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 Jeremy Foster of Travel Freak. Before Jeremy's travels, he was 24 years old and halfway through a mid-life crisis. The recession locked him into a career he didn't want and one day he realized, “well, this is dumb.” He didn't want to end up 40 years old wondering where the past 20 years of his life had gone. So he quit his job, sold his car, packed up and left. That's all there is to it. As a traveler, people ask him, “so what are you doing over here anyway?” He looks at them and simply says, “honestly, I have no idea.”
My first inclination would be to say that a ‘traveler' is simply someone who moves. But everybody moves, and they do it for different reasons, and it's the reason behind the moving that makes someone a traveler. Travelers are self-proclaimed. Even people who can't get very far can be travelers. It's all mental. It's about the need for new experiences, meeting new people, learning about new cultures… and that's me. I'm a pretty sociable guy who has trouble staying in one place. I just can't seem to sit still. So I get out there, go somewhere and get involved. Even if you're just a couple towns over, if you're there for no other reason than it's someplace new, that's traveling.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
My mother and sister met me in Australia a number of months back. Not only was I ecstatic to see them, I was delighted to give them a reason to come see the place. Sure, it's easy enough to hop on a plane, but not everybody does it. Coming to see their only son and baby brother motivated them to sort out a ticket and itinerary so we could explore the outback together. It was very cathartic for my mother as she was just getting over a sickness she had been fighting for the previous two years. Her trip was a celebration, of sorts, and she added it to the top three greatest moments of her 65 years on earth. That, for me, was the greatest gift I could have given her.
My proudest travel moment took place in Boston, MA, on April 5th, 2010, at about 6:20 a.m. It was the moment I stepped out of my sister's car, rucksack on my back, ready to board a bus to New York. I'd never actually gone backpacking before and that's when it really hit me — I'm doing this. For real. On my way to Sydney, Australia, with nothing but 23 kg of gear. I'm the type of guy who wants to be able to say, in any situation, “yeah, I've done that.” I want to experience everything and, at my moment of departure, my future self slapped me in the face just to say, “good on'ya, Jeremy.”
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?
Yeah sure, everybody's got their days, moments, whatever. I recently went exploring in Tasmania with a mate from back home but we had a bit of a falling out. Sparing you the details, I said “hey man, this isn't working. I think we need to split up and just do our own thing from here on out.” He agreed, I rented a car last minute and spent my final week in Tassie on my own. Despite this, I loved Tasmania. Still one of my favorite places to date. Life happens, some people get on, some people don't, that's it. Even bad experiences can be good ones as long as you learn from it and come out on top as a wiser person.
My iPhone! I can't even leave the house without it, much less travel foreign countries without it. I love her to death. Her name is Anastasia.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
Shoes. I'm a bit of a sneaker-freak and I have a hard time getting by with just one or two pairs. I've got my trainers, my Vans, my hiking boots, dress shoes and two pairs of thongs. That's just too much to travel with. I admit that I have a problem, but honestly, there's not much I can do about it. I've got six times as many shoes waiting for me back home and I miss them dearly.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
I've learned how easy it is to just do things; people make too many excuses not to do what they want (or need). Got a pesky ex? Cut 'em off. Problem solved (well, sometimes). Need something? Go get it. Wanna travel? Quit what you're doing and just go. It's really not all that hard. And if you're worried about getting into a bad situation, just remember that people are generally very accommodating. If you're in need of some help, most people are happy to lend a hand, as long as you've got the stones to ask and the smarts to ask the right people. There's a good chance you won't end up sleeping on the street, but if you do — hey, cool. You just slept on the street. Check.
Oh boy. What a loaded question. I could be generic and boring and say wherever my family is because they're the most important thing to me… but I won't. I'll say Greece. Or Brazil. I have no idea why. I didn't have a particular reason for wanting to backpack Australia — I just wanted to go there. I think I just like what they represent, but in actuality, I don't know what they represent. I've never been there. Hopefully I'll get to find out.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
I'd love to go to Machu Picchu. My grandmother used to rave about it and it just looks pretty freakin' awesome. It's on my list for 2012 (before the world ends).
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Bring more money! I'm sick of eating instant noodles. But secretly, I kind of love them.
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.