Travelling with a conscience can influence your choice of tourist experiences. This has been very influential for today’s interviewee, please meet Charlie Marchant of Charlie On Travel.
What is your name?
Charlie Marchant, from Charlie On Travel
Which country do you come from/call home?
I’m originally from the rainy UK.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I’ve just started my long-term travel adventure in Central America – beginning with Costa Rica.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I previously worked as an English teacher in Taiwan, which drastically improved my lifestyle and enabled me to really begin travelling! I decided that after having saved half of my wages from Taiwan, that teaching wasn’t the career for me.
I’ve always wanted to be a freelance writer, so that’s what I set about doing. I now work under the job title of ‘Writing Ninja’ for an online marketing company. I love my job because it means I can work and travel!
I have also just begun working as a professional house sitter, which is a real commitment, but a completely amazing thing to be doing. Right now I’m taking care of 8 dogs and 1 cat in a small Costa Rican barrio up in the mountains around San Jose.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I didn’t travel abroad until I was 12. Before that, I remember a lot of wet, rainy, dreary seaside holidays in the UK at those kind of towns where you can eat fish and chips on a bench, stuff pennies into slot machines and very little else.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Poland. Poland was incredible. Before I decided to travel there, I’d only heard a lot of nonsense about how industrial and drab it is, and how the Polish all want to move abroad. This is not the case at all! Poland is a diverse county – I mean, sure it has some industrial cities, but it’s home to traditional old towns, golden sand beaches, white snowy mountains and just about everything in between.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
My travels have been mostly good – other than the odd moment of terrible hangryness, of course! The only bad experience that comes to mind was seeing other tourists riding elephants in Vietnam. But, it gave my travels more of a purpose – I now write ethical, sustainable, and socially aware tourism.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
After travelling in Vietnam for a month last year, we decided to have a 3-day stop-over in Hong Kong before flying back to the UK. Not realising how expensive it was going to be, it was a complete shock to the system after Vietnam. The cheapest hostel was over £30 per night! That was a whole week’s worth of accommodation in Vietnam! After being saved by a last minute couch-surfer on the first night, on the second we found ourselves in a love motel. It was the only place we could afford! Check-in was at 11:30pm and check-out was at 6am (it was pay by the hour, of course). Though it was a bit of a noisy night’s sleep, it sure had a powerful shower!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I wasn’t keen on Hong Kong. Sure, the city has a lot of great things to offer, the skyline is incredible and there are some good walks, but oh my it was expensive! Not only that, but you always have to walk through a shopping centre to cross the road – not my thing.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
My favourite place in the world is usually wherever I happen to be at the moment. Right now, this little barrio in the Costa Rican mountains is my favourite place in the world.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Not really, because it would be waaaaay too long! I want to travel everywhere, meet everyone, and experience everything.
Can you imagine life without travel?
I can imagine a bad, dull and sad life. That’s what a life without travel would be like.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I’d be planning my travels!
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Charlie on Travel, and you can find it at: http://charlieontravel.com
When did you begin your website?
I launched at the end of January 2014. I’m still quite a new blog but I’m growing!
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I originally started writing a free wordpress blog to keep my family in the loop whilst I was working in Taiwan. During that year, I realised that I love blogging, I love writing, I wanted to be a writer. I’d always wanted to be a writer and people told me it was impossible – I decided to ignore them.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Statistically, my most successful blog post was Why Living in Taiwan Drastically Improved My Lifestyle – it got a few readers raging.
But actually, Think Twice Before Riding an Elephant in Vietnam is my most successful post. This one raised awareness about a real problem and certainly got the best feedback from readers – some of whom had no idea about the issue before reading.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I really enjoyed writing about my trekking adventure in the Tatra Mountains for A Southern Gypsy. It was a fun opportunity for me to write in a different kind of style to normal.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
None of those, walking! I prefer to walk everywhere and often end up walking too far… If I already know somewhere really is too far, I’d rather go by scooter.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
If someone says something is impossible, it’s because they can’t imagine it. People told me long-term travel was impossible, being a successful travel blogger was impossible and being a writer was impossible. None of those things are impossible.
What has travel taught you?
It’s taught me that anything is possible if you can imagine it.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Any, I usually book through STA Travel though.
Favourite country? Taiwan.
Favourite city? Barcelona.
Favourite beach? I prefer mountains…
Favourite food? Red bean soup (it’s a hot, sweet soup from Taiwan).
Favourite language? English!
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://charlieontravel.com
House Sitting Profile: http://housesittingcouple.wordpress.com
Twitter handle? @CharlieOnTravel
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/charlieontravel
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/u/0/113587560306014804603/posts