On the Road With Chris Stevens
As I scroll through my Facebook news feed, feeling bereft of energy due to my current state of saving moolah instead of spending it, I am often taunted with the sight of friends and previous one-night-stands gallivanting across the world having the the best and most fucked-up time of their lives, as I sit at home and contemplate how long I can truly live off instant noodles and my unsuspecting neighbour’s veggie garden. Nobody manages to vex me more than my fellow travel bum and friend Chris Stevens, otherwise known as the money-making mendicant. Not your average wayfaring vagabond, Chris also happens to be the brains behind a blog and website called Backpacker Banter. Using his talent for photography and writing, Chris has built up enough hype for his work and lifestyle that he actually gets paid to roam across the globe. Whether freelancing for TNT magazine and Drift Surf, testing products for leisure companies or using his surf instructor qualifications to live for nothing in all the best dark corners of the earth, the kid’s got it made. Now, because I need to live vicariously through others at the moment, I thought I’d ask Chris a few questions and see if I can’t gain some extra knowledge and know-how out of the bugger.
So tell me – what inspired you to give up the trappings of civilisation?
Well, I’ve always wanted to travel, and it’s heavily driven by my surfing and photography. After spending a year in Australia, I was hooked, [so I] came home and saved like crazy… my adventure has kind of snowballed now and I’ve been a permanent nomad for the last two years, living off my travel blog and surf coaching from time to time!
Where are you at present and where are you about to be?
If you’d asked me a week ago I was in Asia, but I’m actually back in the UK at the moment for a couple of weeks, selling my stuff and organising myself for another long stint on the road! The rest of the year will be spent in Switzerland, Thailand and Indonesia before bouncing over to South America in the new year
What advice can you give to anyone aspiring to lead a similar life to yours?
DO IT! Seriously, if you want it that bad you can make it happen – it’s a case of planning it and realising it won’t happen overnight… have a read through my post called Save, Plan, Book Quit, Travel – It Really Is That Simple: it’s a mini starting guide to living the dream!
Hairiest and scariest travel moments?
Travel isn’t all hammocks and beaches, so I’ve had my fair share of incidents on the road! I ended up breaking my cheekbone and nose in a surfing accident over in Australia which wasn’t fun! I can’t say I’ve had any real scary travel moments (*touch wood*), but things got a bit dicey when someone tried to scam me on the Thai/Cambodian border a few months ago…
Best travel achievement so far?
Apart from managing to turn my blog into a business (which I’m heaps stoked with), I’d say it has to be completing the Inca Trail – it was by far the hardest but most rewarding thing I’ve done on the road.
Can you explain the perils of being skint and how nudity comes into that?
Hahahaha… cheers for bringing that one up! This was back on my first backpacking trip in 2009 and my bank account had got to under $1000, so I was having to seriously think about returning home. Luckily, and randomly, I ended up taking part in a nudist documentary… it was the easiest $500 I’ve ever made and was loads of fun! I managed to land a real job the next week too so I spent my cash on an iPad.
Do you have a favourite accent and why?
Aussie or Kiwi – it’s just a sexy accent and immediately transports me to sunny climates, beaches and BBQs!
If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
It’s an odd question as I’m usually exactly where I want to be! But as I’m in the UK for once, I can start dreaming. Right now, I’d love to be in the Philippines – my buddy is out there at the moment surfing heaps and scuba diving with whale sharks… damn him!
Damn him? Damn you, curly-headed fuck! Thanks so much for sitting still for 15 minutes whilst imparting knowledge and inciting my jealousy. Because I feel the love and have nostalgia about sunburned days on the waves and drunken gin-soaked nights, go ahead and self-promote and I’ll see you next time we’re on the same continent.
SHAMELESS PLUG! BackpackerBanter.com is packed with heaps of reviews, advice and stories from Chris’ round-the-world travels – aimed to help you get out and explore the globe.