Taj Reid, who runs the travel store and website called WeJetSet, really can’t be kept in one place. He grows up with this lust from travelling, a trait he got from his parents. Where did it lead him? Well, scroll down to find out more about this jetsetter.
Hi Taj. How are you? Tell us what you’ve been up to recently.
Things are great. The new year is off to an amazing start. My wife and I just had our second child and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
The great thing about WeJetSet is that it doesn’t feature the usual landmarks, but more of the hidden treasures people need to see. Why did you decide to make this your angle?
In my conversations with friends, I found many of them treasured their local finds the most. A hidden record shop here, a wonderful cafe and bar over there. It seemed like these finds resonated with people more than anything else. So we decided to treat our editorial at WeJetSet like a conversation. With City Notes, our readers can submit links to their favorite finds (i.e., people, places and events) from around the world. And, for our magazine, the staff highlights interesting places to see, stay, eat and shop while adding our own perspective on global affairs, city innovations, art, culture and music.
Tell us how you developed this unique taste to travel. What do you like to read or listen to?
My Mom and Dad exposed me to a lot [of places] at a young age. We were always on the go. I think that expanded my taste. Plus I read a ton – from books to blogs to magazines – I’m always on the hunt. Right now I’m reading a great book about focus and productivity entitled Rapt.
What makes you get up in the morning?
My kids. Both figuratively and literally, ha!
What were you doing before WeJetSet?
In 2007, I was a lawyer working on education policy at a think-tank in Philadelphia. We also set up after school programs around the country helping students in challenged urban environments improve their reading ability. Then at night, after work, I was the editor of Dork Magazine – an online art publication. I learned a ton from both experiences.
Were you always passionate about travelling?
Yes. My parents are huge travelers so they passed on the bug to me.
What are your thoughts on the quote: “I’m a great traveler, but a bad tourist.”
That’s interesting—I think traveling can be intimidating because there are so many preconceptions about what makes a great traveler, or what you should do when you travel. Personally I believe you should do what feels comfortable for you. There’s no such thing as a bad traveler so long as you’re traveling and gaining new experiences.
What’s the one thing you will never leave behind?
My Canon G9 camera. It’s my favorite of the series and it’s so reliable.
I’ve had the best conversations with people passing through my city. What was the best conversation you’ve had with a stranger?
There’s a new museum being built here in Philadelphia. When it’s complete it’ll house one of the world’s largest collections of modern and post impressionist art (Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, etc). One day I was walking by and ran into a gentleman staring at the site. He noticed me looking too and began schooling me on the history. He knew so much. It felt good talking to him because he sincerely cared. He cared about the art. He cared about the city. And he cared about the wishes of Dr. Albert C. Barnes. Ironically, what I found so fascinating was he was a tourist. He wasn’t from Philadelphia. So on that day because of the gentleman’s passion for art and travel I learned something about my home town. That was pretty awesome.
As a jetsetter, can you tell us why taking photos on a trip is essential?
There are so many great reasons. For me, I want to be able to remember things I experienced when my mind can’t. Photographs bring me back to places I’ve been long after I may have forgotten.
Now journals are another thing that people love to take with them. What would you recommend someone to write on the first page of a new trip.
I like writing 3-5 things I think the city will be like and then at the end of the trip look back to see if I was right or completely wrong. I’m usually pretty close, but occasionally cities will be different in ways that I couldn’t have possibly imagined.
What’s in the works for the website?
We’re always adding new features to WeJetSet—both on the editorial and retail side. I’m really excited about this year’s docket of additions. Stay tuned to see them unfold!
What is in the works for you?
[This year] I’m looking forward to more travel and hanging with my family.
What is the last best reference you got to check out?
Minibar in Amsterdam. It’s an ingenious evening hangout that allows for great conversation. It has a really nice atmosphere. Plus, it’s super laid back. If you visit, you should definitely check it out (Prinsengracht 478 Amsterdam).
Taj’s playlist for the long trips ahead:
1. “Let’s Ride” by Qtip
2. “Still Stand” by Toro Y Moi
3. “Accordian” by Madvillain
4. “Why Even Try” by Theophilous London (featuring Sara Quin)
5. “Award Tour” by A Tribe Called Quest
6. “Fall in Love” by Miguel Atwood Ferguson
7. “Gorgeous” by Kanye West, Kid Cudi & Raekwon
8. “I’m Good, I’m Gone” by Lykke Li
9. “Howlin’ for You” by Black Keys
10. “Constant Surprises” by Little Dragon
11. “No Ideas Original” by Nas (Large Professor Remix)
12. “Mojo So Dope” by Kid Cudi
13. “Exhibit C” by Jay Electronica
14. “Mr. Mister” by J* Davey
15. “Heart Skipped a Beat” by The xx
Quick travel guide tips from this jetsetter:
1. Philadelphia – It’s my hometown and has a prolific art scene.
2. Antwerp – Amazing fashion and insanely good fries.
3. Reykjavik – Exciting indie music scene and incredible landscapes.
4. Portland – Super nice people and the best comic book shop ever – Floating World Comics.
5. Pittsburgh – Unique bridges and the Warhol Museum.
Introduction by Cece
Interview by Vicky Herrera
Photos courtesy of wejetset and kingbritt.
For the full story, grab a copy of STATUS April issue 2011