During my travels through South-East Asia, I somehow found myself on a bus, travelling into the highlands Vietnam, bound for Dalat. Drawing into this magical town, I stepped off with a couple of travellers who I did not yet know – little did we know we would be canyoning down waterfalls together in the near future! This English couple have been exploring for some time now and are currently enjoying my home country of Australia. It has been over a year since we parted ways and I was keen to hear what they’d been up to. This month, Interview with a traveller will give you an insight into the life of an adventurous nomad – let’s check out what Oliver Woodgate has to say about travel.
1. Where are you now and how did you get there?
I’m currently living in Melbourne and I’ve been here since June this year. My girlfriend and I completed our 88 days farm work in South Australia in 2015 to secure our 2nd year visa and now we’re living out the rest of our time here. We plan to travel the east coast before departing back to the UK.
2. When you arrive in a new place, what’s the first thing you do?
It depends on what time of day. If it’s in the morning we’ll go for coffee and if it’s in the evening we’ll go for a beer.
3. What determines your travel path?
Cost, weather and sights. How expensive a place is is often the main reason we would or wouldn’t go somewhere. However cost is relative. I went to Hong Kong for a week and spent a small fortune, but it was worth every penny and I had a fantastic time. Weather, because who wants to go during monsoon season? Sights, because it has to be worth the other two reasons.
4. What is the most adventurous/dangerous travel experience you’ve ever had?
Trekked to Everest base camp – not particularly dangerous, but exhilarating all the same. I went in April this year, spent two nights in Kathmandu and then flew to Lukla (one of the most dangerous airports in the world) and then started a two week trek to base camp. The first few days we were trekking through picturesque hill towns, frequented by locals, yaks and dogs. Later, the altitude grew and grew, trees and shrubbery became a thing of memory and all that was left was snow and rocks. Still, it always looked amazing. The 1st sighting of Everest has become such a cherished memory and a special moment.
5. Tell us about a time on your travels when you were completely out of your comfort zone!
I was on an island in the Philippines, called Siquador. Very little tourism, internet, swimmable sea and I had to take about 4 forms of transport to get there. It felt strange because, whenever I’ve felt out of place, I’d go to a bar or cafe and chat to other backpackers, or hop online and chat to friends, but there were no other backpackers and very limited internet, so I made much more effort to speak to locals and be happy in my own company. It was an experience that has helped me whenever I’ve been alone.
6. You have been on the road for a while now – how do you fund your travels?
I saved a fair amount of money before I departed from the UK, so I’ve been able to live off of that. When I did my farm work, I was able to save some more money to continue. Ideally, I would like to work remotely, but it seems I do not possess the right skill set!
7. How would you describe your travel style?
Flash packer! When I started backpacking at 25, I was so new to it all. I enjoyed the many simple things, simple meals, a bed and shower (hot water optional). Now it seems, after spending more time in Bali, that I’ve been dining in upmarket restaurants or sleeping in boutique hotels and hostels. For a long time though, I’ve wanted to live like a true backpacker again – cheap, awesome local meals, dorms to meet other travelers, local transport.
8. What keeps you coming back for more?
The people. Even more impressive than some of the things I’ve seen are the people I’ve met. Working 9-5 to then go out and get drunk at the weekends just doesn’t hold any appeal any more.
9. Have you got any future travel plans?
Absolutely! In April I’m going to China for a month, then two weeks in Japan, then Morocco, Italy and Montenegro, before I go home to see the family for a while.
10. What advice would you give someone who is just about to hit the road on their first big trip?
Plan, plan, plan! But be open to the idea that your plans can change at any moment, usually for the better in my experience.
Thanks so much for sharing your adventures. It’s always so great hearing from like-minded travellers. Congratulations on completing your farm work too – those Aussies really know how to work the backpackers! Have an amazing time on your next trip and I look forward to hearing all about it in the future!
Note: All answers and photos supplied by Oliver Woodgate