It’s my pleasure today on World Travellers to interview one of the top travel bloggers and worldwide wanderers out there. If you thought my travels were crazy and inspiring, you need to read on as Earl Baron shows just how a lifestyle of travel is a complete reality for a prolonged period. He’s been on the road pretty much non-stop since 1999 and he has written an awesome book called How to live a life of travel! He has travelled to well over 80 countries and his nomadic travel site, Wandering Earl is one of the most popular one man blogs out there.
Who are you?
I’m a traveler, and blogger, who has been on the road, living, working, volunteering and backpacking around the world non-stop since 1999.
Where are you from?
Originally from a suburb of Boston in the US.
Where have you been?
I’ve covered a good amount of the world so far, from Southeast Asia to Australia/NZ to the Indian Subcontinent, Pakistan, Afghanistan and over to and around almost all of the Middle East, up to the Balkans and Eastern, Central and Western Europe, as well as the Baltics, and across to Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, and a little bit of the South Pacific as well.
Where are you now?
Sitting at a cafe in Bucharest, Romania, a city that I’ve been using as my ‘base’ for the past 1.5 years.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
My favorite countries I’ve visited are India, Mexico and Syria (before the current situation began).
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
One of the best was my recent visit to Socotra Island, Yemen, an isolated island in the Indian Ocean that sees extremely few visitors but offers what has to be one of the most unique travel experiences on the planet, with landscapes, flora, architecture, caves, mountains, valleys, sand dunes and beaches that will literally leave you in awe at every turn.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
I‘ve never really had anything too terrible happen. I had my wallet pickpocketed once but that wasn’t really a big deal. I was kidnapped for three days by a gang of Bangladeshi taxi drivers in Dhaka but even that wasn’t so bad after I quickly realized that my unarmed, amateur captors had no idea what they were doing. And I managed to eventually escape with all of my belongings in the end, having never given in to their demands that I take out a hefty amount of money from the ATM machine.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
One funny experience was when I bought a cooked rat from a food vendor in Laos to bring to a group dinner at the guesthouse I was staying at. I pulled out the rat, which still had its eyes, nose, tail and even toes still attached, and of course, I had someone take a few photos of me taking a bite out of the side. Only after a few photos were taken did I look more closely at the rat and discover quite a few maggots moving around in the flesh. Needless to say, I instantly became sick to my stomach. Okay, maybe that’s a bit more disgusting than funny but I had a good laugh after it was all over.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
Probably the night I ended up meeting several members of the Taliban in northern Pakistan and spent a few hours with them as they told me how they wanted to kill all Americans and British citizens, as well as all Jews. I happen to be from the US and Jewish but I had told them I was from New Zealand, to which they replied, “Ahh, that’s our favorite part of Europe.” I survived in the end but I definitely was a little bit on edge throughout the experience.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
1) Travel with a purpose. Aimlessly wandering around the world will actually get old quite quickly if you don’t have a goal. It doesn’t have to be a grand goal but when you enter a new country, there should be some idea of what you want to learn, to achieve or to gain from your time in that destination.
2) Choose your own travel style. Figure out what level of comfort you prefer and don’t feel as if you need to copy someone else’s style at all. If you plan to spend $20 USD per day but you are miserable sleeping in cheap hostel dorm rooms and taking the cheapest of buses everywhere you go, then spend more money. It’s better to spend $50 per day even if it means you won’t be able to travel for as long because this way, you’ll actually enjoy and benefit from the experiences you have.
3) Meet people. Talk to as many people, both locals and foreigners alike, as you can while traveling. You never know where a conversation will lead, who you’ll meet or what kind of opportunities will present themselves as a result.
What are your future travel plans?
Well, since I now lead my own tours every couple of months to various destinations around the world through my new project, Wandering Earl Tours, my upcoming schedule will take me to Romania/Moldova, India and Socotra Island for my next three trips. In between, I hope to visit Georgia and Azerbaijan and hopefully another country or two that I can fit into my schedule.
In 1999, I left home for a 3-month post-graduation trip to Southeast Asia and today, over 12 years later, that trip has still yet to end. The non-stop adventure has involved over 80 countries, with a mix of backpacking, volunteering, danger travel, working on board cruise ships, teaching English and living in various destinations around the world. I created WanderingEarl.com in 2009 and ever since 2010, I’ve been a professional travel blogger, working full-time on my site as I continue to wander, lead my own tours and ensure that travel continues to play a major role in my life.
Links (website, twitter, facebook)
Thanks to Wandering Earl 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 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!