Backpacker’s Hotseat: Cheerful Chris of Aussie on the Road

Chris climbing Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand

Last year, I have read a survey that shows the percentage of travellers of each country. It shows that the country with the highest percentage of travellers is Australia. I didn’t save the URL when I read it and unfortunately, I couldn’t see it on the web anymore. It could have been worthy to share. Having that impression with the country, I thought one of the best people to be interviewed about travel and backpacking would be an Australian. I have checked a lot of travel blogs written by the Aussies. I have even contacted some of them (3 bloggers) and invited them to be featured in the Backpacker’s Hotseat but Chris is the only one who replied to my email. It could either be that these bloggers weren’t checking their inboxes (which I find unlikely) or that they just didn’t want to reply because they didn’t want to be featured in a blog which is not as famous as theirs. 

I deeply admire and respect Chris for allowing me to feature him in my humble blog. From reading his blog Aussie on the Road, my impression of Chris is a man who’s not really a fan of a typical family; husband working, wife taking care of the kids, kids go to school, big house on a mortgage. Instead I picture him as a very free-spirited man who’s willing to take every risk to experience new adventures in life. He recently quit his job to travel which I find really brave and interesting. 

Let’s know him more as we go through his answers to my interview questions.

How did you discover your passion for backpacking/travelling?

I was in a bit of post University funk and working in retail in late 2007 when a friend of a friend contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in teaching in South Korea.

I originally chickened out and said I wasn’t interested, but my mother and a close friend of mine nagged me about it until I accepted and then it was too late. Six weeks later I was standing alone in my new apartment on the other side of the world. It was scary, but it was also addictive. I haven’t looked back since.

"Posing and being ridiculously gay in Seoul, South Korea" - Chris =)

What inspired you to start the travel blog Aussie on the Road?

I was dating a girl who’d just started a healthy living blog and I wanted to be able to understand what she was going on about. Travel was something I enjoyed and I wanted a way to work on my writing, so a travel blog made sense to me.

Ironically, my blog is approaching its second birthday and hers has long since disappeared.

What life lessons have you learned from backpacking/travelling?

I’ve learned so many life lessons on the road! I guess the most important, at least for me, was learning that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for. I’ve endured some really rough times, I’ve made a whole new life for myself in a country where I didn’t speak the language, and I’ve made so many wonderful friends. Prior to leaving for Korea, I’d never have thought myself capable of such things.

If I have super powers to teleport you anywhere where would you want to go?

Ooh, that one is tough! I’d say Thailand. So many of my favorite bloggers are currently in South East Asia. It’d be good to catch up with all of them.

Among the places that you’ve been to, which one fascinated you the most?

It’s odd to say it, but I was really fascinated by the United States. Having been brought up on a steady diet of US TV and movies, I felt a real sense of attraction to the American way of life. I’d love a chance to explore more of its culture as an expat someday.

What’s a typical day for you?

Right now it’s wonderfully lazy. I sleep late, get up and do a little blogging or study, and mess around on my computer. But it’s about to get much busier as I head to China to start a new job teaching.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?

I got my back waxed on a whim once. I thought it was an experience I should have and I didn’t have anything better to do, haha.

Would you recommend quitting a corporate job just to travel? Why or why not?  

Yes, yes, 100 times yes! But that’s just me. I abhor the idea of being a faceless part of the God awful capitalist machine. It sounds radical of me, but nothing sounds less appealing to me than slaving away to make enough money to buy things I don’t really need. It’s such an ugly system.

The world is such a big and fascinating place and so few people really experience that. Those white picket fences are just prison walls in disguise.

zorbing in Rotorua New Zealand

If you have a month and $2,000, where would you go?

It would have to be South East Asia. That $2000 would stretch a hell of a long way and I am an unabashed fan of white sandy beaches, girls in bikinis, and fruity drinks with umbrellas in them.

What tips can you give to newbies in travel blogging?

Don’t get sucked into the temptation to ‘write like a professional’. People might read an article on your site because it’s informative, but they’ll come back because they find your voice memorable and enjoyable to read. I made that mistake when I started and I shake my head when I read some of my dour early entries.

I like to think I’ve developed an irreverent and friendly voice. Don’t hide who you are in your writing – it’s what sets you apart from the rest of the bloggers out there.

What’s your favorite travel quote?

I’m ashamed to say I don’t really have one.

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5 thoughts on “Backpacker’s Hotseat: Cheerful Chris of Aussie on the Road

    1. I agree with you Rory. Chris’ answers are very inspiring for me and the best one that catches me is the same line you mentioned. We get to be really OC in our post at times thinking that the readers will be impressed with those clean and professional words but as a reader myself I love those blog articles with a real personality in it. By the way, I just checked your blog and loved it. Genius blog title! It makes everyone to really browse and know why you’re in NZ. I also checked our your fox glacier photos and will be leaving a comment in a bit. =)

  1. BORAWAN is included in the 9.5 hectares which technically belongs to the ORTAL clan…the land title is still under the name of my late grandfather,SIMEON ORTAL…may patong nga lang ang titulo..babawiin namin yan senyo..swear!

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