Tag Archive for interview

Interview with Manu of My1stimpressions about her 6-month trip around Africa

Manu at Wanaka lake

Who are you and what is My 1st impressions about?

 

My name is Emanuela but everybody calls me Manu. I am Italian, even though I keep moving around the world since 10 years. So far, I have been living in Norway twice, Denmark, Scotland, London also twice, Australia, Holland; “I am a globetrotter with a gipsy heart”, as someone definied me some time ago.

During my many travels I always wrote lots of notes of the places where I was. I called them “My 1st impressions”, as they were my purest feelings on the spots where I was. I never write anything later, I always write everything wherever I am, in front of a waterfall in Iceland, on a cliff in Scotland, in a neverending valley in New Zealand.

Since last year I decided to share these pages on my blog My 1st impressions, together with the photos I took and keep taking along the road. I love nature, landscapes and unknown places, and I love photography as it’s the only way I can show people the beauty I see around the world.

Everyone has a first impression…

Manu at Wanaka lake

Manu at Wanaka lake

When are you going to visit Africa? Tell us more about your project.

 

In January I will join Vikings Across Africa to start this amazing 6-month journey from Reykjavik to Cape Town, overlanding all Europe and West Africa in a truck together with 15 other crazy people.

It will be the first expedition ever to go from Iceland to South Africa.

 

Which countries?

 

We start this trip in Iceland, then from there we will take the ferry to the Far Oer Isles where we shoud stay for some days, then one more ferry to Denmark.

From Denmark we will continue our trip crossing Germany, France and Spain, and in Gibraltar we will leave Europe to Morocco.

In Marocco we will have the first contact with Africa, we will spend some time in the capital Rabat to get some visas, then Fez, Marrakesh and Casablanca.

After Morocco I think the real adventure in Africa will start. We will head to South, into the desert of Mauritania, then Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, where we wil spend some time relaxing on the beach, Benin, Nigeria and if not possible due to the political situation, we will go around it through Niger and Ciad, to arrive in Camerun. From there we will be heading to Congo and then Angola, Namibia and then all the way down to South Africa.

The route keeps changing as it’ s really subject to the political and burocratic situation of some countries where getting a visa can become a mission impossible at times.

Tour map across Africa

Tour map across Africa

 

What is the main goal of your 6 months there?

 

I don’t have a main goal for this trip. I just want to travel and live this unique experience at the fullest. I am aware I am going to do and to see something unique, that not everybody can do in life. I want to get the most out of this trip and of myself. This is a great chance to unplug with the world and give myself 6 months of unforgettable freedom from everything that in life we consider so essential. When this trip will be finished, I hope to be reacher inside. And there will be some very simple things like hot water or light that will astonish me and that I will appreciate so much more than now and Africa won’t be anymore the country we see on the TV documentary but will be a country with a heart, with amazing people and landscapes and nature and life…this is the real richness I want to pursue during this trip, the awareness of the human being.

 

What do you think will be the most difficult for you while there?

 

Luckily I don’t have any idea what it will be the most difficult part of this trip for me. I usually travel alone and love traveling alone, taking my time and making my own choices, so I guess traveling and dealing everyday with 15 people could be tricky sometimes, but it’s a great challenge as well. Some of these people will become great friends and this is also nice and part of the game.

 

Do you have any doubts? E.g. food or anything?

 

Not really. Not regarding the trip. I choose to travel for 6 months in Africa and I think when I decided to do this I was a bit conscious of the fact that it’s not going to be neither easy nor comfortable. I don’t mind. I don’t mind to eat less, to have a bath in a cold river, to sleep on the floor in a tent for months and months. This is Africa. I never thought in life to go to Africa before just because I never really saw myself in this kind of all inclusive luxury packets where you go there surrounded by rich people doing safari and stuff like that and coming back not having even an idea of the real life there. With this trip I will have a chance to go to Africa and live its life fully, with all the troubles and risks that it includes, the real life … and I love that.

At the beginning people made me really scared with the malaria issue and stuff like that, but that’s part of the game. Imagine people dealing with this everyday, without our knowledge and our means. I go there aware of this risks, but also aware of the fact I don’t want to be overtaken by it.

 

How are you getting ready for such a trip?

 

At the moment the occupation I am mostly busy with is taking time and care of my friends that I am going to leave, here in Amsterdam, where I currently live.

That’s the most difficult part as well, as it’s always hard to say goodbye to the amazing people of your life.

For the rest I am slowly realizing this trip will start soon. Very soon. I am almost running out of time and it’s becoming exciting. The most important part of the preparation has to do with the vaccinations, and it’s almost done. 12 vaccinations in total, I should be ok for a while and for a lot of other trips for the upcoming years.

 

How are you going to finance your trip in Africa?

 

I have been working hard and sparing money all year for this trip, minimizing my night outs and fun time. I still had a great time anyway, and with this I also learnt how to have fun with less.

On my website My 1st impressions people can sponsor my trip, by making a small donation either to get a postcard form one of the 20 countries I will be visiting next year or just by contributing with that they want. They are my real sponsors and I love that.

Manu

Manu

 

What are you going to do when the trip finish?

 

No idea! And I love it! I will be on the other side of the planet, in Cape Town, considered by many one of the most amazing towns in the world, and I don’t really think I am going to take a plane the day after the end of the trip to come back to Holland. I will probably hang around there for a while, or maybe keep going … I need to go back to South America again at some stage of my life!

 

Thanks, Manu, for such a great interview. Good luck with those 6 months around Africa.

Love,

Alex

Interview with Edcel of SoloflightEd I met in the Philippines

with Edcel and others in Cebu

I met a lot of interesting people when in the Philippines in November 2011. It was amazing 3 weeks there and I just I spent more time in there, if only visa let me!

Already before I visited, I talked online to some Filipino bloggers and then we met later on there. One of them was Ed, a guy who really knows what he is doing 🙂

with Edcel and others in Cebu

with Edcel and others in Cebu

 

So Ed,

1. Who are you? Tell us something about you.

My name is Edcel and I blog at soloflightEd.com. I’m currently backpacking in Southeast Asia after I quit my day job of 6 years in the Philippines. I’m living as a digital nomad where I bring my work with me wherever I go. I also enjoy performing headstands and crazy stunts in my travel adventures (oh yeah)

 

2. What is your favorite place, city and country and why? (all three of them)

Place – I love the beach! I love the sun.

City – Singapore, it’s very organized.

Country – Aside from my home country Philippines, Cambodia. Very relaxed and the people are genuinely friendly.

 

3. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?

Dubai, I’ll go there. I need to be there.

soloflighted in Hongkong

Soloflighted in Hongkong

 

4. What do you love the most about your home country?

So many islands, so many beaches, so many places that are waiting to be explored!

 

5. How travel changes you?

It broadens my perception towards life because of being exposed to other places and culture other than my own.

 

Thanks so much for this quick interview, Ed.

Love,

Alex

 

Interview with Matt Fagg I met in Thailand and then Slovakia

when met Matt on Koh Lanta

I met Matt Fagg through Couchsurfing when we were in Thailand both at the same time. After not being able to meet, we finally spent a few hours together and some more friends on Koh Lanta island. Then Matt during his European trip visited Slovakia at the time when I was at home so he spent a few days in my home town.

WARNING: Never force Matt to drink Slovak plum brandy slivovica … unless you want him to punish you with a painful massage and acupuncture 🙂

when met Matt on Koh Lanta

when met Matt on Koh Lanta

So Matt,

1. Who are you? Tell us something about you.

I’m Matt Fagg, a physiotherapist by profession, though I rarely seem to be working! My life generally revolves around chasing the sun, moving to tropical areas in winter, and to beaches in the summer. I am a competitive basketball player, and enjoy almost every sport in the offseason. I love a simple life, and nothing makes me more happy than swimming in the ocean under a sunny blue sky, knowing that life is great and I am free…if I have a beer in my hand and have beautiful women around me then that is even better 😉

2. What is your favorite place, city and country and why? (all three of them)

In life I find it very difficult to pick favourites, because my tastes are quite diverse and it is hard to compare two things that are completely different…but these are definitely in the top 3:

Place: Gili Trawangan, an island in Indonesia not far from Lombok and Bali. I spent one week on this paradise and completely fell in love with the place. A place where there is no stress, there are no cars on the island, the weather is always warm…each day when you wake up you can decide to do whatever you want, from surfing or scuba diving, to sunbaking on the perfect white sand beaches surrounded by impressive mountains. Everything is really cheap, and some of the food I had at the markets was amongst the best I have had in the world. The relaxed and happy atmosphere on the island makes it easy to meet travellers and locals alike, for me it is one of the perfect places I have experienced 🙂

City: I am not a big city person, so while I have been to some very impressive cities in different parts of the world, I would have to pick my favourite from some smaller places. Cairns in Australia is one that comes to mind, only a small city, but there is always something to do. The great barrier reef is just offshore with the best diving that I’ve ever had…There are tropical rainforests everywhere…you can drive along the coast road with mountains on one side and water on the other, and the weather is never cold! Plus the city is always filled with many interesting people from around the world!
Queenstown in New Zealand is another favourite, set on a lake surrounded by impressive mountains, you can go skydiving, skiing, jet-boating or frisbee golfing 😉 Another special place in the world!

Country: My favourite country is of course Australia 😉 But more about that later…If I was to pick a country that I have travelled to, then Norway has to come on top. 3 of the most amazing experiences of my life surrounded by the most beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers, fjords that I have ever seen! The island of Tromsø at the top of the world, inside the arctic circle, surrounded all around by snow-capped mountains despite the sun being up 24 hours/day is a remarkable place, I remember having a smile on my face all day, and feeling overwhelmed by the unique and remote beauty of the place. Hiking to Preikestolen and Trolltunga, meeting random friends along the way and having everything work out completely perfectly despite being stuck in such a big country by myself with no car, tent or plans are experiences I will never forget! Norwegians are among the most hospitable and helpful people I have met as well, definitely a country that is close to my heart 🙂

Matt in Norway

Matt in Norway

3. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?

Maybe just some random un-populated point on the map, because if I had the power to be anywhere in the world, then it would seem silly to go somewhere where I could just get a train or plane. I would enjoy the challenge of trying to survive and find my way back to safety, and to be able to say that I’ve been in a place that noone knows about!

4. What do you love the most about your home country?

I love a lot of things about Australia!! The amazing beaches, coral reefs, rainforests, deserts, vineyards, waterfalls, animals and a whole heap of other natural things that I could list forever….The freedom of living in the country and the life I can choose to live, following the good weather 12 months of the year and knowing I will always have a job in whichever city or town I choose. Australian people were voted the 2nd most friendly in the world, and I love being able to know that wherever you go there are friends waiting to be met. And of course my friends and the Australian sense of humour, I always love laughing hard at ridiculous things with old friends, this is something that is hard to find on the road.

5. How travel changes you?

I am a different person when I travel, definitely. I am not worried about time, I am looking at the world in a different way, each day is another adventure, and not part of the same routine. There are lows and highs of energy, and I am generally more tired from always doing things, talking to new people, partying etc. but I am always in some kind of happy mood! I think by experiencing different cultures and standards of living you can also get a fresh view on life. When I went to Asia I saw guys who earn $5/day if they are lucky, eating rice everyday and living in small huts with their families, and they were generally much happier than most people I see living in cities in the developed world, complaining about traffic, the weather, and the price of their daily coffee.

 

Thanks so much, Matt. Not so many thanks for the very painful acupuncture you gave me … and the pain all the days after 😛

Love,

Alex

Interview with cool tattoo guy Christopher Stetson

Chris in Costa Rica

I met Chris when rafting on Pacuare river in Costa Rica. We both happened to travel around Costa Rica for a few weeks at the same time and met when decided to try that crazy rafting on one of the top ten rafting rivers in the world. With all the cool tattoos and muscles he has, he looked much more suitable for rafting than me, a beach girl 😀

I just wish we had more time to talk … but maybe we will meet again somewhere else in the world or when I go to visit Canada in 2013 🙂

 

So Chris, tell us more about you and your traveling:

1. Who are you? Tell us something about you.

My name is Christopher Stetson, I’m a heavy duty mechanic for a CAT dealership in Canada. Which means I fix big machines that say Caterpillar on the front of them.

Chris in Costa Rica

Chris in Costa Rica

2. What is your favorite place, city and country and why? (all three of them)

I can name my 3 favorite places that I’ve been which are:

A) Phuket, Thailand I loved all of the beaches that were in the area and the night life was pretty crazy.
B) Vancouver, Canada I love this city for the people and the scenery. It is a beautiful with lots of parks, beaches and cool bridges.
C) Varadero, Cuba I love this place for the beaches white sand for miles and the people are great. Awesome rum and cigars! But most of all for the fact there wasn’t any Americans there!

3. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?

Cairo, Egypt because of the history… I’m kind of a nerd and love history.

4. What do you love the most about your home country?

I love everything about my country, I love the reputation that we have with the rest of the world. We are a peaceful place that everyone else in the world generally likes.

5. How travel changes you?

Traveling has made me more thankful for what I have. It has made me less shy and more out going then I was. It has totally made me a better person.

 

Thanks Chris for the interview. Hope to see you around the world again for some crazy adventures 🙂

Love,

Alex

Interview with the best travel buddy Jason Montana of Montana the Explorer

crazy sexy fun traveler with Jason at Carmen Chocolate Hills in the Philippines

During my South East Asia trip in 2011, I decided to go to the Philippines for 3 weeks because of 2 reasons – Jason (and Mica) convincing me was one of them, and super beautiful beaches was the second one.

Jason planned a travel week together when we visited Palawan island, did some island hopping around, then I got my flights to Cebu and also Bohol. To say it was a lot of fun would be an understatement. Jason is the best travel buddy 🙂

The pic of us below is from Carmen Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines 🙂

 

crazy sexy fun traveler with Jason at Carmen Chocolate Hills in the Philippines

1. Who are you? Tell us something about you.

I am Jason Montana, a certified beach bum and traveler. I live in Cebu Philippines and currently working as recruitment specialist in a BPO company. Definitely not a home buddy but an outdoor person who loves traveling, exploring, food trips (but I don’t eat vegetables), crazy long rides, doing extreme activities that give me an adrenaline rush and of course beaching. I also own a travel blog named www.montanatheexplorer.com –where I write and share my crazy experiences while hitting the road, some destination ideas and travel tips in the Philippines.

 

2. What is your favorite place, city and country and why? (All three of them)

This one is difficult because I happen to love two places and choosing one is not possible for me. I’d go for El Nido in Palawan and Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte. When I travel and choose a destination, pristine beaches must be always on the top of my list. The fine white sand, the water and the sound of the waves made me feel at home and relax. I don’t know but somehow I can feel that I’m a sea creature on my past life! Hahaha

For my favorite City and Country, that would be Singapore. The city is so clean and the people are very well disciplined. I also happen to love how small the city yet very progressive.

 

3. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?

Definitely New York, USA and to be more specific in Manhattan! Hahaha. Though NY is such an expensive city but it has so many things to do and to see. I love their super busy streets, the restaurants, the bars, the museums and of course Central Park. Plus the fact that the city happened to be the setting of my all time favorite tv series and movie Sex and the City. That already convinced me that NY USA is my dream destination and hopefully I will be able to go
there someday.

 

4. What do you love the most about your home country?

Our unique culture, the world-class beaches and other breathtaking destinations and of course the People.

Jason at the beach - his favorite place

Jason at the beach – his favorite place

 

5. How travel changes you?

Traveling totally transformed me to become more mature and wiser in dealing life. Usually I travel solo and that really demanded a lot from me. I can no longer rely to my family and friends since they are miles away. That’s why I had to take care of myself and that’s a huge responsibility already, you got to be really wise or else everything will be fucked up.

Traveling also changed the way I see life. It made me realized that life is such a precious gift given to us and we should not waste it. We need start doing what we love and always pursue our passions.

 

Jason, hun, thanks for your answers! I hope to see you soon again and have those great conversations and laughs like we had every day!

 

Love,

Alex