This week, read about Joe, an adventurous traveller who is definitely not afraid to dive into real culture and see the world in his own way, in his own time. Joe’s interview is full of seriously useful information, alongside truthful, inspiring and captivating stories.
As an aspiring traveller who’s had about as much authentic cultural activity as a pony picture book, I do love reading about people’s experiences, because they’re interesting and keep me on the path to following my own dream. Featuring bloggers like Joe is an absolute honour for me. I want to read the stories of real people who have worked their ass off to save money to pursue their dreams. While I know many travel bloggers out there have done the same and started from the bottom, sometimes I recognise a sense of authenticity missing the more and more popular they become. I’m not slating by any means, I just want to shed light on the reasons for why I love to read about real people. Travel guides are great, but getting the honesty and imagery from travel blogs is much more valued in my opinion. Be sure to check out his blog and follow him on Instagram and Twitter. I recommend starting with his About me page but also: Biking through Vietnam (which reminded me of my favourite Top Gear special and made me so jealous – you’ve got some balls, guys!) and his adventures in China.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
So, names Joe (Ginger Joe), originally from Birmingham, UK but after meeting my now fiancé whilst traveling I now live in Bristol. I quit my job as an Aluminium fabricator/glazier 3 years ago to go traveling around the world and was away for 18 months, starting my travels in China and following up with Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Kuala Lumpur, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. I am now back in the UK trying to get away as much as possible and since we’ve been back we’ve been to Czech Republic, Japan, back to Australia and to South Africa in August! Other than traveling my main hobby is going to the gym, I am 6’2 and have always been super slim so I set myself a goal to put on some weight (muscle) I am now around 3 stone heavier than when I started! Go me! Also a big fan of Marvel and Bristol City FC.
What inspired you to travel?
I had always thought about it, being a huge fan of documentaries (especially ones by David Attenborough) I always had a desire to travel but just thought it was way too expensive for the average person. I had a friend go away and seeing all his pictures on Facebook etc. made me extremely jealous! After a few messages with him back and forth and convincing my best friend to take the plunge we plucked up the courage to book our one way tickets!!
What’s on your bucket list?
What isn’t!!! Well next on the list is South Africa in August so that’s the first tick. We are flying into Johannesburg, traveling down to Cape Town and then back up to finish off with a 4 day safari in Kruger Park. I can’t wait! I want to go everywhere, I can’t think of a country that doesn’t appeal to me! Mainly I would like to do South America and India but I think I would need a good amount of time off work to try and see all I want to see in those places! Hmm, I wonder if work will let me take a sabbatical?!
Favourite country so far and why?
100% China with New Zealand being a close runner-up. I’m a massive fan of not being in huge touristy areas and pretty much the whole of China was like this, struggling to communicate, no English signs anywhere and just the fact that China is so different to anywhere else I had been. Not to mention The Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and the amazing landscapes of places like Yangshuo… I could go on all day! It’s all on my blog. 😉
Best experience and why?
When we decided to buy motorbikes in Vietnam and ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, I have said a million times that I would never recommend anyone doing it as it is ridiculously dangerous, but the freedom it gives you to travel was amazing, we were going to places right off the beaten track that you would never have been able to access by the standard coaches that ran up and down Vietnam, and after it all we sold our bikes for roughly what we had paid for them so it was almost virtually a free trip.
Worst experience and why?
Ugh, the time we were traveling from Uluru in Australia to Alice Springs in our campervan and had a blow out! We were at least a 3 hour drive from a major town in either direction and had a huge blow out whilst driving on our front passenger side tyre. I hopped out hoping for a quick tyre change only to discover that the spare tyre we were given was flat! This was after about 20 minutes of digging out the ground with my bare hands to get our old tyre off, bare in mind this was in 40 degree heat whilst being attacked by 1000’s of flies. As you can probably tell we were pretty panicked, no spare tyre, no phone signal and we had passed the last service station about 30 minutes ago! Luckily for us a man had drove past and turned around to come back for us as he said he could tell we were in distress. He took us and our spare tyre to the service station we had passed to get our tyre pumped up and took us back to our van and followed us all the way to Alice Springs to make sure we got there safe. Whilst in the car with him he explained that he was a nurse that had been working with the aboriginal Australians and when we departed he gave us a signed copy of one of his books that he had recently had published! They do say every cloud has a silver lining!
What’s on your travel playlist?
Music wise I will listen to pretty much anything, my iTunes literally ranges from grime music to Taylor Swift! I do have a few special travel songs that I like to get me in the mood, Vance Joy – Riptide is my all-time favourite travel song! As for films I like to have a browse on long haul flights to see what they have to offer but as a backup normally have a couple of Marvel films on our hard drive, The Avengers etc. I have watched them a few times but never get tired of them so it’s an easy watch and don’t mind too much if I want to nod off half way through.
Tell us about some of your favourite dishes/restaurants from places you’ve visited?
With all the places I have been too I feel a bit silly saying that my favourite food was actually a place called ‘The Great Southern Burger co’ I always used to go to when I was living in Cronulla, Sydney of course all the food in SE Asia was amazing, the Massaman curries in Thailand and the Khmer red curry in Cambodia but I just couldn’t get enough of the burgers and unique style chips in Cronulla! I’m craving one now, shame it’s 10,000 miles away!
Probably wouldn’t go in my category of ‘favourite’ foods but I have also eat scorpion in China, dog in South Korea and had a ‘Ozzy BBq’ consisting of Kangaroo, emu and crocodile.
Are there any things you miss when you’re not at home?
Whilst on my big trip I obviously missed my family and friends, although I often facetimed them it’s still not the same. Nowadays as we only seem to go away for maximum 3 weeks at a time the things I miss most is our little fur babies Hooch (boxer) and Rolo (German Shepard X) I’d love to be able to take them on a trip with me some time!
Did you overcome any fears before beginning your journey?
My biggest fear about leaving was the whole quitting my job part, I didn’t enjoy my job all that much but had become a valued part of a small company and a much needed employee. My fear was that I would quit my job and when I eventually came home I would struggle to find work again and once I didn’t I would have to work my way from the bottom of the pile again… luckily for me when I got home I rang up my old work place and started work 3 days later! Result!
Have you got any tips for people who want to travel but are perhaps scared or unsure where to start?
Well I would probably say maybe start of in a more tourist friendly country like Thailand for example, it’s easy to get around and has plenty of other travellers of all ages and backgrounds for you to mingle in with or even tag along with.
Another tip would be to consider starting your trip with an organised group tour. This is how I started, I booked a 3 week tour starting In Beijing and working our way down to Hong Kong, we had a huge range of people in our group from a retired couple that had sold all their possessions to travel the world, to a solo traveling 19 year old girl ( My Charlie) This is a great way of starting off as all the organisation is taken away from you and you can just relax, meet some new people and get around hassle free.
What do you guys think of Ginger Joe’s Q&A? I’m hoping you’ll go and read more of his posts, they’re awesome!
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