Posts Tagged ‘travelling’

Ben Southall – a traveller’s inspiration!

February 2, 2011

My friend Natasha and me with Ben Southall

Met an inspiring traveller on the weekend – Ben Southall. Heard of him? He won Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best Job in the World’ competition a couple of years back.

I watched him speak at the Adventure Travel Show in London and afterwards my travel-writing friend managed to entice him to have coffee with us.

He really is an inspirational bloke.

Not many people know this, but before he landed the best job in the world, he travelled through Africa on his own, climbing the continent’s six highest mountains and participating in six marathons, raising £25,000 for charity.

He documented all of his travels on his blog and no doubt it was one of the reasons why he landed the Queensland gig.

Ben still lives in Australia today and at the moment he’s organising a canoeing trip, retracing Captain Cook’s journey from when the explorer landed on Aussie shores for the first time.

He’s taking a crew with him, including film experts who are going to make a Google ‘streetmap’ of the ocean’s reef and its fish – how cool is that?

All the while, he is promoting the protection of the reef and creating awareness about global warming and its effects.

I’d love a job like his and he gave me some valuable tips for documenting my future travel adventures. Perhaps one day I could have the pleasure of sitting on a beach, laptop on my knees, writing about the dolphin dive I just went on, all whilst being paid?

One can dream!

Backpacking… the best way to see the world

March 4, 2010

Backpacking... the only way to go

I was recently asked to write a piece on backpacking. It is a topic I know a lot about, after all.

In total, I have probably spent around six months (maybe more) of my life backpacking. Mainly this was around Europe. I once asked a friend, who has never travelled further than Thailand (from Australia) why he doesn’t go travelling to places on the other side of the world. He said that the reason was because he wanted to make lots of money first so that he can stay in top notch hotels.

Here’s the thing – I love staying in backpackers! Sure, a fancy hotel might be nice, but you’re not really going to meet anyone there, are you? The thing I love about backpackers is the social aspect. You often are sharing a room and a bathroom with strangers so you’re bound to strike up a conversation.

Last time I went backpacking was to Greece and Turkey. In Greece we ended up making so many friends that we got a team together at the hostel and won a quiz night. We spent our days touring the city of Athens with our new found friends and we’re still in contact with them now (via Facebook – it’s a handy tool.) I know that if they were ever to visit Australia or the UK they would be welcome to stay with us. And in return, if I was ever to visit their country (Canada, a place I really do want to visit) I would be welcome to stay with them.

These encounters could never have happened if we were staying in swanky hotels. (Well, I doubt it.) Also, when you stay in backpackers they often have a bar and fun events planned, such as pub crawls and walking tours. They’re cheap and a good way to get to know your fellow backpackers and often those who take the tours are locals so you get to meet them too.

However, I do have a bit of advice for those planning to backpack for the first time. 1. If you’re a couple, it might be nice to get a double room (if available) so you can escape when you want to. 2. Make sure you label all the food you put in the fridges in the communal kitchens, and don’t expect it to always be there later when you want to eat it. 3. Don’t whinge that the room is too small or that the shower isn’t powerful enough. If you want those improvements you better fork out an extra $150 a night and go stay at the Ritz.

But all in all, I would recommend backpacking to all. Well, all those who are friendly and like to make new friends. For those who like to keep to themselves on holiday and don’t see a trip as an adventure to meet new people, perhaps stick to the Ritz.