Michael Brein earned his Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Hawaii and has had a college teaching career after that for more than 20 years. He is now an author publishing a unique series of books called True Travel Tales, collections of the most interesting travel experiences of nearly 2,000 world travelers and adventurers.
That’s very interesting. How did you begin doing this?
Well, I had been bitten by the travel bug, myself, resulting in my own, personal travel to more than 125 countries around the world. Added to that has been my personal love of languages. I’ve studied about a dozen of them and can make my way around using some of them. Of course, I’m only truly fluent in English, but I’ve been able to enhance my own travel life by being able to communicate with many people from many places in all my travels.
But the key to all my work studying the travel experiences of all these people and writing about them is that I actually created the term, ‘travel psychology’ and am the world’s first ‘travel psychologist.’
Early on in my work in travel psychology, I decided that the best way to learn about the psychology of travel is to actually talk to travelers and ask them about their experiences.
How did you accomplish that?
I became driven to seek out travelers in all my travels and to record on tapes (and later, digitally) literally thousands of their stories about the good, the wonderful as well as the bad and horrible about their travels. And, as a result, I have learned so much about the psychology behind travel. So, here I am with around 10,000 travel stories from nearly 2,000 people who I’ve interviewed. What to do?
How did you get to know Otter?
Desperate to learn what to do with all my material, I sought out information on transcription possibilities and soon learned about Otter. I’ve tried out various other ways to work with audio files, and, truthfully, none of them have come any closer in usefulness than Otter. Far-and-away, Otter beats them all!
What’s life before and after using Otter?
BEFORE OTTER: My writing life, trying to keep tabs on multi- hundreds of audio files was pure hell! I simply could not manage my audio files. Sure, some of the other programs/apps had some capability, but I was really at quite a loss of what to do with the total of my audio files.
AFTER OTTER: My writing life changed phenomenally. Now, I can so easily do keyword searches for any and all important terms. For instance, I am now about to write my next book: Travel Tales: Close Calls & Great Escapes. In just a few hours I have been able to locate more than 100 stories to choose from to include in my new book.
Before Otter, I’m afraid it would have been a hit or miss affair. I would have been lucky to locate the most important stories to include. After Otter, I am happy to say that it could not be easier!
What are the different things you’ve used the app for?
I am discovering every day new ways to use Otter, not only to make things easier for myself, but to make the whole process more fun for myself as well.
Consider, for instance, that I, myself, as an inveterate world traveler— to discover and rediscover phenomenal content from my 10,000 recorded stories from these 2,000 travelers is like a new experience every day for me, it’s like experiencing these great stories and experiences over and over again.
What’s your craziest or best Otter conversation?
Ah, there are so many. For instance, just to focus on my current project of the most interesting close calls and great escapes of travelers, I am so excited to be able to share how travelers manage to get themselves safely and securely out of difficult situations. I feel like I’m doing a very useful good thing, too.
Got stories? I’d love to hear some of yours. Now, multiply this by at least a hundred other travel themes to write and talk about, it’s at least a galaxy full of incredibly interesting experiences.
Want to sample a few of my stories?
What’s the one feature that you like the most?
I’d have to say that the search feature is critically the most important for me. It enables me to get a handle on all the stories I’ve collected. Without Otter this would simply not be possible for me.