More travel blogger stories in our Five Travel Questions. Scott from Big World Small Budget tells us his favourite travels from around the world as a backpacker.
Why do you love travel?
I’ve never been the kind of person to just settle for things the way they are within my comfort zone. Learn a new skill? Great, time to move on to the next one. Gym routine has been getting a little too routine lately? Time to switch to running. It’s a blessing and a curse being the “Jack of all trades, master of none”. I guess that’s why I’ve never been able to successfully learn a second language – I move on to a third and a forth before I’m done with the second.
Travel for me has always meant trying and seeing new things – new foods, new cultures, and new adventure activities in new countries with their own unique culture and beauty. That’s why it appeals to me – with travel it’s impossible to be bored because as long as I’m going somewhere new there’s always going to be something about that place that’s new to me in an exciting, interesting, or frightening way. Life is more fun if it falls into any one of those categories.
What destination is top of your bucket list?
As I grow and change as a traveler so do the experiences that I look for when I travel. As much as I loved Thailand and New Zealand, they don’t pose much of a challenge nor are they a very unique destination for a backpacker. Recently I’ve had my sights set on some different destinations, and I would say that the top of my bucket list (although I don’t really keep one) is Mongolia. The vast, empty landscape is the only place in the world where the fascinating nomadic lifestyle is still a normality. I feel like Mongolia is like nowhere else in the world, combining Asian and Russian cultures with its own unique quirks. I would love to be one of the few tourists who take on the Mongolian outback and to share that experience with my readers.
Where is your most favorite place you have travelled to?
I hate to go with the cliché answer, but it wasn’t until I was 23 years old and traveled to New Zealand in 2010 that I really opened my eyes to travel. There’s nothing like your first grand adventure, far away from home and all alone in a foreign country. Of course, New Zealand isn’t all that foreign coming from Canada, and is a very easy country for a backpacker to travel, but at the time it meant everything to me. Now the country is absolutely stunning and stands on its own and if you’re the type of person to be reading a travel blog it needs no introduction from me. But the beauty and the culture and the experience were amplified by the fact that it was my first time really far away from home and I don’t think anything could ever really compare to that trip.
What is your most favorite memory or experience whilst travelling?
My favorite travel memories always come about as a combination of being in the right place at the right time and a willingness and flexibility to see where an unusual or unexpected situation will take me. One recent story that immediately comes to mind happened when I was in a fairly remote region of Cambodia. I had gone to see the Kompong Luong floating village, and on the long, scorching hot walk back to my hotel I stumbled across a Cambodian family who invited me into their home for food and beer. The communication barrier was huge, as they didn’t speak a word of English and my Khmer is abysmal, but we still managed to visit and drink for hours. Some unusual food and a few watered-down Angkor beers later and I was basically welcomed into the family, ending up at a village dance party by the time the sun set. If you’re interested you can read more about that experience here. This would have never happened if I hadn’t allowed myself to just see where the afternoon took me, and of course there was a lot of luck stumbling across such a welcoming family while they were enjoying their afternoon meal.
What is your favorite photo from your travels?
Last year in November I landed in Halifax on the east coast of Canada for a whirlwind weekend tour. I had big plans to hit the road and photograph a bit of my home country that I so often neglect in favor of other more exotic destinations. As I hopped in my rental car and exited the airport I entered a sea of fog so thick that I couldn’t see more than a few meters in front of me. Needless to say I was disappointed, as the fog would continue on throughout the weekend. Gone were so many photo opportunities, my camera blinded by the fog. So I decided to embrace it, to turn my luck around. Instead of trying to see through the fog, I used it to compliment my weekend photography. The results were wonderful, especially when I experimented with a bit of black and white. This photo is not only my favorite because of the beautiful composition, but because it represents a lesson learned and a discrete step forward in my photography. I love how the horizon is invisible behind the fog which makes a gradient from the sea to the sky.