Category Archives: Interviews

Interview With The Team Of LucidPractice

Paz Romano Brian Levine Langkawi Malyasia Positive Energy

   Danielle with her Cambodia student Siem Reap Cambodia Lucid PracticeLet’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

Paz and I both grew up in Westport, CT. It is a beautiful New York City suburb located on the Long Island Sound. Interestingly enough my life goals revolved around sports, work, and “making it.” I was one of those people that thought “hopefully I grow up, play in the NFL, and go on to be successful in the business world that is ever so popular in and around NYC. It is safe to say that my life goals have changed significantly. The combination of one of my best friends dying and going on a backpacking trip through Asia changed my perspective dramatically. I went from a person who always strived to be “more” to a person who is simply trying to accept the present moment and become alive. I think I can speak for Paz when I say our goals is to love, to inspire, and be inspired. When we say “become alive” we mean constantly engage in lucid activities – whether that be meditation and yoga and listening to our breath or traveling the world and saying “WOW, how blessed are we to be here.” The goal now is to realize not that we are trying to make it in this world, but rather “man, I am here, living, loving, and suffering. This is what life is. We have made it.”

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

We feel that life is a book and those who don’t travel only read a single page. One of the greatest aspects of life is the opportunity to connect and live in unique cultures — that’s how we grow as individuals and become more compassionate and empathetic. There are 7 billion people in the world — each one of them unique in their own way. Coming from the American suburbs, a key factor in leaving the comfort of home was the opportunity to meet these people and seeing the distinctively different ways in which they live. We are blessed with travel we have begun to see oneness and how really interconnected this world really is.

How long have you been traveling? What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

On our current trip, three months. We have successfully navigated our way through Costa paz danielle smaller photo lucid practiceRica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and now we are in Chile. The biggest fear was that of the unknown. In general, Americans are ever so conscious of the “safety issues” throughout South America. I can honestly say that my girlfriend Kate and I have not felt unsafe during one minute of this trip. Instead I have looked at this as a pilgrimage of sorts to spread love and positive energy, meet people from this part of the world and accept that this is where we are meant to be.

Where are you now?

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. We just got off a three day “Salt Flat Tour” that took us through Southern Bolivia and into Northern Chile. We’re writing this while in the middle of the spacious Atacama Desert!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

Well we plan to travel for a few more months and visit Argentina and Brazil. After that we will spend some time at home with our families. In the back of our heads we are planning an extended trip to Europe. Even though I made short stops in Paris, London, and Spain growing up, it is the last continent outside of Africa I have yet to really explore extensively. I am inspired to visit and explore France, Italy, and Greece.

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Ecuador or Bolivia. We have yet to really feel in danger here, just the fear of the unknown is sometimes in the back of our minds. The natives we’ve met from these countries have made us feel so comfortable and welcomed. It has been an absolute blessing. We’ve had home cooked meals, meaningful conversations, and just an overall great experience.

We feel equally safe in America.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

Paz Romano Brian Levine Langkawi Malyasia Positive EnergyPaz and I never once felt in danger while in Asia. Granted, we were not likely candidates for physical abuse (two large American males) but still, everywhere we went, we were greeted with warmth, love, and positive energy. The only time we were in danger was while riding a Thai lawnmower boat to a remote island. All of the sudden, the skies opened up, there was thunder, lightning, and massive waves. We considered ditching our backpacks and jumping in the water to make an attempt at swimming to the shore. Fortunately, our driver (err, lawnmower engine positioner guy) was able to right the ship and get us to land safely. (picture of land mower boats)

Any major life targets, that you are working on?

Most of my life goals revolve around faith, love, and health. Although I strive to live in the present moment, I do have goals written down on paper. In no specific order:

+Acknowledge God and be the best, most compassionate person I can be.
+Grow a platform (Lucid Practice) that impacts as many people as it possibly can.
+Love my family and friends unconditionally.
+Remain a healthy male – this is usually determined by how I feel physically and mentally.

Lastly (and travel related), my goal is to visit fifty countries. So far, I’ve visited 30 countries. Touching fifty different countries educates a person to understand worldly culture and “oneness.”

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Yes. We work on Lucid Practice every day. We don’t look at it as work because we enjoy (and live for) spreading positive energy across the world. It is a joy, a privilege and an honor to build the Lucid Practice Community.

Our work at this stage mainly consists of writing for and designing Lucid Practice. We also spend time connecting with other writers/bloggers in regards to opportunities. We recently opened up Lucid Practice to guest writers. We decided to do this because we’d like to provide as much inspiring, quality content as possible for our readers. It’s been a fun process and we’ve met some amazing bloggers and writers along the way.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

On this trip crossing into Panama was a bit of a pain! The border guards madeKate Lucid Practice us purchase airplane tickets back to our home country. It turned into a bit of a funny story as it was really hot out, my patience had run thin carrying my two backpacks, and we had just come off a boat, and two local buses in Costa Rica. I’m working at improving on simply accepting walking for an hour or two with the large backpack!!

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

A yoga retreat in Koh Phangan, Thailand was the most transformative, eye opening travel experience we’ve had. The one week retreat taught us to look internally, taught us to meditate, to find connection with ourselves and the universe. We had an amazing teacher who taught us invaluable life lessons, drastically changing out life paths.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Yes. Its such a hard balance because truthfully my favorite place to be in the world is at my house with my parents, sister, family, and friends. Travel is beautiful, but I really do miss not having the daily face to face relationships with my family and friends.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

Nope, not one. My parents firmly grounded me in “everything happens for a reason.” At this point in my life I have never “trusted” more.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I hope we can explore as much as possible for the rest of our lives. I envision myself going backpacking with Kate when we are grandparents and old. My thought process in terms of travel and Lucid Practice is “Why not see the world? Why not impact millions of people?

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

Yes. Anyone can travel the world. It’s not as expensive as one might think either. If you’re an American, try to look outside of the typical American train of thought of going to the “best” possible college and then accepting the “best” possible job and then taking out a mortgage to purchase the “best” possible home. Be contrarian and open minded — realize that there are other ways to live life. You don’t have to wait until age 65 in retirement to start living. Live now!

We met an interesting couple in Ecuador recently. The boyfriend and girlfriend we met were doing a “Work Away” job at a hostel there. Well, they told us they had left their house in Bogotoa, Colombia with $11 in their pocket combined. They had their backpacks and their laptops. They couchsurf, workaway, juggle in the streets for money, and hitchhike. They have traveled the world – working and hitchhiking their way down all of South America, working a cruise ship over to Africa, backpacking, hitchhiking and working their way through the continent of Africa, and than doing the same in Europe.

These are the types of people who inspire me. They realize that people in this world are good, and that somewhere, sometime they will get a ride, a roof over their head to sleep in, and cash to let them see and experience more of the world. I was in awe of their journey and story.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug?

We are the authors of a blog that delivers inspiring daily content on travel, wellness, art, and yoga. Most of our contributors are traveling right now (in South America and Cambodia) and as a result, our content has been “travel heavy.” But big picture, we’re becoming a hub where people can find travel stories, hidden gem travel destinations, great music, discussion on yogic philosophy, and even spiritual and religious discussion. We created Lucid Practice to share inspiring, positive content with readers around the world.

Bio:

Brian Levine, along with Paz Romano, Kate Reder and Danielle Lussier, are authors of the travel, wellness and yoga blog, Lucidpractice.com. Lucid Practice’s goal is to inspire people to feel happy and more alive through lucid engagement in enriching activities such as international travel, yoga, helping others, and eating enlivening foods. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

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Interview With Manfred of Renegade Travels

petronas-towers-manfredLet’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I grew up in the UK and Miu grew up in Thailand. We met a few years ago after I had moved to Thailand. I don’t think either of us had any real life goals when we were younger, apart from the usual of going to university, getting a good job and that kind of stuff. It was only later in life that I started setting goals for myself. We run a travel blog called www.renegadetravels.com.

 

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

I’d been living in London for around 20 years, had just sold my business and was at a loose end. I decided that I needed a change and so decided to move to Thailand. I aimed to work out what to do with the rest of my life after taking some time off. Once I got here I decided to stay. It’s a great place to live.

 

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

I didn’t have any fears about leaving home. I thought ubud-miuthere was a possibility I might not like Thailand, but I could easily have gone home if that was the case. I’m quite adaptable, so moving to another country seems fairly straightforward for me. Things always seem to work out if you just go with the flow and don’t try to control things too much. So there’s no real need to worry about moving to another country. What’s the worst that can happen?

 

How long have you been traveling?

I left the UK almost four years ago and have spent most of that time in Bangkok, which I love. About a year ago we set off around Southeast Asia, visiting the north of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. We then came back to Bangkok for a little rest.

 

Where are you now?

We’re currently in Bangkok, although we’ll be leaving this weekend.

 

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

For the rest of this year we plan to travel around Thailand. We’ll start off in the northeast and then work our way south, visiting Cha Am, Hua Hin, Krabi, Phuket, Koh Samui and a few of the other islands. We’ll stay in each place anything from a few days to a few months, depending on how we like them. After that we plan to spend 5-6 months traveling around Europe. We’d also like to fit in a month or two in New York sometime soon.

 

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

I would say that we felt pretty safe wherever we went in Southeast Asia, but the UK feels safer to me, maybe because I grew up there.

 

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

While we felt safe in Vietnam, it did have a slightly bad vibe about it. There were far too many scams and other annoyances going on there, and for that reason we probably won’t be going back any time soon.

 

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Our dealings with government officials, police and border guards have been pretty pleasant. I’ve been stopped by police twice in Bangkok, both times were to warn me to keep my backpack safe because motorcycle snatch thieves were operating in the area.

 

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

I update my blog while traveling, but apart from that neither of us work while traveling.

 

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

One of the high points for us was walking down into the crater of an active volcano in Indonesia. And what impressed us the most was watching the workers that carried sulfur from the bottom of the crater all the way to the base of the volcano. These men carry 50-70 kg of sulfur twice a day over a distance of around 12 kg. Their strength is truly amazing.

 

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

I still keep in touch regularly with family and my closest friends. But after being away for almost four years, some have fallen by the wayside. But we’ve both made more friends along the way.

 

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

There I certainly things I wouldn’t do if I had my time over again, but I don’t really have any regrets. Often, life’s most valuable lessons come from the mistakes you made. If you never made any mistakes, you’d never learn those lessons. That’s life. So no regrets.

 

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I don’t see us traveling constantly at any time. Our travel style is to travel slowly and head back to base for at least six months a year. That suits us perfectly, as it means keeping in touch with friends and family and also seeing the world. It can get tiring staying in hotels for months on end, so it’s nice to be more settled some of the time.

 

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

The only advice I have is that if you really want to travel, then make it a priority. If you don’t have enough money at the moment, then set yourself a time frame in which to work hard and save as much as possible. Too many people claim that they want to travel but have a whole list of excuses of why they can’t at the moment.

 

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Our blog now gets around 25,000 page views per month, with over 14,000 unique visitors. All we did to get to that point was to keep posting regularly. I’d also suggest sticking to what you have experienced personally instead of writing generic blog posts. Also it’s good to use you own photos, as this shows that your blog is authentic. I wouldn’t think about it too much, but just set it up and start writing.

 

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug, write out a brief description here?

I have a book called Travel Southeast Asia For Under $30 A Day. You can get a free copy at free book. Our blog is www.renegadetravels.com.

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Interview With Dawn Kealing Of “Life, Love & Adventure”

saqqara dawn kealing

   pyramids dawn kealing   Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up; do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

Hello! 🙂 I grew up in a small town near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When I was younger my main focus was to be positive, happy and healthy. I always had dreams of doing things that seemed pretty impossible to me at the time, aka. Traveling the world. In the past couple years everything has changed yet stayed the same, I am still that positive and healthy person yet I have been able to travel the world!

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?punta cana dawn kealing

There was no persuasion needed to get me out traveling the world! The key factor that made it happen though would be my amazing husband. I started working with him at his business and together after some time we financially made traveling possible!

What were your biggest fears before you left home?, and how do you feel about them now?

I can’t recall any specific fears; there definitely was a lot of excitement coursing through my veins as we were driving to the airport! There was also the, as I know now, the normal stresses of making sure to remember all the documents and the stress of my first long flight but everything went smoothly!

How long have you been traveling?

I have been traveling off and on for the past 2 years; we did 2 trips the first year and 4 trips last year.

Where are you now?

I am currently at home in Northern British Columbia trying to bear through another one of our freezing winters!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

dawn kealing petraMy plans for this upcoming year are to work on my blog, A LOT! There are a few goals I have set up for myself to do throughout the year to improve my blog and hopefully get more out of it!

Another plan I have put together for myself is to travel more of BC this summer. I have lived here all my life and am starting to feel like I have traveled more of the world than I have my own beautiful province!

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Most of my travels have been all through Central America, the country that I felt the safest in would be Costa Rica! Everywhere we went through Central America everyone was always so friendly though! 🙂 I honestly think I felt safer in Costa Rica than I do in the town I live in in Canada. We’re the crime capital of Canada says MacLean’s magazine. :/

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger)?

The country that I felt the most on edge in would have to by Egypt. No matter where you are the spotlight is always on you. People trying to bring you into their stores or sell you stuff on the streets, people pulling at your clothes and snickering at you but you have no idea what they are saying.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Oh dear, my most dreaded question haha. I always seem to have issues with jordan dawn kealingborder guards, I don’t know why! When I was leaving Egypt to go to Jordan the border guard started speaking really loudly (yelling) at me and pointing to my lip, which is pierced. I had no idea what he was saying and he just kept getting more and more upset, eventually he let me through but only once I was bawling my eyes out. :/ All the other times have been coming back into Canada, as funny as that seems. I always feel like I am being interrogated for doing some horrible crime yet I have done nothing!

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Other than blogging while I am traveling I don’t do any other types of work. We work a lot a home, taking 2 weeks to a month away at a time is a great break from work for us!

Chichen itza dawnTell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

I think my most jaw dropping experience would be going on my first Hot Air Balloon ride in Luxor, Egypt over the Valley of the Kings and Queens. It was absolutely breathtaking!!

My most memorable experience that left me in awe would be seeing fireflies in Palenque, Mexico. We were sitting on a chair on the porch of our little bungalow and they started flying all around us and through the jungle. I couldn’t help but shed some tears, it was amazing!

An incredibly touching experience was when I organized a trip in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to a local school to donate school supplies.

Last but not least, my most terrifying experience so far in my travels would be doing to Mega Tarzan Swing in Costa Rica. After ziplining for a couple hours and my adrenaline was already up I thought, why not?! Once I got to the end of a super long suspension bridge that was hanging over a valley I tried to run back but the guys pushed me out! It was one of the most terrifying things I have done in my life!!

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Not really, my family has always been super supportive of my decisions. dawn kealing colorfull frogSometimes my mother gets a little worried depending on the places I am traveling to but she is always supportive regardless! The best thing is my little nephew (3), before leaving for my last trip I was at my sisters and he asked if he could come with me. Maybe one day little buddy! <3 I travel with my best friend so there’s no issue there! I have close friends at home and I always meet new friends while traveling but traveling as never affected any of my relationships negatively.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

No regrets is the best way to live! The only thing I keep kicking myself in the butt for is not learning Spanish yet!

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

If I could travel for the rest of my life I would be the happiest person in the world! As of right now I have no reason or want to stop exploring the world so I will continue traveling for as long as I can! 🙂

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

saqqara dawn kealingMy biggest encouragement is to JUST DO IT!! Don’t look back, just go and explore this beautiful planet. It will be one of the best things you ever do! There is so much knowledge to learn out there that you cannot learn in a classroom, traveling is priceless!

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

It takes a LOT of work, don’t give up, it’s so worth it!! Do what makes you happy, if you get to the point when you’re feeling super burnt out then take a small break to refresh your thoughts and begin writing again! Don’t expect everything to come really easily because it takes a lot of work, join into blogging communities on social media sites or around you if it’s offered. One of my most favorite things about blogging is the love and support from my fellow bloggers in the communities I am in!

Do you write for a blog that you would like to plug?

I have a blog that I strive to update daily; it is called Life, Love and Adventure! It’s a travel blog where I write about all the places I have been so far, where I want to go next and all kinds of travel tips I have learned in my years of traveling! 🙂

A BIG thank you to Roamin Around for featuring me on their page!!

 

 

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Interview with Kelly Mazur of kellyellamaz.com

Sorrento

PlayaDelCarmen_5thAveShopping    Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I’m Kelly Mazur, owner of www.kellyellamaz.com. I was born and raised in Canada, and I’ve had a passion for travel since I was a kid. The idea of going on vacation has always excited me, and I’ve always obsessed over the planning and research for months before any given trip! That passion grew into an obsession when I started travelling as a young adult.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

Honestly one of the biggest factors was the harsh Canadian winters I was living through. I live for summer weather and beaches, so I’ve always been inclined to leave Canada for warmer weather! I also love the feeling of being in a new place. Everything is exciting when it’s new and fresh – like the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower or swam in the Mediterranean Sea!

How long have you been traveling?

I’ve been travelling frequently for the past three years, and my obsession just continues to grow.I’m currently planning an 18-month adventure that will be my longest yet!

Where are you now?

Right now I’m at home in Canada, about an hour outside of Toronto. Other than a trip to Quebec City I’ll be home until I move to Europe in July!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

I just bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona! After spending some time in SpainMarrakech_Camel, I’ll be heading to Australia for a while too!

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Spain for sure! After being in Barcelona for less than 24 hours I split with my boyfriend for the day and went shopping by myself while he went to museums! I felt completely at home there. I guess that’s why I decided to move there!

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

I didn’t always feel safe in Morocco. Women aren’t treated equally in Morocco, and I found it to be a harsh adjustment. I was viewed as my boyfriend’s property and the men at the hotel wouldn’t even talk to me! If I asked a question, they directed the answer to my boyfriend.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

I was accused of having a fake passport at the USA border! After about a hundred questions the border official finally let me through.

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jRome_SpanishStepsobs?

I have about 4 different sources of income off my website that help pay for travel. Advertisements, product sales, freelance writing, and travel planning services all contribute to my income. None of it’s substantial, but it allows me to stretch my travel budget!

Any major life targets, that you are working on?

My goal this year is to turn those various sources of income into a full-time job. Like most travel bloggers, I want to quit my day job and work from my laptop from anywhere my heart desires! It’s a bit of a long shot right now, but I’m enjoying my small successes along the way!

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?Sorrento

The view I had of the bay of Naples from my hotel room balcony in Sorrento (Italy) is something I’ll never forget. I had a glass of champagne in one hand, and my boyfriend’s hand in the other. I felt incredibly lucky to have experienced that beautiful city.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Travelling has definitely affected a few friendships. I’m not home as often as I used to be so I miss out on a lot of things. When I am home, I’m saving money and working non-stop on my website in order to be able to afford my next trip. It’s a huge sacrifice, but it’s a choice I’m comfortable with.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

The only travel regret I have is not travelling longer! Once it’s time to fly home I always wonder why I booked such a short trip…

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I’m sure 20 years from now I won’t be travelling as frequently, but my passion for travel will never change.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

Commit to saving money, then buy a ticket! Money is the biggest roadblock for most of us, but if you make sacrifices in other areas of your life then you can find ways to afford travel.

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?Marrakech_RooftopPool

Set clear goals for yourself and your blog. What do you want to accomplish? How will you measure your success? If you just buy a domain name and write aimlessly you won’t get very far. Don’t be afraid to aim high, as long as you’re aiming at something.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug?

My blog can be found at www.kellyellamaz.com, and my first e-book is being released on March 4th! It’s titled “101 Tips for Luxury Travel… on a Budget” and it’s really my personal collection of travel tips. I’ve gathered these tips through a few years of travelling as a ‘broke student with high standards’! I’m really proud of this book and I think anyone who struggles to afford travel will really value this information.

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InterView With Ashley From ” A Southern Gypsey”

Ashley a southern gypsey

Ashley a southern gypseyLet’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I’m Ashley and the mastermind (ha!) behind A Southern Gypsy.  I was born and raised near Nashville, Tennessee.  For the past 10 years, I’ve obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology (don’t run, I promise I don’t over-analyze everything), living in South Carolina and Washington, and traveling as much as I could.  I was always that person who had a hard time “finding myself” and my purpose – went through a lot of random jobs and degree changes with nothing ever feeling right.  My dream was always to write though just never thought it possible.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

Well, I haven’t left yet, but I am in October.  The main things that happened that really made me make a decision to start preparing to quit my job and travel full time included: an ACL tear that resulted in complete reconstruction, another bad breakup from a tumultuous relationship, and unhappiness in yet another job.  I need a change was needed.

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

 My biggest fear is having to come back to a “normal” life.  I already know I can’t do the typical 9-5, stable routine.  I don’t know what I’d do if I had to come back and return to that.  But, that only fuels my motivation!

How long have you been traveling?

 My entire life, just not consecutively.

Where are you now?

 Nashville, Tennessee.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

 I will be doing lots of local things in Nashville and the surrounding areas until October.  In May, I head to Memphis for the weekend.  In July (or whenever they decide), I plan on going to TBEX wherever it happens to be.  At the end of October, I fly to LA and plan on spending a few days there and then I head to Bangkok at the beginning of November.  I will be in Southeast Asia well into 2015 – hitting all the Southeast Asian countries and Samoa (one of my best friends lives here).  Will most likely hit Australia since I’ll have to go through there to go to Samoa.

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

 I can honestly say I haven’t really felt unsafe before.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?asoutherngypsey

 I did have a guy follow me for quite some time in Italy and I finally got rid of him by hopping on a bus – I mean he literally followed me up to the bus door.  However, that does not mean I felt unsafe at all in Italy – this kind of crap happens at home too.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Nothing to mention.  I always get nervous going through immigration for absolutely no reason.  Kind of like seeing police lights behind you and being nervous even though you know you’re not speeding.

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

 I haven’t in the past, but that’s a big plan for my future.  Still searching out options.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

 No, I plan on traveling in some form or another for as long as possible.  I may have to teach English for a year or work in one place for several months, but I plan is to be location independent.

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

I’m probably too new to be giving tips and advice, but I will tell you as a new blogger than is nothing more beneficial than networking groups.  Get involved and stay involved as much as you possibly can.

Interview with the guy from flights and frustration

Today I am here Interviewing “The Guy from flightsandfrustration.com”

flights and frustrationLet’s start off by telling us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

Hi, I grew up in Yorkshire in England. My parents originate from Ireland so I spent most summer holidays on trips back to the Emerald Isle. I still love going back there, it is a beautiful country. As for life goals well yes, they’ve changed considerably! As a child I was brought up in a Catholic family and I felt as though I had a calling for a life in the church. It didn’t quite turn out that way though; I’m now happily married and frequently travel the world on business.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to begin frequent travel?

In the year 2000 my employer at the time offered me a chance to work overseas on a big project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I must admit to being curious about it but didn’t want to over commit. I tried to negotiate for an initial 3 month placement whilst they wanted me to commit for longer. We initially said 5 months and I ended up staying for 17. Whilst Saudi Arabia is very restrictive compared to the West there were a lot of perks to the role. Each month I had an opportunity to take some leisure travel which I utilized as much as possible.

It was only when my time on the project came to an end and I returned to the UK that I faced the possibility of not being able to travel so extensively again. However I was very fortunate in that within a couple of months I found a new employer who offered the chance for international travel most months of the year. Admittedly this would be travelling to work at the destinations (the leisure travel from Saudi was just that, leisure). However, I would always return home and kind of get the best of both worlds.

How long have you been traveling?

I suppose my regular routine of international travel began in May 2000 when I first took that flight to Saudi Arabia. I can honestly say that for maybe 9-10 months a year, every single year since then I have been flying abroad somewhere. So 14 years of almost monthly international travel.

Where are you now?

I’m on a business trip in Melbourne Australia. I’m writing this in my hotel room after a day at work.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

My travel remit with work is pretty much global, 6 continents. Forthcoming trips will include not only domestically in the UK but Norway, India, the US. I’m likely to return to Australia again this year and no doubt will visit many European countries plus Canada and maybe Brazil and Chile. I’ve already been to China this year.

I tend to arrange my work trips 2-3 months in advance so it varies as to where I go.

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

I must admit that I feel safe in my own country. I live in a semi-rural area so there are less of the issues you find in big cities.

As for travel I feel safer in the western countries and also China. The culture there tends to be very welcoming and friendly. Whilst you will still get your share of ignorant people you never really see any “gangs” going around nor have I ever really found myself in a difficult situation.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

I’m really uncomfortable going to Johannesburg in South Africa. If truth be told I’ve been many times and never once suffered a problem or had anything stolen from me. However I have numerous South African friends and hear from them many tales of gun point robberies, burglaries, car jackings and murders. I’m also warned where not to go, not to go out alone and not to use taxis. At times you feel trapped in your hotel if you haven’t pre-arranged an outing.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

A few years ago I was doing a joint work trip in The Netherlands and Germany. I had a hire car so drove from one location to the next. Whilst in Germany all the staff in the office smoked (which I hate) and everyday my clothes would stink of cigarette smoke. It was fine in the sense that I changed my clothes everyday yet at the end of the week my leather jacket stunk to high heaven of cigarette smoke.

On leaving I drove all the way back to Amsterdam Schipol airport to catch a flight home. As I was going through security I could tell the officer on duty was looking at me suspiciously. Even though my hand luggage went through the scanner okay he insisted on opening it and rummaged around extensively. He then asked me if I’d been staying in Amsterdam for long and if I’d “visited any cafes”? I quickly explained to him that they had no interest to me; I’m not into drugs and wouldn’t dare go near them.

He then explained that he could smell the cigarette smoke on me and “thought he’d got lucky”. So thanks to my German colleagues I was very suspicious.

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Not in the sense of your typical full time travel blogger. I have a normal office day job. I work for a multinational manufacturing company which is head quartered in the UK. As part of my job I go to visit our various locations and work on various projects with staff there. Being a digital nomad is a hobby for me. Travelling is my job.

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

Whilst I was working in Saudi we saw the various sides to life in this country. There is a wide contrast in wealth between the haves and have not’s. A lot of the locals don’t work or are lazy workers; in their eyes much work is mundane and beneath them. A lot of foreign workers come into the country and those from Asia tend to be paid a horrifically poor wage, kept in very restrictive conditions and perform the physical jobs such as cleaning etc. Their employers also tend to confiscate their passports so they can’t leave the country or they have to buy their way out.

Anyway, I was in the office one day with another colleague from the UK when one of these cleaners walked into our room and handed me a note. His English was poor so the note helped. It explained that his father at home in Sri Lanka was seriously ill with a heart condition and had maybe only a few days or weeks left to live. This cleaner was desperately going around asking if anyone would donate some money so he could buy a plane ticket home. I explained this to my friend and we agreed to give the guy equivalent to about £40 GBP (£20 each). When I handed the money over the cleaner looked at me, took the money very gratefully then burst into tears. Here was a grown man crying and overwhelming grateful to us both. It turns out that he’d been desperately begging people for ages and had received virtually next to nothing from the locals, since they mainly look down upon the Asian cleaners.

Word soon got around about this cleaner and our project manager sorted it so that our company paid for his plane ticket home. He was able to go home and be with his family before his father died.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

I was already traveling frequently when I met who is now my wife. She is used to me travelling away. Admittedly it is more difficult for her than it is for me. However she understands that it is a job which I enjoy and when I am at home we do get time together. (I’m not working late in the office every night when I’m in the UK.)

My parents seem okay about it. Every time I’m about to leave my mum always says “You will be careful won’t you?” but she does tend to be a little bit of a worrier. However conversations with my parents often revolve around where I’ve just been and where am I going to next.

I must admit that with my frequent travel it is very difficult to see friends often. Many of my friends are scattered around the UK and you need a planned trip to meet up. They also have busy lives as well so coordinating a free weekend is really difficult. I can now go a year or two before meeting up with some of the closest friends to me. That is really difficult but the friendships seem strong enough to survive this.

Any Regrets? Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

Not sure they are regrets but if the Saudi project had been made available to me earlier I may have been able to travel more under my own steam. I’ve longed to go to New Zealand and the Antarctic yet haven’t made it yet. With my current circumstances it would take some planning to do this now, whereas the Saudi project would have made it a lot more time and cost affordable.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I’ve been traveling frequently for 14 years now and can’t see an immediate end in sight. Not only do I get to see the world but from a work perspective it stimulates me. I’d hate to have a job where I am sat at the same desk everyday doing the same mundane task year in year out. With this job I enjoy the actual work I do and get to see some amazing places courtesy of my employer. I suppose I’ll keep doing this job for as long as my health allows.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

You really don’t know what you are missing until you try it. Places may look boring or predictable on the TV but you need to immerse yourself in the culture and see it first-hand. Feel and smell that humid air, see the vibrant colours, taste and smell the local cuisine as it is meant to be rather than being misled by a poor imitation cuisine restaurant on your high street. Observe the local cultures first hand and see what really goes on. You only get one shot at this life, don’t let it be one where you miss the opportunities.

If you are a travel blogger, do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Have patience and lots of it. Very few people make a success of it overnight. It can take many months or even a couple of years to start getting the reader numbers you’d like.

Whilst you build your blog don’t be afraid to politely connect with other bloggers and build blogging relationships with them. You can learn so much from them and be willing to offer your help for free.

Don’t go into blogging thinking you’ll be able to make lots of money in no time at all. That is the wrong mind set and you’ll more than likely fail.

See your blog as a long term commitment, for years not a few months. Pace yourself and work at a tempo you can maintain long term. Don’t try to do everything at once, you’ll burn out and give up if you do.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug, write out a brief description here?

I run 2 travel related sites. Firstly there is my personal travel blog http://flightsandfrustration.com. I also run a website which interviews travel bloggers (established as well as up and coming) from around the web at http://travelbloggerinterviews.com.

I recently released a book on the kindle format which is available worldwide from Amazon. It is a book about frequent flyer schemes and how you can benefit from them even if you never take a flight. I cover the wide range of ways you can earn frequent flyer miles with or without flying and some of the various things you can redeem the miles for.

I also look at the way these schemes work in terms of tiers and what pitfalls you should look out for. I will then advise you on how to decide which are the right scheme/s you should join for your particular circumstances.

The book is called “A brief introduction to airline frequent flyer schemes and which ones you should join”. You can buy the book from here.

About Me:-

Blog: http://flightsandfrustration.com/ I also run http://travelbloggerinterviews.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheGuyWhoFlies

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FlightsAndFrustration

The Guy has been a long term international business traveler for 14 years. He has covered 6 continents and flies internationally almost every month. He still holds over a million frequent flyer miles in his frequent flyer account. You can keep up to date with his global adventures on his travel blog Flights And Frustration – “The rants, ramblings and ruminations of a frequent traveler.”

Stepping Up and Diving In with Jonny Jenkins

Pedestrian Crossing With Jonny Jenkins

Jonny Jenkins Temply top    Today I am Interviewing Jonny Jenkins of Http://stepupdivein.com

      Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I grew up in small town Canada, amazing upbringing that I can only look back upon with the fondest of memories. As a kid I was hoping to earn a full ride scholarship to the states for Hockey, get a great education and eventually take over my dad’s Chartered Accounting business.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

I was raised by parents that always pushed the value of travel. However, there was one key factor that eventually kicked my butt into gear and get out there… my mom up and moved to Spain and was there over Christmas… thus my sister and I went out to visit her for the holidays, and do a little traveling… the bug was caught and a cure never found.

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

I can’t say I had many the first time I left. But about the fourth time I left (age 24) I was fearing that I was starting to miss opportunities in the real world… Now I’ve realized that I add much to my resume with the experiences, such as volunteer, working abroad or learning new languages, that has augmented my resume greatly and should I ever decide to return for a ‘real life’ back in Canada, I’m well aware that I’ve a great set of skills for potential employers, that much more considering the value of diversity is becoming increasingly important.

How long have you been traveling?Jonny Jenkins Tikal

Call it a decade… 6 months a year for a decade at least… but this time I’ve set out to not go back. The last time I was back ‘home’ was about 7 months ago now.

Where are you now?

Kathmandu, Nepal

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

Oh man, loaded question. The year I don’t have too planned out, but the next four months are packed. Specifically because I’m turning 30. Although I don’t put much importance on the number, I set some goals while I was home to get done before my 30th, so I’m just polishing those off now… they are:
– Speak 5 languages fluently – Currently at 3 fluent, 1 written/read, 1 in class every day, 1 other not far, and 3 more in shattered sentences… (total of 9 floating around and bumping into each other.

– Get to 30 Countries – Honestly I’ve never been one to collect stamps, but as I approach 30 years old with just under 30 countries, thought it would be a good benchmark to make and then make sure to get to one new country each year for the rest of my life… 30th country (most likely Tanzania) looks like it will be about 3 days after my birthday

– Be on the top of Kilimanjaro – Recently I’ve figured out that the date makes it a tough climb, so I’m putting this goal back a couple of weeks and hope to summit within a month of the day.

– Finish my book – Again just using the day as a point to have it done… Spending a lot of time writing these days, should be done by the day, though I will have to edit and rewrite much of it, so I’m not pushing to publish by the day.

I also have a 3 month stint for volunteering in Nepal and a 3 month stint volunteering in Ethiopia on the books…

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Long list… Canada is Canada… it’s pretty difficult to feel safer than there. I guess otherwise the safest have been Western Europe and parts of the States.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

Jonny Jenkins Ice CreamI’m not one to feel on edge. But, probably at times in Thailand because it was my first 3rd world country.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Too many to count… The majority of which happen in between the American/Canadian border. Including getting caught with firewood (apparently you can’t do that), getting caught with a wallet of a wanted narcotics trafficker in the vehicle (though we didn’t know the guy), getting lost looking for my guitar at customs and (by having my alarm clock go off) create a bomb scare… need I add more?

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Certainly, was a Scuba Instructor for awhile, have worked as a drop in English prof, much volunteering… and now looking to create a career on the road in between my writing and environmentally sustainable developments.

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

Jaw Drop – Scuba diving with a Whale-shark.
Left in Awe – Hiking North Coast Trail in Canada (does that count as traveling?)
Incredibly Touching – The goodbye letter from an indigenous school high in the Andes of Ecuador after spending 4 months volunteering/living there.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Friends – I’d say I’ve held onto the major relationships and appreciated them Jonny Jenkins Tajamulcomore… but I’d be lying if I said I don’t neglect these relationships at times.

Family – This one hurts to be honest. I’m really close with my family, and especially now that there’s a younger generation around I feel like I’m missing out on their upbringing… but I’ve become the ‘traveling cousin/uncle/son’ … And I like to think they understand… they certainly tell stories about me, and the younger generation is learning certain geography based on ‘where in the world is Jonny?’

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

One – Lived in Germany about a decade ago and never learned German. I find regrets a waste of time, so let’s just say that I plan to remedy this.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I see a point where I will again get into living in Canada 3-6 months a year, having another ‘home/eco project’ 3-6 months a year and exploring for whatever time is remaining.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

Jonny Jenkins Landing in OntarioHmm… At the end of the day, what kind of stories would you like to be able to tell your children/grandchildren? Do you want to have stories that involve you as a protagonist, or rather ones that you heard second hand and are merely retelling someone else’s tales? There’s nothing wrong with learning vicariously and we all have some responsibilities… but the moment you leave your hometown you’ll realize what responsibilities are actually important for you and your happiness and which ones have been but society’s view of who you should be… and really, if you look at your surround society, are you willing to say that they have all the answers?

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Absolutely, it takes time. Get into writing, don’t worry too much about the finicky little things to begin with. Whatever keeps you motivated, focus on that. The way that SEO works, you won’t be able to get ranked too high until you’ve got some longevity to your site… so write what you enjoy.
Furthermore… actually travel. Get to places where others go as that brings search queries but also get to places that others don’t, as that brings intrigue. Start now… even if you aren’t blogging much, having the site up will help you in the long run… And do EVERYTHING you find interesting… others might as well.

With all of this, you should be aware that at first it will be an investment… think of it as around a year (give or take) before your blog starts to give back… so make sure you have enough to live off of for that long.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug?

Http://stepupdivein.com

By using humor, photos, stories and advice, I hope to engage everyone in such a way that, in the very least, it breaks up the monotony of a given working day; and, in the most, inspires others to get out there and see the world for themselves. I’ve always been a storyteller, and try to get very deep into cultures by staying for longer periods of time, learning the local language and finding a role in the society (typically volunteer) so that my relationships with said locals are not just economically driven… and then I come back to that storytelling bit to tell others of the hilarity and ridiculousness in my own mannerisms… I do my best to respect all others whilst being comically self-deprecating and love to hear from anyone/everyone.

The Odyssey – 30 Stories that made me 30 Years old

I won’t plug my book just yet… But the premise is this: Our generation is potentially the first in the history of mankind that has had this gap (in between 20 and 30) open up. The stories of an eccentric traveler are used to exemplify the diversity in which ‘this odyssey’ can be undertaken…Jonny Jenkins Abbot Ridge