This interview features Jub of Tiki Touring Kiwi. A traveller with itchy feet and able to provide over 100 tips for travelling across New Zealand.
What is your name?
Jordan Bryant. 97% of people call me Jub, let’s stick with that.
Which country do you come from/call home?
I’m from a little town called Waikanae in New Zealand. I’ve lived in various places since 2012, currently calling Chiang Mai, Thailand ‘home’.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I would say I’m a mixture of backpacker, long term traveller and live and work abroad.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
My savings got me started, then I picked up a bit of work in Canada and return to Aussie and New Zealand occasional for odd jobs like working the wineries in Martinborough last year. Right now I’m surviving (just) with freelance writing and a little bit of income from the blog.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I remember heading to Lake Wairarapa with my Dad and sister. No idea what age I was (5-6 ?)but we camped and I vaguely remember cooking marshmallows on the bonfire and hanging out at the lake. It’s only a couple hours from where I was brought up but was definitely an adventure for me.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Poland! For whatever reason, I had it in my mind that the country was essentially a barren wasteland I’d need to cross to reach the rest of Europe.
Well I was wrong! Poland has lakes, beaches, mountains, forests, architecture, culture and all the other awesome things that make people happy. I stayed there a week longer than planned and will be heading back on the return journey to Europe in 2017.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Nothing OMG worthy, but I’ve been scammed a couple times. The tea scam in China got me, even though I’d read about it beforehand (don’t ask). I also fell into the gypsy trap with the ball under matchboxes and you need to guess which matchbox has the ball, that was a quick way to lose 50 euro in Germany.
Ah, missing my flight out of the Bahamas on the way back to New Zealand made for a very long day when my cocktail induced sleep finally came to an end.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
There has to be plenty. Off the top of my head, I always refer back to Beijing, China. My friends were very excited about trying Peking Duck, a Chinese specialty. One of them got a bit excited and yelled out at an intersection ‘I can’t for peking d*ck’.
Luckily for her, we weren’t in an English speaking country!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
This was purely situational, but Lyon, France. It was mid-August 2015 on a road trip through Europe. We were in a massive campervan and simply couldn’t find anywhere to park the beast. The city is chaos in summer and that was a couple hours spent wasted before we decided to move on…no offence Lyon but it was a nightmare.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I have to say my current location, Chiang Mai, Thailand. I just keep returning! There’s so many awesome like minded people to meet here, vegan options all over the show for me and adventures are available all over Northern Thailand.
The cost of living certainly helps too!
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I created a New Zealand bucket list late last year. Would love to spend time over the next few years ticking off most of those items. My one bucket list destination this year is Crimea. For some reason it just interests me, maybe because of the reason or is it the apparently good wine scene.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Nope. I get itchy feet after about a month of being in one spot. I was getting itchy in Malaysia mid-December so decided to try and hitch from Penang to Bangkok in a day just for the silliness of it all (did not succeed but got some fun stories).
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I guess I’d still be in the finance industry. Breaking up with my partner to travel while living in Australia was the toughest thing ever. Even a few years later I still think back at times and think what life may have been like.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Tiki Touring Kiwi -> http://www.tikitouringkiwi.com
When did you begin your website Tiki Touring Kiwi?
I registered the website when I was in Canada in 2014 but started seriously in December 2015 after meeting some travel bloggers in, yup you guessed it, Chiang Mai.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Money, fun and memories. I never considered myself a writer but after learning you can be a freelance writer almost straight away I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
People seem to think I’m funny? That and I don’t write as many posts as others, but I try to make them awesome in terms of value. This year I am going to be focusing more on the stories as I’m a curious person.
Sports and volunteering are two avenues I’ll be looking to write about most. I’m not comfortable around dogs, but am considering signing up to volunteer with ‘Care for Dogs’ in Thailand. Crikey!
Do you have any products or services to offer?
I don’t actively seek freelance writing gigs, but if something comes up I’ll consider it. Otherwise, I’ll be hosting a Budget Travel Summit in late-February which is exciting (and scary).
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My most successful post would be my New Zealand Travel Guide (in terms of views). It’s one of the first posts where I changed to write long lengthy posts rather than 500 word posts. If you’re looking to travel to New Zealand it is over 100 tip and tricks to help you make the most of your time in the country.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
This one I wrote a while ago. It was based on an interaction I had in Lithuania where not being able to speak multiple languages really got to me. We learn Maori growing up at school in New Zealand, but it’s not taken seriously and is no use.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I think plane is my favourite. It’s going to be a journey of at least a couple hundred kilometres so the possibilities are endless.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
When you are going to ask questions about your upcoming travels, make sure you ask awesome specific questions to get valuable advice that will help you.
What should I do in XYZ? = bad question.
Tell me what you like to do, do you drink, hike, eat, monetary constraints etc. When you ask good questions, you’ll get awesome answers.
What has travel taught you?
The world is massive!
Tell us about an interesting person you’ve met?
I was volunteering at a hostel in Malaysia when an older guy (~65) asked if I knew where an internet cafe was. It turns out he has been travelling for eight years without a phone or laptop! It wasn’t easy to find an internet cafe but we found one eventually and he got caught up on all his emails to his friends and family back home. What a trooper and inspiration!
How often do you contact your parents?
My Dad is similar to the guy above, he isn’t big on technology. So I call him once every 3-4 weeks to check in with how he is doing. We also occasionally email, but that’s always soon after the phone calls to follow up on anything we forget to mention.
Where is the best place to meet people on the road?
Across the board, I would have to say CouchSurfing meetups have been best for me. As a solo traveller who isn’t racing through places I find the mix of people living there and travellers a nice way to mix up the conversation from the usual hostel banter. You always manage to make plans for the next couple days as well with your new friends.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Air Asia
Favourite country? New Zealand
Favourite city? Chiang Mai
Favourite beach? Ngwe Suang Beach, Myanmar
Favourite food? Thai Green Curry
Favourite language? Kiwi
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.tikitouringkiwi.com
Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/tikitouringkiwi/