As part of our ongoing interview series, we asked Ben McLaughlan from horizonunknown.com to tell us more about his travels and what made him decide to hit the road. Ben is from Australia, but has been living in Edmonton, Canada for the past 5 years.
What led you to start travelling?
I spent my first 23 years in Australia and became bored with the same job, the same scenery, the same culture. I left Australia for the first time in 2013 on a one way ticket TO Ireland, and eventually all of Europe.
Where have you been recently?
My most recent trip was to Asia in 2017. I traveled with my Canadian girlfriend for just over 10 months, visiting 13 countries throughout Asia.
What is the most interesting place you’ve ever been?
Bagan in Myanmar. Over 2000 temples, stupas, and pagodas are scattered around the flat plains of Old Bagan. Not only is it an interesting place, imagining in ancient times there were over 10,000 structures, but the views you can get are also stunning.
What is the craziest travel story you have?
During a road trip through the Northwest Territories of Canada, I did a drinking challenge with a twist. The “sour-toe cocktail”, well it’s exactly what it sounds like. A unique tradition is kept alive from people donating their big toes, the body part is dehydrated and dropped into a
shot of alcohol which you consume (the alcohol, not the toe!). Definitely a one-time activity for me, but a good story none the less.
What inspired you to start blogging about your travels?
People always asking me for tips and advice on travel, and my favorite destinations inspired me to create my travel blog. It’s a great feeling when a random reader tells me I helped them, no matter how small a problem they had.
How do you save money before and during a trip?
Hopefully, one-day blogging will become enough of a sustainable income for me – the more time spent blogging means the more people I can Help! For now, my day job is as an electrician. I usually work 6-12 months non-stop, saving as much as I can and take off for as long as I can when the job comes to an end.
Do you have any travel tips or advice for others?
I have plenty to say for this, but my main two are 1) don’t travel without
travel insurance. It amazes me just how many people I encounter on the
road who run the financial risk of travel with insurance. My second piece of advice is kind of cliche, but enjoy every day you’re traveling. Stop to take in as much as you can of other people, cultures, and scenery.