using video, they can be transported to get a sense for what that place - or artisan - is like, so that when they bring that item into their home they can tell and pass that story on to others.”
Kristen is an important part of The Nopo’s artisan community, not just as a content producer, but also an educator. She recently led a webinar for over 60 artisans who were eager to learn about Instagram reels and how to leverage this tool for their businesses. “It was amazing to see how this community comes together to learn, to collaborate and expand their skill set. I love that The Nopo offers these educational opportunities as a way to further empower the artisans. They’re not just selling their goods, but really investing in the community as part of their mission to transcend borders and connect people across cultural boundaries.”
Feeling inspired to travel with an expert? Salt & Wind’s next journey is to Oaxaca this fall, and there are still spots available! Can’t travel? Check out Kristen’s curated collection of Nopo artisan goods here.
SHOP OUR ARTISANS
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This Chellah Bowl is crafted and painted by hand in the traditional Moroccan way by craftsmen in Rabat. Inspired by the Moroccan landscape you see ...View full detailsOriginal price $75.00 - Original price $95.00Original price$75.00 - $95.00$75.00 - $95.00Current price $75.00Save up to 0% Save %
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The smart and traditional Maati Leather Bag is named after the craftsman himself. Maati is Oumaati's father, he is the origin of the creative and t...View full detailsOriginal price $455.00 - Original price $455.00Original price$455.00$455.00 - $455.00Current price $455.00Save 0% Save %
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Inspired by the Hiperantha Testacea beetle, this brightly designed piece is carved by artisans from the Kamentza community and made from local "Ura...View full detailsOriginal price $589.00 - Original price $589.00Original price$589.00$589.00 - $589.00Current price $589.00Save 0% Save %
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This beautiful and soft knitted blanket with a cute night forest scene, is perfect if you are looking for a special blanket for your child. This bl...View full detailsOriginal price $75.00 - Original price $89.00Original price$75.00 - $89.00$75.00 - $89.00Current price $75.00Save up to 0% Save %