Get To Know Brendan of Brendan’s Adventures
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1. What was your first big trip and how did it affect your attitude toward traveling?
I’ve made a number of different trips, and they were all at very different stages of my life. My family set out on a 2 month trip across the west of the United States when I was 7, and I really think that trip got my travel juices flowing. After that, I traveled to Japan for a summer, on a school exchange, when I was 13. And then I left on a solo backpacking trip around Central America for 4 months when I was 20 years old. Those trips taught me that the world is a bigger place then the small and simple world that I grew up in. But more than anything those trips perked my curiosity. After each of those trips I came home with more questions than answers, and I needed to find out the answers.
2. We know you are a solo traveler, but have you ever spontaneously joined up with a group for a while?
I’ve never joined a group on a whim before, and I doubt that it’s something that I’d ever do. I don’t think my method of travel translates very well to being in a group. Most people are on vacation and just want to see things, where I need to spend certain days locked up in a room to get work done. I have traveled with people for a couple of days here and there, but I usually have my plan of action and I stick to it. I’ve never changed my travel plans in order to hang out with a group that I randomly met. However, if I was to meet the right girl on the road one of these days I might consider it.
3. We know it’s bad, but we love travel horror stories. What’s the worst experience you can think of?
I honestly haven’t had any bad ones lately, I think I’m becoming too wise. But back when I was in Central America I had lots of horror stories. I got caught in the middle of a gun fight in Nicaragua once (been meaning to write about that), carjacked a taxi cab another time (see article The Last Time I was ever Robbed for the story) to get out of a bad situation, and once ate monkey meat without knowing what I was eating. I think the worst experience I can think of is if someone stole my laptop, it is stuffed with memories, I really need to get another external hard drive. In my opinion, the bad experiences might not be fun at the time, but they almost always make for good stories later on, and that’s what I’m in the business of doing: writing stories.
4. How do you fund your travels?
To do what I do, you really need to put your hand in as many pots of cash as you can. I started out in this business thinking that I would be able to fund myself simply by selling my articles to travel magazines, and although I might be able to, it is stressful. I’ve been on the road now for 20 months straight and I have funded myself by publishing travel articles, writing 2 travel columns in newspapers, writing an e-book, selling calendars and prints, selling stock photos, selling photos to different photo libraries, website advertising revenue, writing city/country guides for travel companies, and doing a little consulting for travel companies here and there as well.
On my computer I have an excel sheet put together that has my budget, spending estimates, and past spending all put together in an elaborate formula. It also says how many days I can live with the funds currently in my pocket. Right now it says I have 14.3 days. I never really get nervous until that number is under 7. I’ve had it to zero before on many occasions.
5. If you could have unlimited flights to and from one city forever, which would it be?
Oh, that’s a tough one. The thing is that I’ve never really been in one place for long enough to be able to take advantage of that type of deal. I guess if I was to ever settle down I would probably choose to have flights from wherever my home is to Rio de Janeiro. It’s just in a perfect spot close to everything you could ever need: beaches, great cities, rain forests, etc.
6. Did you study photography at all? When did you begin to think of yourself as a “serious photographer”?
I am self taught at a lot of the things I do. I taught myself to speak Spanish, and I taught myself photography. Now, by saying I taught “myself” is a bit of a stretch, because in reality that included a lot of reading and question asking. I didn’t have an SLR until about a year ago, and although I always felt that I had an eye for photography, it was when I started shooting my DSLR that I felt my shots were of the professional quality. I think I started thinking of myself as a serious photographer once people started paying me for my photos.
7. In your opinion, what is the most picturesque location you have visited?
I really hate when people ask me these questions. There are so many places that are so beautiful for so many different reasons. And to be honest, I’ve probably answered this question differently in the past. But I just got back from Antarctica and it’s hard to beat that place in terms of picturesque.
8. How affected would you be if you were unexpectedly faced with no Internet access for 30 days?
Well, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, that’s for sure. The Internet is my way of connecting with travel magazines, newspapers, and my own personal audience. However, if it was only for 30 days I would consider that a vacation. When I was in Antarctica we were told that we wouldn’t have internet for 12 days and I basically jumped for joy and got myself a glass of brandy. Vacation baby!
9. Do you have plans to end your current trip and return to Canada for a bit to plan your next one or do you no longer have a home base?
My current plans have me starting to head north from Argentina. I will be heading to The Chaco of Paraguay, Pantanal of Brazil, Carnival in Salvador, Brazil, the three Guyanas, Colombia, Venezuela, then the Caribbean, while working my way home to Canada for around July. But really, who knows, I make plans with the idea that they will change. When I get to Canada, I have no idea if I’ll be able to hold steady at a home base. I have very itchy feet.
10. What do you like the most about the travel blogger community?
I consider myself a travel writer, but I do seem to get along best with the travel blogging community. I love the fact that we are all, essentially, in competition amongst each other, but we all still have no problem helping each other out. It’s a beautiful thing.
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