Today’s interviewee is a travelling American who not only blogs about his travels but writes books about it too. Please meet travel blogger Chad Thomson.
What is your name?
Chad Bradley Thomson
Which country do you come from/call home?
The United States Of America
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
A backpacker, but I have been doing it for a long time and I also conduct business from abroad sometimes. So all of the above.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I have a savings fund that has been invested for me by my financial advisor and it is producing good dividends at the moment. And my family contribute as well.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Travel has been a big part of my life since before I can remember (I think). As a child we would explore all over Georgia and sometimes would head to Alabama and even as far south as Miami. I think this is where I caught the travel bug, from experiencing lots of different cultures from a young age.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
India was not how I thought it would be. Delhi had a Metro line, some of the bars in Bombay cost more than in Georgia and there were lots of cars on the road. Totally different from how I thought it would be.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst flying?
I wrote a post about Hans the German on my blog. I also had a pretty bad time on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. You are an expert on flying, right? Tell me, who has control of the extra armrest? Each row of seats has four armrests but only three passengers (or two and three, or four and five etc.) so somebody has two armrests. How does this divide up? I go on the assumption of first come-first served, but this big Samoan guy next to me on my flight thought he should get the extra armrest, simply because he was fat. We nearly came to blows and if it wasn’t for the woman sitting in between us, a lovely woman from Cleveland called Barbara, then I really think I would have done some serious damage. He should count himself lucky Barbara was there.
Do you normally exchange Lonely Planet guides when trying to pick up a girl?
In Delhi I exchanged a Lonely Planet guide with a very attractive girl. I wasn’t trying to pick her up (I had a girlfriend at the time, Caitlin, although we are no longer together, thank God. She just didn’t understand my urge to travel the world. I was so happy when she split up with me) but who knows what could have happened that night?
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I would have to say England. I don’t understand how they could be so much like me, and yet so different. I am actually Welsh (on my great-grandfather and grandmothers side of the family) so I was really looking forward to seeing ‘the olde world’ but it was terrible. The accent is so difficult to understand and they have so many different words to American. I don’t want to go back, that’s for sure.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Georgia! Seriously, you can travel all over but I don’t think you can ever find anywhere like Georgia. I miss it when I am away.
You’ve been to over 27 countries so far. Where do you want to go to that you’ve not seen before?
I wrote on my blog I had been to over 27 countries. I did this because some travel bloggers write ‘I have been to over x amount of countries’ in their profiles, instead of actually saying how many countries they have been to. I thought it was some kind of blogger etiquette. In fact I have been to somewhere between 27 and 104 countries, but I’m not going to tell you how many.
I want to go to Japan. They seem a strange bunch.
Do you have a tendency to forget things (travel guides/cameras etc)?
Definitely. I get so excited if I am going to do an attraction or tourist site that I sometimes completely forget the most important thing: my camera. What’s the point of doing somewhere if you don’t have photos? As I said I am always forgetting things, so maybe if I don’t have a camera I would forget where I have done and what it looked like and I would have to go and do it again? It could be expensive. I have to try to be better at remembering and stuff.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Probably working. I should be working now, my Mom is always on at me to get off my ass and do something, but I tell her that travel is something. She doesn’t understand.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Backpacking With Chad: http://backpackingwithchad.com
When did you begin your website?
Last October but I didn’t post for a very long time because I returned to the USA and had some post-breakup things to sort out with Caitlin. It was an emotional time and very painful for both of us, but eventually she agreed to meet me for five minutes outside her work. I don’t want to say much more as it is very personal, but we both decided it was for the best if we stayed broken-up and did not give it another go. It is the best way forward, we agreed. Still in the future, possibly, you never know what might happen…
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Because I am good at it. My life has been so unique and interesting I think people would enjoy reading about my adventures. Some people don’t have the balls to travel, they are scared of the world, but I went out there and saw for myself that the world is not so different to home. It is possible to find coffee and American food almost everywhere, and the odd occasions when this is not possible you can always find a store. Most people speak American and the majority are very friendly, especially in the hostels and backpackers bars.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
My site is full of the same articles and posts as most other travel blogging websites (packing lists, lists of places to see, lists of places not to see, lists of favourite lists on different blogs) but I bring my unique Chaddley perspective. It’s lots of fun!
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Only my feelings and experiences of the world to share with people. And my books, obviously. Chad has to eat!
Tell us more about your book?
My book is a true account of my trip to India. It is the first in a series that I hope will cover all of the over 27 countries I have been to. I was inspired to write because I read a book by Paul Theroux and it was boring, full of conversations and opinions, hardly any facts. I said to my Mom that I could write a better book, and she told me to go for it! It was very encouraging. I think she was glad to have the sofa back.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
A top ten list of weird festivals in the world. One commentator was not very happy with my view on the festivals, but, come on, a baby-jumping festival?
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
None of them. I hate writing.
Why were you shocked by McDonalds in India?
No Big Macs! Millions of cows and not a single Mac.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Just get there and do it! Instead of using your trust fund for a car or house, spend it seeing the world!
What has travel taught you?
I am still learning so much about the world every day. Before I left home I literally lived in a little bubble, but now I like to think of myself as a ‘travel expert’. Chad Thomson, Travel Expert.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? United
Favourite country? USA
Favourite city? Athens, Georgia (not Athens, Europe)
Favourite beach? Tayrona, Colombia (this is where I am now!)
Favourite food? American, or whatever I can find if I am on a trip. Depends what is on offer.
Favourite language? American!
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://backpackingwithchad.com
Twitter handle? TravelWithChad