The latest installment in my ongoing World Travellers series is from a fellow Irishman, Carlo. Carlo Cretaro runs the website “Next Stop Who Knows”, adding mystery to adventure as he jaunts around the globe leaving behind the green fields of Ireland.
Who are you?
I’m Carlo Cretaro and my blog is NextStopWhoKnows.
Where are you from?
I’m from a small town called Boyle, which is located in County Roscommon, Ireland.
Where have you been?
I’ve been to 23 countries since I really started to travel back in 2005. I’ve volunteered in orphanages around East Africa for a few months back in 2009, visited Vegas multiple times, enjoyed a campervan road trip along the East coast of Australia, and visited the pyramids of Giza in Cairo – to name but a few places I’ve been.
Where are you now?
Currently I’m living in an apartment on the island of Phuket, Thailand. I’ve been here 3 months already working online on various projects.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
In no particular order, I would have to say The Serengeti, Death Valley and the Outback. All three locations hold 1 similarity, and that’s extreme isolation. Isolation in this regard is something that I really enjoy experiencing while travelling. Add extreme heat to the equation(like you find in Death Valley and the outback), and you’ve got the perfect set of conditions in my mind.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
I think it would have to be the whole volunteering/travelling experience while in East Africa. Nothing is easy in developing countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. I found the whole 3 months there very rewarding as well as massively frustrating. It definitely opened my eyes to conditions that I’ve never witnessed before, and therefore it made me appreciate the little things in life a lot more. Looking back on those days now, I’m glad I took the plunge and went volunteering independently. It was a big step to do it without the comfort of an organisation, but I firmly believe that you shouldn’t have to pay thousands to a middle man in order to help people out.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
Without a doubt this was in 2011. Myself and my girlfriend Florence, were on a 8 month backpacking trip around S.E Asia and Australia. Three months into the trip, I slipped a disc in my lower back, which reduced me to severe pain. I spent the next 4 weeks more or less lying in bed cursing the world. Ultimately I had to make the difficult decision to return home, get better and plan my revenge tour! That’s that exactly what I did…..and here I am again today, back in Thailand!
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
Back in my early travel days(2005), I brought my girlfriend Florence to visit the city of Florence, in Italy. She always wanted to go there and I always wanted to see Michelangelo’s statue of David, so I thought it was a nice way to kill two birds with the one stone. When we got to the square in front of the city hall – I finally got to see this magnificent piece of history and sculpture!
It wasn’t until we were on the plane on the way home did we discover that the statue outside in front of the city hall was only a “copy” and not the actual real statue! The real one could be seen inside the building where it wasn’t exposed to the elements or possible vandalism! Makes sense doesn’t it?! We still laugh about that semi wasted trip even today.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
We did a 4 day camping safari of the Serengeti while we were in Tanzania. On the first night, we were camping out in the open with just a tent for protection. The tour guide told the group to not leave any sweets or sugary products in the tents at night time, as the bush pigs would rip through the tent in order to get the sweets. He also said that you will hear the lions roar around the camp during the night, but not to worry. However, we were told that under no circumstances were we to leave the tent.
Fast forward to the dead of the night, and the two of us were snugged up in our tent fast asleep. Suddently I was awoken by this mad grunting sound right above my head, and I could feel something sniffing my head through the canvas.
We were absolutely bricking it, and immediately I though it was either the bush pigs looking for sweets, or lions coming for a midnight feast!
For the next 5 hours, we did nothing but kept quiet and hoped that nothing would happen to us.Also, I suddenly needed to go to the pee! Obvioulsy, going outside the tent wasn’t an option, so luckily I’d a small plastic bag that came in very useful. In the morning, we found out that it wasn’t wild pigs, hyenas or even lions that came into our camp – instead it was a small herd of curious buffaloes -which are rumoured to kill more humans than any other animal in Africa!
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
Up until this point, I haven’t taken up any jobs while travelling. I suppose, I could say working in a school as a teacher in Tanzania was a job, but it was more of a volunteering position.
How do you fund your travels?
Luckily, I’ve finally managed to find a location independent solution to ensure I can travel whenever and wherever I like. I currently run a small freelance writing business which generates a decent 4 figure income per month, and I’m also managing an online advertising campaign for another travel blogger – which is a pretty cool experience in itself. The big advantage with these kind of businesses, is that they can be run and managed from a laptop, anywhere!
In addition to these two projects, I’ve plans in motion to add another business to the list which will add another potential stream of income eventually.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
1. Have a route idea where you want to go and what you want to see, but don’t be afraid to change your plans. Too many people feel they need to either stay in the one spot longer than they have to, or feel they need to rush through 5 country in record time. You’ve got to go at a pace that feels right for you.
2. Always have a back up emergency fund while travelling. This is a pretty obvious tip, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people that don’t take this into consideration.
3. Travel/health insurance. Above all, travelling in foreign countries without some sort of insurance is beyond madness.
What are your future travel plans?
After Phuket, we fly to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. We intend to travel through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia from there, before flying to Spain for a wedding in April. After Spain, we are going to return home for 6 weeks, before flying on another one way ticket to Rio de Janerio in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. That’s the agenda with will take us to next Summer anyways. After that? Who knows!
NextStopWhoKnows.com is a website in which I blog about travel, lifestyle design, location independence and my dreams of travelling to destinations that I’ve always wanted to visit.
I’ve a great passion for photography, and I’m trying to combine both travel blogging and photography in order to give my readers a visual representation of some of the places I’m visiting.
Thanks to Carlo from Next Stop Who Knows for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured (there’s a HUGE waiting list at present), either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!