Name: Keith M.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current Country Count: 90
Song: Never Tear Us Apart by INXS. “I first heard it in 1987. They filmed on a bridge in Prague and I thought I have got to go there”.
Keith and Sharon, his wife, were with us from Almaty to Tashkent. He was often behind the camera showing us his amazing pictures and giving us tips on how to take our own. He was even willing to take a few behind the scenes pictures for me and the blog. I enjoyed his enthusiasm and knowledge. During a bumpy ride through Kyrgyzstan, I was able to sit back and ask him a few questions.
And the spotlight begins….
When Did you Start Traveling and Why: My parents took us traveling around Australia a lot when I was younger – so probably 5 – 6. We did a lot of camping in the outback desert. I grew up in Adelaide – we used to go to a stunning mountain range. We did big trips sometimes a 6 week trip every couple years. We went around the country camping. First time I went overseas I just turned 24 and I went to live in England, London. I have a British passport; my family is from Scotland, England and it was just a curiosity. It was before internet so you had to go and do things, see them. From England everything is closer; you could get to all parts of Europe.
What is Your Most Memorable Country and Why: One place that sticks in my mind – Tibet. You cannot say it is life changing but it is somewhere that starts to make you think differently. Oppression and deprivations of some basic human rights, but they can still smile at you and believe in their religion. Everything is a little harsh especially with the altitude. Because it was unexpected, it is admiration I have for the Tibetan people. It is really hard to choose a country because it depends on your experience – who you travel with, why you are traveling. There have only been a few countries I have been that I wouldn’t want to go back.
What Is Your Inspiration to Travel: To keep learning about other cultures, religions, people. Getting first hand experiences is far more important that what the media will tell you. Because the media will be bias one way or another. See geography and how different cultures and religions interact. History will play a part as well. Empires have fallen. Countries will continue to change. Just to educate yourself. I don’t believe you will really learn until you go and stand and experience it. History thousands of years old. History is amazing. Books will give you dates and times, but when you stand there you understand more of the physical part....and how hard it can be.
Do You Buy Any Souvenirs: Chocolate. If you have any money left-over from a country, you have to have a chocolate. I take photographs and make books when I go home. You don’t have a lot of space in your back-pack. Hard to travel with things that are fragile.
How Often Do You Travel: At least twice international. Domestic we might go away 3 – 4 times a year. Proper trips where you are on an airplane.
How Long Do You Normally Travel: At home a weekend. International – just over two weeks.
How Do You Afford to Travel: At home we don’t live a lavish lifestyle. We don’t go to fancy restaurants. We keep things middle of the road at home. We don’t indulge. We are happy to order take away sit at home and watch TV. If we go out with friends we don’t go to expensive places. Even when traveling we don’t go to fancy hotels with day spas. We are going to see the country not stay in the hotel room.
How Do You Plan Your Travels: Books, going to the library, talking to people. Watched things on TV. I always had a fascination with geography. I always wanted to learn about other countries. Having a multi-cultural society I was curious about other people. Oh this person is Polish – what is Poland like? I was influenced by peers and their families histories and where they are from. I was always fascinated by the Iron Curtain as well. You are also influenced by TV when you are younger. Now when you go to other places you talk to people. You hear of different places then jump on the internet and research it. When you talk to other people it is more interesting. You have common interests connections and finding out about other places.
When we want to go independently we look online and book ourselves. Sometimes for tours we use a travel agent. Sometimes it is just easier to book through a travel agent, sometimes they have more access to flights then we do. She might do a bit of research and then she gives you a couple of options. You may be able to get a stop-over on the way to your destination or back to break the flights up and see another culture.
Bonus from traveling from Australia to somewhere else – you often get a lay-over and can see another culture.
Travel agent prices are roughly the same price as booking on your own. We do research as well and check the travel agents prices – then if we find a lower price and show her then she says oh yeah you can do this as well. We can check prices and double check.
How Much Time Do You Take Off Per Year: I am in freelance, so if I don’t work I don’t get paid. I could take the whole year off but I wouldn’t get much money.
1) Booking: We have the next travel booked before the current one ends. So we have something to look forward to. We go back to work and can look forward to the next adventure. You know there is something there.
2) Booking: Double check prices. First look at webjet and expedia. Then go to the airlines own website and see if the airline has a special. Double check the agent prices and airline specials as well.
3) Photography: Make sure you back up your photos. Back up to a portable hard drive or USB and leave it separate. Don’t just put it on your laptop. Back up your laptop. I know people who have lost all of their pictures when they just saved them to their computer.
I look forward to following Keith and Sharon on Instragram and Facebook as they continue their adventures. Thank you for the behind the scene photos and ideas. Until we meet again!