Inspiring Traveller Interviews

Be inspired by passionate travellers

We love everything about travel from talking to friends about our adventures to experiencing an incredible place for the first time. So we thought it would be interesting to ask some other passionate travellers what inspires them to want to see more of the world.

Gary Arndt from

When it comes to the big names in the online travel universe there are few, if any, bigger than Gary Arndt, so it was an easy decision to ask him to be our first interview.

Not only was he one of the original travel bloggers (so long ago that the word “blog” did not even exist!) but become so good at sharing his adventures online that in 2010 he was named as one of the top 25 blogs by Time Magazine.

He currently has over 2 million followers across social media and is also recognised as one of the world’s top travel photographers. Gary has been on the road for several years now with no permanent residence, and his desire to explore shows no signs of fading.

We are thrilled that Gary generously gave up some of his time to answer our Quick 6.

What experience made you fall in love with travel?

In 1999 I was sent on a 3-week, around the world trip for business. I visited Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, France, Germany, Belgium, and England. That was my first real experience traveling internationally and it got me hooked.

What made you decide to share your adventures online?

I had been running a personal website since well before they were called blogs. When I did my 1999 trip I created a small website to share my travels with everyone in my office. Given that I’ve spent most of my adult life online, it was a natural thing for me to start a website.

Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?

It would probably be bungee jumping in New Zealand, which I’ve done twice. Both times I was scared as hell before I did it, and I don’t even remember the first few seconds of it.

What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?

Odds are, whatever they are worried about, millions of people have done before them. Whether it is engaging in an activity or visiting a place, they aren’t the first person to have done it. I just think my way out it and realize that whatever I’m worried about is in my own head.

What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?

The first thing I usually do when I go somewhere new I just walk around the neighborhood. I find out what is around me and try to get the lay of the land.

If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?

I’d go to the South Pole because it is a very expensive trip 🙂

The final question was originally “If you could only go to one place for the rest of your life where would you go?” but it was reworded after a surprising answer from Gary.
“No matter what you pick, what you’ve just defined as a prison. I don’t want to go to prison.”
At first I thought this answer was a little extreme but the more I thought about it the more he was right. To have to spend your life in one place, no matter how idyllic, would start to feel like being trapped in a prison. After all, the world is too amazing not to want to keep searching for new adventures.

Follow along with Gary on his website, on Twitter or on Instagram.

Megan Jerrard of

Megan Jerrard is an Australian Journalist and the founder and Senior Editor of Mapping Megan, an award-winning travel blog bringing you the latest in adventure travel from all over the globe.

By 29 she had lived a life full of more adventure than most people dream of – having skydived over the Swiss Alps, walked among the mighty Elephants of Africa, and summited the highest free-standing mountain in the world (Kilimanjaro).

Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

So let’s find out how Meg answers our questions.

What experience made you fall in love with travel?

On reflecting back, I can’t actually pinpoint this to one specific experience. But I started traveling for the adventure, adrenaline and excitement. And it didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to see the world in living color as opposed to watching it on a television screen.
I wanted to actually feel, taste and experience the world instead of settling for the version I was reading in books.

As I started traveling I found myself thrust into new environments, immersed in entirely new cultures, hearing the English language spoken with an unfamiliar accent; and I realized this feeling of new discovery was what I wanted out of life.

I quickly learned that it’s a completely different experience to journey to the Pyramids of Giza than to watch it on a History Channel documentary. It’s a completely different emotion to watch the sun set over the African Plains while on safari than it is to see someone else’s photo and think “wow!”

What made you decide to share your adventures online?

I’ve always had a passion for writing, so I began keeping a personal travel blog as a way to express myself, and a way to document my travels – somewhat of an online diary which I could look back on in the future and remember my trips.
Then technology revolutionized the world, and people began making money online, so I kept uploading my adventures as I had been, though started marketing my content as a professional brand instead of a hobby blog.

Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?

Skydiving in Switzerland was my first taste of extreme sports, and at the time, this was a huge leap out of my comfort zone. But despite my stomach full of nerves, I allowed myself to be strapped to a stranger, and watched as those in front of me positioned themselves on the edge of the plane’s open door and tumbled out one by one.
Before I knew it, I was freefalling through some of the most amazing scenery in the world at 125 miles per hour towards the ground!! But for the initial terror, this quickly gave way to an intense and exhilarating burst of adrenaline.

I was buzzing once I finally found myself on solid ground. This adrenaline rush, the one that comes from stepping out of your comfort zone, is better than any feeling on earth. And it’s addictive. That day I vowed that I would spend the rest of my life pushing my own boundaries.

What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?

Just go!! Sounds like straightforward advice right? You would be surprised by how many people don’t travel or live the life of their dreams because of fear, the unknown, or just never getting around to it.
I try to live by the notion that twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do. I personally don’t want to look back and wonder where my life went. More often than not the only thing, which is holding you back, is you. So just go!

What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?

Get lost! Wandering throughout local neighborhoods is a great way to familiarize yourself with the area, and get a feel for the destination.

If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?

The moon – which shouldn’t be as far fetched as it sounds! I believe the first commercial flights are launching later in the year, and I would jump at the opportunity to be the first travel blogger in outerspace!!

Follow along with Meg on her website, on Twitter or on Instagram.

Ryan Biddulph from

We chose Ryan as an early contributor to this interview series as he has an interesting way of looking at travel. He is also very inspiration and maybe some of that will rub off as you read his responses.

After being “downsized” from a job he didn’t really like, he decided to pack up and see some of the world. Since then he has managed to live a semi nomadic life many of us dream of and built an online business that supports his travel habit.

If this sounds like a lifestyle you might like to investigate then be sure to follow the links to his site for more information.

So let’s find out how Ryan answers our questions.

What experience made you fall in love with travel?

Walking out of the air conditioned airport in Bali into the heat, heavy humidity and steaminess of the Balinese night at 2 AM some 6 years ago hooked me. I was in.
I had just arrived in Bali on Sunday morning after leaving JFK in NYC at 2:45 PM on a Wednesday. You do the math (toss in a 1 day Taiwan layover). This was my first plane ride, first international trip, first vacation in 22 years.
It was the moment where I fell in love with travel. Because prior to this moment I hadn’t done proper travel. At least in my eyes. It was the beginning of my current 6 year trip around the world. When the love affair began.

What made you decide to share your adventures online?

I trashed my old blog, one focused on making money online. I felt an inner nudge to share my travels – along with tips for smart blogging – with my community. So I created Blogging From Paradise and never looked back.
People who feared traveling could appreciate a dude who’d never flown, left the country or had a passport until he was 36 years old. If I could have these fun, thrilling and wild experiences, imagine what they could do…..and be. I began the blog to share my story with these folks.

Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?

I stepped into a cage with three, 400 pound tigers in Thailand. That scared the sh*t out of me but I did it because it was the only thing to do.
After hearing from a British expat that worked at Tiger Kingdom for months how she never, ever, ever saw them drug the big cats and that she, a naturalist, and animal lover, gave the place her seal of approval, we took the plunge and stepped into the lion’s….I mean….tiger’s den.
I felt like a mouse. A puny little mouse. The tigers had switchblades for teeth. An engine block sized head (or so it seemed). Each stood up to my torso, when on all fours.
What happened? I recorded the most jaw-dropping photos of my life and I really took a chunk out of my fear of dying. I also completely lost my fear of street dogs too. Tough to be intimidated after you pet and sit with the world’s apex predators.

What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?

Expanded fun, happiness, joy, and fulfillment stands outside of your travel comfort zone, and when you step out, the worry/fear quickly dissolves into love and fun. If you remain in your travel comfort zone you may have fun but stepping out introduces you to greater fun, greater love, more fulfillment and richer experiences to share with the share.
Don’t stay in Patong in Phuket 10 out of 10 times. Take the ferry to Koh Lanta. Live in a sleepy Thai village. That *is* why most of us travel, on a deeper level; to enjoy new, unfamiliar, fascinating experiences.

What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?

I walk around or bike around the local neighborhood to get the lay of the land. I begin to actually live in the place, figuring out where I can get food, where to shop for goods, how I will get around, where the best Instagram shots will be 🙂

If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?

An African Safari, because I have yet to go and it’s one of my ultimate trips.

Bonus Question – If you had to pick one place to spend the rest of your life where would it be?

Planet Earth 🙂

Follow along with Ryan on his website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Chris and Heather of

One of the first blogs that got us interested in sharing our own stories was this one. It was a post about a stadium tour in Spain and, having recently toured the famous Anfield Football ground in Liverpool ourselves, I was immediately drawn in.

By the end of the article I was determined to experience it myself. And that’s what good travel writing is meant to do.

After reading a lot more of Chris and Heather’s blog I had not only grown to look forward to reading their next post but also found a lot of similarities in our travel styles, motivation and travel philosophy. They are definitely also Living la Vida Global… one short trip at a time.

Chris is the Brit in this partnership, originally from Manchester while Heather is the Southerner from Arkansas, the place they now call home base.

We appreciate them taking the time to answer our questions and I hope they inspire you as they have us.

What experience made you fall in love with travel?

Great question! We both have a very inquisitive mind and desire to learn about different cultures around the world. There is nothing quite like broadening your horizons by traveling the globe and having a myriad of amazing experiences that you would never have if you stayed in one spot.

I (Chris) moved to the States in 2006 on a golf scholarship and honestly felt like I hadn’t traveled anywhere except for within the UK. I felt like I suffered from a deprived childhood, as for family vacations we would stay inside the UK. I later realized that 99.9% of people had the same experience but I think that alone gave me the inspiration and desire to want to explore more.

Heather apparently had a similar upbringing so when we both ventured on our travels for the first time, ironically back to England to meet my family, our “wanderlust” was well and truly underway!

What made you decide to share your adventures online?

Our travel blog started solely as a medium to document our travels and allow our friends and family to follow along with us. We quickly found out to our surprise that people from all corners of the globe were following our adventures. Not only did we have the travel bug but also the proverbial “blogging” bug!

Whether it was through our latest blog post or through a simple social media update, our desire to inspire others as always been a crucial component in our travel blogging philosophy.

Our tagline is “exploring the world one weekend at a time” and if we can continue to inspire others with similar 8-5 jobs to still travel the world, we will have achieved our blogging goals!

Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?

Our first visit to Asia saw us head to the United Arab Emirates in December 2016. I have to admit that we were both a little unsure as to what to expect, particularly Heather who had read a number of reviews about what females should expect in predominantly Muslim nations.

We traveled with an open mind and our fears soon disappeared when we arrived in Abu Dhabi and traveled to Dubai . This was an amazing country and staying at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai, we were well and truly treated like royalty.

I think it’s critical to travel outside of your own comfort zone and be prepared to embrace the local culture. Don’t ever expect to visit a new destination and “assume” that it will be like home. That’s the beauty of travel and exploring all corners of the globe.

What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?

Our best advice would be to start slowly and visit countries around the world that may have similar norms to what you are used to. However, if you are ready to just get out there and explore outside of your comfort zone…GO FOR IT!

I touched on this in the last question but just allow yourself to embrace the local society. Try to head ‘off the beaten path’ (be sure to stay safe of course!) for a truly local experience.

The moment you get away from the tourist traps this will be when you really have the opportunity to experience how locals live from day to day.

Ultimately you have to be flexible and adapt to the local culture. The moment you allow yourselves to do this, you will have an amazing experience and will likely be ready to book a return trip!

What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?

EXPLORE!!! The moment we land at the airport, I am ready to drop our bags at the hotel and start exploring. Heather is a little more organized whereas I prefer to just let spontaneity take over and start walking around finding some hidden gems.

Whether we are looking for a local restaurant to sample fine cuisine or heading to an iconic tourist attraction in the destination, we just love to get out and explore.

Given that many of our travels are experienced over weekends (or long weekends), we try to make the most of our time and use the philosophy that we can sleep when we get home! Don’t waste all of your time in a hotel room, though of course this can be incredibly difficult if you are staying in a luxurious accommodation somewhere.

If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?

This is a really tough question because there are so many places we want to visit! I would have to say Antarctica simply because it’s so expensive to visit and out of the seven continents, it’s the most remote and hardest to experience.

I have seen a lot of awesome videos and content recently on this beautiful destination and can only imagine what it’s like taking a cruise through the glaciers and having the opportunity to see penguins and other wildlife in their natural habitat. This is 100% a bucket list destination!

Follow along with Chris and Heather on their website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Vicki of

What we love most about this blog is that Vicki thinks the same way as us and asks the same question…

How can I get the best possible experience from my limited vacation time as a full time worker?

This is another of the travel blogs that we started following as soon as we decided to start sharing our own stories and doing what we can to inspire others to want more travel and better experiences. And it’s one of the few blogs that has kept us reading ever since.

Vicki is originally from a small town outside Manchester in the UK,  but settled in Melbourne, Australia after 4 years traveling around the world. In that time she worked for Walt Disney World in Florida, USA, ran 5 different hotels in the French, Swiss & Austrian Alps and spent any spare time exploring the globe.

So let’s find out how Vicki answers our questions.

What experience made you fall in love with travel?

I was lucky enough to grow up in the UK where family holidays to Europe were a bi-yearly occurrence. We may have only gone to the touristy spots in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey etc but it gave me an incredible base to go out on my own.
I think I knew I was a traveler when I asked my folks for a trip to Disneyworld in Florida for my 21st – instead of the regular party 21 year old’s ask for.
Just 6 months later I was offered an opportunity to go and work there and I grabbed it with both hands. I finished my stint in the states with a month long roadtrip across the states from LA to New York and not feeling ready to go back to office cubicle life signed up for a winter season in France. I loved the travel life and stayed on the road for 4 years before moving to Australia.
I’ve been in Melbourne now for almost 5 years – we bought a house, got a dog and I went back to an office environment working FT and traveling with every spare moment. My recent African Safari had me re-evaluating my choices and reaffirmed my love for travel ran deeper than just traveling. I went back to my office job (as a lawyer) for 3 months before walking away from corporate life completely.
I’m a traveler in mind, body and spirit. It’s my passion, my joy and travel writing allows me to connect to the world and inspire other to do the same.

What made you decide to share your adventures online?

Originally it was the best way to catalogue my own travels – and as an online resource for my partner who has a terrible memory!

Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?

It’s safe to say that my comfort zone has changed over the 9 years I’ve been traveling. On our first round the world trip in 2010 we left the snow covered French Alps and arrived in Rio De Janiero in the middle of a heatwave. My giant wheelie case that contained everything I cared about (at the time), unfortunately, did not arrive with us.
Que my complete mental breakdown – whilst wearing UGG boots in the middle of Rio’s hottest summer in 40 years. My partner found it ‘freeing’ and advised that he wasn’t bothered if our bags never arrived. I could have killed him.
Fast forward a few years and I was backpacking with the best of them, comfortable on sleeper trains and buses in SE Asia, and gorging on street food as we wandered around the continent.
Most recently I went on an overland safari in Africa. I slept in a tent for 6 weeks (camping was my worst nightmare) and at the most challenging point slept at our guide-made bush camp in the Okavango Delta where there was no running water or electricity and our toilet was a hole in the ground.
That was easily the furthest out of my comfort zone I have been – but that zone changes – and you don’t know how far you can go until you do it.

What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?

Go. Do it. You don’t know until you try. It sounds cliche but its true. My ‘fear’ gene didn’t kick in until I was 30. I booked our African Safari adventure when I was 29, when nothing could phase me. I could do anything. I had bungee jumped, I had skydived, I had carried a 20kg pack across 30+ countries, I was invincible. Then something changed.
Arriving in Africa I questioned my every move – from booking the 180m gorge swing and white water rafting down grade 5 rapids to sleeping under the stars and going to the toilet in a pig dug by our safari guide or stopping the truck in the middle of nowhere to find a tree a pee behind.
I distinctly remember being sat in the hostel at Victoria Falls 2 days prior to the start of our overland adventure and saying to my fellow soon-to-be campers: “I’m not sure if I can do this” And I meant it.
But I COULD do it. And that same girl reminded me of the words filled with self-doubt I had uttered 2 days before we set off and simple said: “see – I knew you could.”
I’m not quite back to my ‘I’m invincible” mindset – but I think a little fear is healthy. If you’re thinking about expanding your comfort zone, Just go. Do it – because I know you can.

What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?

EAT! I used to be a really fussy eater – but now I love trying traditional, local foods. And I’m usually famished when I get off the plane/bus/train. It’s better to feed me – I have about a half hour window between hungry and angry.. and I’m great to be around when I’m “hangry”!

If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?

I’d have to find a way to make it a multi-stop ticket and I’d go to Myanmar, Cuba, Japan and Norway.. oh and then The Antarctic, Argentina, and back to my beloved Africa. I don’t think I can narrow it down any further than that!

Follow along with Vicki on her website, on Twitter or on Instagram.

Michele and Ron of

We are Ron and Michele, an Australian couple from Perth who have decided not to wait until we retire to travel the world but get out there and embrace life while we are still young (well youngish) and blog our experiences.

After spending three years travelling by motorcycle around Europe we headed home in February 2017 but this is not the end but the beginning of a new lifestyle. Less things more experiences…join us to see where the journey takes us.

We hope our blog inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and do something different to live the life you love be it travel, study, work or your relationships.

What experience made you fall in love with travel?

As individuals we have traveled most of our adult lives, Ron was in the Navy and visited many places as part of his career, for Michele she headed off to the UK for a working holiday in the 80s and caught the bug then.

Our first overseas holiday together was our honeymoon, spending 3 weeks in Singapore and Malaysia. This experience made us realise there was so much of the world to explore and our passion to travel together was born.

What made you decide to share your adventures online?

We stated as many people do sharing our holidays online for family and friends, we found an online platform and shared our first European holiday in 2009.We then discovered that there was such a thing as a travel blog and when we decided to travel long term decided to launch Legging It to share our adventure.

Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?

The first part of our journey to Europe was taking trains to the UK from Kuala Lumpur . We arrived in China after walking across the border near Lao Cai, we had no Chinese Yuan but had read there was a bank nearby. We spent ages looking for a bank and after finally finding one headed to the place to catch a bus to the Bus Station.

We got on the bus and handed some money and the driver refused it, he spoke no English and we had no idea what was wrong. We sat down and other people kept paying but we still had no idea what we had done wrong.

We disembarked at the Bus Station and needed to purchase a ticket to Jiang Shui but nobody spoke any English, there were no signs in English and my written note with the destination written down was pushed aside as they had no idea what it meant.

We were envisioning spending the rest of our time here as we could not get a ticket, suddenly a man turned up he spoke a small amount of English, took our note and went up with us and explained what we needed. So we had a ticket however there were 20 buses lined up and no English signs.

Suddenly Ron went “aaah this is a registration number for a bus” and we went along comparing all the plates till one matched, found our seats and we were off.

Looking back we realised that whatever happens something always sorts it out, whether it be the kindness of strangers or google translate it just works itself out, This made us stress a lot less as we continued our journey.

What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?

Ask them what is the worst thing that can happen? Explain some of our own experiences. The things that go wrong give you the best stories and often show you the kindness of humanity.

What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?

Learn how to say hello please and thank you in the local language. We have found most people will meet you half way if you attempt their language even badly.

If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?

The hardest question of them all there are so many places we still want to explore nd so many we would want to return to. But we think Canada, it has been on our hit list for a few years and we would really love to explore it’s natural beauty.

Follow along with Michele and Ron on their website, on Facebook or on Instagram.

Shandos of

Our latest inspiring traveller has definitely drilled down on a niche for her blog, and it is set to become to go to reference for all of you who want to know how it is possible to travel the world and not have to leave your canine buddies at home. So let’s find out more…

Hi, I’m Shandos Cleaver and I’m currently travelling around the world with my Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel. Originally from Australia, I’m currently travelling with Schnitzel (and my husband) around Europe, before we also head to the USA, Canada and who knows where else!

Many people have been amazed that we’re travelling with our dog. But an equal number of people have been asking us for advice, wanting to do the same with their pets. I’ve repositioned Travelnuity to focus on dog-friendly travel, partially to provide information but also just to inspire people to do the same.

What experience made you fall in love with travel?

Travel was something that I did regularly growing up, although I never had the chance to head overseas. Being one of four kids and living in Australia made that out of the question! I headed overseas for the first time just after I finished university but before I started working full-time.

I realised I had just enough money to head to Europe for a month, so bought a Lonely Planet guidebook and booked my flights. I travelled solo and the first place I arrived was Rome, completely alone, not speaking the language. But it was such a contrast to anywhere I had ever been, and from that moment I was hooked.

What made you decide to share your adventures online?

My first ever time writing about travel online was a small blog I created while travelling around Australia back in 2009, before most of my family (at least my parents) were on Facebook. More of an in-between stage between those group emails and uploading photos to Facebook.

I never continued writing past the end of my trip, and instead I had a turn at blogging about decluttering! Fast forward a few years, and while having a break from working, I decided to properly start a travel blog. That was 2 1/2 years ago.

Earlier this year, I headed off to Europe along with my dog and realised there’s hardly any information about there about travelling with a dog. So I narrowed my blog’s focus to dog-friendly travel.

Where did you go furthest outside your comfort zone and what happened?

In terms of stepping out of my comfort zone, it’s hard to go past the time I climbed Kilimanjaro with my now husband. A seven day trek, no showers, freezing cold nights, the gruelling final ascent, and then the even harder descent – it was far from comfortable!

I’d say that it was harder than when I ran a half-marathon later that year. But the feeling of achievement, especially when pitted against the temptation of giving up on the final slog, it’s just magical!

In another way, travelling half-way around the globe with my dog (and husband) was also stepping outside of my comfort zone, but in a different way. Coming from Australia where travelling with a dog is difficult, we had no idea whether our dog would be okay with travelling and how it would affect our day-to-day.

But while it definitely makes our travels a bit harder at times, from finding accommodation to visiting sites where dogs aren’t allowed (i.e. every church and museum), we’ve managed to make it work and love sharing the experience with our dog.

What advice would you give someone that is worried about expanding their own travel comfort zone?

Often the hardest bit about expanding your comfort zone is the fear before you start the undertaking. Do enough research (or training, for a physical endeavour) to convince yourself that it’s possible, then just do it. You’ll probably have difficulties along the way, but there’s always a way to get through or around them.

What is the first thing you want to do when you visit somewhere new?

It’s hard to resist just getting out there and wandering around the streets of a new destination! My husband in contrast often likes to chill out for the evening, so sometimes that means I need to wait until the next day.

I’ve always been a fan of exploring places on foot, especially if you can stay close to the city centre and be surrounded by the action. High up on the list is also finding somewhere nice to eat dinner, ideally somewhere with a local touch and that’s dog-friendly.

If you were given an open ticket to travel, what would be your destination?

Top of my list of the places I’d visit, if I could go for free, would be Antartica. It’s such a remote and unique destination, not to mention one of the most expensive to travel to!

My husband and I are on a mission to visit every UNESCO World Heritage site around the world (we’ve both visited just over 200 out of the current list of 1073), and this is the top place I think is missing off the list.

Follow along with Shandos on her website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Dean is the main creative force behind Road Trips HQ. A road trip veteran with over 30,000 miles of driving in more than a dozen countries. He has also worked in the Australian travel and tourism industry for the past 6 years.


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