Gone Backpacking: Interview with Dave Lee
Dave Lee is the blogger behind Go Backpacking, a website encouraging people to do exactly that. Since late 2007, he has taken his own advice and set out on a ’round the world backpacking trip, which has so far taken him through New Zealand, the Pacific, Australia and Indonesia.
In this interview with TravelBlogs, Dave talks about why he believes it’s important for people to travel, as well as some of the highlights of his trip so far.
Where are you at the moment?
I’m staying in Kuta on the island of Bali in Indonesia.
Why did you decide to do this trip?
At 25, I was laid off from my job of a few years, and unable to use the opportunity to travel because of credit card debt. I reexamined my values, and decided to exert more control over my life. Planning to take a trip around the world gave me a goal to work toward so I would be in a position to leave my next job on my own accord. And I love to backpack, so dedicating a substantial part of my life to it all at once seemed ideal.
What have been some of the highlights so far?
My first night in Tahiti is at the top of the list. I was met at the airport by a French doctor who was hosting me (via couchsurfing), and he invited me into his home, and to his friend’s going away party that night at a house across from a black sand beach. I’m most proud of hiking the 18km Tongariro Crossing, which winds between two volcanoes on New Zealand’s North Island, in 5.5 hours. Riding a helicopter up the Franz Joseph Glacier on the South Island, followed by my first glacier hike was also fantastic. In Australia, spending 3 days and 2 nights sailing aboard a racing yacht around the Whitsunday Islands was brilliant. And wasting the days and nights away with new friends on tropical Gili Trawangan east of Bali was the perfect vacation from my travels.
Do you know your future itinerary, or are you making things up as you go?
I have a general sense of the direction I’m headed during the first 6-8 months, driven by a desire to trek in Nepal in April, before the rainy season begins. Once I’ve visited India and Southeast Asia, I’ll see how much money I have left, and decide how to approach Africa, Europe, and/or South America on the second half of my journey.
Your first backpacking experience was a trip to Europe back in 1998. Was that when you really started to love travel?
Yes. Until then, my trips were family vacations, and while I enjoyed them, they were often within the USA. During my Summer in Europe, I learned the basics of independent travel, and became addicted to the sense of freedom and excitement of seeing new countries.
There’s more to Go Backpacking than just your blog. It’s also about encouraging others to step out and travel. Why do you think it’s important for people to travel?
I believe long term travel allows you to gain a new perspective on your home country and life. Personally speaking, I’ve become a much more tolerant, compassionate, and appreciative person after seeing how others live (outside of Westernized countries).
Follow Dave along on his ’round the world trip on his blog.