Brendan is a natural born writer and photographer who shares his thoughts and creations through his blogs and other publications. You can find a lot of exciting travelogues and amazing photos and some are compiled in photobooks and prints that are available for sale.
Brendan is currently roaming Central and South America as of the time of writing and if you want to follow his adventures you should check him out at Brendan’s Adventures.
Here’s my short interview with Brendan.
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“I knew I loved travel from a very early age. My family went on a big road trip from my hometown in Western Canada all the way to Tijuana, Mexico for two months. That trip along with a school exchange to Japan sewed the seeds of travel into my personal fabric.”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“I don’t know if I’ve had all too many experience that I would call horrible. I’ve been pretty lucky on the road so far (**knock on wood**). The closest thing I guess would be pretty recently when within two weeks my DSLR broke down, my computer crashed, my watch shattered, and the government nailed me for 2000 dollars in student loan payments. As a writer/photographer my tools were down and the government snagged the last bit of cash from my bank account. Being without your tools and cash in a foreign country is always a bit stressful.”
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit a lot of places, and I have had thousands of great experiences. The one thing that sticks out for me recently, happened in December. I was feeling really down, I was away from my family for the holidays, had just broken up with my girlfriend of one year, and begun to feel like the travel experience has become dulled for me since I had been at it so long. I had honestly started questioning my reason for traveling. Then I arrived in El Calafate, Argentina. I received a press pass to visit Perito Moreno Glacier a little earlier than most enter. As I drove up to the glacier I felt like it was my first ever experience. I raced down the walkways with my tripod and camera in hand and a huge smile on my face. It was that moment that I remembered the power of travel, it was that moment that I remembered why I travel.”
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“I used to think that it was travel that makes us grow as people. People constantly relate to the travel experience as a method for becoming a more open, outgoing, adventurous and mature person. Travel forces us to open our minds, it forces to meet new people and escape our comfort zones. However, my realization is that we can do that at home as well.
Travel has a way of cracking our shell, but there is no reason that we need to travel around the world to learn how to open up and step out of our comfort zones. Even at home there are dozens of opportunities that arise each week that give us the chance to try something new or do something out of the ordinary, we just need to take better advantage of these situations at home.”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
“I’ll tell you, looking at people’s facebook feeds really helps for motivation. I read things like “I need a vacation” or “my car wouldn’t start in the -40 degree weather this morning” or “I am really going to need a drink after this work week” and realize how easy my life is in terms of stress levels. In the end though, answering one question always motivates me: if you could be anywhere in the world right now where would you be? I can always answer that I am where I want to be, or that I am on my way there. How many people have the opportunity to say that every day?”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“I would travel with Jillian from The Biggest Loser. I have been really lazy lately with staying healthy and fit. I’m sure that she would whip me into shape. She terrifies me a little bit, there’s no way I could say no to her workouts.”
Where’s your favourite place on this planet and why?
“I can’t answer that correctly, because I don’t know every place on this planet yet, hopefully someday I can answer that properly though. As for places I have been, I think Antarctica has to be my favourite so far. I went with Peregrine Adventures in January and you simply can’t explain the magic of this place, it’s incredible.”
What’s your best tip for newbie traveller?
“Don’t make excuses why you shouldn’t do something. When I started out traveling about 6 years ago I made excuses not to go see things I wanted to see. I say things like “but I don’t know how to catch the bus to get there” or “other people said it wasn’t very good.” In the end, regardless of whether you get there or get completely lost, you’ll have a good story to tell if you get lost and see something you’ve never seen before if you make it. And never claim something is not worth seeing until you’ve seen it with your own eyes.”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“I was with a group on Halloween in Cusco right after hiking the Inca Trail. I had told them that they could dress me up however they wanted for Halloween, as Halloween is one of my favourite days of the year. They dressed me as a women in this tight dress and hair extensions. I looked like a downgraded version of Boy George. I was whistled at and honked at anywhere I went that night.”
What do you think about yourself?
“I think that I am awesome. One day I stopped thinking I was awesome, and sulked for a bit before I snapped out of it and started being awesome again.
I am a monkey in people’s clothes. I am always playing around, and I am always curious about the things I discover. Plus, I love bananas and climbing things.”
“My blog is my raw writing. Those who follow my blog get to see the raw, and often shortened version, of my articles before they are sent off to various publishers. You’ll also get a lot of photography on my site. Photography is a passion of mine and you’ll see a lot of it on my website in the form of daily travel photos, photo blogs, and photo essays.” -Brendan Van Son