Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
An interview with packing tips from The Broke Backpacker
Tell us a little about about who you are, what your blog is called, and where you’re traveling now.
Hi there! I’m Will, one of the brokest travellers you’re ever likely to meet! My plan was originally to save some money and travel the world but I kind of skipped the first bit and just started hitching around with a battered tent. Seven years later and I still spend most of my time on the road. I’ve lived in India, drunk tea with rebels in Burma, tamed ostriches in Vietnam and conquered suicidal peaks in Nepal with a hand-drawn map! If it’s dangerous, fun and just a little bit crazy – I’ll give it a go. My blog is all about travelling the world on the cheap whilst still having a good time. Sure, it’s possible to go forever but if you can’t afford a single beer, what’s the point! I blog over at www.thebrokebackpacker.com and I also write freelance pieces for HovelStay.com, HolidayPirates and South America Backpacker Magazine.
Do you use a backpack or rolley suitcase for long-term travel?
I have a seventy litre Osprey Argon (similar bag in link), it’s one of the best bits of kit that I own and although battered – I totally swear by it! It’s comfortable enough to trek with, big enough to stuff full of random gear I pick up whilst on the road and, as a bonus, the chest strap even has a kick ass whistle!
What shoes are your every day walking around, sightseeing shoes? And how many pairs of shoes do you pack for a long-term backpacking trip?
I usually take two pairs of shoes – a very hardy pair of NorthFace Hedgehogs, which I absolutely swear by, for trekking and every day hanging out and a pair of flip flops for the beach and hostel showers. On my current trip, I’ve bough a pair of running trainers in a vague attempt to stay fit. I actually wish I had bought a pair of Merrell Trekking Trainers– I’ve been doing a lot of river crossings whilst trekking recently and swapping out of trainers all the time is a pain. My advice to other travellers – don’t bother with trekking boots, take a decent pair of trekking trainers, a pair of GOOD sandals and a pair of flip flops. Never go anywhere without flip flops, they weigh nothing and you can just attach them to the outside of your pack with a carabiner… always have carabiners!
When you’re pigging out trying new foods, other than typical walking & sightseeing in towns- what do you do to keep away the love-handles?
Back in the UK, I’m an obsessed Crossfitter! I train about three hours a day and try to compete once every couple of months. Out here, it’s hard. It’s hot, the food is not the same quality as I am used to and, well, there’s lots of cool people to hang out with… saying that, whenever I am near water I will go for a swim for a couple of miles. When possible, I do burpees (the BEST body weight exercise!), press-ups and handstand push-ups. I’ve also bought a skipping rope with me but I don’t use it as much as I should.
When you’re traveling, do you pick up beauty & shower products while you go or are there products you can’t live without- what are they?
I always travel with a bottle of travel wash – it’s great, I can wash my hair, clothes and shave with it. My ‘luxury’ product is a small tin of extremely expensive moisturiser, I use this on my tattoos to keep them in good condition. I also like decent toothpaste, which can be hard to pick up abroad, so I usually bring a couple of tubes from home.
For those who thing living out of a backpack is impossible, what tips do you have for saving space or what things have you learned you actually don’t need to pack?
stuff sacks!! Seriously, stuff sacks will save your life. They are the best way to organise things. I have one for electrical items, one for underwear and socks, one for all other clothes, one for bits and pieces and a mesh one for dirty laundry. It means that, including my wash bag, there are actually only six things in my pack. Stay organised and it’s pretty easy to live out of a pack relatively comfortably.
What type of outfit do you take in case of a night out clubbing or going to a fancy bar/hotel?
I mostly wear tank tops and cargo pants – both at home and whilst travelling. Saying that, I have a couple of nice shirts, from Craghoppers, which are super practical and also quite smart so I have yet to be turned away from anywhere.
What is the one material thing you miss most from home while you’re roughin’ it abroad?
Clean socks. I don’t particularly like flip-flops. I basically live in trekking trainers, over time my socks get worn down and turn to crap. For Christmas, I would actually love some new socks. Preferably blue.
What does your most worn, daily outfit look like while you’re traveling?
I like tank-tops. I wear a lot of tank tops. I usually wear Crossfit shorts or trekking pants (crag hoppers again) during the average day. If it’s hot, I’m THAT guy who wanders around the hostel in boxers.
Tell us the ONE thing you pack for a long backpacking trip & would never leave behind.
There’s a few things I really would NOT travel without. A head lamp is a big one for me (I swear by Alp Kit) – it has genuinely saved my life more than once. A good knife is another one; always useful for about 1000 reasons. If you’re not comfortable with knives, take a multi-tool – I have a Leatherman Skeletool which I got as an 18th birthday present, it has never left my side. I would struggle to amuse myself on buses without my iPod…
You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle?
Music. I love to read, I really do but at the moment I tend to write at least one article a day so music is my downtime. When I’m not writing so much, I love to read.
Thank you for interviewing on Hippie in Heels, before you go can you tell readers that may be on the fence about taking a trip why YOU think they should go for it!
When I first hit the road, I was scared. Hell, sometimes I am still scared. Stuff has gone wrong, I’ve gotten hurt along the way, I’ve messed up but overall I have had experiences which I didn’t even know were possible – watching the sunset with crimson robed monks, exploring a flooded cave system with just a candle, spending a month herding goats in the Holy Land… I truly feel that travelling has opened my eyes and made me into a better, more compassionate person. Ultimately, I just have more fun when I’m travelling. The lifestyle is definitely not for everyone but, like beer or skinny dipping, everyone should at least TRY it once. Take the plunge, cast off your inhibitions and hit the road – it’s waiting for you.
Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond. Will has been gallivanting around the world like a coked-up roadrunner for the last seven years, he has a couple of stories to tell. Back home, he is best known as the undisputed master of the handstand pushup. He is the conqueror of the infamous dick tick, the survivor of deadly motorbike crashes and a crusader for cheap escapades. His favourite way to travel is to hitch. Although he has an extensive vocabulary he mostly uses ‘dude’ and ‘awesome’ to convey all emotions. Some say, he is the inventor of the man-hug. His friends would call him an incorrigible cad but in private, Will is sexually aroused by raging rapids, perilous peaks and paleo cheesecake. He is in constant need of a haircut and smells of old leather and fine cigars. Connect with him on his blog Broke Backpacker, facebook and twitter.
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Cool interview! I like the male perspective. Will would definitely be fun to hang out with while on a trip abroad.
Hi, I was wondering if you ever had an issue at the airport with the multitool. I guess the usual swiss army knife would not work well in my cabin backpack.
Will is an amazing guy! He has some great advice on his blog and having travelled a lot myself over the past few years his blog has become indispensable.