Tag Archives: meet other travelers

Traveller of the Month: Maxime Kaci on his early days, hitch hiking adventures, and saying goodbye…

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Name: Maxime Kaci
Age: 24
Nationality: French
Time on road: 3 years
Funds: saving, work abroad & busking

What initially inspired you to travel?

I think it all started when I was about eleven years old. My Dad came home from a two month backpacking trip in Southeast Asia with a scary beard and a backpack full of exotic presents. I couldn’t help but be intrigued and amazed by his adventures.
So he promised me on that day if I did well at school and learned English, he would take me with him. Five years later I graduated from high school and he took me to El Salvador for a two week surfing trip where he taught me all his travel tricks, and gave me the travel bug.

What kind of tricks did your Dad teach you?

Simple stuff like taking super care of your passport, and how important it is to have all your money stashed in different places. Put some in your jean pocket in your bag, some in your pharmacy bag, some on you, some in a shoe… just in case something happens, you will always have a bit of cash on you.

But the most important lesson was to smile and say hello to people; to be social and polite.

Oh! And how to negotiate for prices (haggle, no?!).

But the other tricks I won’t reveal… for they are my family secrets!

How have your inspirations to explore the world changed since you began travelling?

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I think at first I left to get away; to get away from all those questions that usually worries young people. “What will I do for work?”… “Should I study more?”… “How am I gonna be happy working every day?”

So I left in search of adventure, fun, friendship and excitement.
But after years of travelling and learning from new experiences I could definitely feel a shift in inspiration. I felt like I learned what I had to learn from traveling and socialising, and that it was time to travel with a different purpose. So now I am travelling with the idea of reaching financial freedom.

I feel that with financial freedom, I will be able to travel anywhere, live anywhere, learn anything without having to worry about income.

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What has been your most memorable experience whilst travelling abroad?

I kinda travel with the cheap flights, so when I realised I could fly to Europe much cheaper if I arrived in Norway, I decided that the best way to get back to the south of France (home), was to do a Euro trip from Oslo to Marseille, and hitch hike a big part of the way.

Hitch hiking really is a great way to travel. It’s exciting, a bit scary, but the people who usually pick you up turn out to be kind and loving people! Even the scary looking ones! Three years ago a guy in Turkey picked up me and my friend Ryan in his car. He was a big guy with a mean face, and a soldier tattooed on his arm!

When he ask us in bad English if we wanted to stay at a place with him, we didn’t feel so comfortable… but said yes! Eventually he brought us to his apartment where his entire family was waiting. Babies… grandparents… the neighbour even joined us later, and they welcomed us like Kings… fed us until we nearly exploded. He gave us comfortable places to sleep, a great breakfast, and he even dropped us to the next town!

That would have never happened if we had travelled in a coach filled with other tourists.

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What has been your most difficult or testing experience whilst travelling?

I think the most difficult part about travelling, is leaving people behind.
First you have to leave your family and friends at home. Then you create a new family and new friends on the road, and you will have to leave them as well. And there’s that weird feeling of leaving multiple homes behind. Buddhists believe that attachment is one of the biggest sources of suffering. Fortunately you get used to it, and I think it becomes a strength.

You basically become really good at saying goodbye.

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Where are you right now?

Today I just got home after another year on the road. I live in Hyeres, a small medieval town in the south of France. Its awesome being from a cool place, that you’re happy to come back to! And being back with family and friends is always a pleasure!

This past year I had decided to do a working holiday in New Zealand. The aim was to travel only using the money from playing guitar in the street. I spent 6 months there and it was incredible. The people are so nice. They will invite you into their house! I hitch hiked all around, and it’s never boring, so many incredible sceneries! You do feel like a hobbit there! (It really is a paradise for people who like to walk barefoot…)

I left in the summer, and headed for Bali for a month of surfing, and a family trip! It’s so nice seeing your family after six months, and to be able to travel together!

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What survival advice would you give to be travelers in this place?

One good piece of advice to travel easily in France, is to try to make a small effort to speak the language. Just learning how to say hello, how are you, my name is, etc…

The French people are very proud of their language and will appreciate a foreigner trying to speak it. This applies to many other countries.

And even if the cheese smells really bad, just try it.  You can always rinse it with wine…

If you had to recommend one place in the world to visit, where would it be, and why?

For any new travelers who want a culture change, adventures, and fun for a first travel, I suggest Thailand.
Thailand is a great country, easy to travel in, easy to meet new people (local and fellow traveler), beautiful, and full of surprises.
I know it’s becoming a backpacker Disneyland, but I think it is a great introduction country for solo traveler. Plus if you enjoy yourself, from Thailand you can easily get into many other countries.

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Where are you planning to visit next?

Next I’m going to California. I will be reunited with my friend and associate, Ryan. Together we will try to mix travel and business with the promotion of a new product which you can find at http://www.coloredison.com – the first completely wirelessly controlled 12V RGBW outdoor lighting system.
We will be traveling in a 1974 Volkswagen van, surfing the coast and using the lights in fun and creative ways.

Do you have any blogs, websites or any other form of social media you would like The Darby Diaries to share with our readers?

Ryan and I started a YouTube channel at the beginning of our travels where we try to inspire and entertain with our crazy shenanigans !

https://YouTube.com/user/MaxBrianOnRoad

You can also find us on Instagram :
@maxime_cassady
@boston_on_road

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Traveller of the Month: Amanda Mason on Earthquakes in Everest, Travelling solo in India, and the ‘Travel Bug’

Name: Amanda Mason

Age: 31

Nationality: British

Time on the Road (this trip or general outline): 1 year, currently 3 months into this trip

Funds (saving/working/’freegan’/mixed): Have been saving for a few years

What initially inspired you to travel?

I got the ‘travellers bug’ at 19 years old when I first took off on my own and travelled around the USA! Once you have had the opportunity to see more of the world it becomes almost an obsession to see it all! I’ve since been travelling many times around various countries. Any time I can visit somewhere new I do! After recently being made redundant at work I grabbed the opportunity with both hands to get away again. I had been working very hard over the last few years, sacrificing various travel opportunities and I had very much ‘missed the open road’ as they say!

How have your inspirations to explore the world changed since you began travelling?

At the moment they haven’t really, I still want to see everything! I plan to visit every country possible, and then I really can say I’ve been around the world!

What has been your most memorable experience abroad?

Climbing to base camp of Mount Everest! Reaching 5380M was a shattering, body exhausting experience, but totally worth it. The views you can see as you climb through the Himalayas really are indescribably beautiful! Pictures do not do them justice.

Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Amanda reached Everest Base Camp, Nepal, earlier this year

What would you say has been your most difficult or testing experience whilst travelling?

I would also have to say the Everest base camp trek, as I was in the Himalayas during the earthquake. I saw so much destruction and devastation, it really does give you a whole new perspective on your own life and how lucky I really am! I felt and saw some heartbreaking sites. Unfortunately it’s not the sort of experience that I could even begin to put into words.

Himalayas, Nepal
Himalayas, Nepal
“Pictures do not do them justice!”

Where are you right now?

Currently at Don Det – part of the 4000 islands, Laos

Stunning Views: Don Det, 4000 Islands, Laos
Stunning Views: Don Det, 4000 Islands, Laos

Do you have any survival advice for new travellers in this place? 

The currency is very hard to convert mentally! Get the free currency converter app on your phone, it really helps and you don’t need wifi to use it.

Hanging with locals in Pakse, Laos
Hanging with the locals in Pakse, Laos

If you had to recommend one place in the world to visit, where would it be?

India (West Coast – Goa and Kerala)

Let’s talk a bit about travelling solo in India as a female…

I travelled alone mostly in India, and it was amazing. It helps to have some basic self-defence knowledge as I took Krav Maga lessons before heading off on this journey. This gave me a bit more confidence in taking care of myself so I would definitely recommend taking a course if you are planning to travel alone! I found that in India it felt like being a minor celebrity; I got a lots of stares and many people wanted their photo taken with me, but if you can deal with that you’ll be okay!

If anyone does something that is not okay with you and you feel threatened, make a scene as a lot of the locals will look out for you. For example one day, some Indian men were taking my photo of me in my bikini and I felt very uncomfortable. I shouted at the men and they quickly left!  But all in all I had the best time in India and rarely had any problems as a solo female traveller.

It really is very beautiful in so many places in India, and it’s great if you are travelling on budget as it’s so cheap for accommodation and food!

Amanda visits the world famous Taj Mahal in Agra, India
Amanda visits the world famous Taj Mahal in Agra, India
Making friends on a hostel rooftop in Delhi, India
Making friends on a hostel rooftop in Delhi, India

Where do you plan to visit next?

Laos, Burma and Thailand will be the next few months of travel.

Ancient temples: Amanda visited the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Riep, Cambodia.
Ancient temples: Amanda visited the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Riep, Cambodia.
Having fun with fellow travellers in Thakhek, Laos
Having fun with fellow travellers in Thakhek, Laos
Many beautiful waterfalls are found across South East Asia, such as this one in Pakse, Laos
Many beautiful waterfalls are found across South East Asia, such as this one in Pakse, Laos

Thank you very much for your time Amanda and enjoy the rest of your adventures!

The Darby Diaries

Traveller Of the Week: From Scotland to Australia with one simple rule – NO FLYING

“IM DONE INNIT” – an extract from Stu’s Facebook status, posted just over two weeks ago.

After a year of talks with cargo ship companies I had my bag packed and was preparing to sleep in the cargo ships spare room beginning in Hong Kong, my last chance of getting to Australia without a plane and they cancelled on me due to a storm. There won’t be another one for months and it’s impossible to sail/ferry/swim to OZ due to the strict immigration laws. Woke up a few hours ago with one of the worst hangovers of my life thought f*ck it and booked a flight to Melbourne and am leaving for the airport now. 

Normally suspicious of an over the top ‘I went on holiday for too long and learnt so much when I did f*ck all on a beach’ status but would like to thank some people. Everyone who put up with me when I started working two jobs and saving up almost two years ago; sorry for falling asleep at your birthdays/every other events. I will repay you in annoying stories that I will find a way to fit into every conversation until you leave me, The Mongolian horse that dragged me into the desert, everyone who let me crash on their couch/car/floor/treehouse or work in their farm/bar/school. All the great people I travelled and lived with and all the mad sociopaths/’professional thinkers’/goofs for the entertainment, everyone who kept me sane over the  internet/skype when I was crazy homesick and not feeling myself and all my family especially mum and dad for being so decent and dealing with awful emails. 

I’ve lost everything (I have two t-shirts and swimming shorts and Muai Thai shorts and for some reason a suit in my bag) and definitely lost my nut and for the record I was never trying to escape my life at home, I just wanted to see some elephants. So will definitely not be my last big trip, but next time you should probably come with me.

And once again all the people I travelled with and the many people every day who pointed me in the right direction/randoms who gave me lifts to places and shared food with me. I can’t speak any other languages but all over the world there is a look of disappointment and frustration that I think is only made for when dealing with me. Didn’t manage to get [to Australia] overland but f*ck it eh was a good laugh for the most part.

Looking forward to having a go in Melbourne. Cheers and beers.

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Name:                  Stuart Nixon
Age:                       21
Nationality:     Scottish

Time on the Road (this trip or general outline):

10 months spent travelling from Scotland to China without flying. Now living & working in Australia for the next 10 months. Afterwards? Who knows!

Funds (saving/working/’freegan’/mixed):

I worked two supermarket jobs simultaneously for a year to save up for this trip.

What initially inspired you to travel?

My curiosity to see the world was always there from a young age, but over the last few years I had started to question close friends who were between ten and twenty years older than me. I got a general feeling that quite a few of them wished they had taken an opportunity to see more of the world. As I approached my twenties I knew I would need to make it happen soon.

How have your inspirations to explore the world changed since you began travelling?

This is the dangerous part! As much as I have learned to appreciate the comforts of home, I continuously meet people on my travels that inspire me to keep going for as long as possible.

Nothing ever really goes to plan; you start off with these fantasies of cheap flights, a museum visit, maybe a few parties, before booking a flight back home. But then you suddenly find yourself in the company of the next travelling inspiration and it makes your mind go crazy with new ideas for yourself and your friends.

I met an English guy who, one New Years’ morning, got in a taxi to Heathrow Airport in London and jumped straight onto the Internet there to ask his hung-over friends and family to decide where he was going to go. He had spent the last nine months getting directed around the world by an online community who chose his every move, be it training with Shaolin monks, or becoming an escort in Toronto when the money went low.

Inspiration doesn’t stop there. There were the newlyweds I met, who travelled for nine months wearing their dress and suit. And the man I met in China, who had cycled all the way there from his home in the Netherlands. He had initially attempted to cycle throughout the eastern European winter, but he had turned around and headed to Spain to wait it out. It was there that he met his girlfriend. When I met him in China, he was talking about getting trains from China straight back to Spain after a year and a half of his bicycle journey.

I mentioned it’s the dangerous part, because when you actually meet people who are doing these things and learn how they have made it possible, your thought process fast-forwards from “maybe I could do something like that in five or six years…” to “done” with an automatic calendar and budget plan appearing in your head.

What has been your most memorable experience abroad?

For a single experience, I’d say it was touring around the Mongolian-Manchurian Steppe with some Swedish travellers who I met in an old Russian Volkswagen. I was dragged through the Gobi desert by a horse during that weekend (Do this! ((not the horse dragging part)) I recommend booking the tour through UB Guesthouse in Ulaanbatar. It’s beautiful, you’ll never feel further from home and it’s very cheap!). The most memorable part of the whole thing (and I know this is going to sound most cliché) really was all the great people I met.

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When I used to look at a world map I’d get excited at the things I could potentially see. Now, when I think about the countries I’ve travelled or even just hear someone talking about the country, I find myself thinking of ‘her’ and ‘him’ and all the stupid stuff we did there. Even when I see the countries on the map that I haven’t been to yet, I can think of travellers I’ve met who live there, and all the great things they have had to say about their hometowns, and then I can’t wait to visit! So that’s always an exciting feeling to get out of traveling.

What would you say has been your most difficult or testing experience whilst travelling?

Hands-down, it’s missing home. I can deal with long train rides and smelly over cramped hostels, but even at the best of times I would have died just to spend an afternoon at my local pub with some old friends, or sat in watching TV at my Mums.

Where are you right now?

Melbourne, Australia

Do you have any survival advice for new travellers in this country?

I just arrived here a week ago! So all I can say so far is bring some money! Or better yet stay and get a job. I swear down, I got a job offer to do labour work on the first day while minding my own business watching a DVD in the hostel. So now I can enjoy the laid back day-to-day Australia life and save (the moneys good!) enough to have some fun travelling up the coast.

If you had to recommend one place in the world to visit, where would it be?

Mongolia! Just go and find out…

Where do you plan to visit next?

Home for Christmas hopefully! Then who knows. Like I said – the ideas keep ticking around your head…

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You can read more about Stuart Nixon via his personal travel blog which he has recently started (now he has more reliable internet access!), which is: http://www.everythingilearneded.tumblr.com/tagged/learnededed/chrono