Iz Harris hardly considers herself a food expert. “I know that’s going to come across in these videos,” says the filmmaker, globetrotter, and vlogger, the host, producer, and editor of Eater’s new series, Travel, Eat, Repeat. In the video series, Harris travels along Portugal’s coast, eating and swerving her way through colorful city corners with her two young sons, Henry and Oliver, and her husband, Vox.com’s Johnny Harris.
“I just want to make sure you know who you’re hiring,” Harris told Eater’s production team at one point, citing her lack of food expertise. But her lens is an ideal one to take Eater viewers on a culinary trip through Portugal, with a distinctive filmmaking style that makes even locals feel like they’re experiencing their city for the first time and a voice that’s invitingly self-aware and honest, especially for YouTube.
“I didn’t want to change the format [of my videos] when it came to this Portugal trip,” says Harris, known for a brand of travel vlogging that’s become a captivating art form. As for her approach to shooting Travel, Eat, Repeat, Harris says, “I felt a loyalty to my audience and I wouldn’t want to put something out that didn’t come totally naturally to me.”
She’s referring to a devoted audience of subscribers on YouTube and Instagram, including those who comment on her weekly uploads saying how they have “bent their universe,” inspired their life, or taken their breath away — comments, by the way, that have never once gone without a response from Harris herself.
But like any masterful storyteller, Harris does much more than delight her audience with overhead drone views of cities or surprisingly thrilling captures of everyday tasks like packing a suitcase or finding a Christmas tree. Through her year-old YouTube channel, the filmmaker has created a space for a community to connect with content that touches on mental health, anxiety, marriage, and parenting. “My job is just one of the weirdest in the world,” admits Harris, who is graciously aware of just how quirky her profession — which has her speaking directly into a camera about her life — really is.
But Harris also says her career in filmmaking evolved organically, in response to real-life needs after arriving in a new city. When Iz and Johnny Harris landed in Washington, D.C., with a newborn, the couple started a wedding photography and filmmaking business. “We had to get really good really fast,” she remembers. They booked 30 weddings their first year.
Eventually, some two to three years later, Harris says a bit of creative boredom lead her to finally start sharing homemade videos on her Instagram. She found that the only thing that made her happy was making these videos of traveling with her family. “Welcome to how everyone else in the world feels,” she jokes. But the platform has given Harris something she never expected when embarking on the journey eight years ago: a feeling of fulfillment that’s just really, really good — and audiences that can’t get enough.