Beginning today, every Thursday, A Dangerous Business will be shining the spotlight on a world nomad, travel blogger, armchair adventurer, or just someone really cool in the travel world. This week, the traveler is Ross Corbett, editor-in-chief of The Backpacker Herald. The half-Brit, half-Aussie is preparing to set off around Europe for a year beginning in October, but agreed to take the time to answer some questions about travel.
1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?
I think there are certain traits of a personality that make you up to be a traveller, which are very much embedded in others you will meet whilst on the road. I personally have a real sense of curiosity about places unknown to me, a desire to travel with my eyes and mind wide open, and a real desire to meet and interact with locals and other travellers. I don’t think it’s about going to as many countries as possible and ticking off all the famous landmarks. It’s deeper than that; it’s about seeing the real world and feeling like you are doing something worthwhile. I find this in many other travellers I meet. It’s a common bond that I think makes up a traveller’s make-up.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
Crossing the Australian Outback from Darwin to Adelaide was a magnificent adventure that I will never forget. From holding a crocodile in Darwin, canoeing through Katherine Gorge and watching the sunrise over the mighty Uluru, to camel riding in Alice Springs and taking the world famous ‘Ghan’ train through South Australia.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
Well, to be honest, my proudest moment was actually the day when I decided that long-term travelling was for me. It is so easy to be put off for whatever reason, and the decision to give up what you know to go off around the world is a big decision, but I grew up wanting to see the world and I am doing just that. For me, life is all about people and experiences, and I am very proud that I am acting on it.
4. Have you had any travel mishaps or bad experiences? If so, have these influenced how you view the place where they happened? Would you go back?
I have yet to really have a travel mishap, and there is not a country I would not go back to, yet. My only really bad experience was when I was last in Berlin and suffering from a terrible cold. I woke around 4 a.m. and had a terrible panic attack. It really scared me and I realised that I didn’t know who to call for help or where to go. I felt very alone. That has stuck with me ever since, and I always now do a little research on where the local hospital or doctors are, as well as an English-speaking medical phone number to call. When I think of Berlin, I think of that very scary experience. However, Berlin is my favourite place in all the world, so be assured I will be going back soon.
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
My netbook, but as I run a website, it is a vital piece of kit.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
I have learnt that there are a few things you need to have whilst travelling: a good sense of humour, patience, and a real will to interact fully with people you meet. Does not matter where you are in the world, this will enhance your experience.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’m torn between Melbourne, Berlin and the English countryside. All three are very different, but appeal to me all the same. Melbourne, with it’s relaxed lifestyle, weather and quirkiness. Berlin, with it’s history, beautiful streets and atmosphere. And then the beautiful English countryside, with its stunning views, lovely pubs and its quaint villages that look straight out of a movie.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
The South Pole comes to mind. An extreme natural environment that has such a history of adventure and exploration.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
To make as much effort as possible to explore, visit and experience a place as the locals do, rather than just sticking to the tourist trail.
Are you a travel blogger who has something to say on these topics? Do you know of somebody really interesting in the travel universe that you’d like to see interviewed? Speak up! The Thursday Traveler needs some interview subjects.