Next up in our Big Blogger Interview series comes Dave, a man with a pretty epic travel plan. He’s scouring the world to find a place he can call home. Seriously. He’s been on the road longer than most – nearly eight years. We couldn’t wait to delve right into this interview…
Let’s get this straight. Your site, as you say, is no ‘cookie-cutter travel blog’. For people who may not have come across it, please give us a brief overview of The Longest Way Home.
I see my site as a place for me to document my journey and a place to help others. It’s also a place I hang my photographs – almost like an online home, while I try to find a physical one. It’s also been a place where I’ve written travel guides to places and things I’ve encountered over the years – this is always ongoing and I’m currently working hard on developing my Nepal travel guide.
You are one seriously long-term traveller, having been on the road nearly 8 years. You’ve shared your thoughts on long-term travel extensively – do you think it’s harder to settle the longer you travel, or vice versa?
It depends on the person and what they want. Some like to be perpetual nomads; others, to live a more stationary life and venture out several times a year. Personally, I’d like to fall into the latter category. Who knows though, life and we as people are constantly changing. That’s the beauty of it. What you want today can change over time.
You spent the first leg of your travels using only overland transport. How do you think this changed your experiences?
It was purposeful for a reason; it enabled me to meet with problems and deal with things locally – therefore getting an insight into how things work in a country up close – and to meet the real people living their day to day lives in said country. Overland travel also allows you to see how cultures and people change gradually long before the border crossing comes.
Some people must question you about your quest to find a home – surely it shouldn’t take so long – are you fussy, or a perfectionist?!
Ha, ha. Yes indeed I’ve had a lot of that over the years! I’m certainly a perfectionist. And I think an ex-girlfriend mentioned fussy once… However I have been out there long enough to know that no place is perfect. Shame if it was.
As for the length my search is taking me? First there was the issue of language, then culture, finances and bureaucracy. The latter is the biggest issue at this stage. Imagine if you fell in love with a country like Iraq or even The Philippines. The bureaucracy involved in relocating to a country you weren’t born in these days is an ugly beast to slay. It’s difficult, but that’s just the raw reality of trying to legitimately live in another country legally.
What has been the most alarming situation you’ve found yourself in on the road and what did you learn from it?
Probably getting kicked off a bus in the Nushki desert in Pakistan during emergency rule and realising I was being set up for a bad fall all day by a corrupt bus company. What I learned from it was to always talk to your bus seat neighbor. The plastic bottle maker next to me on the bus admonished the bandits in front of a crowd as I was getting ready for a fight. If I’d never made friends with him … who knows?
You have had the opportunity to meet many fascinating people over the years. Who has had the most profound effect on you and why?
That’s a hard question to answer. There are a few. An Argentinean man who I learned a lot from on day to day survival in another country. A Pakistan colonel, whose words continue to ring true: “A simple man has a better life because he knows no other.” And a girl from The Philippines who saw good in everyone.
You are inspired by seemingly extreme travelogues and people who you call Great Modern Travellers. In terms of your story, what message would you like to leave people as your legacy? Do you hope to inspire others?
I grew up in a tough environment. I admire people that go against the odds and win or lose giving it their all to accomplish their dreams. Whether it’s the man from Niger who walked the Sahara to find a better life, the lady who smuggled herself into a country to work or a man walking around the world, they all stepped forward against the odds to achieve their dreams.
I get emails from people saying thank you. Thank you for the inspiration that we can follow. Thank you for giving me the nudge into doing this too.
It doesn’t matter what the dream is, it just matters that you go for it!
You must have been tempted to settle down by at least one or two places…which country so far is closest to your heart and why?
Nepal. I never thought it would happen but way back in 2007 during my first visit, it was the first place in my life that touched my heart and felt like home. I’ve learned a lot since then. Sometimes the mind can’t have what the heart wants. And sometimes the spin of time changes a place and person. We’ll see.
Go on, fill us in on your plans – where are you off to discover next?
Okay, you got it. An exclusive. I’ve been researching a China, Russia to Europe route. The hiccup is that the Chinese have changed their visa regulations during the past couple of months, which has messed things up. And Russia, well that’s always a pain for visas when you are in another country. So secondary plans – I’d like to revisit a few places I’ve already been, like The Philippines, Borneo, Sabah or Brunei…I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out the direction I go in!
A huge thanks to Dave! We wish you all the luck in the world! Don’t forget to check out thelongestwayhome.com to follow Dave’s story.