Less is more! The lighter and smaller your bag, the easier it is to travel with.
. Pack small gifts from home to give to people you meet in your travels. A small gift can have a huge impact.
. Take a photocopy of your passport and any visas you have and travel with one copy and leave another copy at home with family. They can save your day if these valuable items are lost or damaged.
. Take a ‘Travel Diary’ on the road. You can get people you meet along the way to sign it with a special message, as well as leave their contact details so you can stay in touch.
. Learn the local terms for hello, goodbye and thank you. It’s amazing the impact a little effort like this can have on the people you meet on the road.
. Take a simple toiletries kit and change of clothes as part of your in-flight baggage. If your bags get lost in transit, you’ll be better equipped for a day or two without your things.
. Local knowledge is invaluable! Talk to the local residents about what to see and do in the area you’re visiting. They generally know a few off the beaten track places that tourists tend to miss.
What are the essential things you always carry in your backpack?
. A camera so I can capture special moments.
. A bottle of water is a must. It’s surprising how you forget to stay hydrated when you’re having fun exploring a new destination.
. Hand sanitizer is always close at hand, especially when I’m traveling in third world countries.
. Headache tablets! They come in handy when you have a hangover.
. Mints. It might sound simple, but I find they’re great for minimising travel sickness when flying or on a boat, plus if you’re eating unusual food in a foreign land, mints can get rid of the bad breath or horrible taste!
What’s the most important thing you learned while travelling?
Being open minded is probably the most important thing I’ve learnt in my travels. If you are open to new experiences and understanding of different cultures, a holiday becomes so much more enjoyable and immersive. You can find yourself pushing beyond limits you previously had or having life-changing experiences.
What’s the best part about backpacking over luxurious holidays?
Backpacking might be inexpensive, but it doesn’t mean you have a ‘Poor’ experience. Generally you stay with other travellers and learn from their travels. You also meet people that you end up spending a few days, or even weeks, with! Luxury holidays can be pretty amazing, but it’s generally the simple and inexpensive things you encounter on a holiday that give you the best memories.
What’s the craziest experience you’ve had while travelling?
The craziest experience I’ve had while travelling is diving with a tiger shark in Fiji. It was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done and I love telling people about the moment the five-metre shark pushed against me looking for food before turning away as one of the dive masters fed it a tuna head. This encounter with a wild animal in its domain was pretty unique and something I would love to do again!
What’s the place you would want to go back to and why?
There are so many places I’ve been to that I’d love to visit again, but probably at the top of the list would be Tahiti. It’s the most beautiful place I have had the pleasure of traveling through and the people there are so friendly and relaxed. It’s a genuine fusion of the chilled out tropics and comforts of a European-settled Pacific paradise.
What’s your advice to people who don’t have the ‘travel bug’?
Travelling to foreign soil, or even exploring your own backyard, is more than just a means to get away from work. It can be a life-changing journey that teaches you about yourself and the diversity of the world around you. The travel bug bit me when I was a teenager, and in the years that have passed, I have had many special experiences, people I’ve met and challenges I have conquered to thank for getting me to the place I’m in now. Travel is a means by which to grow and learn through practical experience.
What’s on your current reading list and playlist? Do you have a specific ‘travel song’?
I’m a huge fan of the band Muse, as well as Florence and The Machine. But, on top of the travel play list at the moment is an oldie but a goodie: Jeff Buckley, ‘Last Goodbye’.
In terms of books, I’m a fan of sci-fi and fantasy novels and am in the process of reading JRR Tolkein’s ‘The Silmarilion’ for the third time!
Do you think you have the best job in the world?
I love my job and am very lucky to have it. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s the best job in the world, because despite how good it sounds, it’s actually pretty tough. The days are long and the pressure is very high, plus I miss my family when I’m away. I spend about 150 days a year overseas, so I miss out on a lot when I’m away. But hey, It’s pretty awesome when I get to see the world and stay in amazing hotels! Then of course, there’s the incredible food, great people and adventures I get to have. I really should stop bragging!
What’s the one place you are dying to go to and why?
Antarctica is the one place I have dreamt of visiting for years. It’s so different to anywhere else and is such a pristine environment. The wildlife is unique and diverse, plus I love the challenge of the harsh landscape. I really want to get there before the ice melts.
What’s your Indian journey been like so far?
So far, India has been one of the most amazing places I’ve travelled to. The cities are alive with energy, and everywhere you turn there’s something interesting to see. The food is incredible, the people are friendly, the landscapes are diverse and, above all else, it’s unlike anywhere on the planet! I’ve seen the clichéd parts of India, now it’s just a matter of heading off the beaten track a little to see some of the more remote and rural areas.
Volume 1 Issue 10