The 6th interview in my Inspirational Travel Interview series is with Clare Absolon from The Wayfarer Diaries. Clare is a 26 year old English girl who one night during an existential crisis decided to travel world and do the things she loves. On the 12th September 2013 she travelled out to Bali to begin her adventure.
Why don’t you start by introducing yourself and your blog?
My name is Clare and I’m a 26 year old traveller, blogger and aspiring writer. In September 2013 I quit my job in digital communications and set off for Bali, to begin an indefinite period of travel. I’m currently travelling in India solo.
After having graduated, I briefly toyed with the idea of starting a career and following the path that people are supposed to follow after uni. Working full time, perpetually skint and living in the attic room of a shared house, I quickly decided that I had to have a go at pursuing a different kind of life, and moved home to save money for travelling.
My aim with the Wayfarer Diaries is to use storytelling to give an insight into the places I visit. There are a lot of blogs out there giving the same standard travel advice, so I try to paint a picture with words and photography for my readers so that they can share my experiences in a real way and hopefully get a feel for what these foreign destinations are actually like, as well as the realities of long term travel and the changes it can bring about in a person.
I want to spread the message that everyone can travel the world, if they want to; and more than that, I hope that people will find inspiration in my efforts to build a life incorporating the things I love beyond the constraints of the 9-5. I live every day by my mantra – there’s always a beginning.
How long did you save before embarking on your travels and how much did you set out with?
I saved for about 18 months before I set off travelling. I moved back in with my parents to save money on rent and worked full time as well as a couple of additional freelance design jobs. I wanted to clear my credit and store cards before I started so I wasn’t worrying about monthly payments when I was away, and invested in a new Macbook Pro – once these outgoings had been taken into account I had £6000 in my travel fund, not including my outward flight to Bali which was paid for in advance.
How do you intend to keep up your indefinite travels?
One of the main things I’ve learnt about myself so far on this trip is that I don’t see myself wandering nomadically forever, although travelling will always be a huge part of my life. What I’m trying to do is build a life which incorporates regular opportunities for travelling and location independence, work wise.
My ambition is to eventually work entirely online, in writing, photography and design; in the meantime I have a TEFL qualification and some volunteer and work away opportunities lined up for when my money inevitably runs out!
Where have you travelled to so far, what’s been your favourite country and what places do you have lined up?
On this trip I started in Bali, where I spent a month before flying to Singapore. After that, my intention was to fly to the Philippines, but fate intervened and I ended up on a train through the jungles of Malaysia overland to Southern Thailand. I then hopped over to Cambodia for a few weeks before returning to Thailand and visiting the North, then flew to India where I’m staying for three months.
After India I will travel onwards to Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, the Andaman Islands, Laos and Vietnam before returning to Europe for my friend’s wedding in June. I then intend to spend a couple months working in Europe before flying home to regroup and prepare for the next big trip – South America!
My favourite country ever visited has to be Vietnam, where I lived and taught English for 6 months when I was 19 – the people, the beautiful landscape, the variation and above all, the food, make it my favourite.
What are some of the things you wished you had packed and brought with you and some of the things you probably should have left at home?
Because I had so much time to plan and save for my trip, I came away pretty well prepared! I wish I had brought a Kindle, as I’m always lugging about 5 books around with me, and I could have done with more warm clothes and some hiking shoes for North India and Nepal.
I definitely brought too many beach clothes though, and my huge wash bag was gone within a few weeks – it added about 3kg to my backpack!
The most useful things I brought with me were my silk sleeping bag liner, which I use all the time on night trains and buses or when the bedding in my room doesn’t look particularly clean, and a 4 plug extension cable which means I can charge all my electronics from a single wall socket when in hostels or guesthouses.
What would you say to someone contemplating the idea of long term travel?
I would say to anyone contemplating any kind of travel; do it, it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done!
Long term travel offers amazing experiences, a different kind of life and the chance to really get to know a country in depth if you travel slowly, but it isn’t for everyone – there is no right or wrong way to travel.
If you’re planning a big trip, it can be really hard to know where to even start – don’t be daunted, make a bucket list of everywhere you would like to visit and use a map to think about a logical route. Once you’ve got an idea of which countries you intend to travel to, use the internet to connect with people who’ve been there or plan to go.
The online travelling community is extremely friendly and eager to share great first hand advice. Just remember that however much you plan, your itinerary will almost definitely change once you’re on the road, and that’s part of the adventure!
I would like to say a huge thank you to Clare for undertaking this interview while she is busy travelling through India. If you would like to know more about her travels you can find her at The Wayfarer Diaries and also on Facebook and twitter. If you would like to ask Clare a question feel free to leave a comment and I’m sure she will be happy to answer whenever she is able to.
If you have a travel blog and would like to be the 7th installment of my Inspirational Travel Interview series then please get in contact with me.