Let us start with your formal introduction and your interesting story on how you developed an interest for Traveling?
It started from before I can remember. My mom is from Chile and my father is from France, but I was born in San Francisco. So ever since I was a baby, my parents put me on planes and took me to see our relatives who were very far away.
How often do you travel?
I’ve been traveling nonstop since 2006.
Whats your travel style?
It’s extremely spontaneous. I’ve only made a couple of hotel reservations in my life. I do a lot of camping and couchsurfing. I love to meet locals. I ask too many questions.
What is that triggers you to travel to an entirely new destination?
If I haven’t been there, that’s a huge trigger.
What you like the most about traveling?
The extreme stimulation. You’re constantly learning and discovering. All senses are engaged.
What you dislike the most about traveling?
Dealing with governments, visas, and border crossings.
How do you plan your destinations?
I pick places I haven’t been to and then just go. I rarely make a plan. In Africa, since I am climbing the tallest mountain of each country, I have to plan a bit to know where they are and any logistical challenges.
What are the 3 destinations you loved the most?
- Kotor, Montenegro
What were 3 destinations opposite to your expectations?
- South Africa – it was worse than I expected, racial relations are horrible
- Mauritania, Chad, Niger, Mali – not as dangerous as you imagine
- Madagascar – despite walking across the country, I only saw lemurs in the national parks. They are quite rare. I expected to see them more often.
Which 3 dishes from around the world made you fell in love with food?
- The Balkan burek is yummy
- Gelato from Italy is divine
- Tagine in Morocco is flavorful
How do you manage to get perks/upgrades/etc based on your traveling lifestyle?
Ironically, I almost never get on a plane. Most of my travel is overland. When I take planes, they are short hops with local carriers, so I don’t accumulate points. I rarely stay in hotels and almost never in fancy ones, so I don’t accumulate points there either.
My main perk is getting offered press trips to nice places. I sometimes do that. That’s fun, although it’s work.
How do you finance and manage your trips?
I worked in high tech, lived like a monk, saved and invested money, grew it and then went traveling for over a decade. Tip: don’t have kids and don’t get a mortgage. Sell the car. More on how I can afford to travel.
How do you save money while traveling? Can you share any 3 tips?
- Bring a tarp, sleeping bag, and pad from either Zpacks or Gossamer Gear. They are super light. With 2 kg, you can have shelter and warmth at night. It buys you flexibility anywhere. I’ve even camped in Rome.
- Use couchsurfing, but read my couchsurfing tips first.
- Hitchhike – and here is my hitchhiking advice on Forbes.
Have you tried travel discount (or promo codes) such as Thomas Cook Discount codes ever?
If ‘Yes’, how was your experience? If ‘No’, do you plan to try these travel coupons and
promo codes for budget traveling?
Sure, there are always travel deals out there.
How do you manage when interacting with people without speaking their language?
– Smile (although in Eastern Europe this is less effective).
– Look for young people to translate because they’re more likely to speak English than old people.
– Use the Google Translate app, download the local language for offline use, and that will let you look up keywords if hand gestures don’t work.
Any worst incident while traveling which you will never forget?
Getting strangled while getting mugged in Cameroon. I couldn’t breathe or scream. They took my wallet which had $15, but the two big men couldn’t rip my phone out of my hands. I’m a fighter. 😉
What is the funniest story you experienced while traveling?
It’s tragicomic, but whenever my wife (who is a black African) travels alone, the authorities question her nonstop, but when I show my white face, all the questions go away and they don’t hassle her.
Any ending note for travel lovers?
You’re going to die soon, so travel now.
Watch how senior citizens travel – it’s sad because they often lack mobility and energy. Go now while you have the strength and stamina.
With this last question, the interview session came to an end.