With all the questions people have about travel, I decided that instead of simply telling you a story or writing an article with a few tips, it was time to let you ask the questions. So I put a call out on my Facebook page and Twitter account for questions asking me anything. Travel, life, me, where your socks disappear to (answer: leprechauns) — anything! So without further ado, here’s what people wanted to know:
“Item you wouldn’t be without while traveling? And most useless thing you packed originally?” —Helen from Facebook
Me: I couldn’t live without my iPod. Music is just too important to me. I once had my iPod stolen and it devastated me. I went six months with no music. The most useless item? A money belt. I don’t get why people wear them. It’s not a secret invention thieves don’t know about. If you don’t wear one at home, you don’t need one overseas.
“Please explain your Muppet avatar?” —Lax2nrt from Twitter
Me: Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View suggested it to me one day (the Muppet is Uncle Traveling Matt from the show Fraggle Rock). I put it up as a joke but now it has sort of become how people recognize me and it’s different from the normal photos people have up. I’ll never change it. I love it.
“What place will you never, ever visit again, and why?” —Blake from Facebook
Me: Vietnam. I went into detail on why in this article.
“If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is she homeless or naked?” —SpiffyPilot from Twitter
“Do you have any experience with Couchsurfing?” —SilentSnake09 from Twitter
Me: I love Couchsurfing. I’ve done it around eight times and have never had a bad experience. I even hosted people in NYC. That was fun! I highly recommend the program. It’s a great way to meet locals and save money on accommodation.
“Which book have you liked so much and have repeatedly read?” —Ashley from Facebook
Me: I am a huge fan of the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and have probably read it about seven times. It never gets old, just more inspiring. I highly recommend it.
“Who funds your escapades?” —Sarah from Facebook
Me: This blog and a few other websites pay my bills. My books, advertising sales, and people buying products through my site fund everything. Sometimes it can be a bit nerve-racking because I never know how much money I will make, but it’s better than being in an office.
“If you could get a tour of any city with a historical person, which city and who with?” —Coqui2008 from Twitter
Me: I’d love to get a historical tour of New York City with Frank Sinatra. I think that would be pretty interesting.
“Do you like cheese?” —Sandra from Facebook
Me: I love it. Blue cheese and Brie are my favorite.
“How long did it take you to break even on your blog?” —Wanderingtradr from Twitter
Me: It took me about one year before I could earn a living from my blog.
“Which South American countries should I prioritize, and what should I see?” —Runawaybrit from Twitter
Me: With five months, you could see most of the continent. I don’t like designing trips for people because everyone has different preferences, but if I was going, I wouldn’t miss Machu Picchu, Tierra del Fuego, Buenos Aires, the Bolivian Salt Flats, and the Amazon. Just to name a few things.
“Which destination(s) do you never get tired of going back to?” —Globetrotting Texan from Facebook
Me: Thailand, France, Amsterdam, and New York City are all places I go back often. They never get boring. I love them all and usually visit each once a year.
“How do you find out about the travel shows to attend?” —TakeYourBigTrip from Twitter
Me: The big ones, like the LA Times Show or the NY Times show, are pretty well announced and known. The smaller ones tend to send me an email inviting me. If I can fit them into my schedule, I normally attend.
“Where would be good places to go in Thailand?” —Meanimo from Twitter
Me: My favorite places in Thailand are Bangkok, Ko Chang, Ko Lanta, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, and Khao Sok National Park.
“Tell me bout your childhood dreams” —Bill from Facebook
Me: When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut! No, not really. I actually wanted to be Indiana Jones. I wanted to travel, discover hidden civilizations, and overall, just kick ass. I’m still working on two-thirds of that.
“What is your all-time favorite place?” —HollisCGuerra from Twitter
Me: That’s a hard question to answer. I love so many places, but my one paradise is Ko Lipe, Thailand. I lived there for a month when I began traveling and it was perfect. I’ll never go back, though. I’d simply be chasing a memory and I’d rather keep the one in my head untainted.
“Do you think you’ll have a corporate job again? Do you plan to visit China?” —Morriswt from Twitter
Me: No, never again. I don’t think I would make it anyways. I’d want to make my own schedule and take long lunches. As for China, one day I will get there. One day, I’ll get everywhere.
“How did you get started with such an amazing job? First steps?” —StudyabroadOISP from Twitter
Me: Start a blog and network with other bloggers and travelers. You just need to get out there and meet as many people as possible. That’s what I did. Seems to be working so far!
“Where are you right now?” —Katherine from Facebook
Me: Home in Boston with parents. I’m visiting for a few days before I go to the Galápagos Islands.