1. Who was John before leaving?
I was a 35 year old accountant, living and working in Belfast, happy with my own house, my own car and a great bunch of friends.
2. Why you decide to quit everything and start travelling?
As a brief history of my life, I was born in Sydney Australia, where I grew up for 14 years. Then my family decided to move back to Ireland, where they were from. After 20 years I decided that I wanted to return to Sydney because it would be a better lifestyle for my later years in life. So I gave up my job as an exciting accountant and before reaching Australia I wanted to go on one big adventure.
3. Where have you been till now and what next, do you have any schedule or flight back just booked?
Right now I am in Sydney, and I apologise to Francesca for replying many months late to her interview questions.
So where did I go? Well to start with, you can follow my whole trip on www.mybackpackertravels.com where I have some great stories and some nice pictures. Also on my website I am selling books via Amazon. I make avery small amount of commission, but it every little bit helps to the cost of maintaining the website.
So here is a short version of where I have been! I started in Argentina. Buenos Aires to be exact. From there I took a 17 hour bus trip to Iguazu Falls and then a 21 hour bus trip to Cordoba. I travelled through the north west region of Argentina, to Cafayate and onward to Salta. You must experience these places if you visit. I went hitchhiking for a 7 hour trip and I ended up spending 2 weeks on a road trip with the 2 ladies that picked me up.
With my new friends and their 4×4, I travelled north to Tilcara and then across to San Pedro de Atacama, desert in Chile. We were returning to Salta when I got stuck at the border for 4 days because I did not have an exit stamp from Chile. The problem was that we had drove 8 hours in the snow to reach the border and I would have to return the same journey for my exit stamp. Anyway, I got back to Salta after some more adventures and then I moved on to Bolivia. In Bolivia I did the tour of Salar De Uyuni, which was spectacular, but very rustic, so do no not expect luxury on this trip. However, Bolivia is so cheap. After the Salar I went to La Paz which is a city sitting at around 3600m. From there I travelled across to lake Titicaca which borders Bolivia and Peru.
From there I then crossed into Peru and travelled to Cuszco, where I did the Salkantay Trek for 5 days which arrives at Machu Picchu.
Back to Cuzco, and then I travelled to Arequipa, which was a place I fell in love with. I travelled from here to Colca Canyon which was spectacular.
From Colca Canyon, I returned to Arequipa and made my way to Huacachina, which are famous for huge sand dunes.
Then it was a straight trip via Lima to Huaraz, where I wanted to do the Santa Cruz 4 day trek. This was by far the best trekking of my entire trip.
As for Lima I did not spend any time there because I heard that it was a boring city. From Huaraz, I travelled into Central Northern Peru to a place called Chachapoyas. The people here were so friendly.
From Chachapoyas I then travelled on a 3 day cargo boat on the Amazon river to reach the remote city of Iquitos. From here I took a 5 day trek into the Amazon jungle with a company called Fly Catcher Tours. They were a very professional company. Then from Iquitos I travelled on a 9 hour speed boat further up the Amazon river to Leticia in Colombia. The only way to get into Colombia from Leticia is by plane. So I took a flight to Cali, Colombia.
Cali is famous for Salsa but there is nothing to do there unless you dance salsa. I don’t dance salsa!! I then went to the Zona Cafeteria, to a pretty place called Salento. From Salento it was then on to Medellin, where I also took a side trip to Guatape, a beautiful town on the lake. Then I spent 9 days in San Gil, an adventure sports capital of Colombia. Here I went exploring caves and also did white water rafting.
From San Gil I got a bus to Santa Marta, which is an ugly place. From here I went on the 5 day Ciudad Perdida trek where we reached the Lost City ruins after 4 days of hiking.
Then I travelled to Punta Gallinas. This really did feel like the end of the world, and I also experienced the loudest and scariest storm ever, all from sleeping outside in a hammock.
Back across Ciolombia then, to Cartagena, where I took a 5 day cruise through the San Blas Islands, which are part of the Carribean, and the best way to travel from Colombia to Panama, unless you want to buy the expensive flight tickets! I only spent 5 days in Panama and made my way to Costa Rica. Costa Rica was a beautiful country, but the prices are high for this part of the world. So I only spent 8 days here.
Then I reached Nicaragua, where I spent 5 days in San Juan Del Sur before travelling to Ometepe, which is an island with 2 volcanoes reaching above the clouds. From there, I went to Granada and then on to Leon, where I went volcano boarding down the Cerro Negro. Leon was my last port of call before I decided to end my trip.
Have you learned something more about yourself in this months?
Yes. I learnt a lot. I still feel young at heart, and at 35 years old, I still hav a big taste for adventure. I realized how much I love my family and friends, even though it is easier to travel now with technology like skype and emails.
I learnt that I will always find my path in life. If you read my blog, you will see lots of incidents which I survived, and I was proud of myself for never panicing and always looking at the positive side of life.
Have you met a person right now that really made the difference, that may be showed you a new point of view o teached you something special?
I met many people. By couchsurfing 4 times, I met the most amazing people that treated me like their family. They opened up their homes and their lives to let me join them and really understand how the locals live.
Have you changed some habits right now?
Yes, but bad ones. It was easy to travel and eat and drink like a king every day, especially when it was so cheap. But now, I am till eating cakes and ice creams and drinking lots of beers. I need to stop this otherwise my stomach will just continue to get bigger.
Do you thing that living an experience like a long travel you really understand what’s important for you in the life?
Yes for sure. I realized that I actually do like to have routine in my life. I did not want it when I was travelling, but I did always think that I am happy that when I end my trip, I will be ready to settle down in my life.
Something that I love to ask: give tree reasons because you like travelling alone.
- You can do your own thing (many times I changed my mind 10 minutes before taking a bus, which is not possible if there is more people involved)
- you cannot be responsible for someone else having a bad time
- you make more effort to make friends and there are so many other single travelers out there.
Witch was the most difficult aspect in this trip?
Deciding that it wad time to go home.
How did your organise your budget?
Most people will set out a daily or weekly budget when they travel.
I decided that I had a budget for my total trip and I would see how far I can travel. I chose to do everything that I wanted and I paid an extra 1 or 2 USD for a quieter hostel.
I would take a trek that would cost 200USD but then I would cook my own food in a hostel for the next week, to save back some of the money.
For me the key was to experience everything as best as I could and if that meant I did not make it to all the countries I planned, well at least I would know the countries I visited very well.
Other people will have a list of places they need to go to, so this will often determine what activites they do along the way. One piece of advice I would give is that if you need to take out a small loan to do some extra activities, you should do it, as you can always pay it back. You may never ever go back to that place where you did not do the activity!!