Traveling is a great part of our lives in this modern world. We travel for work, leisure, to visit distant relatives and what not. It is something that has become increasingly accessible with the passing of time, allowing you to cross oceans and countries in a matter of hours and even minutes sometimes.
Although most of us enjoy our occasional traveling to unwind from our daily lives, some brave men and women have given up their 9-5 jobs and social circles to embark on a nonstop adventure around the world. Making travel not a luxury but a lifestyle.
Meet Samuel, the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of Nomadic Samuel cultural travel blog. He’s also the lesser half of Backpacking Travel Blog which he runs with his girlfriend Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. You can connect with Samuel on his YouTube travel channel and on Google+.
We have for long followed his adventures, and decided to contact him in order to ask some of our burning questions. We hope this interview inspires you, if long-term travel is on your mind.
Who are you?
I’m Samuel Jeffery of NomadicSamuel.com. I’ve been living overseas and/or traveling in some capacity since 2005 with no plans to give up this lifestyle anytime soon.
What triggered the idea of becoming a long-term traveler?
When I decided to teach English in South Korea I thought I’d only be abroad for several years; however, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I loved having the opportunity to work and travel around the world.
How did your family and friends react to your decision?
They’ve been overwhelmingly supportive. My parents are coming to visit me next year for several months in SE Asia. My travels have served as a catalyst to involve my family in adventures abroad.
What city would you recommend to our readers for a memorable visit?
Recently I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting Istanbul, Turkey. It’s a city that really has it all in terms of attractions, culture and food. Moreover, the locals and stray cats are as friendly as can be.
Any cities you would never return, even if paid to do so?
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. It’s overpriced, lacking in culture and attractions and offers little in terms of public transportation or cheap accommodation.
What was the most memorable experience you’ve had in this journey?
Meeting my girlfriend Audrey in South of Korea! Going from traveling as a solo backpacker to a dynamic duo has been the most pleasant surprise I’ve had on the road.
In what place have you experienced the biggest culture shock?
My first time working in South Korea was definitely a shock to my system in terms of adapting to a completely different culture. I didn’t find it particularly hard getting used to the food or making friends; however, working culture was another story. Sick days, weekends and holidays are concepts that are not as familiar or practiced in South Korea compared to the western cultures.
What does it take to be a long-term traveler?
It’s more of a mindset than anything else. Deciding you want to travel long-term is the first step. The next step is figuring out a way to do it. Long-term travelers tend to share a number of characteristics:
frugal (ability to save money and spend it wisely)
versatile (willing to work in a number of different capacities)
open-minded (fascinated by experiencing new cultures, food, people)
What is the best food in the world?
I’m totally enamored by cuisine from the Middle East these days. From falafel to hummus to tabouleh.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this experience?
I’ve learned to be more patient and to trust my instincts. On the road you’re away from your normal comfort zone, routines and circle of friends. You learn to rely more on yourself. Moreover, you realize that there are certain things you can’t control and with this comes a certain level of maturity and patience.
What’s a piece of advice you would give someone that wants to be a long-term traveler?
I would suggest to jump at the opportunity with both feet. I find the difference between those who do travel versus those who don’t is related to the level of commitment by the individual. If traveling is a ‘should’ it’ll always be on the back-burner; however, if it is a ‘must’ you’ll figure out a way to make it happen sooner rather than later.
Thanks Samuel for the inspiring interview and lots of success on your upcoming endeavors.