Category Archives: Traveler of the Week

Over 500 people have filled out a BootsnAll traveler profile. The following posts highlight some of these travelers as we get to know more about what motivated them to take off on indie travel adventures.

Traveler of the Week – Jenny Serwylo

Each Tuesday, though, we are going to highlight one traveler from our traveler profiles and offer up a little more information about them.  Learn more about traveler of the week Jenny below, who is on her trip right now!

1. What is the one item you packed that you have used least?

The one item I packed that I’ve used least: My playing cards! I was so excited to break out my playing cards, but I haven’t met anyone who enjoys a game of Gin or Go Fish. I’m still holding out though! I’m determined to use them.

2. What is the one item you packed that you couldn’t do without?

The one item I couldn’t do without: my bright red lipstick! I mean, I know it’s not the most practical thing when I’m climbing mountains or experiencing new cultures…but if I’m having one of those “I’m sick of sleeping in a room with seven other people and washing my socks in the sink” days, I just throw on a bit of lipstick and I instantly feel a bit less like a dirty traveler, and a bit more like a normal person.

3. What is one thing that worried you most before the trip that turned out to be no big deal?

Of the many many things I worried about, the main one was that I wouldn’t make friends. People told me I was silly since I’m pretty outgoing and a comedian (literally), but heading to the other side of the world all on your own is scary even for the most confident person. Luckily, solo travelers attract other solo travelers (and, once, an entire men’s cricket team) and after a few days, and a bit of practice, I found it easy to strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone!

4. Did you buy a round the world flight or decide to buy one-ways? Are you happy with your decision so far? Why?

I decided to buy one-way tickets and I’m really happy I did. I’m one of those people who likes to plan and detail everything out, but I decided to try my hand at ‘going with the flow’…and so far it’s worked out! I’m not stuck to locations, I can change dates on a whim, and I can change my plan whenever and however I like.

5. What would tell people who can’t quite commit to going on a round the world trip?

I do improv comedy, which is basically just jumping up on stage with no script, getting a suggestion from the audience, and trying your hardest to make people laugh (think the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, only less glamorous, more complicated, and you pay for your own drinks). Improv can be scary and tough; it’s full of unknowns, mistakes, terrifying silences, and failing tries. But the payoffs! The payoffs are why we keep doing it. When you come off stage from a great set, you don’t remember the fear or the failed jokes. You remember the high you felt, and the audience that laughed with you and supported you while you shone. You remember the split-second ideas that popped up in your brain and how much fun the journey was when you decided to follow them. You remember the applause and the pride you had in yourself for a set well done.

To anyone putting off their trip: stop worrying and just go. Jump on the grenade, run through the curtains, lick the salt off your hand…take a breath and commit to the moment.

Travel, and solo travel specifically, is a lot like improv. You have no idea what your’e getting into and it’s scary. It’s stupidly scary! But the experiences you have and the decisions you make and the findings you find, all amount to this wonderful, huge, amazing thing that just works. You remember the fear and odd bout of loneliness, sure, but even more than that you remember the feeling you had when you climbed your first mountain, or the taste of your first authentic curry, or the flirty night with the gorgeous Australian cricket team (just me?).

To anyone putting off their trip: stop worrying and just go. Jump on the grenade, run through the curtains, lick the salt off your hand…take a breath and commit to the moment. Then enjoy your time on stage, and get excited for the inevitable laughs to follow.

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Traveler of the Week – Amber Hoffman

Each Tuesday, though, we are going to highlight one traveler from our traveler profiles and offer up a little more information about them.  Learn more about traveler of the week Amber below, a round the world veteran who is currently on her second long-term trip, and this time the plan is for it to be permanent!

What is your #1 tip for those struggling with making the decision to go?

If you are even considering a RTW, just do it! There are about a thousand reasons (or excuses) why not to go. If you don’t do it, though, you will be saddled with regret for years to come! The predictable life you have come to know as “normal” will be waiting when (or if) you return.

What is your #1 tip for those planning their round the world trip right now?

Depends on how far in advance you start planning – we started almost two years out, and started to save money big time. We did not want to set a budget and travel until we were penniless. We wanted a safety net in case of an emergency and a cushion for our return. As part of our saving, we also applied for some credit cards with great mileage promos, using the Frugal Travel Guy and other similar websites as guides, to stock up on mileage before we left. This helped to defray some of our flight costs – one of the largest chunks of a RTW budget.

What is the one thing that worried you most before the trip that turned out to be no big deal?

Safety. Obviously you have to be careful, but there is a fine line between being overly cautious and reckless. Sometimes I feel that my conservatism unnecessarily kept me from what could have been a more authentic experience. We spent 14 months on the road without serious problems, other than being cheated a few times in China, so perhaps it was the right amount of caution. I feel that I might not have made the most of the experiences that came my way.

If you could go back in time and do your (first) trip over again, what’s the one thing you would do differently?

Make fewer plans! I would pick one place that I really want to go and then figure it out from there. We planned way too much ahead of time. We had a few scheduled flights, some volunteer opportunities, and visits from friends that made our trip more set than I would prefer.

What has motivated you to do it all over again?

Why would I not want to do it all again? I taught English in central Vietnam, went bungee jumping in New Zealand, got massaged by an elephant in Thailand, ate Balinese pig, Shanghai soup dumplings, Brazilian feijoada, “Nonna’s” Bolognese in Tuscany, kangaroo in Australia, and tasted Argentine wines. I met fantastic people along the way and have friends all over the world.

There is so much of the world yet to see, so many great places we want to return to, and so many friends to visit. But, most of all, I love waking up each day to something new and different! I was in a rut at home, living a monotonous existence – that certainly is not the case when traveling long term.

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Traveler of the Week – Grant Cansler

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our new traveler profiles, then this is the perfect time to do it.

Part of what makes indie travel great is all the meaningful connections one makes with both locals and other travelers.  So what we wanted to do was to give indie travelers a place to get together and share their adventures with other like-minded people.  These traveler profiles are short and sweet and offer a variety of information about each person’s round the world trip (or for those who have not yet gone – their dream round the world trip).

Each Tuesday, though, we are going to highlight one traveler from our profiles and offer up a little more information about them.  Learn more about traveler of the week Grant below!

1. When do you leave for your trip and where is your first destination?

I left September 5th and the first destination is New Zealand to do a South Island road trip with my sister.

2. What is your biggest concern at this point of the planning process?

Only concern is being a little under planned for a month in China. I know the major stops I would like to hit such as Chengdu, Xian, Shanghai & Beijing but have not planned anything in-between. It is about time to hit the community forums to get an idea of what may be best to do.

3. What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

Besides meeting people and just exploring, the number one destination for me is Bhutan. I’ve thought about going for so long that I cannot wait to experience that country.

4. Did you buy a round the world ticket or point to point? Why?

I did point to point. I like the flexibility point to point can offer when changes need to be made but I also used some points from a former life in business travel to help with costs, which forced me into booking point to point flights.

5. What would you tell someone who was on the fence about going on a round the world trip?

Why live a life where one day you are starting sentences with “I should’ve” rather than “I remember this time in Chang Mai…” The fact is the trip will never be perfectly planned, there is not a perfect time to do it and there isn’t really a magic number when it comes to money. But you can prepare – so prepare an itinerary, prepare ideas for when you return to support yourself in the real world and prepare by saving for the trip. Then decide there is nothing better than doing, instead of just dreaming.

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Travelers of the Week – Rachel and Jeff

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our new traveler profiles, then this is the perfect time to do it.

Part of what makes indie travel great is all the meaningful connections one makes with both locals and other travelers.  So what we wanted to do was to give indie travelers a place to get together and share their adventures with other like-minded people.  These traveler profiles are short and sweet and offer a variety of information about each person’s round the world trip (or for those who have not yet gone – their dream round the world trip).

Each Tuesday, though, we are going to highlight one traveler from our profiles and offer up a little more information about them.  Learn more about traveler’s of the week Rachel and Jeff below!

1. When do you leave for your trip and where is your first destination?

We actually just left on August 29th. Our first destination was Mongolia – originally we meant to be there 3 weeks but we ended up staying just a week. We’ve just arrived in Beijing at the time of writing this.

2. What is your biggest concern at this point of your trip?

In Mongolia, Jeff’s card was eaten by an ATM and Rachel’s was not accepted by most ATMs or even in many banks. We are now worried about getting Jeff a replacement card – at the moment, Rachel is paying for everything! So we are sort of worried about continuing to have issues accessing our money.

3. What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

Jeff can’t decide between eating fruit in Southeast Asia or seeing incredible world monuments. Rachel is most looking forward to returning to Italy after having majored in Classical Civilization, and also seeing Angkor Wat.

4. Did you buy a round the world ticket or point to point? Why?

We are just buying point to point tickets because the great majority of our trip will be done overland. We bought tickets with mileage points from Seoul to Ulaanbaatar and will be traveling by bus and rail from there to Thailand or Malaysia, and then we’ll be flying from there to Turkey to do the Europe portion of our trip. A round the world ticket didn’t make sense for our trip. We like slow travel and prefer overland to flying (honestly, we both kind of hate flying). If we were doing a route that had more flying, we would have considered it. Our schedule is also not in any way fixed, so we’d rather buy tickets when we know we want to move on rather than have to stick to a time limit.

5. What would you tell someone who was on the fence about going on a round the world trip?

If you are in the position where you are pretty sure you want to do it, and won’t have to go into massive debt to do it, we say go for it. If your concern is missing out on life at home, don’t worry – true friends will still be your friends after a time away, and most likely everything will work out when you get back. You can travel now and have a great time, or wait until later when there may not be such a good opportunity, and then you will regret it.

We’d love to see you fill out a traveler profile and be featured on the BootsnAll blog. Fill one out today!

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BootsnAll Traveler of the Week – September 3, 2012

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our new traveler profiles, then this is the perfect time to do it.

Part of what makes indie travel great is all the meaningful connections one makes with both locals and other travelers.  So what we wanted to do was to give indie travelers a place to get together and share their adventures with other like-minded people.  These traveler profiles are short and sweet and offer a variety of information about each person’s round the world trip (or for those who have not yet gone – their dream round the world trip).

Each Tuesday, though, we are going to highlight one traveler from our profiles and offer up a little more information about them.  Our inaugural traveler is Bob Ross.

1.  What is your #1 tip for those struggling with making the decision to go?

There’s a saying, “you’ll regret the things you didn’t do in life more than the things you did” and that definitely applies to travel. When you get older, do you want to tell stories about the round the world trip you almost did or tell actual stories of your adventures and the places you visited? For me, I didn’t want to wait until I was old and retired to travel – how would I get the 40 foot RV across the ocean? ;-) If you have the time and finances, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to travel.

2.  What is your #1 tip for those planning their round the world trip right now?

Take time to plan, especially if you’re getting a rtw airfare ticket. The first step would be to decide where you want to go (I browsed a lot of picture sites looking for scenic spots). Once you know that, figure out what destinations you have to fly between and which can be done overland. This will allow you to maximize your flights. The one downside of rtw airfares is being (almost) locked into a schedule; it leaves less room for spontaneity or staying extra long at a spot you like. Though, at least at the time I did my rtw trip, change fees weren’t that bad. All that said, don’t be so strict with planning that you don’t allow yourself time for unexpected surprises (good and bad).

3.  If you could go back in time and do your trip over again, what’s the one thing you would do differently?

If I could do one thing differently, it would be to not get punched in the eye by a guy from my Africa tour group. Ha! But I think you’re looking for something more generally related to travel… I would have taken more videos of the friends I made along the way so that I could remember them with more than just a picture.

4.  Will you ever go on another round the world trip?  If yes, why and when?  If no, why not?

I sure hope I’ll go on another round the world trip! Mostly due to financial reasons it won’t be very soon (mortgage doesn’t leave much left over for savings). For now, I have to be content with little one or two week getaways. Eventually, I know I’ll need more than that as the travel bug does have a hold on me (there are so many places still to see!!).

5.  Share your favorite picture from your round the world trip.

I’ve been asked all the usual “what’s your favorite” things about traveling, but never my one favorite picture. Hmmm, normally it would probably be a landscape or artisticy style shot, but I think for this it should have people and convey a sense of fun and adventure. I’ve attached one of me and a friend jumping off a junk boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam. That seems to include friends and adventure. Also attaching a pic after getting dropped off from hitchhiking in Bulgaria (see below).

Editor’s note:  The plan for these “interviews” was to only ask 5 questions, but Bob wanted to include more information about himself and his trip, so he included a few bonus questions and answers that he thought our readers might like – so enjoy!

Why do you like to travel?

Each day of travel holds so many more possibilities than a day at home. You wake up not knowing exactly where you’ll end up at the end of the day, what you’ll see, who you’ll meet. I could pretty much describe a regular work day for me even before I live it (i.e., it’s not very interesting or exciting). Plus I really enjoy seeing new places and experiencing other cultures (I currently have a strange yearning to go somewhere dirty and slightly dangerous).

Advice while traveling

Get out of your comfort zone – start conversations with people, attempt to speak the local language to meet more than just westerners, don’t spend your time sitting around the hostel.  Don’t take the time for granted. It will pass sooner than you think, and you’ll once again be back in the day to day monotony of working life.

Share a story from your travels.

While in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, a girl at the hostel asked if I’d like to go to Rila Monastery with her. Getting to Rila Monastery is a little difficult because there’s only one bus early each morning from Rila village (20km away), so the day we arrived we had to stay the night. The next morning we were trying to get ourselves out the door to catch the bus, but the flat owner kept wanting to show us things. Eventually, we had to put catching the bus before being polite, so we raced out the door with only a couple minutes left before the bus was due to leave. We were jogging (with backpacks on) and turned the corner just as the bus took off.  #*&@$!!!!
It was early so there were no taxis around. We decided to just start trekking up the road towards the monastery, hoping someone would feel sorry for us and give us a ride. Unfortunately, there were very few cars. We stuck our thumbs out hitchhiking for the few cars that passed, eventually getting picked up by a truck with tools in back. The driver was about to start his day of work and dropped us off about 5km later. Back to walking and hitchhiking with few cars going by. A fair amount of time passed before a another truck stopped. This one resembled a military transport with a couple hillbilly looking guys in back and an old woman. We were skeptical, but with an old woman in back, I figured it was fairly safe.
 
 
At this time it was about 8am and they were drinking 1L beers. They offered us each one, but we said “no” and shook our heads – only in Bulgaria shaking your head actually means “yes,” so we were handed beers (my friend also got a cigarette – she doesn’t smoke). So here we were, about 8 in the morning, drinking beers with some Bulgarian guys in the back of a truck on our way to Rila Monastery. They got us another 10km before turning off the road, and we got out and joked about the experience, taking our pictures drinking beer early in the morning. No more cars wanted to pick us up so we eventually got a taxi that was driving by to take us the rest of the way to Rila Monastery. The moral to the story being your day may start off sucky but you never know what may come along to make it one of the most memorable of your travels.
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