Today’s interviewee was given the advice of expect to be ripped off in some way when you travel. Read on to find out who said this to John Hunter of Curious Cat Travels.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I have lived in Malaysia the last 3 years and will become a nomad (in SE Asia) in December.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I earn money working remotely: managing my websites, providing management consulting and managing websites and blogs for others. I also give management seminars (these are not remote, since I have been in Malaysia I have given them in Singapore and Hong Kong).
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
The first trip I remember was to Europe, then Africa when I was 9. We lived in Nigeria for a year (my Dad was a professor). I posted about Niamey Grand Market on our vacation through Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
No, places have surprises but nothing completely different. The pyramids are really close to town and other buildings – not in the middle of desert, for example. Though I believe after I visited they have removed some of the buildings. I find it a recurring theme that locations you have in your mind as separate from reality when you visit are in mundane surroundings (though nature sites often are as spectacular and magnificent and even more so than anticipated).
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Lagos, Nigeria was pretty bad. We landed and were driving and I look out my door and see a dead policeman lying on the median. A few minutes later someone bashed into the back of our car and the driver said if he got out to talk to them they would likely rob us. I was happy we were on our way out of there as quickly as possible.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
There are too many great places but I think the game parks in East Africa are amazing and something very different from anything else I have seen.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
No, but if I think of what I want to do I do want to travel around India to many great sites including the Taj Mahal and the “Golden Temple” in Amritsar and so many more. I would be thrilled to spend my time visiting nearly every UNESCO world heritage site and hiking in national parks. I want to travel in Europe and see great cathedrals and museums with great art. I want to see Machu Pichu. There are so many great places to see.
Can you imagine life without travel?
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Where did you get the traveling bug from?
I mention the first trip I remember was through Europe to East Africa (game safari) then to Nigeria for a year and then Europe on our way back to the USA. Before that, we spend a year and a half in Singapore. While I am too young to remember it, I believe even that influenced me (as did looking at all the photos of travels growing up). My brother has the same bug and has lived in Hong Kong and London and spent a year traveling with his family (South America, Africa, Turkey, India, Indonesia and Australia). We were infected with the travel bug by our parents.
When did you begin your website?
When I first had content to put online it was not easy to create your own website. That was in 1995 and I had a friend at Clemson University (in the USA) who was able to post it on the Engineering Department’s web site. A year or two later I had my first website of my own.
I started the Living in Malaysia Blog when I moved to Malaysia 3 years ago. I started the Curious Cat Travel Destinations blog earlier this year. I posted a bit on travels outside Malaysia on my Malaysia blog, or my blog on Singapore but I found myself avoiding writing them because they didn’t really fit. So I created the new blog and have been adding to it.
You have a YouTube channel, please share a video pick with us:
My videos are just quick simple video of various locations. This one is the Borobudur Buddhist temple in Bali, Malaysia. The temple is amazing.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Mainly I write to learn, share what I learn with others and to create a record I can easily reference. Having done it for awhile I also hope to make money from some of my blogs, but on my travel ones I haven’t done so yet.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I hope I am able to provide a look at possibilities for tourists and provide a bit more detail on what to expect, including photos. My travel blogs are mainly written for people like me – so that like hiking, museums, history and exploring new cities and food. I hope those travelers would find my blogs worth reading. People that want to know what mall or bar to visit are not going to want to read my blog.
Your photography is a big part of your blog is that something you enjoy?
I enjoy photography. In fact, I feel pained if I don’t have my camera at a wonderful site. I do sometimes worry I might miss appreciating the experience because I am thinking of what photos would be good. But when I try visits without a camera it is too painful. I really enjoy being able to look back and my photos and remember what it was like. I suppose other people may have better memories but for me if I don’t have the photos it feels like I am missing a big part of the experience.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My most popular blog post is just explaining taking the bus between Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. But it is something many people want to do and look for advice online.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Probably, Wonderful Hiking in Bako National Park in Borneo, Malaysia, though I have lots of them that I really enjoy. Mainly my favorites are related to my experience and having some great photos to share.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
None. I wish I could teleport everywhere. The current mode of transport are all a hassle I have to deal with to get where I want to go.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Start with short trips that don’t stretch you to far from your comfort zone. Once you have some experience then take longer trips and try things that are a bit tougher. My Dad gave me some good advice – at the beginning of a trip expect to be ripped off in some way for $50, when it happens don’t let that stop you from enjoying your trip. You don’t always get ripped off but I think that is good advice to realize some problems are going to crop up and don’t let that ruin your day.
What has travel taught you?
There is tons of great stuff out there in our world. For some people, like me, being stuck in an office nearly all year long isn’t worth it. There are lots of good people in the world. There are loud jerks everywhere too. The few loud jerks are way more noticeable. Try to remember they are the very vocal tiny minority – wherever you go.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Singapore Airlines (I still don’t like flights but if I could always fly them it would be less bad)
Favourite country? Many – USA, Malaysia, Thailand, Kenya…
Favourite city? Probably London, but I would rather travel among various cities than be stuck in one all year (even if it was London)
Favourite beach? Again many, lets just say the one shown in the photo above, Khao Lak, Thailand (because I can find a photo I like).
Favourite food? Indian food is my favorite cuisine that I eat everywhere (USA, Malaysia, Singapore, London…). Though my favorite restaurant is Tribal Stove, serving Kelabit Highlands (Borneo) cuisine in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Favourite language? Ruby programming language 🙂 English, for languages we humans speak.
Website url? http://malaysia.curiouscatnetwork.com/
Twitter handle? @cc_invest
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/114308510941297788149/
Pinterest? No, though I have my own photo site: http://curiouscat.com/travel/photos/tags