backpacker challenge long term packing

ME!

A lot of your guys have been following my backpacking adventures for a while now and I’m guessing you have a good idea what makes me tick these days and what to expect from my travels.

But how did I get to this point?  

What has led to me giving the middle finger to a normal life and exploring the world for so long? 

I often get asked about these things by people I meet on the road and also in emails from your guys.

Well I thought I’d put together a brief history of me – of my travel experience and key points in my life that have led me down this path, I want to give you a bit more insight into me, into how my life has resulted in the sun on my shoulders and my surfboard under my arm, of the decision I’ve made and events that had shaped me.

So here’s a snap shot of my life…

 

June 15th 1987 – Born and raised in the beautiful countryside of Devon, England.

 

Age 2 weeks – my first trip to the beach. A life long affair with the ocean and sand begins!

 

Age 3 – my first trip abroad to the Algarve with my family. We return there every few years until I’m about 16. And I can still recall the sights, smells and sounds of walking through local markets, picking oranges off the trees in the grounds of the villa we rented and the beached we visited.

 

Age 13 – I head off to France on a cycling holiday with school. It’s an interesting learning curve and the start of my love of adventure based holidays.

 

Age 14 – I participate in a school French exchange, learning more about new cultures and challenging my comfort zone…I speak no French!

 

Age 15 – I head off to Germany for another school exchange. I speak no German and my host family no English…it was an interesting experience! I give snowboarding a shot…

 

Age 15 – On a Sun £10 weekend away with my parents and brother I discover surfing. Probably one of the biggest moment in my life as the sport goes on to reshape my entire lifestyle and outlook on the world.

 

Age 17 – My first trip to America with college as we head to the Big Apple on a media studies trip.

 

Age 18 – Another media studies trip – this time to California. I decide I don’t like America that much and hate cities!

mint tea morocco surf taghazout

Waves, Tea and Sunshine In Morocco

 

Age 18 – I head off to uni. Instead of following my proposed plan to study law I make a fairly last minute decision to do Documentary Photography instead. Probably one of my better life decisions!

 

Age 19 – I jet off to Morocco with my brother and parents on a surfing holiday. It’s a total culture shock and different to any other place I’ve visited. Little did I know I’d go on to visit there twice more and work there as a surf coach for 4 months.

 

2008 (age 21) – My first long haul solo trip takes me to Ecuador in South America, to Montanita. That town would start a long term relationship with Ecuador and I head back to visit there twice more – both times working as a surf coach.

 

2009 (Age 22) – I finish a 4 year relationship and decide to follow my dream to head to Australia. My plans spiral from a 3 month jaunt to a year long working holiday visa. My family and friends don’t think it’ll actually happen but I go solo because no one else can organise themselves and commit. I start my first blog.

 

byron-bay-street-art-australia

Byron Bay, Australia

Oct 2009 – Oct 2010 (Age 22-23) My year in Australia teaches me the joys of travel and inspires me to want to visit a heap of new places. I make friends with people from all around the globe and live in a van for much of the time. I learn more in this period of time than any school, college or university could ever teach me. I live in Byron Bay for 6 months and live the surfer dream. I also learn to scuba dive.

 

Oct 2010 (Age 23) – I return home from Australia with a big bite from the travel bug. I don’t know what the plan is other than I want to leave the UK again. Luckily within a few weeks I have landed an epic job at STA Travel which opens up a whole expanse of travel knowledge.

 

May 2011 (age 24) – I relaunch my blog under the name Backpacker Banter

 

April 2011 (age 24) – I finally get around to getting my ISA Surf Coach Level 1 and Beach Lifeguard qualifications.

 

Oct 2011 (Age 24) – I use my work holiday to head to Thailand for 3 weeks. I’d never wanted to visit Asia before but this convinces me otherwise. After 3 amazing weeks covering full moon parties, diving on Koh Tao, exploring Bangkok and chilling in Chang Mai I realise I need to get back on the road.

 

the alchemist travel book

I Never Thought One Book Could Change So Much…

Dec 2011 (age 24) – I read the Alchemist and as a result I finish a 2 year relationship, quit my job at STA and book a flight to Ecuador to surf coach in Montanita.

 

Jan 2012 (age 24) – I board a flight to South America with nothing more than a plan to surf coach for 3 months, explore Peru for a month. The plan is to then head into Asia for a couple months before moving to New Zealand on a working holiday visa.

 

May 2012 (age 24) – Having landed in Asia (covering Thailand and Laos) I realise that my blog is making a stable amount of money. I push back by flights to New Zealand and buy a new flight to Indonesia to fulfil my surfing dream or a charter boat.

 

June 2012 (age 25) – My brother comes to visit me in Thailand for my birthday. He now wants to travel! My parents book a flight to NZ for the following March to come visit me.

 

August 2012 (age 25) – On my original plans this is when I should’ve landed in NZ. Instead I’ve flown back to Thailand on a study visa to become a divemaster.

 

Sept 2012 (age 25) – I bail on my dive master course realising I don’t want to teach it. I meet up with a buddy from home and head to Cambodia. It quickly becomes my favourite country in Asia. I also land a job offer in Morocco. My onward flight to New Zealand is now cancelled and book a flight to Morocco via Switzerland to see a girl I was dating from Ecuador. My parents aren’t too happy!

 

Oct 2012 (age 25) – on paper this is when all my original savings from the UK have run out. I’m now living entirely off of my blog. I land in Switzerland.

 

surfing taghazout morocco gopro

Surfing in Morocco

Nov 2012 (age 25) – I head to Morocco to start my surf coaching contract, running their 3 month surf instructor training programme. I realise I’ve spent too much time out of the surf whilst in Asia and vow never again to spend that long a period without waves!

 

Jan 2013 (age 25) – I book a flight to New Zealand to meet my parents in March having managed to save a good nest egg whilst working.

 

Feb 2013 (age 25) – I once again bail on my NZ working holiday plans and book and onward flight to Australia and into Indonesia for another surf holiday. My brother splits up with his girlfriend and promptly books flights to come travel with me before heading got Australia on a working visa.

 

campervan new zealand south island britz

Campervanning NZ

Mar 2013 (age 25) – I finally land in New Zealand and enjoy a month campervanning with my parents.

 

Apr-Aug 2013 (age 25/26) – I spend my birthday back in Byron Bay before meeting the bro in Indonesia. We then travel overland up to Bangkok before parting ways and I meet the girl from Switzerland.

 

Sept-Oct 2013 (age 26) – I book myself on a flight to Switzerland and then return to the UK for the first time in nearly 2 years to attend travel blog conference TBEX in Ireland.

 

Oct 2013 (age 26) – I get offered my surf coaching job back in Ecuador, I accept and book flights. I also get offered a photography job on the Similan Islands in Thailand and book another set of flights.

I also then book another set of flights to Indonesia…because…well I’m close anyway!

 

Dec 2013 (age 26) – I surprise the hell out of my family for xmas…priceless!

 

Jan 2014 (age 26) – 2 years after I first set out on my adventure I land in the same place on the same date. I also accept a job offer in Portugal for the summer to be close to the Swiss girl and top up my funds.

 

Feb 2014 (age 26) – I suddenly find myself single after 2 years. I decide to still hit Portugal but now I have no ties and have to fly home to the UK rather than Switzerland with a month to kill. I start working on new plans and starting afresh.

backpacker injury surfer

SNAP!

 

Mar 2014 (age 26) – I break my toe 2 days before flying to the Galapagos Islands on a free diving holiday and have to cancel my flights. I also can’t surf for 4 weeks so it puts my Peruvian surf plans out of the window.

 

Apr 2014-????? (age 26) – ???????!!!!!

 

So that’s my life, my travels and my choices that have led me to the current day.

And as for my next set of plans. Well to be honest I’m kind of in limbo at the moment. The prospect of being able to do anything I want and not have to worry about anyone else in the decision making process is liberating, but at the same time totally terrifying.

At the moment I have no real clue where to start, just a rough set of ideas.

…I guess this is where the next adventure begins. I’m starting on a clean slate and have to build something new.

…this could get interesting!

 

Anything else you guys would like to know about me?!

 

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9 Responses

  1. tom

    Hey mate – nice idea to do a little timeline of your travelling life was a good read. You should def still head to Portugal. I presume you’ll be in Lagos? I enjoyed it there its a pretty sweet town with some good nightlife and plenty of surf lodges etc

    Not a bad place to kick out for a couple of months in the summer :D
    tom recently posted..Trip Planning for this year – 2014My Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      Hey Tom – glad you liked the idea and found it interesting!
      Yeah Lagos/Sagres is on the cards, good to hear its a nice place to be based!

      Reply
  2. Kasia Basia

    But where oh where is on your ‘iabsobloodylutelymustgoto’ list?

    Looking at your list is excruciating knowing that I’m a month younger than you & have barely done a fraction of what you have! But bloomin’ inspiring to know that it CAN be done!
    Kasia Basia recently posted..Mixtape Monday #12My Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      Kasia – it’s always better late than never, so I hope you manage to get out there and see the world!

      Reply
  3. Shane

    Cheers Chris. I’m writing a brief bio of bloggers that have worked abroad and yours is so much easier thanks to this.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Go for it Belle, always good to know where the people whose travels you follow got where they got!

      Reply

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