HEY JUSTIN , THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR WANTING TO BE PART OF OUR NEVER ENDING JOURNEY ON LESS. TALK. TRAVEL. MORE.
1. TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. HOW OLD ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHAT IS YOUR JOB AND WHY IS TRAVELLING SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Five years ago, I lived in Vancouver, Canada, as a student, pushing towards the goal of film school, but I became distracted with my dream of travelling. At this point in my life, I had only been living in Canada, seen a select few places in the USA, and vacationed for a week in an all-inclusive getaway in Mexico. Travelling was not a big part of my life, however, I had always wanted to backpack the world. After a few months’ thought and a short quarter-life crisis later, I made the decision to drop out of university, bought a backpack, bought a ticket, had a pint with friends and left for Australia. That was almost five years ago, now I am 29, and I have never looked back.
From the date of my arrival in the odd world of Australia, I have worked as a bar tender. My profession allowed me to enjoy life in some of the most visited cities, beaches and destinations for travellers. Although I enjoyed liquoring up my peers, film has always been my passion. While studying in Canada, my aim was film school, but as of today, I haven’t returned to finish it, but I’ve continued my dream of studying film on my own, with the help of youtube, online courses and the continuous use of my camera and laptop. I am kicking my foot in the door as we speak. I see travel as my life style, not a vacation from life; I travel to work, I don’t work to travel.
2. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAVEL PER YEAR?
I consider my life to be travel. When I left Canada in 2011, I started living the life of spending as little time as possible working, and as much travelling to different places with different people. Not that I don’t work, my work loads are more dense than others. I cram in double the work hours in a week, so I can enjoy triple the amount of time to travel.
3. WHAT WAS YOUR FUNNIEST EXPERIENCE ON A JOURNEY?
The day I left Copenhagen, I had an experience which made me and a few customs officers giggle. I had booked a flight to Barcelona to leave at 7am and decided rather than sleep, I would enjoy the night with some friends, jump on the train, then enjoy breakfast at the airport. However, when a thunderstorm rolled into the city at 2 am, the trains and taxis decided to stop for the night. I raced to the airport with the only running bus that I could find and only 30 minutes left before my flight was supposed to take off. I was in a mad dash to check in, get through security and sprint to my gate. I was in such a mad race, with a lack of sleep and a drink or two that I ran tot he departure gate. I raced towards the international gates, had my passport stamped, and continued onto the wrong gate. I had officially left Denmark and had to reenter Denmark again to catch my flight at a different gate. After a few moments, I realized my error and ran back to customs to enter back into Denmark. I had to explain my mistake, my urgency and my reasons for receiving my second stamp in my passport to customs in a matter of moments. After a few minutes of frantic explanations, a few awkward laughs and a very confused customs officer, I received the stamp and was on the sprint to my correct gate. Dripping sweat from running the entire length of the airport in a winter coat and my baggage, I arrived to the gate to find it was delayed an hour. The travel gods were with me that day, and I had ignored all the (departure) signs.
4. HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON YOUR NEXT TRIP AND WHAT IS RELEVANT FOR YOU?
The decision for my future trips usually have to do with the cost of the flight. I usually choose an area on the map, someplace I have not been and find the cheapest airline able to take me there. Once I arrive, I have no plan. I find people along the way and I go with the flow. It’s not about the destination, but the experiences with the people you have along the way.
5. WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU ON A VACATION (RECREATION; EXPERIENCE; RELAXATION; ADVENTURE; FUN)?
If I go anywhere in the world, I make sure to experience it for what it is. I believe culture, local people, food and sunsets are the best way to enjoy the journey. If one doesn’t immerse in another culture, in a nation’s daily buzz, one does not experience that country properly. A street vendor or local tea shop is much better than an English breakfast.
6. WHICH TYPE REPRESENTS YOU BEST?
RELAXATION OR MOTION - Relaxation
COURAGE OR ANXIETY - Courage
ADVENTURE OR BORING STANDARD - Adventure
CHEAP OR EXPENSIVE - Cheap
COLOR OR NO COLOR - Color
7. DO YOU LIKE TO GO ON VACATION IN THE SPRING, SUMMER, FALL OR WINTER .... AND WHY?
The first two years of my travels were an endless summer. I timed my locations to be set in sun and beach. Sunsets and sunbathing became my lifestyle. I forgot what feeling cold is like; I forgot how it feels to have a breeze sting my face. Once I took the leap up to the arctic, I realised how much I loved winter. Some of my favourite small trips were made in the midst of winter. I feel that small trips to a new city are glimpses into how the people really are, and how they manage to make the best from the worst. I would always prefer a cold night in a cozy candle-lit bistro sipping wine with good company over a day spent on a hot and sunny beach with beer and party. However, I say this at the end of a six months backpack trip through Asia. My opinion may change upon entering subzero temperatures once again!
8. WHICH MOMENT OF THE DAY DO YOU LIKE THE MOST?
I enjoy the hour of sunset the most. The sky changes to magnificent colors, the environment stands out more, people just sit and stare at nothing and everything becomes relaxed. Luckily, up in the arctic, this effect lasts for several weeks between the summer’s midnight sun and the winter’s complete darkness.
9. ARE YOU MORE THE DISCOVERER OR DO YOU STICK TO YOUR ROUTINE WHEN DECIDING ON A TRIP?
When travelling, a daily routine is great to have, especially if you jump from place to place. I would use my day to complete my own tasks, but I would never make an itinerary or bucket list to check off the boxes. I would rather discover things on my own than limit my daily life to a checklist.
10. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO ON VACATION NEXT?
I always thought throwing a dart at a map was a great way to discover my next adventure. I did it once. I went to the shop, bought a decent little map, got my hands on some darts and was ready to discover my next destination. First throw: Canada. Alright, let’s try again. Second throw: Canada. Third time is the charm. Third throw: Canada. I haven’t used a dart since. Now I just listen to what my friends say, and recently I’ve been hearing wonders about Chile and Argentina. I am currently looking at Patagonia for next autumn.
11. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My friends inspire me; I enjoy making my friends and peers laugh.
12. IF I WOULD ASK YOU WHAT YOU SHOULD NEVER FORGET TO TAKE ON A TRIP, APART FROM PASSPORT, VISA ETC. , WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
I would always recommend a battery pack to charge your mobile when you really need it, a book, to keep you sane during long transport trips and a cheap pair of sunglasses, knowing that one will always lose, break or even drop an expensive pair in the ocean.
13. TELL ME FIVE THINGS THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE IN YOUR BAG ON A TRIP.
Where ever I go, whenever I go, I always have the following five essential items with me: A notebook with pen for writing down the odd thoughts and funny experiences; my Canon 70D for capturing the odd thoughts and funny experiences; a trusty sarong, it’s like a swiss army knife, but made of fabric; my bar blade (bottle opener), who knows when one will have eight beers to open in an emergency and my bluetooth speaker because those emergency beers need some decent tunes.
14. BOOK, NEWSPAPER, MAGAZINE OR CELL PHONE/IPAD/LAPTOP – WHAT REPRESENTS YOU BEST AND WHY?
I feel that my laptop represents me the most. A quick look at my desktop would be a glimpse into my personality, career goals and lazy Sundays. It contains all my footage, favourite films, my life ideas, travel stories, access to YouTube and my steam account for my guilty pleasure of fighting off Zombie hordes.
15. WHICH MOMENT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST WHEN YOU THINK BACK ON YOUR LIFE’S JOURNEY?
A defining moment of my life was the time I spent in Byron Bay, Australia, during my first year of travel. I had the pleasure of meeting a large group of like-minded individuals, I lived off the bare minimum for food and accommodation, and I had the ability to enjoy the thought process of psychedelics. My time in Byron Bay lasted only a few months, however, when I left, I felt recharged, a new person with different views about myself, the people around me and the way I perceived the world.
16. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CITIES?
My favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, for the medieval alleys and random offers for street beers; Ho Chi Minh City, for the motorbike chaos and the Pho in sticky humidity; Melbourne, for cold winter nights and the best coffee in the world; and Vancouver for the beaches with mountain views and cheap hidden sushi shops.
17. IN WHICH CITY OR PART OF THE WORLD DO YOU FEEL MOST AT HOME?
I have always had a strong draw to Europe. The history, the art, the architecture, the beer, the landscape and the variety of cultures has always enthralled me. I enjoy Barcelona most of all in Europe, it’s a city with character, taste and a sexy beach. What else could you want?
18. WHERE DO YOU LIVE AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST IN YOUR CITY?
Currently, I am based in Longyearbyen, Norway. It’s an interesting place nestled on the frozen archipelago of Svalbard, in the Arctic. It is a difficult place to live. Snow, glaciers, bitter cold, polar bears and darkness engulf the area for a better part of the year. What I love most about the place is the internationality of the residents. You can walk down main street and bump into anyone from Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Canada, or even Norway. Such an international place has the ability to attract all the same-minded people. Some are there for adventure, some for science and some for work. However, everyone has the same sense of adventure.
19. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LIVE THERE?
I have always done my best to go to locations, during my travels, which have been off the map or down a dark and ominous dirt road. When I was given the opportunity to move to the (second) most northern city in the world, I didn’t hesitate. The thought of living in a city, the citizens of which fear the possibility of a polar bear walking into town excited my inner child. I had the pleasure of living in Longyearbyen last year for a full season, and I’ve decided to return. It is a special place. I now have an understanding about how different it truly is from any other place on earth.
20. IF YOU WOULD COMPARE YOUR CITY TO MUSIC, WHICH KIND OF MUSIC WOULD DESCRIBE YOUR CITY BEST?
Longyearbyen is a very unique city. It is located in the arctic circle, at the 78’ latitude, one thousand kilometres from the northshore of Norway. This makes it the most populous human settlement in the world. Due to its location, it has some extremes other than old. During the summer, the sun does not set, it is light 24 hours a day; during the winter, the sun does rise, it is dark 24 hours a day, and during the in-between months, the sun is stuck in sunset and sunrise for a few weeks time. This phenomenon allows for extreme days, intense nights and a sunrise and sunset, which lasts for days. This whole annual process, including a few cold nights, in which the northern lights stream across the night sky, remind me of classical music. I can picture a time-lapse of the entire year played to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.
21. WHICH MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
My music taste changes from the beats of Bonobo to the lyrics of Yodelice in a single day, although, for the past months, I’ve been hooked on one of my good friend’s EPs, “Esoteric Groove” by Richard Maule. His music style follows roots of blues, folk, and harmonic beats, along with his unique sound and incredible voice. If you have not heard anything from him I would recommend listening!
22. EXPLAIN YOUR LIFESTYLE IN FIVE WORDS?
Meet people and share places.
23. WHAT WOULD BE A PERFECT DAY FOR YOU?
A perfect day for me would be time spent laughing with friends.
24. HOW IMPORTANT ARE FOOD AND THE TASTE OF SOMETHING NEW TO YOU?
Food is important to me, more for quality over quantity. Discovering new flavors around the world has been one of my greatest pleasures. Food changes quite a lot around the world, yet finding a place, which understands how to prepare a decent meal is difficult to find. My test to a chef is to create something amazing would be a burger. A simple task, but not always thought through completely. If one can mix all the flavors together properly, allowing them to compliment and not overtake each other, proves to me the understanding of taste and flavor. Not that I always have a burger, just my view.
25. NAME FIVE OF YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS. THEY CAN BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
Dilmi Roti Shop - Mirissa, Sri Lanka. Travels in Sri Lanka for three months allowed me to try many curries, rotis, dahlias and sambols. One place, which stood out and kicked my in the face with flavor was a small shack in Mirissa, called Dilmi Roti Shop. It has curries to make your tongue sweat, fill your belly for three euros a meal.
Distinction Hotel - Te Anau, New Zealand. As mentioned before, I am a huge fan of burgers, if you can make a decent one you understand flavor. While working for a hotel, in Te Anau, New Zealand, the master chef for the company flew down for a yearly check up. This was when I devoured the best burger of my life, something I’ll never forget.
Huset - Longyearbyen, Norway. I had the pleasure being part of the team at Huset Restaurant, the most gourmet fine dining restaurant in the world, which is also home to the largest wine cellar in northern Europe. With a combination of local ingredients, the chefs are able to create the most northern tasting Norwegian food one can enjoy. The food, along with the world class wine, make Huset a delectable destination.
The Namm Vegetarian Restaurant - Vancouver, Canada. The food was so good, so fresh and so satisfying that I considered becoming a Vegetarian on behalf of my gluttony.
Unnamed Pho Shop - About ten kilometers north of Kon Tum, on the right side of the street. During a motorbike trip along the Ho Chi Minh Travel, we accidentally bumped into this Pho shop, a perfect stop for breakfast. I was shocked by the quality, the freshness and the flavour of the beef noodle soup. The owner was so proud of her soup, she was eager to show off her sprout garden growing just beside the kitchen. It was delicious and fresh. I recommend this place, if you’re ever in the area. There is a big “PHO” sign outside. Good luck finding it!
26. WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE?
My philosophy of life is to let everyone be true to him/herself, but only as long as those beliefs don’t hurt anyone else. Your thoughts and your beliefs are yours and should be respected, as long as you’re not hurting, rejecting or discriminating against anyone. Life is about equality and acceptance.
27. WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
I’ve always wanted to make people laugh. I have always seen myself push into some type of comedic role, whether it be through dad jokes, Snapchat, or “mocumentaries". I am focusing on my passion for film, my love of laughter and my ability to travel to create something unique for the world. Something to inspire travel and create laughter.
28. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN THE WORLD – WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
If I could change anything in the world, I would change how we fear the unknown. The fear of the unknown limits our thoughts to ignorance, misunderstanding and panic. Our ability to experience one another, unique cultures, interesting places and different religions are usually seen as weird, odd, strange, and, therefore, seen as dangerous. If we stop building walls and start embracing our neighbours and their differences, the world will be a better place.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH JUSTIN FOR YOUR TIME AND THE INTERESTING INTERVIEW.
ALL THE BEST TO YOUR FUTURE PLANS AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU WHEREEVER YOU WILL BE.