This week’s travel tales post features our good friend Dave Brett from TravelDave.co.uk. We met Dave when we arrived in Chiang Mai back at the start of March and we quickly became friends.
Have a read of the interview and you’ll see what he’s been up to….
Tell us where you’re from, and a little about your blog?
My names Dave and my travel blog is called Travel Dave, took me months to come up with that name! I grew up in the North East of London in a town called Chingford, it’s popular for being the last train stop on the Liverpool street line so it’s rapidly blurted out that the train is departing to Chingford every 20 minutes, that’s how most people know Chingford.
You’ve been travelling for quite some time now, where did you start your journey, and where are you currently?
I first started my travel adventure in Finland, I’d made a whole group of Finnish friends at a scout camp when I was 15 and had to go visit them when they went home to Finland after camping with them that Summer in the UK. This year in December will mark the 10th anniversary of that very first trip that I took to go out and visit them, been about 83 countries since that trip and I have no reason to stop travelling any time soon too.
At the moment I’m on the island of Koh Phagnan, Thailand, aim to be here for a few months, the island life in the South of Thailand is not one to be missed.
Can you tell us a little about your days travelling around the world as part of a documentary for Bebo?
Crazy to think that even happened, but it did! I had just graduated from College studying Travel and Tourism and I was looking for the next big thing, I was working in a bar to save up some travelling funds to go around the world and then an email popped in my inbox asking if I wanted to go travelling around the world for a year with a film crew! Normally these types of things you never think you will win or its just spam, but I was working hard pulling pints and I just wanted to travel straight away, so I applied. Long story short, beat 2,000+ applications, a few interviews later, I won it! My first full time job out of college, travelling the world with a film crew across the world visiting, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, even Hawaii! All because I went for it, put my energy behind it and had a passion to travel they liked what I could offer and it was a done deal, it’s all about being good at telling your story and getting your passion across, was an incredible moment in my life and truly awesome to have all these videos to look back at in the future on YouTube.
You’ve stayed in some cool spots along your travels – which one stands out the most for you?
Too many great places to choose, that’s a tricky one, I would have to go with Kandersteg in Switzerland, I worked as a volunteer for one Spring season on an International scout center called KISC. Our uniforms were pink, we didn’t care, we were a total of around 20 internationals from all around the world, Australia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Iceland you get the picture, it was just pure awesome to live together in the same house, clean the chalets during the day, live in the Swiss mountains and just enjoy life, the Swiss are great at enjoying life. It’s a stunning country and made so many international friends from this experience.
Is there any country you’ve not yet visited that’s a must see destination for you?
Cuba, my uncle Rob got me into enjoying good cigars in my late teens, and it would be incredible to visit this country and explore the cigar plantations. My mum recently went and she’s been bragging since that she’s been to a country I haven’t yet, I’ll give her that one, happy she’s just as adventurous as I am.
What first made you want to travel?
A girl I had a crush on, isn’t that always the reason why guys start travelling? Well, I’m happy it happened because I haven’t stopped travelling since.
If you had to choose your favorite destination so far, what would it be and why?
Iceland, Iceland, Iceland. You simply have to go to Iceland! The country blew me away, normally its the people and culture I find most interesting, but Icelandics are crazy (in a fun way) and the whole country is alive, geographically its the youngest country and you can explore icebergs, waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, it simply has everything! If you’re into photography, nature, hiking, outdoors, then Iceland is spot on, I visited in the summer, which is like a British autumn still and explored the ring road over the course of two months, an incredible journey and connects you with nature in mind blowing way. Plus, they have loads of free natural public hot springs worth exploring, very relaxing and the locals know how to find them, just ask, I’m pretty sure they are the same ones the Vikings used to use.
Name two personal items that you can’t live without while travelling?
Started to travel with a down jacket, I don’t have a jumper or anything else as a main layer, trying to always work out different ways to pack lightly as I’ve only got hand luggage with me. Has been testing it out on this trip and its blown my mind, real game changer, Its Like a mobile sleeping bag and it packs down to nothing.
Compression dry bags, not packing cubes as such, but dry bags that suck out all the air, turns a bulk of clothes into nothing by just pushing out all the air, this means I don’t have to turn my underwear inside out, flip them around and try and use them for 4 days straight, get a fresh pair every day, happy days! Life of luxury for a backpacker.
What’s your most epic travel stories to date?
Has to be the Dutch Carnaval, it’s an event that you’ve probably never heard of but it’s one of my favorite best kept secrets, the Dutch in the south sure know how to party and this one week partyfest is for sure one of those weeks that creates epic travel stories, I just want to keep my secret, but you can visit yourself and create your own stories: http://traveldave.co.uk/ultimate-guide-celebrating-dutch-carnival-netherlands/
Is there one post on your blog that you prefer over all the rest? If so, then why?
Erasmus is such an awesome special time that anyone in the EU can try for themselves, to go and study in another country is such an awesome, powerful thing, if you can do it, for sure do it! You will create friends for life and have an out of this world experience.
Was there a specific moment when you realized that travel was a lifestyle you wanted to pursue?
It has to be after my third time couch surfing in Austria, Graz, Had this moment when I realized I was very young, but doing something incredible and this was only the start, learning how to open up travel with an affordable budget from a young age taught me that travel is possible, it doesn’t have to blow my bank If I’m frugal about it and that can unlock more travel to happen in the future. Most importantly a more fun way to travel through staying and getting to know the locals.
What motivates you to keep travelling, and do you have days where you think a more settled life back home is more attractive?
I keep travelling because there is such a large world out there with very little time to see it all, I’m actually not sure where home is anymore, If I had to say home I’d probably say Holland, it looked after me well and its a great homely kind of place Holland, lovely fried snacks!
During your travels, what’s the best travel tip you’ve received?
Just always go with the flow, never strays, if you miss a bus, no biggie, get out a book and wait for the next one, it really helps go stay calm and take it easy.
Connecting with locals can be one of the most rewarding things about travel. Do you agree?
Yes, Fully agree, That’s what first attracted me to travel in the early years, I was a big fan of Couchsurfing and getting to know locals directly, great fun way to travel.
Is there any one country that you’ve been to that you didn’t like, and would make you not want to return?
100% Tujuania, It was a massive mistake, I was in San Dieago and the opportunity to cross the boarder into Mexico and tick off another country was right in front of me, so I went for it. Immediately regretted that decision, it was a long mans waste land where anything goes, and you’re now stuck in it until you run back to the US boarder. The following month I changed my plans and went to Mexico city and Tulum, which was the real side of Mexico I was searching for.
In order to sustain a life of travel, you need to have some sort of income stream. How have you funded your travels?
My biggest stream of income comes from my ebook sales, the more books you write, the more income you have, it’s a case of working out how to write your first ebook through lots of trial and era, it’s not rocket science. Discovering a system that works best, then replicating this success, then the more books, the more sales, simple.
Recently I wrote a book called Digital Nomad, it took me two weeks of solid writing, my first book Travel Hacking took 7 months, it was through the learning process of the first book I could break the writing process down and make it easier.
It’s also important to note that if you have a travel blog, it can be an empty shop for frequent visitors, putting a product on your shelf such as an Ebook allows a way for your valued readers give something back if they value your content.
Another valuable point is to not focus on social media promotion or google when it comes to promoting your Amazon Kindle ebook. Spend your time working on promotion within Amazon such as getting your description keywords correct.
What are your travel plans for the future?
At the moment I’m typing this on a high speed train from Hamburg, Germany on my way to Stockholm, Sweden, my train is about to pull up into Copenhagen, which gives me a few hours to catch up over coffee with a few friends at the train station. Got to love Inter Rail, freedom to roam and explore Europe with one pass.
After my Travels around Europe I’m heading back to Chiang Mai, Thailand to do some work before flying around South East Asia a little with an Airasis Asean Pass, then plan to head to TBEX Bangkok to meet up with some travel bloggers, that’s the plans for now, knowing me something else will pop up during that time.
Favorite travel quote?
Those who wander are not lost.
Connect with Dave: