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 is Adam Pervez of Happiness Plunge. Adam traded in his six-figure job for slow travel in order to explore the world. The Happy Nomad Tour is his Happiness Plunge – staying off the beaten path to learn how others love and pursue happiness while blogging about their stories and his own.
I define a traveler as someone who is willing to step outside of his/her comfort zone, suspend judgment and disbelief, and experience the world in a different way than he/she is used to. I would say I am on the road to becoming a traveler and it’s one of my objectives on The Happy Nomad Tour. But it’s a life-long process in my opinion.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
I’ll be hitting country number 50 in a couple weeks, so I’ve had tons of amazing travel experiences. But the one that just jumped out at me was a travel experience I just had in Leon, Mexico. I arrived not knowing my host and proceeded to spend 18 days with her. I was incorporated into her family, her circle of friends, had lunches with her grandparents and extended family, etc. During my time in Leon, Mexican Independence Day was celebrated. This was amazing in and of itself, but the idea of a stranger welcoming me into her life and truly making me feel at home… it was a level of hospitality I hadn’t experienced before. It was wonderful.
In October 2005 I went on a safari through Southern Africa. It was amazing. On the way back I spent a day in Abu Dhabi visiting a friend. The following day I was to return to Qatar to go back to work. For whatever reason, I decided to call my manager and see if he actually needed me back. He said I could take another week off, so I went directly to a travel agent and bought a plane ticket anywhere. Istanbul happened to be available for the next morning, so I flew there knowing hardly anything about Istanbul or Turkey besides the fact that it is beautiful and full of history. I found a hostel that night and figured the rest out upon arrival. And this become my standard practice – not doing research before going somewhere. When you experience everything fresh with minimal preconceived notions, it’s a purer experience.
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 had an incident in the Mexico City Metro of an old man trying to get me to give him money for allegedly injuring his hand with my backpack. In Dublin, Ireland a group of kids tried unsuccessfully to steal my wallet. In both cases, I walked away just fine and didn’t let the bad experience affect my perception of the place. Crap happens everywhere, and I’d go back to either place in a heartbeat.
I lost my cell phone in Houston just before entering Mexico. It was later found and sent to me, but while I didn’t have it, Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast of the U.S. My mom was in North Carolina since my parents just bought their retirement house there. I knew she wasn’t in much danger since Raleigh is far from the coast, but not being able to be contacted in the event of an emergency made me realize I can’t travel without a cell phone..
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
A passport. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one..
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is something most travelers learn early on in their traveling “career”. We are all the same. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, people want food, shelter, opportunity, rights, dignity, etc.
This is a question I ask myself all the time. Right now I would say Cyprus. It’s in the Mediterranean, which means great food and weather. It’s right between Europe, Africa, and Asia – perfect for traveling. The island has a Greek part and Turkish part, so there is a lot to learn. There are lots of historical sites to see. And I just felt at home while I was there, but that might partly be because I was visiting one of my best friends. He is from North Cyprus.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
I’d like to spend a few months at an authentic Buddhist temple or Ashram and understand a simpler, more fulfilling way of living. And I’d hope I can take that experience and live happily with one foot in that simpler, more fulfilling world and the other foot in the 21st century world. In other words, balance!
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
You are about to develop an addiction that has no rehab program.
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.