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YouTube Spotlight: Journey Through An Appalachian Heart



Throughout her life, Brittaney has experienced the framework and techniques behind the true Appalachian culture from her grandparents. As a result, she wants to carry on this way of life by sharing her knowledge with others through heirloom recipes, homesteading, and more. Thus, the unique art behind the Appalachia and Cherokee heritage will not fade away and can be preserved for future generations. Throughout this channel, you will be able to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature, food, and travel. In addition, insider tips will be provided so you can become familiar with some of the surrounding, must-see locations. Experience destinations that are near and dear to her heart and ingrained in her heart: an Appalachian Heart.

Read on to learn more about this channel. Be sure to click the subscribe button and share with your friends that love Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains.

Please give us a brief background on yourself and tell us about your YouTube channel.

Hi, my name is Brittaney. I am a Georgia native with a passion for nature, theme parks, photography, and sharing my Appalachian and Cherokee heritage with others. I enjoy being outdoors and unveiling all of nature’s glorious wonders, through photography, whether it is hiking or taking a day journey to surrounding areas and discovering what is offered. When I find embark on a new journey, I become inspired to share what I see, from my point of view, with others. Often, I have noticed that many people fail to consider the journey to their destination. For example, while walking to a waterfall, I take a moment to consider the surrounding beauties that lie along the path such as wild flowers, streams, and wildlife. However, others may not take the time and discover what is right in front of them as their dominant focus lies on the end destination: the waterfall.

My YouTube channel is designed to highlight destinations and inspire others to get out, take a leap, and be the leader of their journey. It is my goal to share information with others who may not have the time or ability to travel to these destinations. Most people perceive a trip as something that has to be planned out down to the fine details of how long it will take to arrive at each destination, the maximum amount of time that can be spent at each destination, and when they should arrive back home. Most getaways can be achieved in a single day with just as much fun, if not more, than a long, weekend getaway. I have designed my YouTube channel to highlight the concept of simplicity when it comes to traveling to new destinations. The journey is only part of the fun. It shouldn’t be a stressful event.

When & why did you start making YouTube videos?

I began creating and editing videos through the completion of my first computer science course several months ago. In the beginning, I created these videos for fun and personal use. However, I began to get the feel for how editing was performed and the simplicity of most of the editing software. After a while, I gained confidence in my work and became inspired to share my journeys with others. Whether it be at a state park, theme park, restaurant, or hiking trail, others can embark on the journey with me from the comfort of their home and feel as though they are right there experiencing the sights, sounds, and excitement.

How did you get started with vlogging?

As a seven-year season passholder to Dollywood, I was inspired to share my perspective and experience amidst many of the festival events with others. So, after much contemplation, I decided that it was time to take that leap of faith and create my own vlog to accompany much of my social feed. I had always made videos of places I went to whether it be Dollywood or a surrounding attraction. But, I never viewed my work as professional for others to view. Once I released my first video, I was hooked and knew that I could bring joy to others through my video creations.

What was your first vlog about?

Within my family, a trip to Dollywood is more of a tradition rather than a destination. When we go to the park, every seasonal festival brings forth new memories through the music, food options, vendors, and live demonstrations. My first video featured the inaugural Flower and Food Festival at Dollywood. For me, this festival provided aesthetic beauty, tranquility, and recollection of family traditions. Being from the Georgia mountains, gardening has been a staple in my life ever since I was young. From planting heirloom flowers to growing a variety of crops, my family and I witnessed flowers similar to those grown throughout our family over five generations. No matter what path you take, there is a floral display at the Flower and Food Festival that everyone can relate to.

How has your vlogging changed since you got started?

Since I started vlogging, my style and delivery in quality footage has changed tremendously. Initially, I perceived my film quality as less than professional and unfit for the worldwide web. However, after dedicating time to understanding videography and editing techniques, I have been able to refine the quality of my footage. My content has also expanded from theme park features to outdoor treks, food finds, and more. One video that I am extremely proud of is my Dollywood Express Trail Ride. This was the first video that I was able to highlight a POV perspective through. After this footage, I was able to acquire valued feedback and utilize it to make modifications where needed. Thus, molding my skills to enhance my vlogging confidence.

What advice would you give to a YouTuber just getting started?

If someone is just starting their YouTube channel, my first piece of advice would be to proceed with confidence and passion. In the beginning, you are going to have excitement and think that you are going to get hundreds of views off of that first video. However, it is likely that it is going to take time for that first viewer to come along. Do not give up. As with any social platform, it takes time for others to stumble across your footage. While you are waiting, keep on making those videos and producing consistent footage. Once that first video is viewed, those viewers are going to seek out additional segments. Maintain confidence and you are halfway there to a successful YouTube Channel. The other half will be achieved through your work ethic and passion.

What advice can you give to people who feel they are too shy to start making their own YouTube videos?

When I originally began creating videos for personal use, I was confident knowing that I could control my audience. But, with YouTube, you are allowing others, throughout the world, to see your footage. If you are shy in the beginning, push yourself to break through that barrier. In that first YouTube video, go in with the mentality that you are presenting that video to a friend or family member. After the first few videos, review them with friends and family members and request feedback. It never hurts to hear someone else’s opinion of your work. That way you gain a sense of where you can improve. There is always room for improvement. Maintain gratitude and enthusiasm through your vlog and enjoy every moment. If you love what you do, then shyness should not stand in your way.

What are your plans/goals for the next 6 months?

Over the next 6 months, my goal is to deliver additional family-friendly content geared toward journeys that can be completed in a day trip. With tight schedules, it is often difficult for families to spend a weekend together, little on a single day together, just for family fun. In addition, I want to highlight destinations that any single person or disabled person can embark on. Travelling to any destination can be exciting whether you go with family, friends, or alone. Nothing should stand in the way from someone having a wonderful trek. So, with that being said, I hope that my YouTube footage inspires others to get out, experience something new, and take a journey through an Appalachian heart.

Anything else you’d like readers to know?

If someone takes a moment to check out my YouTube Channel (and supporting blog), my goal is for them to have an opportunity to see what traveling to any given destination is all about and have the ability to plan accordingly. Whether they have small children, a physical disability, or elderly members in their party, I want others to know that they can get out and journey to new destinations without the fear of the unknown. Even if someone is traveling alone, that should not stand in their way from experiencing new places, foods, attractions, etc. Nothing should hold someone back from living life to the fullest. Don’t get caught up in that day-to-day routine. With a new day comes a new opportunity to get out, explore, and embark on new journeys. Let those journeys lead you on a glorious Journey through an Appalachian Heart.

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The owner and founder of The Smoky Mountain Life, Kim Hunt, is a lifelong resident of southeast Tennessee and lover of all things Smoky Mountains. 

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