Hi! I’m Keith Jenkins

I’m the Founder and Publisher of Velvet Escape, and I’m based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For a decade I had a very successful career in corporate and investment banking. Like many, despite my success, my career had begun to feel empty. Through circumstances I was able to leave and take time for myself, never anticipating that the collapse of the financial sector in 2008 would end my chosen career.

Not one to allow circumstances to get me down for long, I have created an entirely new career for myself, following my passions for travel, writing and digital marketing in a way that I’d never realised was possible before. I wrote about my banker-to-blogger transition in my (free) ebook ‘Travelations‘ and spoke about it at my TEDxTalk titled “Passion. Empowerment. Social Media” in November 2012.

Read about my favorite travel memories

Why ‘Velvet’?

‘Velvet‘ is the context I’ve chosen for my travels. When you run your hand over velvet you know there is a certain depth and richness to it. That’s how I see my travels: varied, adventurous, meaningful and with a touch of luxury.

Travel and me

Travel is my biggest passion and I’ve visited 80-odd countries (and counting) across six continents. To me, travel is an opportunity to unwind, enjoy a different rhythm and to explore new places and cultures. It is also about meeting the locals and fellow travellers, and sharing views, ideas and experiences. For me, travel is a never-ending source of adventure, learning and inspiration.

Read about what makes me happy when I travel.

Preparing for a trip is the start of any travel adventure. I enjoy researching my destination before my departure. I also love researching accommodation options. I’m a big fan of boutique and design hotels but also of charming B&Bs and family establishments. In addition, cuisine is always an essential element of my travel experience and I love exploring a place to seek out the good eateries. I’m also a wine enthusiast who is always on the look out for great wines, especially on my visits to wine producing regions. Preparing for my trip also means researching sustainable travel options in the places I visit.

In this sense, Velvet Escape is about stepping away from our daily routine to explore, be adventurous, discover new things, and develop a deeper appreciation of the rich palette of cultures, history and nature around the world.

In December 2008, I launched the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. My aim with this blog is to share my travel interests and experiences, and provide my readers with travel tips and ideas. My interests include city trips, beach holidays, food & wines, nature, culture, architecture, art & design, aviation and history. Some of my favourite countries include Spain, Italy, South Africa, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Jordan and Malaysia.

I hope to inspire people to travel, to stimulate their curiosity about the world we live in and foster an open mind that is receptive to different perspectives and new ideas. And to do all that in style! In this sense, Velvet Escape is a luxury travel blog but it goes beyond staying in five-star hotels or eating in Michelin-star restaurants. To me, it’s about the experience and what we gain from it. This is my definition of luxury travel.

All the posts on Velvet Escape was written by me and a handful of guest writers based on our personal experiences. None of the content was generated using artificial intelligence (AI) services.

Beyond Velvet Escape

Since launching the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog, I’ve branched out into speaking at tourism fairs and conferences, travel blogging conferences and participating in tourism forums. In 2011, I started providing influencer marketing services to tourism boards and brands via iambassador. Since its humble beginnings, iambassador has grown to become a leading global network of professional travel influencers and our campaigns have won major awards around the world including back-to-back wins at the World Travel Awards 2017 and 2018 for “Europe’s Leading Marketing Campaign”. Our clients include tourism boards such as VisitBritain, German National Tourist Board, Emilia Romagna Tourism and Austrian National Tourist Office, and travel brands such as Expedia and Amadeus.

In 2023, I co-founded, together with Shivya Nath, Sustainable Cities travel, a one-stop platform for travelers to find ideas and inspiration for immersive travel in cities around the world – while having a positive impact on the environment, the people who live there, and its intangible natural and cultural heritage.

In the Media

Velvet Escape has since become a multiple award-winning travel blog and has been featured by the likes of The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet and National Geographic Traveler. Please see the Media page for a full list of awards, interviews and media mentions.

Follow Velvet Escape on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. You can also follow my reviews on Google Maps and Trip Advisor.

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