From the frozen glaciers of peaceful Svalbard to the bustling streets of Moscow, London-based lifestyle vlogger and photographer Steve Booker had to make a quick transition as he continued his pole-to-pole journey.
“Svalbard is one of the most unique places I’ve been,” he tells Passion Passport. “I’ve never been on a boat and woken up and seen a massive landscape of a glacier and snowcapped mountains… It was pretty incredible.” Going from that to Moscow, another city new to him, was “very, very intense,” he adds. But there was no time to settle in. Arriving early in the morning, they scarfed down a quick breakfast, then headed straight to one of the famed Seven Sisters skyscrapers.
The value of using PayPal in the former Soviet city was immediately clear, as Booker logged in to PayPal.me to pay a local guide to take him and his crew to the top. Even with a guide, getting there was its own kind of urban obstacle course.
“We adventured up in one lift and then another lift, and then we had to do some climbing up these old stairs, so it was really kind of gritty,” he says, laughing as he describes the “very Russian” experience.
After capturing sweeping shots of Moscow, they went on to explore a few of the city’s other unique areas. They tried seaweed bread at Twins – the texture was “almost like a crumble,” and it was paired with the “sweetest tomatoes I’d ever tasted,” says cameraman Jake – and said overall, the food was excellent throughout their short stay in Moscow.
Just as they started to readjust to city life, they were off to the next European destination: Berlin. That transition brought the first snafu of the trip, as they missed their flight and thereby lost about four hours in Berlin. That left them with less than 24 hours. They made the most of their time, fueling up with a quick cup of coffee at The Barn before a guided street-art tour.
The next morning they were off again, this time headed to Paris, where Booker would do his best to impersonate a rather famous character. After shooting a bit throughout the city, they made their way to a 30th anniversary of Back to the Future. It was the date – October 21, 2015 – that they actually go back to the future in in the movie, Booker explains, so it was a big party at the Rex. With the help of a few PayPal vendors, Booker arrived decked out in his best Doc Brown outfit.
“It definitely put me out of my comfort zone,” he says. He’d heard loads of people would be dressed up, but ended up being one of only a few. Regardless, it was fun, he says, and he settled in for a Back to the Future marathon. Showing in French, though, he only made it through a few of the films before deciding to get back out and explore Paris a bit more. His time was limited, of course, as his pole-to-pole cashless journey continued with an early flight to Barcelona the next morning.
To read about the third leg of Steve Booker’s #PoleToPole journey, check back on Thursday morning. Thinking about planning your own cashless adventure? Check out Passion Passport tips and tricks to cashless travel, coming Friday morning.