Before I went on my RTW travels, I could be often found stalking other travel blogs but what really interested me was the travel blogger 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 adventurous travel blogger around. He’s just about to finish an epic trip throughout the whole of Africa on a motorbike even going through the volatile country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He runs a pretty sweet magazine called Vagabundo and on top of that he’s Canadian. Without much further ado, I give you Brendan of Brendan’s Adventures.
1. Name: Brendan van Son
2. Twitter: @brendanvanson
3. Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/thetravelwriter
4. Blog URL: http://www.brendansadventures.com
5. Where are you originally from and where are you now?
I’m from a town called Rocky Mountain House in the bush of Canada. I’m currently roaming around Africa. I’m in Namibia at the moment.
6. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Stupid, naïve, and curious.
7. Tell us about your blog. What makes your blog unique from all the other bloggers out there?
I don’t think my blog is unique, nor do I think my work itself is that unique. I think, what brings people to my site is because the type of travel I do is the type that most dream of doing but are a little too scared to do. I live for adventure, and I make sure I show that to my readers.
8. Why did you start writing a blog? And did you find it easy to set up?
I started my blog as a way to stage my travel writing for potential editors and employers; it snowballed from there. It was easy to set up, sure. However, the truth is that I’m terrible with any of the coding stuff. If it wasn’t for wordpress and templates I’d be lost. (Ed Note: Halleujah!)
9. If you had to travel with 3 other travel bloggers who would they be?
I’d work with Stop Having a Boring Life (have done so in the past, and was cool.), Marcello from Wanderingtrader.com for the laughs, and Will Peach because that dude inspires me.
10. What’s the best advice you can give for new bloggers?
Biggest piece of advice is to be honest. Everyone wants people to look at their lives and envy their travels, but if you’re not honest people wont respect you. If you hate somewhere, say it. If you hate travelling some day, admit it. And if you miss your mommy, tell her. It’s the honesty of blogs that have led to this shift in the industry to be blog led. People love the reality of the story, and if you only give them the surface, they won’t get sucked into the site. (Ed Note: On that note, can I tell you I love you?)
11. Other than a job, what’s the easiest way to make money for travels?
Selling all your crap, probably. I didn’t have much when I left to travel, but some people accumulate so much stuff. If you sell your car for say $5,000 that’s 3 months worth of travel!
12. Where have you been in the world? And which was the best, worst, funniest, most random and scariest?
I’ve been to a lot of places. I don’t count, but I’d say I’ve been around 75 countries or so. The only continent I have yet to be is Oceania.
Best: Antarctica. It’s just so powerful. There’s nowhere like it.
Worst: Morocco. It’s an incredible place with such history, but the amount of hassle you get from vendors/guides/etc. Absolutely ruins it. It’s a frustrating country for me.
Random: Namibia. Not only do you get a variety of landscapes, but people as well. You drive through the Kalahari Desert and out of nowhere you arrive at Swakopmund which is basically a German town. Random.
Scariest: Toss up between DRC and Haiti. However, DRC was probably worse for me personally.
13. Naughtiest experience on your travels?
Man, I don’t do naughty things. I’m a gentlemen. One time I snuck into the hostel after curfew, teeheehee (Ed Note: You bad boy, you)
14. Luggage or Backpack?
Depends where I’m going. When I travelled Europe and South America I used a rolling snowboard bag. I have tonnes of camera gear and it’s nice to be able to roll it. In Africa I’ve used a backpack because I’ve done some hiking and have needed it.
15. Top 3 items that you would save from your backpack if it was about to be sunk in shark infested waters?
Camera, hard drive, laptop.
16. Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?
Well, this month I’m doing both. I’ve never skydived yet, so I’ll go with that. I like bungee jumping, but I’m all about experiences I’ve yet to have.
17. Best travel idol (aside from me, of course) that you would want to sit next to on the plane?
Michael Palin. I know it’s probably cliché, but I love his outlook on the world and would love to talk to him about his worldly perspectives.
18. What’s your party trick to show to other backpackers in hostels?
Usually camera tricks since I can’t really do anything cool. I am a former athlete so it might include jumping really high or over someone, although with enough drink that usually ends badly.
19. Hostel, Guesthouse, Hotel or Couchsurf?
I’m a hostel guy. I travel solo and it’s the best place to meet people. (Ed Note: You sly dog..) I couchsurf from time to time, but I don’t really like how I feel obligated when I couch surf. I love luxury hotels too, but they get boring after a day or two of spoiling yourself.
20. Day Trip, Backpack or live? UK, Australia or Vietnam?
Backpack/Live. I’ve been on the road for 4+ years straight now. So I guess I fall in the live category, but I think I’d prefer to start slowing down a bit and doing it more backpacking style. Australia for sure. Last continent and somewhere I’ve never been before.
21. Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?
LP, I’ve been using them since my first trip 10 years ago. I love them. However, these days I mostly rely on online information.
22. Will you go out with me, a sexy, tall, dark and handsome god?
Were these questions a warm up to trying to get me into bed? Didn’t I say I don’t do naughty things? (Ed Note: Woah, woah, woah, I was just suggesting a drink!…)
23. Did you find love on your travels?
Love? No. Lust? Absolutely. It’s so easy to fall in lust on the road. There’s a romantic-ness to travel. You get to know people quickly and have really strong relationships that build really quickly. However, usually after a couple of weeks away you realize it was just lust, or puppy love at best.
24. Would you go on I’m a Celebrity and eat pig’s testicles?
I don’t know what “I’m a Celebrity” is. I don’t have TV. I have eaten pig’s testicles before so I don’t see why not. On a sidenote, pig’s testicle is my least favourite of the testicles I’ve tried.
25. And possibly, the most important question…Neighbours or Home and Away?!
What is this stuff? I don’t have neighbours since I travel. I guess I’m away more than home. 😉
26. Which 3 songs have you played the most on your ipod on your travels?
Hmm, I would fashion the guess that those three songs would be: Thrice “In Exile”, Gaslight Anthem “Blue Dahlia”, and Romeo Santo “Debate de 4”.
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 make friends quick. I’m fairly sure that’s something I learned on the road though. I’m always the type of guy to make an entrance, and then go about getting everyone’s names. So yeah, it’s never been a problem. In fact, I think that sometimes now, after so many years, I try only to connect with people if I know they’re going to be around for a bit. It’s so hard to meet people and then for them to leave right away constantly.
28. What are your next travel plans?
I’m in Southern Africa. I’ll head to South Africa then back to Canada before heading across to Europe for the fall of 2013. After that, who knows.
29. What’s the best advice you can give to first time travellers?
Be naïve. So many people are so guarded when they travel that they don’t really open themselves up. If you get robbed, hurt, lots, etc. that’s all a part of the story, that’s all a part of the adventure, and that’s all a part of the learning curve of travel.
30. Finally, tell us a funny travel story..
This one time in Costa Rica, I was a young 20-year-old boy having dinner with 2 gorgeous American girls. After dinner we went to catch the bus home when Montezuma’s revenge started to rumble in my stomach. I told the girls I forgot something at the restaurant and to run along ahead. Meanwhile, I went to find somewhere to poop. After a futile search, I decided to sneak into this guy’s shed. I used a bunch of bricks to make a toilet throne and dropped a massive deuce. I cleaned up using some paper and as I was pulling up my drawers, a man walked in to see me and the scene. I sprinted past him and yelled 4 of only 20 or so words of Spanish I knew at the time: “Lo Siento, yo caca.” Sorry, I shit. (Ed Note: Handy you knew the Spanish at that time!)
Thanks Brendan for doing this interview! If you would like to know more about her journeys, click here.
If you would like to have an interview, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you featured on here!