Dustin Main is the blogger behind Skinny Backpacker. His blog has information about the journey that he took to multiple countries across the globe including an account to his trip to Antartica which is also one of my “dream trip”.
There are a lot of awesome pictures about his adventures in his blog that will make you want to visit the places that he has been to.
Get to know more about Dustin and visit his blog at Skinny Backpacker.
Check out my short interview with Dustin.
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“As a child I hiked in Western Canada every summer with my Dad. In 2007, I was on a hiking trip with friends in the Canadian Rockies on one of Canada’s most scenic treks. Over the past few years, I had been quite busy with work and unable to hike much, but the exhilaration of the hike, and my lack of vacation time from my work to enjoy these recently led me to call my Dad the next day and tell him we should go and climb Mt Kilimanjaro as soon as possible. Less than a year later I was on the summit.
When walking around the village where we were staying at near Moshi, Tanzania in our first hour in the country, I remember thinking to myself “I could do this alone.”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“Any time I’m sick. The worst was when I was hospitalized in Cairo for 6 days for an acute infection in my liver and spleen. Only the doctors spoke English, and at first the nurses resented the fact that I was there (the only foreigner in the hospital). The staff that ran the canteen ripped me off on multiple occasions, charging me 2-3x as much as they should. Finally, my travel insurance gave me a huge run around and refused to pay.
It wasn’t all bad though. My roommates and their families helped me, and tried to communicate with me, mostly via hand signals. The nurses eventually warmed to me, with everyone asking for photos of me on the day I left. Finally, when the doctors found out about the canteen workers ripping me off, they brought them into my room, scolded them, made them apologize and give me my money back. I was blown away.
The travel insurance clowns never did pay though.
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“I’m not sure I have a single best experience, but climbing Kilimanjaro was certainly up there. I recall coming to tears at the summit, looking over the glaciers, then plains below. I had sacrificed a lot to be there, and it was worth it.
Sharing experience with friends, and specifically family is also tops for me. I hosted my Mom on her first trip overseas earlier this year, and she told me it was the best trip she has had. My father and I have been on 6 continents together, which obviously means I need to take him to Australia / New Zealand to get his 7th so he can join the 7 continents club. ”
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“Where you are born has a lot to do with the kind of life you are able to live. Since I was born in a place called Canada, between invisible lines that humans lay down across the globe to make countries, it has enabled me to travel the world easily, not worry about health care, or getting an education.
My friends in other countries aren’t necessarily so lucky. Being born in Cambodia instead of Canada means they will almost certainly never be able to travel the world with the freedom I’m allowed with a Canadian passport, and things I take for granted are daily issues for them. All because they were born between different sets of invisible lines than I was.”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
“It’s easy to get into a travel rut, but changing things up certainly helps break the monotony. A recent trip to Burma (Myanmar) was a huge boost to my travel energy after spending much of the previous 5 months mostly in one location. It gave me that same feeling of traveling for the first time again. I need to climb more mountains though, it’s been too long, and that always makes me feel awesome and alive.”
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 like to travel with activist / artist Henry Rollins. He’s well traveled, not afraid the ask questions and speak his mind, and is out there to make the world a better place. He’s quite intense though and it would be a struggle to keep up with him.”
Where’s your favourite place in this planet and why?
“The Canadian Rockies is certainly up there. Beautiful in every season, and so much to explore. New Zealand is like Disneyland for people into the outdoors, while Antarctica is vast, (mostly) untouched, and magical. It’s like another world.”
What’s your best tip for newbie traveller?
“Just go with the flow. Don’t worry too much, and go for it. The world isn’t just going to come to you, so go and get it!
Oh and don’t overpack. ”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“A part of the “funny later, not funny now” category was when I was couchsurfing with an organic farmer in Malaysia. He took me to a local restaurant in the village, and we chatted and ate. There was a small bowl of chilies there, and when I took them, he warned me and told me to cut them smaller as they are quite spicy. Then smaller. Then smaller still. By the time I had cut them up, they were too hard to eat with my food. He was right though, they were spicy.
After dinner we continued chatting, and must have briefly rubbed my eye. Within seconds, my eye was watering profusely, and when he understood what happened, told me to go and wash it out immediately. 10 minutes of throwing water from a bucket into my eye, I came out half soaked with a swollen, bloodshot eye and with everyone staring at me. I just didn’t want to have to tell my Mom that I lost an eye in Malaysia because of a chilli!”
What do you think about yourself?
“I’m just a guy out looking for adventure and to discover and experience new things, new cultures, and new people. And take pictures of all of them.”
Skinny Backpacker is the place you can find a collection of my photography, stories, and culture quirks I’ve observed since starting my round-the-world travels in 2009. I try to let my sense of humor come across in my writings, while still tackling serious subjects in others. I hope to help inspire my readers to travel and work independently.
I’m also the co-founder of the “Technology for Travelers” site Too Many Adapters where we cover all of the gadgets, gear, and advice that you need as a traveler in the digital age.
Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Dustin.