This week’s guest post comes from Nathan, travel blogger behind The TRVL Blog. He explains ‘in 2013 I went on a six month backpacking trip around South East Asia. That trip was an eye-opener. It showed me that travelling didn’t have to be expensive. I’m now on an indefinite trip around the world and I’m showing you how you can travel for cheaper & smarter too.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Nathan Dugal and I’m from Manchester, UK. I’m living in Melbourne at the moment on a working holiday visa. Me and my girlfriend have plans to come back and live here permanently though (hopefully!)
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
In terms of full time or part time, I find it kind of hard to categorise myself. I suppose I would be a part time traveller. Ultimately, I’m not full time, as I don’t have the means to earn an income while on the road. However, I take extended trips of 1 month + when I do go travelling. I’m definitely a backpacker. I stay in budget accommodation, partake in budget activities and eat cheap local food, attempting to stretch out my trips for as long as possible.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
In the past I have worked back home in the UK, in a mundane job for around 8 months a time, in order to save up enough to pack my bags and jump on a plane. I have done this twice, once before a 6 month South East Asia trip and once before my current 12 month+ trip to Asia, Australia, North and Central America. At the moment I am on a working holiday visa, living in Melbourne. I’m currently working here, saving up to continue my travels to North and Central America.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
This is a hard question. I always find this question difficult to answer when people ask me. I’ve been to so many places which I love. OK, I’ll meet you in the middle and categorise my favourite places.
Best place for food – Hanoi, Vietnam
Best place for beaches – El Nido, Philippines
Best for wildlife – Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Best city – Melbourne, Aus
Favourite overall country – Sri Lanka (I suppose that answers your question)
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
I’ve not been anywhere I’ve absolutely hated. I’ve been to a few places where I wouldn’t rush back. The worst place I’ve ever been, would probably be Manilla, Philippines. To be honest, I didn’t feel 100% safe there. We were staying in a pretty rough part of the city. Also, one of my friends told me a story of how her uncle got kidnapped by a taxi driver in Manilla. As you can imagine, I was a bit on edge when I was getting into taxis.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
I don’t have a bucket list as such. My mind is always chopping and changing as to where I’d love to visit. At the moment, my top 3 places I would love to go to are – Brazil, Mexico and Belize.
Brazil – I’ve always wanted to go to Rio. Everyone I have spoken to who has been to South America, say that Rio is one of their favourite places. A few people even go as far as mentioning it as the best city they’ve ever visited. Brazil isn’t on my list for just Rio though. The beaches look incredible, an Amazon trek would be high on my list and not forgetting Brazilian BBQ meat, which I’d be demolishing everyday.
Mexico – Food is always one of the main highlights of any trip I go on. If I’ve not enjoyed what I’ve eaten, it would definitely make a trip a lot less memorable. You guessed it, Mexico is high on my list so I can devour traditional Mexican food all day, everyday. Not only the food is what’s attracting me to Mexico though, the treks, culture and beaches make Mexico a must visit for me.
Belize – Definitely a more recent addition to my list. I never really thought about Belize until I started researching Central America for our upcoming trip in April. I don’t know how I never noticed this little Central American gem. I’m a big fan of seeing animals in their natural habitat and the opportunities for this in Belize look amazing. Whether that would be wildlife spotting on land or in the ocean. Belize is supposed to be a chilled out, slow paced, relaxed nation. Sounds like my kind of place.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
Camera – I use a Sony RX100iv. I’m not a fan of bulky cameras, so this Sony is perfect for me. A great camera with loads of features and it’s small enough to stash away when I’m not using it.
iPhone – Not so much for keeping in touch with people or checking emails. More for the fact that I love researching where to visit, where to eat and what to do in the place we are. I’ll always be looking at other blogs finding out what the best things to do are and this is easily done from my phone when I’m on wifi.
Earphones – This is more for the long journeys in between destinations. If I’ve got a long journey ahead, music is a must for me. It makes the journey seem a lot quicker. I use Apple Music on my phone, so I just download everything when I have wifi, plug my earphones in and I’m good to go.
8. What makes you happy and why?
Plenty of things make me happy. Most of these things are while I’m travelling. Exploring new places has to be up there. If I’m stuck in one place for too long, I get itchy feet. If I’m in a big city, it’s not too bad, because there’s always something new to do. However I don’t think I could ever live in a small town. The main thing which makes me happy though, is food. Yes, I’m happiest when I’m eating and tasting local food, I’ve never eaten before.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I purchased my domain for my blog in February 2016. This was after my travels to South East Asia. My reasons for starting definitely weren’t because I wanted to make a career out of travel blogging. A career never even crossed my mind at first. My main reasons were because I wanted a job in digital marketing. I wanted somewhere where I could showcase my talents and knowledge, which I could easily show to employers. I only started getting serious about my blog in October 2016, since then I have seen increases in my audience, month after month. Signs of improvement is definitely the most encouraging thing for me.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
I’m not too sure how unique my blog is at the moment. My niche is budget travel, but there are a lot of other travel blogs out there which concentrate on budget travel. I do intend to concentrate my niche though. Over the years I plan to visit places which are more off the beaten path. Countries like Belize, Nicaragua, Madagascar and many more. These are the kind of countries I want to explore in the future. Which in turn, will mean my blog is unique in the sense that I’ll aim to advise people about activities which they never even knew existed in countries they’ve never thought of visiting.
From ESLT – thank you Nathan for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂