Before I went on my RTW travels, I could be often found stalking other travel blogs but what really interested me was the person behind the witticisms of their writing. Who are they? Are they real? Are they fit? So hence, for a long time coming, I wanted to do some travel blogging interviews and crack them open for their rawness inspiration of travel inside. Think Michael Parkinson.
This week’s interview is no other than the most famous travel/expat travel blogger around. He’s currently teaching in South Korea as an expat telling us his side-splittingly hilarious musings on Korean life, but also tells us the ‘gay’ side of his travels outside his normal job, and giving us naughty photos of FoodPorn. I stumbled upon his blog again when typing in ‘travel blog’ in the search bar and I became fascinated that a fellow Yorkshireman like me could travel and yet retain the Yorkshireman sense of patience and outlook on life.
Taking his boyfriend for a spin on his travels soon, I give you Tom of Waegook Tom!
1. Name: Tom Stockwell, aka Waegook Tom.
2. Twitter: @waegook_tom
3. Facebook Fan Page: Facebook.com/WaegookTom
4. Blog URL: www.waegook-tom.com/
5. Where are you originally from and where are you now?
I grew up in a farming village just outside Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England, and right now I’m living in Daejeon, South Korea, where I’m working as an English teacher.
6. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Comical, crude and impatient.
7. Tell us about your blog. What makes your blog unique from all the other bloggers out there?
It’s an expat blog that still maintains an emphasis on travel. I’ve lived in Korea for three years, but I’m still having new experiences all the time, and always bringing something fresh and fun. I mix the expat thing with the travel thing, and I don’t think there’s anyone else out there quite like me, and certainly nobody who loves cheese as much as I do. Definitely nobody with a bum quite as good as mine, either. (ED: I beg to differ…)
8. Why did you start writing a blog? And did you find it easy to set up?
Honestly? Money. Then when Google AdSense wasn’t raking in big bucks for me and I wasn’t getting massive traffic after just a couple of months blogging, I didn’t get it. Then I read a bit about blogging and started to get it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE writing. Now, any money I earn is secondary. I’ve always loved writing, and I enjoy communicating quirky, amazing, ridiculous and infuriating things to my readers.
9. If you had to travel with 3 other travel bloggers who would they be?
Well not including yourself of course…Lauren from Neverending Footsteps would be hilarious to travel with. We both hate physical exertion, and her posts have me in stitches. Sally from Unbrave Girl would be another. We both enjoy alcohol, dairy products, and shirtless men. Speaking of men, my third choice would be Ech of Echoserang Lakwatsera. I’d be in need of some male eye candy, and this guy is it. Also great legs and I find his flexibility both interesting and arousing.
10. What’s the best advice you can give for new bloggers?
Blogging takes time. Don’t expect to have a huge following and be rolling in cash after just a few months, or even after a year. It takes time to build your audience, build your blog, and make a name for yourself. I’ve been blogging for over two years now, and my blog is progressing in the direction I want it to.
Also, listen to the advice of others. Nothing is more annoying than a newbie blogger that gets great advice given to them from people who are professional bloggers, yet are rude in reply and choose to ignore the advice. Travel bloggers form an amazing, supportive community, and having no manners ensures failure for a newbie.
11. Other than a job, what’s the easiest way to make money for travels?
Sell your stuff on eBay. You’ll be amazed at the price you can get for some things.
12. Where have you been in the world? And which was the best, worst, funniest, most random and scariest?
To date? The UK (duh), Belgium, France, Russia, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Turkey, Australia, Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. Sixteen new countries in the mix next year!
The best…not counting Korea or the UK (both places I call home), I’d have to go with Turkey.
The worst was Lithuania, but that was more because I was disappointed and arrived in the city in minus twenty-five degree weather.
In terms of the funniest, random things in Korea always have me laughing, and it’s definitely the most random place I’ve been!
Russia was the scariest as I was there on a school trip and was convinced that one of my classmates had been murdered over night. It turns out that she just let out a scream after waking up, seeing herself in the mirror opposite her bed and falling out of her bunk.
13. Naughtiest experience on your travels?
Lying to a friend about being too tired to meet them when in reality I was getting plowed by a muscular Australian DILF (and former Olympic-level swimmer) instead. Then hooking up again (with a different guy) when my friend and I went clubbing in the evening. And for the next two nights after that. What? I was in Sydney for Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and was single at the time!
14. Luggage or Backpack?
Backpack for sure. I’m actually pretty low maintenance (ED: You what?!) and don’t carry much at all when I’m travelling.
15. Top 3 items that you would save from your backpack if it was about to be sunk in shark infested waters?
My passport, computer (wih my camera’s memory card in the slot…is that allowed?) and my contact lenses. My eyesight is appalling.
16. Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?
Neither. I’m absolutely terrified of heights and have seen too many horror videos on YouTube to want to attempt either.
17. Best travel idol (aside from me, of course) that you would want to sit next to on the plane?
Steph from Twenty Something Travel. Steph’s blog was the first that I ever read and started following (and I’m still following today), and her amazing site inspired me to start my own travel blog.
18. What’s your party trick to show to other backpackers in hostels?
No party trick as such, but I’m pretty sure that they all stare at my lovely bum if they catch me in my underwear. One guy in a hostel even commented on it in Turkey. I’m sure my other roommates were just shy.
Also, I can down a Jagerbomb faster than anyone else, except my partner. He always beats me by a split second. That’s how I know he’s the right one for me.
19. Hostel, Guesthouse, Hotel or Couchsurf?
A mixture. Usually I’ll CouchSurf, but will stay in a hostel if I can’t find any hosts I like the look of in a city. Every now and again I need my luxuries though, so I’ll spend a little bit extra on a hotel and treat myself.
20. Day Trip, Backpack or live? UK, Australia or Vietnam?
Backpack – Vietnam, although if truth be told, I don’t have a strong desire to visit there. I’m not sure why, but it’s nowhere near the top of my wishlist.
Day Trip – the UK! The UK is full of places that make amazing day trips, including my hometown of Harrogate, and former home of Newcastle Upon Tyne. History galore, great museums, art galleries, shopping, nightlife and, despite what anyone says, fantastic food!
Live – Australia. I’ve already mentioned muscular Aussie DILFs. This should require no further explanation.
21. Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?
Lonely Planet, although these days I’m not inclined to use the guide books for ideas on what to do in a particular place. I trust travel blogs more in terms of getting up to date information and gauging whether or not I’d like a particular place.
22. Will you go out with me, a sexy, tall, dark and handsome god?
You’d have to fight my boyfriend first. In mud. (ED: I don’t do dirt…)
23. Did you find love on your travels?
Well, I found love here in Korea! I’ve been with my partner for almost two years now and I couldn’t be happier. I knew he was the right person for me from the moment we met.
24. Would you go on I’m a Celebrity and eat pig’s testicles?
I’d rather eat your testicles, Rexy. (ED: No comment)
25. And possibly, the most important question…Neighbours or Home and Away?!
Neighbours. Full of so many classic moments, plus I’m pretty sure that half the cast have had amnesia at some point.
26. Which 3 songs have you played the most on your ipod on your travels?
‘Te Amo’ by Rihanna was the song I had blasting when I was travelling around Turkey.
‘Hyper-Ballad’ by Bjork is another one I listen to a lot when I’m on the road.
The third is an amazing song by a little-known singer called Sara Berg, ‘Not Alone’, that always picks me up whenever I’m feeling a bit blue or lonely.
27. You travelled on your own, how did that go for you and did you find it easy to make new friends on the road?
I find it pretty easy to make friends when I’m travelling as I’m a friendly kind of fellow. (ED: Some might say tooo friendly?)
28. What are your next travel plans?
I’m glad you ask! The boyfriend and I shall be heading to the USA at the end of March next year (after visiting my family for a month in the UK). Then he has to go back to Korea, but I shall continue to Colombia to spend a month there, then fly to Toronto (for the TBEX travel conference), then go to Europe in early June where I’ll go overland from Berlin to Tbilisi. I’ll be back in the UK for my birthday, and then after that I’ll be off to Tanzania, and from there travel through Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. After that – well, it depends on the boyfriend. I’ll get a ticket to wherever he is. (ED: Not jealous at all…*Seething looks*)
29. What’s the best advice you can give to first time travellers?
Do what you want to do. Don’t feel that you have to do something that you don’t want to do. Also, be respectful – if you’re staying in a hostel, other people will be using it to and they have also paid money for the room, so be mindful of that.
30. Finally, tell us a funny travel story.
I went to a gay hammam – a Turkish bathhouse – in Istanbul, which Lonely Planet said would be discreet. I had to assure an overweight Turkish senior that I could indeed wash myself (his hands were trying to go everywhere), fight off advances from a guy around my age who couldn’t understand that I simply didn’t want to have sex with him, and then walked into a steam room where every single man was masturbating underneath their towel. There wasn’t even any porn playing. A bathhouse it was, but discreet it was not.
Thanks Tom for doing this interview! If you would like to know more about his Waegooking, please click here
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