This week’s guest post comes from Dave, travel blogger behind Man Vs. Globe. He explains ‘Sometimes all it takes is a push for you to realise that you want more from life. A couple of years ago some events and personal tragedies conspired to remind me that life is short and if you’re not careful it will pass you by before you even realise it’s begun. I was working a mundane job, unhappy with my lot in life, so i decided to pack my bags and embark on the adventure of a life time – Backpacking around central and South America. For me the ultimate life experiences are the ones you collect while travelling – Getting out of your comfort zone, seeing the world through new eyes or just witnessing everything this planet of ours has to offer. Who wouldn’t want that?’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Dave McClane and I’m originally from Hull in East Yorkshire. I moved the short distance to Leeds just over 10 years ago to start university and decided to stay.
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I have dabbled in long term travel but now I’m unfortunately working full time and perennially saving for my next big trip. At the moment I am having to restrict myself to one or two longer trips a year because of annual leave constraints and satiating my wanderlust with short weekends away and city breaks in between. I’m still a backpacker at heart so I always try to travel on a budget, staying at hostels or home stays a lot of the time in order to make my travel budget go a little further.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
I work as a chemist so at the moment I’m funding my travel by toiling away in a laboratory day in, day out. I try to keep a little money aside each month to put towards travel as to me it’s the one luxury that I want over any other. I had to quit my job for my first long term trip to Central America and on returning I couldn’t scratch that travel itch so took whatever work I could find to save up for my next adventure – This unfortunately meant spending my time preparing urine samples in a laboratory, which was pretty disgusting! Now i’m back working in the job I originally quit to go on my Latin America trip. As they are aware of my tendency to wander, they allow me to buy extra annual leave which is pretty great.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
This seems to be the question that pretty much everyone asks when they hear you blog about travel! It’s a tough one for me as there are so many places that I could choose.
If I was to pick a whole country that I loved the most, I would be torn between Cuba and Chile. As Chile stretches half the length of the South American continent it has a mix of so many different climates, geography and landscapes. There’s something for everyone. I went hiking in the stunning mountains of Torres del Paine, cycled in the lake district and explored the Atacama desert. Not to mention the cities. Santiago is beautiful and if I was to move anywhere in the world it would be here. Cuba’s one of my favourites just because it’s Cuba – Unique, beautiful and incredible fun.
However, the one destination I enjoyed more than any other was Rio de Janeiro. I arrived there just as carnival was kicking off and spent the week dancing to samba with the Cariocas at all day street parties and blocos on Ipanema beach.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
I try to see the best in everywhere I visit as most places will have things that make them unique and memorable. I have never really been anywhere that I hated. There have been a few places that other people had hyped up to me that, when I arrived, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about such as Buenos Aires or Hoi An, Vietnam (It was just far too busy and touristy!).
The worst experience I have ever had was in Mancora, Peru. We arrived early in the morning, maybe 3 or 4am, after a night bus from Guayaqil. I was hoping to catch a connecting bus to Lima – a 20 hour bus ride – in the evening. I was wandering around town loaded up with my backpack trying to find a hostel, hotel or just anywhere that would let me stay and sleep for the day. There were so many sketchy people around the town at that time in the morning and a couple of people heading home from nights out stopped me and insisted that I didn’t walk around as it was dangerous. Even tuk tuk drivers were stopping to say that it was unsafe. It seemed a bit strange that a resort town like Mancora would be like this. After a few hours I managed to persuade a kind hotel owner to let me sleep in his reception provided I left before breakfast started. I spent the rest of the day sleeping on the beach while waiting for my bus out of there! I later heard that a couple of my friends were mugged right outside their hostel in the same town in broad day light, one of them getting a black eye due to being slapped in the face with his own flip flop… but that’s a story for another time.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
My bucket list is essentially anywhere that I haven’t already visited but I suppose i’m never going to get to see every single place in the world so that’s kind of cheating isn’t it. If I had to choose just 3 it would be these:
– I’m a bit obsessed with the idea of going on American road trip. It doesn’t matter where, I just want to go on on one. Whether it’s Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway or just a drive through as many states as possible, I just want to do it. I think because the US has so much to offer in terms of unique sights and landscapes, a road trip seems like the perfect way to see it. Maybe I have just seen too many road trip movies and have romanticised the idea of a Hollywood style cross-country drive.
– India is high on my list but it is such a vast country, I don’t know where I would start. With working full time I’m not going to get the opportunity to see a lot of the country in one fell swoop so I’m going to have to see it a bit at a time.
– I would love to take a lengthy trip to Southern Africa as both South Africa and Namibia are countries I have wanted to visit for a long time. My girlfriend thinks I’m a little obsessed with Namibia as I always mention it when trying to decide on a destination for our next trip. I haven’t managed to persuade her yet but it’s only a matter of time.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
The most important thing for me to take is my camera – I don’t really go anywhere without it. I think photographs are the best memento you can have from a trip as they capture a moment in time. I’m not a great photographer but i’m steadily learning and improving.
Secondly is hats. As i’m lacking in any real hair coverage on my head, its pretty important for me to have hats whether I visit somewhere hot or cold. If it’s hot I tend to wear a cap to stop my head from turning lobster pink (even factor 50 sun cream doesn’t always do the job) or if it’s cold I need a woolly hat to stop my head getting cold! Having no hair does mean it takes me a lot less time to get ready in a morning though.
Finally, I always travel with books. These are sometimes loaded on to my kindle but usually I prefer to have a physical book with me. Reading is the perfect way to unwind when travelling for a long time or take up time when travelling on planes, trains and buses. I always like to read up on a destination before I visit in the form of history books or novels set in that place – Over on my blog I often compile reading lists for specific destinations to help people do the same.
8. What makes you happy and why?
I would say pizza but my friends and family might be a little dismayed that I chose it over them. So I’ll say my girlfriend, my cat and my family.
When am I at my happiest? It is probably when I am exploring somewhere I have never been before. Usually waking up early in the morning to take an aimless wander around a new city with no real goals or destination in mind. Just taking everything in.
The sea makes me happy. More specifically being out at sea on a boat of some kind. Have you seen Moana? My girlfriend jokes that I am essentially her – always looking out at sea with wonder, looking to go somewhere else. Until this generation, pretty much every man in my family was a trawler man; my dad, my granddad, my granddad’s dad…. so maybe it’s in the genes. Who knows? It could just be due to being from a port town.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I originally started blogging while I was in Mexico at the start of my Central America trip. It was just a few paragraphs each day to let people know what I was up to and would have been of no interest to anyone but my friends and family. This only lasted a few months as I realised it was becoming a bit of a chore and I wanted to spend the time enjoying myself rather than working. However, through this I started reading more and more travel blogs, following bloggers and using their insightful advice to get the most out of my trip. I found them and their blogs useful, engaging and a joy to read. As travel is my main passion I loved interacting with the blogging community and realised that if I am constantly talking travel and offering advice, I may as well start a blog to chronicle my experiences and be of use to others. I created Man Vs. Globe in October last year so it is still a relative baby in the blogging world. I’m using it to give advice that I found lacking or inaccurate in other places, give my opinions and tell my travel stories.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
I like to think that every blog is unique as each blogger has their own voice and sees the world from their own unique perspective. I try to write in this way – giving my own, honest views or opinions and pulling no punches.
Budget travel blogs are a dime a dozen so it is hard to stand out from the crowd. As I just blog for fun I write about pretty much anything that takes my fancy, throwing in snippets of history, culture, art or books along with the usual guides and tips. Hopefully my writing or perspective makes my blog unique to me.
From ESLT – thank you Dave for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂