From: Brooklyn (Texas and Louisiana originally)
Interview Date: August 2014
Interview Location: Barga, Italy
Occupation: Co-founder of Just a Pack
I never imagined I could do what I am doing now. Deciding to take this trip was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Where are you going on this trip? At the beginning of the trip, the plan was to go to Central America and South America and end in Antarctica but that changed. We decided to chase summer for the entire year and after four months of traveling in Central America and spending loads of time at the beach, we are now in Europe for the summer. The current plan is to head to South East Asia after this and see what happens.
How long is your trip? A year minimum but hopefully longer…as long as possible.
What inspired you to undertake this journey? I always loved to travel and aside from spending a few days in Nice, France I hadn’t traveled at all in about two years. I started reading books related to travel and met some people (including Michael) that inspired me to travel long term. I had a desire to change my life drastically that wouldn’t go away, an urge I couldn’t ignore. I wanted to have new experiences, I wanted to escape the cold and harsh winter of New York City and I wanted to meet new people. So once I realized it was possible I started planning and left as soon as I could.
How long have you been on the road for? It will be six months on August 10, 2014.
Do you have a favorite experience thus far? Yes! I have had so many wonderful experiences on this trip. It has been life changing. Spending a month in Panama was incredible because there are so many beaches there that are like paradise. I loved visiting Barcelona again and being able to spend two weeks there. It was a city I had been to once before and only spend a few days there. This time I got to really experience the city. One of my favorite memories from those two weeks was dancing the night away at Marula Cafe Club…something I’ve never done before. It was so much fun.
Do you have a least favorite experience on the trip thus far? We started the trip in Cancun because the flights were the cheapest from the states and spent a few days there. The beaches are really beautiful but everything else is pretty undesirable. It’s super touristy and there is nothing authentic about it. The nightlife feels like some sort of bizarre amusement park for adults. I would be happy to never go back there.
What is your daily budget? About $35.00 – $40.00 but it varies depending on the location. It was much more in Paris and basically nothing in Barga where we are now because we are doing Workaway here so our room and board are paid for by the host.
What is your favorite place you’ve ever been? It’s really hard to say but there is a temple in Beijing, China called the Llama temple. It is the most tranquil place I’ve ever been to on the planet. It makes me feel calm and peaceful. Also, there is an island near Bocas del Toro, Panama called Isla Zapatillas. Basically a deserted island with a perfect beach and warm calm water. It’s like taking a warm bath in the sea.
What’s your next destination? After Italy we head to Prague, Czech Republic, a city I have wanted to visit for probably ten years. I can’t wait.
Any advice or words of wisdom for those who want to travel long term but haven’t done it? Don’t think it is impossible to travel long term. I thought this was the case when I first started dreaming about doing something like this and envied the friends I saw doing it. I never imagined I could do what I am doing now for a whole slew of reasons but once I started talking to experienced travelers, researching backpacking, reevaluating my personal spending, and making adjustments to save, I found that it was absolutely possible. Deciding to take this trip was the best decision I’ve ever made.