He is a writer, photographer and novelist who has been traveling the world for the last 20 years. He is an adventurer, a backpacker, and an explorer who says complacency can stay well away.
He knew the beaches of Thailand before they became a trend for teenage alcoholism, and has been diving with Australian Crocodiles and lived to tell the tale, and made the 2014 list for sexiest male traveler alive. He’s a twenty first century Nomad; I’m talking, of course, about Steve Moore.
What do you love the most about travelling?
For me, the beauty of traveling is to take myself out of whatever comfort zones I find myself in and set out on my own voyages of discovery.
That can either be a short weekend away, a two week vacation, or a twelve month round the world adventure, because it’s not the length of trip that matters, but the level of excitement and distance outside of the comfort zone.
Mind you, I am very partial to those longer and more adventurous trips.
Discovering new places, foods, customs etc is the best way to learn about yourself, and I love that too.
What inspired you to start travelling?
I think that being so uninspired in my daily life back in my hometown is what inspired me to start travelling.
Dead-end jobs, miserable weather, and a girlfriend who was leaving for Bali and Australia turned my head towards something new and challenging.
What is ‘Twenty First Century Nomad’ all about?
My blog, ‘Twenty First Century Nomad,’ started out as a hobby, somewhere to post photos from my trips and where I could share some of my untold tales from the road.
It has evolved a little from that now, and as well as being the place where I post my published travel articles and continue to write about all things travel and my thoughts on the world at large, it is also a platform for me to showcase my passion for photography and discuss my upcoming novel, now available on Amazon.
You’ve been travelling for twenty years. What keeps you on the road?
Complacency is a state of mind, and it’s something that I try very hard to keep out of my life, and the best way for me to achieve that is to stay transient, and travel as often as possible.
No matter where I am, there is always a trip being planned, destination lists being compiled, and adventures being dreamed of.
If I dream big, at least some of the dreams become reality, which means there is always some exciting trip or another on the near side of the horizon. But when I stop dreaming of travel and adventure, then it will be time to change the philosophy.
However, complacency can stay well away.
Has the concept of travelling/tourism changed over the past 20 years?
For me, the concept of travelling hasn’t changed at all, and I still endeavour to go on the same kinds of trips, mainly budget style backpacking. That way my limited budget tends to last longer. However, the tourism industry as a whole I think has changed.
For example, for many people, ‘back packing’ has become ‘flash packing,’ meaning that the levels of expectation has changed. A good example might be this; the first time I went to the beaches of Krabi, Thailand in the mid 90’s, the only tourists there where like minded backpackers, on long, budget trips with no rush to move on and little or no strict itinerary, but when I returned again last year the beaches were filled with mostly younger kids, staying at quite fancy resorts and with plenty of money to spend on their two to three week holiday.
There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but I think it signifies a shift in the industry.
The world is more accessible these days, and whereas once the beaches of Thailand might have seemed inaccessible for most people, nowadays it’s no more difficult to get to than, say, Costa Brava for the Brits or Bali for Aussies.
Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?
I often get asked that question, and it’s one I like to answer, as it was a massively positive moment for me.
My first ever trip beyond Europe was at 19 years old, and I went backpacking in Bali en route to Australia. Bali could not be more different from my home-town in England, and knowing little about it before I went, I was indeed shocked at how different the world could be, albeit in a more generic kind of way.
The smells, the tastes, the weather, the openness and friendliness of the locals…everything was so special, and it opened my eyes up to another world. I often say Bali is the place where my nomadic lifestyle really started, and that’s because it was such a brilliant culture shock to a naïve kid from Lowestoft.
How do you afford to continually travel – are you rich?!
Ha Ha. I’m a writer, thus I will never be rich.
For me it’s all about prioritising whatever money I do have. I’ve never been a materialistic person, much preferring to spend my money on experiences rather than, say, a fancy T.V. or a nice car.
Also, my fiancé is a like-minded traveller who happens to be a freelance journalist, which lends itself to more trips that I’m lucky enough to tag along on.
I’ve spent several years living and teaching English in South Korea, which is an excellent way to stay abroad while earning money.
Teaching ESL is something that can be done all over the world these days, and I highly recommend it as a means to travel while working.
Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?
Wow, there have been too many to mention. I guess one of the most embarrassing moments was being sea sick…on a lake.
It was in Peru, and I was visiting Lake Titicaca. It was a lovely day, but the altitude there was extreme, and when the wind picked up, so did the swell.
I have a notoriously weak tolerance for both altitude and seasickness, and combined, well, let’s just say that I didn’t keep my lunch for long. To this day I have never known another human to be violently sea sick…on a lake. Highly embarrassing.
One thing which you don’t like about life as a nomad?
It’s a difficult question, as there isn’t much not to like as a nomad. But if I had to choose something, it’s not knowing exactly when I will see my mum and brother next.
Mum lives in England still, and my brother lives in Australia, so with my home-base now in Mexico and me often working in Korea, our visits are infrequent.
But to counter that, when we do hook up it’s usually in some amazing destination, like Bali, where we recently met for my 40th birthday.
Three things you can’t travel without?
I guess a lot of people would answer the same way, but of course, I can’t travel without a book, and these days, I carry a Kindle.
As a writer, I always need to have my laptop with me, and since I don’t own a phone, that is also the way I communicate with friends and family. And finally, and perhaps most important; Tiger Balm.
Yep, tiger balm is crucial to me for so many reasons; mossy bites, coughs and colds, hangovers, and also to rub under your nose when the often nasty smells of travel get too much. It’s a lifesaver, and along with my passport, my most prized possession is always a stash of tiger balm.
Most practical piece of advice for those planning a nomadic lifestyle?
In the age of the internet, a ‘nomadic lifestyle’ is perhaps more achievable than ever. But not everyone has the skills to be able to make a remote living, so it’s a case of choosing your destinations in order to make the most out of your budget.
With careful planning and an open minded attitude, a long trip to multiple countries doesn’t need to just be a dream, and if you are fortunate enough to be able to make money while on the road, then kudos to you, because those dreams might never need to end.
As I mentioned earlier, teaching ESL is a great way to maintain a nomadic lifestyle while traveling and working.
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?
It’s an ever-changing list, but I would say Jordan, Tanzania and Myanmar are the top three right now.
Jordon because I’ve been to Israel twice, and both times with plans to go into Jordon but both times there were security issues at the border and I missed out. It seems such a mystical and ancient place, and I WILL go one day.
Tanzania offers some of my favourite activities; hiking, diving, seeing wildlife etc, and it is a spectacular and diverse country that I long to explore.
Myanmar remains one of the only countries in south east Asia I haven’t been to, and I’m not sure why…perhaps I get stuck on those Thai beaches too long? But as it becomes more and more accessible to tourists, perhaps I should go soon, before all the ‘flash packers’ arrive.
Why should people travel?
Again, traveling offers so many varied experiences and opportunities that the answer is probably different for everyone. But the things I have learned about the world and my place in it are things I could never have understood by staying in the comfort zone of home.
We read so much negativity in the press about the world’s issues, the places we shouldn’t go to, regimes we shouldn’t support with our tourist money, how to live our lives, but in reality, we are force fed information that very often simply isn’t true.
If nothing else, traveling provides us with the tools we need to live a more complete and compassionate life, because of the people we meet and the experiences we have, both good and bad.
The world is a giant classroom, and travel is the teacher.
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