1.NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED
58 countries, not including Antarctica, since it’s not technically a country. However, it is a continent and I have now visited all 7 continents.
2. AGE AND FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIP YOU TOOK
My first independent trip from Canada was to Florida, USA at the ripe age of 21 years old. I didn’t have much money, but it helped to visit friends and stay over at their place.
3. FAVORITE AIRLINE
I honestly don’t have one as I’d rather have a good deal on a flight, so whichever airline can give me a good deal, I tend to like =) Saying that, I have had some bad experiences and not all airlines are created equal – Ethiopian Airlines sticks out in my mind as one that did not go well. On the other hand, I have had a positive experience on Cathay Pacific. And let’s not forget that the airplane model itself is key to our experience – the new Boeing 787 is spacious and an ideal place to watch countless movies
4. FAVORITE COUNTRY AND WHY
That would be very difficult to choose, but for the sake of this blog post I’ll say the Borneo side of Malaysia. My favourite scuba dive was in Sipadan and it was filled with an amazing variety of sea life, topped off with a vortex of hundreds of barracuda.
Malaysian food is also very tasty with a nice spicy kick. Hiking with a rewarding and amazing view of the sunrise on the highest mountain in Southeast Asia is available on Mt. Kinabalu. Borneo has it all! If you’re into adventure, calmness of nature, small city bustle without the hustle, beach time, an underwater world extravaganza, and the sense you are somewhere different than home than this should be high on your list.
And if you want to try the durian challenge (eating a whole durian by yourself), it’s available here
5. FAVORITE CITY AND WHY
Again, another tough question to answer, but I’ll say Trinidad, Cuba. The friendly people made a great impression on me. It’s small in scale with cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture that takes you back in time. The beach is only a 30 minute bike ride away. Music fills the air during the day and night and dancing salsa (or viewing others dance) is a must. But it is truly special because of the warm people.
6. FAVORITE CUISINE
Vietnamese. Out of my Southeast Asian travels, I was pleasantly surprised by the cuisine experience in Vietnam. It tasted so good and so fresh, with different places having different specialties. My favourite cooking course was done by Red Bridge in the lovely town of Hoi An – pho from scratch, anyone?
7. HOTEL, HOSTEL, OR AIRBNB
Hostel. I have the philosophy of spending less on accommodations so that more could be spent on the experience of the place. Plus, it can lead to lasting friendships. Only a hostel would lead to me typing out a blog post for a guy I met in Taipei. I do see myself transitioning to hotels and AirBnb’s – there comes a time for everyone
8. MOST MEMORABLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Hiking around Petra, Jordan. It’s still my favourite place I’ve been to. And I think the favourite things in your life are also affected by the situations and life stage that you’re at, and this was no different.
9. MOST CHALLENGING TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Climbing to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. At that point, it was the most physically challenging thing I had ever done in my life. On the day/night of the summit, we had already been hiking for 7-8 hours earlier that day. Given that the start of summiting was at midnight, we only had a chance for 2-3 hours of sleep after dinner. I remember feeling so sleepy, cold and tired in the blackness of Africa’s tallest mountain. The dawn of light only inspired the onward momentum of 8 hours to the peak. The elation of reaching 5895 metres helped somewhat in the eccentric 3 hour descent to camp – what goes up, must come down.
But rest was temporary as the ultimate camp for the evening was another 3-4 hours away. The never ending day! Being able to summit Kili inspired me to challenge myself further – I ran my first marathon the following year!
10. BEST TRAVEL ACTIVITY
Meeting people from around the world, locals and travelers alike. Eating the local food – eat where the locals eat. Scuba diving! If you can get over the fear of claustrophobia and gulping salt water while in open water, it will open you to a whole new world under the sea (yes, I just combined two Disney movie song lyrics).
11. FAVORITE TRAVEL SOUVENIR
My pictures =) Travel photography is one of my passions and I’ve created a travel photography website to share that passion: passportofphotos.com
12. MOST LIKED INSTAGRAM PIC
Ironically, I am only just starting an Instagram account to coincide with the recent creation of my travel photography website. I guess they go hand in hand. So since it’s a work in progress, the answer for this has yet to be determined! Check out @passportofphotos
13. FAVORITE TRAVEL PICTURE TAKEN
A guy in Vietnam on a motorbike carrying two cows on the back of his bike. A pick-up truck and a Vietnamese motorbike: same same, but different.
14. FUTURE TRAVEL PLANS
I’m leaving soon to travel for 3 months. I tend to hop around (in fact, trotterhop). The itinerary includes Iceland, Turkey, Russia, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Myanmar, Mongolia and South Korea.
15. BUCKET LIST
To be honest, I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced most of my travel to do list. However, as travel bugs know, the list of places and experiences never stops growing. After this upcoming trip, I’d like to explore North Korea, Iran and Indonesia. And I’m interested to see the Northern Lights in the Northwest Territories and the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba.
16. YOUR TRAVEL INFLUENCER AND WHY
Travel books and travel photography and in particular the Lonely Planet guidebooks provided inspiration for my early travels. My early travels were also influenced by a couple of my friends Sharlene Sobrepena and Janice Meier Franks. And I cannot forget the travelers that I met would always inspire me with places to see and things to do. I’ve even been inspired to travel by documentaries such as Blue Planet!
17. FAVORITE TRAVEL QUOTE
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Laozi.
Follow Bryan on Instagram and check out his amazing photography on his blog Passport of Photos.