I’m a hiking, outdoors and adventure travel blogger from Melbourne, Australia. I founded The Bushwalking Blog in late 2008 and have been passionately sharing my stories, advice and opinions on travel, hiking, photography, and conservation there ever since. A step-dad to two young children, I travel and get outdoors whenever I can, either alone, with my wife, or with the whole family. I’ve also co-authored a walking guidebook for the Great Ocean Road region, and occasionally write articles, mainly for outdoorsy publications.
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. Give me your itinerary.
As an Aussie, 24 hours means I’d be wasting a bunch of time flying anywhere overseas. I’d even be using a fair bit of time getting to the number one place on my Australian bucket list – The Kimberley.
Keen to make the most of my 24 hours of unlimited budget, I’d probably forgo my usual favoured travel option and mostly skip the hiking. I can do that even when I’m broke, after all. I’m thinking it’s time for some real luxury. So I’m thinking I’d head to the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest in Queensland. Here’s an idea of how I’d fill my time:
4:30am: Head to Melbourne Airport for our 6am flight to Port Douglas.
9:20am: Arrive at Port Douglas Airport, grab some breakfast if we’re hungry, and catch our shuttle to Silky Oaks Lodge.
9:50am: Check in to our ‘Lodge Suite’ treehouse accommodation at Silky Oaks Lodge and get settled in. I’m sure checkin time is 2pm as it is at most accommodation, but our unlimited budget could no doubt sort out that problem.
10am: Take in one of the lodge’s complimentary yoga classes to help start the day with some zen.
11:30am: Take a tour of Mossman Gorge with a local indigenous guide, learning about traditional plant use and dreamtime stories.
2pm: Head back to the lodge for a late gourmet lunch.
3pm: Take a quick helicopter tour to explore the Daintree from above.
4pm: Set off for Port Douglas to take a Low Isles snorkelling tour on the Great Barrier Reef.
7pm: Return to the lodge for a gourmet dinner, a few too many wines and beers, and head back to enjoy our room, probably regretting not spending more time there.
Morning: Fly home. Okay, so maybe we’ve gone a bit beyond 24 hours, but if you consider that the flights are already paid for, it doesn’t matter that our unlimited budget has already run out.
You have won the lottery. Tell me where you want to live.
Okay, so winning the lottery is a bit ambiguous but I’ll assume we’re talking a win in the tens of millions.
My answer is that we’ll set up a home base in Melbourne (where I’m from) and one in Sydney (where my wife is from) and just travel the world, indefinitely. We could even hire someone to travel with us and home school the kids. I’d work on growing The Bushwalking Blog as a source of income for our family and travel inspiration for the rest of the world. If Lori wanted to work she could work with charities as she does now, but she could even volunteer.
Your favorite travel resource on the web?
There are so many travel resources on the web these days that this is a very difficult question to answer. I visit lots of travel related websites regularly, but I don’t have one go-to place that I religiously turn to. With that in mind, my answer will have to be Google. A close second would be TripAdvisor. I know it’s far from perfect but I use it a lot. I rarely visit anywhere without checking TripAdvisor for one part of my trip or another.
What is the superpower you most want?
Teleportation. Without a doubt. Transport and its associated costs and time consumption are one of my biggest bugbears as a curious traveller.
What’s fuels your passion for travel?
Two things fuel my passion for travel… My curiosity about humankind and its history, and my hunger for beautiful, wild places. Whether I travel within my state, my country, or anywhere in the world, these are the things that drive me; the things I want to experience.
Why do you write?
I write for myself to reexperience. I write for myself for the creative and emotional output. There’s all kinds of satisfaction in looking at any kind of creative work you’ve completed, so for me that’s my blog, my book, and my magazine articles.
Even more than that, though, I write for others because I like to share stories. I’m human and it’s what we’ve done ever since we’ve existed. Early humans painted on cave walls and now, in 2017, many of us tell our stories on the internet. It’s still about relating to other human beings, and sharing knowledge.
Do your family and friends support your traveling escapades?
Having been a step-dad to two young kids for the last 4 years, my travelling has slowed down a heck of a lot, but my family is always supportive when I do set off on an adventure. My wife currently works afternoons/nights, so that makes it hard for me to have any extended time away. Fortunately my mother in law can sometimes travel from Sydney to Melbourne to help out if I do need to go away, but I’m selective about the trips I take. Aside from being a little bit jealous of my adventures at times, my friends wholeheartedly support and encourage everything I do with my life.
What’s on your bucket list?
The entire world? I do have a bucket list but it’s not a list as such. It’s more a jumbled collection of ideas in my head, pinned to Pinterest boards, and saved in my web browser’s favourites. I’ll do my best to come up with a top 5, though.
Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) – Back in 2011, when I was single and free as a bird, I was about to book a trip to Tanzania to summit Mount Kili when I suddenly got myself into a new relationship. I never ended up booking the trip and have been dying to follow through with my plan ever since.
The Kimberley (Western Australia) – This feels like one of the last truly wild places in Australia. Unfortunately it’s so isolated that it’s prohibitively expensive to visit.
Antarctica – I don’t need to explain this one. Who wouldn’t love to see Antarctica?
Iceland – Stunning otherworldly landscapes, waterfalls, geothermal features, volcanoes, glaciers, ice caves, and a good chance of seeing Aurora Borealis. Need I say more? It’s a nature lover’s paradise.
Guatemala – I visited Guatemala for a week or so back in 2009, nearing the end of a big three month travelling stint. It’s an incredibly beautiful place, inhabited by the friendliest people in the world. While I had an amazing visit, I feel like I was a bit worn out by this stage of my trip to fully explore and enjoy the place. I’d kill to go back.
Can you imagine life without travel?
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine.
I don’t really know who Saint Augustine was but there were never truer words spoken.
Travel opens minds. We might live in a pretty fucked up world now, but without travel there’d be little chance for anyone to ever experience another culture and see its beauty; or to develop an innate empathy for people from other cultures.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
As I’ve mentioned, I don’t exactly live a life of travel. At the moment it’s more of a life of Groundhog Days, occasionally interspersed with an exciting adventure here and there. But I can’t imagine my life without them. If I didn’t have travel in my life, I can only imagine it as a life of Groundhog Days.
If you could be transported to one place at one time, what would it be and why?
Bethel, New York on the 15th of August 1969. Day One of the famous Woodstock Festival. I don’t know what it was but as a kid something (or maybe everything) about Woodstock spoke to me. My Woodstock movie (on VHS tape) was a regular watch from when I was about 9, right into my teenage years. I loved all of the music, but I also loved the whole vibe of the festival, the time, and the people. These days I still love nothing more than attending outdoor music and lifestyle festivals, but there’d be nothing like going back to the original.
Language you’d most like to be fluent in?
Spanish. I was taught a little bit of German, Italian, and French during my school years, but I never had any interest in learning another language until I booked my trip to South America. I took on a Spanish for Travellers language course and, although it was a challenge, I found that it clicked with me and I was fascinated by the way learning Spanish forced me to think more analytically about my own language. Flying into Chile and suddenly having little option but to speak Spanish was another story, but over my three months in Latin America, it became a lot easier. I never became anywhere near fluent, but that’s something I’d like to change one day.