In today’s episode, Amanda and I continue where the conversation left off in the previous episode.

We dive into different types of travel and why we prefer specific types. My favourite part of the conversation is when Amanda and discuss how travel has changed over the years. Back when Amanda started travelling, there was no internet, no Google, no TripAdvisor, no travel blogs or podcasts.

The internet has made travelling so much easier but overwhelming.

Enjoy this episode dudes and dudettes!

IN THIS EPISODE WE COVER:

  • Types of travel… Quickies, short and long term.
  • How travel has changed over the last 20 years
  • Why I chose Canada
  • Amanda’s biggest tips for those travelling

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Want to reach out to Amanda? Here’s the deets:

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Transcription:

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LT: As we were talking about at the end of the last episode, you were saying, like, you up and decided to go to Japan because it’s just, like, so much – like, compared – it was either, like, stick where you were or go check out a new country for X number of months; away you go.

AB: Yeah. No, absolutely. That was the driving factor, right; just something new, something different, new language, new culture. And, again, that’s one of the great things about travel, especially when you are going to a country that is culturally so completely different from your own; you are thrown into the middle and it is almost like fight-or-flight survival mode. You have to learn a new language; you have to learn the nuances of a new culture. Finding your way around, finding your way on the subway; when you take away a common language, it becomes a challenge. But a challenge that pushes you.

LT: Yeah. But that’s what – yeah, exactly. And that’s what makes, like, travelling so much more interesting too. It’s, like, me, like, going through Thailand, you know. Especially once you got out of Bangkok, you know, not a lot of people speak English, or at least enough English, like, to get by with. Whereas in Bangkok, it was fairly easy. I want to say there was definitely, like, a language barrier, but not enough that, you know, you couldn’t get by, like, everything that you needed or wanted to do every day.

AB: Yeah.

LT: But, again, that’s what makes, like, travelling and, like, being in new places so much more interesting.

AB: I mean, one of the things I loved, I remember I was travelling around just on my week holiday sort of thing when I was living in Japan and I would start heading further south and getting more and more away from some of the more populated areas where people were educated in English. And I would be speaking in Japanese to people, and it would be, “Excuse me, where is the bus to wherever?” in Japanese. And they would just look at me and just see a foreign face and go, “Uh, I don’t speak English,” and run away. I was like, “But I’m speaking Japanese.” And my Japanese isn’t that bad. So, I mean, it is funny when you get off the beaten track, like, how it changes. It changes once again. You become deeper entrenched into that culture, you know, or that language and, you know, you’re relearning all over again.

LT: Yeah. I mean, I have quite a funny story of a friend in Australia. So it was a German girl who worked – she was doing her, like, diving internship as well. And she obviously – well, she was German. So she came to Australia to sort of, like, practice her English. So she didn’t want to speak with German people because all they wanted to do was speak in German, and that was one of the reasons why she came to Australia was to learn English. So she refused to talk to Germans. But I remember sitting in the house one day and she was on the phone with her mother and obviously talking German. And then all of a sudden she just started talking in English. And she probably waffled on for about three minutes in English and then she just started bursting out laughing and then started talking German again. So I asked her, like, what was that all about. And she said, “Oh yeah, I didn’t realise I was talking English and my mother doesn’t speak a word of English.” So, like, her mother didn’t stop her; she just let her carry on talking. And then once she’d finished, like, “Yeah, you just spoke English. I have no idea what you said.” So she, like, got used to speaking English that she, like, doesn’t even realise she’s doing it any more. And then what I found really interesting is she told me that she even started dreaming in English as well.

AB: You know - - -

LT: All of her dreams would be in English. And she said that was really weird.

AB: Well, you know that is a sign of obtaining fluency in a language, when you can dream and you just – you switch into it without even realising. So that’s amazing. That’s amazing that she was able to do that.

LT: Yeah. I can still remember sitting on the couch and her just burst out laughing. It seemed extremely random to me and then, yeah, when she told me afterwards, I thought it was – it’s extremely interesting.

AB: Yeah. No, absolutely. So in your places that you’ve been, have you gone to all English speaking countries, besides Thailand?

LT: Pretty much. I mean, in Fiji they do have, like, 33 different dialects of Fijian. But everybody speaks English still.

AB: Right.

LT: I was told there that everybody speaks, like, the Fijian of the area that they’re from. So I was up in the Yasawa Islands so there’s a Yasawan dialect of Fijian, which was very interesting because we had one guy up there that wasn’t from there and you’d hear all the guys talking in Fijian and then I’d turn to this guy that was – I can’t remember where exactly he was from – well, I remember where he’s from, but I can’t remember the name of the island. But they would be talking in Fijian and it all sounded the same to me, but he would turn around and say, “Yeah, I have no idea what the fuck they’re saying.” But in Fiji everybody speaks English in school. They do not speak Fijian in school; they only speak Fijian at home.

AB: Right.

LT: So everybody there can speak English very, very well. But I do remember on several occasions where I started to learn the language, so, like, people were having a conversation and they’d be speaking so fast that I wouldn’t be able to, like, understand the majority of it. But I’d just, like, pick up, like, the odd word or two and so I’d know if they were, like, talking about someone specifically and then I knew a lot of, like - --

AB: Uh-oh. Did I lose you?

LT: No, no. I’ve still got you.

AB: No. Okay. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I thought we got cut off there.

LT: No, all good.

AB: My Mexican internet.

LT: The joys of travelling, hey.

AB: Yeah, of course. But, no. So at the end of it you were able to pick up Fijian or the dialect in the area that you were.

LT: Well, yeah. Well, I managed to pick up, like, enough to, like, start a conversation. But it was pretty useless because I learnt the Yasawan dialect. So if I went anywhere else in Fiji, they wouldn’t understand a word that I was saying.

AB: Of course.

LT: But I learnt, like, a few of, like, the curse words and swearwords in Fijian. So I knew if they were talking about somebody and then I’d hear one of them, I’d, like, know what they said or what they called that person.

AB: You know - - -

LT: And my favourite word that I learnt there was “maga tinana” - - -

AB: Which means?

LT: - - - which means “motherfucker”.

AB: Yes.

LT: But the way they said it was – like, it really stood out in a sentence because they – well, the handful of the people that were there anyway, they used to go really high pitched in the middle. So they’d be, like, saying something and then you’d hear “maga tinana”. And then I would just start laughing my head off because I knew what they were saying, and then they’d realise that I knew what they said and then they would start laughing as well. And, yeah, it was funny.

AB: You know, no matter what, no matter how old you are, I think that’s one of the first – those are the first words that you learn in a language, you know.

LT: Oh, yeah, definitely.

AB: Like, when you’re six years old and you’re learning, you know, bodily parts to describe your, like, penis, ha-ha-ha-ha, that novelty doesn’t wear off, right. As you get older and with new languages that you learn, you still, you know, get giddy over , you know, hearing and saying and being able to use – what is it?

LT: Maga tinana.

AB: Maga tinana, ha-ha-ha, right.

LT: Yeah.

AB: You become such a child again.

LT: Yeah. It was – and the other thing as well about learning, like, these new languages is that the local people appreciate it so, so much. I found once I learnt, like, saying, like, “hello”, “good morning”, “how are you”, “yeah, I’m good too”, blah, blah, blah, “what have you got going on for today” and then with – because obviously I was, like – not only was a scuba diving instructor but I was also, like, the site manager. So I was in charge of all the diving stuff. So, like, we had, like, boat captains and dive masters and all that sort of stuff. So if I could, like, talk to them a little bit in Fijian and say, like, “Hey, like, Pulici, come here.” And if I said that in Fijian, you know, you just get a little bit more, like, respect from people because it shows that you’re making the effort. You know, you don’t have to be good; you don’t have to be fluent. But if people can see that you make the effort, you know, it goes a long way.

AB: No. You know what, I whole-heartedly agree with you. It is – being able to show that, “Hey, you know what, I’m trying and I’m not going to be an arrogant asshole and only speak and demand of you to listen to me in my native language,” right.

LT: Yes.

AB: It really softens the cultural ties. And, you know, for me, that would be a huge recommendation. Like, you don’t have to be fluent and, you know, chances are if you are travelling into places, you’re not going to be there long enough to really get fluent. But if you can, just the basics; the courtesies. And just showing that you’re trying, no matter if you’re bastardising it. I think it is a courtesy that – you know, Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore, right. It’s, like, I’m in your country; I’m in your land; and I’m trying, so.

LT: Yeah.

AB: And it does go a long way.

LT: Yeah, it goes, like, a ridiculously long way. Like, a lot more than you think it would because – yeah. Especially in, like, Fiji, for example, not a lot of people bothered past saying “hello” and “thank you”.

AB: Right.

LT: So with me learning how to ask people how you’re doing, like, saying, “Hey, can you come over here please?” “Thank you” or “go away” or “how is this thing doing?” Blah, blah, blah. Whatever it was. It was mainly swearwords.

AB: Yeah.

LT: But, you know, it was, you know, learning all that sort of stuff and especially with, like, the people that I worked with as well because they were all, like, guys and, like, stereotypical and they’d sit there and, like, swear at each other and all that sort of stuff. But being able to do that in the local language as well, just, like, build that, like, connection with people even more. Like, if someone was being a dickhead and I told them to fuck off in Fijian, he would have a little giggle and, you know, things would be good again.

AB: Yeah. Yeah. No, absolutely.

LT: But, yeah, I mean, I know that’s, like, one of your big reasons for travelling is, like, languages, isn’t it?

AB: It is. You know, it stimulates a different part of your brain. It’s something new, right. Like, I’m a firm believer that we should always be learning. And, for me, travel is a way to do that. It’s constant learning, like I said, whether it’s the cultural nuances or you’re diving in and learning a new language. It’s frustrating as all hell at some points when it’s, like, you know you have so much to say. You want to add to the conversation. You want to be able to express yourself. But learning the language, it’s new and it’s a challenge and, you know, you become a constant student. Here’s a story for you. Ready for this one? Okay, so in Japan there’s three scripts. You’ve got your Hiragana, you’ve got your Katakana and you have your Kanji. Kanji is based on the Chinese characters, so they’re really fanciful scripts that, you know, we see a lot of people tattooing in the bodies and are probably incorrect half the time.

LT: That’s another conversation completely.

AB: But then you’ve got Hiragana which was the simplified script, right, based off of Kanji. So it was the phonetic script, if you will. So it was, you know – I believe it was actually invented for women because women were not educated on the fanciful Chinese scripts. So it was a way for women to be able to read and write. So you’ve got Hiragana, and then you’ve got Katakana which is the English – or the adopted language. So, like, “terebi”, right; television. Or “ra-ji-o”. So you’ve got all of these words that have been adopted from different languages, and they use a different script for that, right. So the non-Japanese words.

So I had gone through, I had taught myself Hiragana and then I started teaching myself Katakana. And I worked teaching English at this one hotel with the staff at this hotel, and we had just finished a lesson. I was sitting outside on the steps, which was – it was a business hotel, okay, but it was on the verge of the red light district. And so I’m sitting out there and I’m looking and it’s like, okay, cool, I see a sign; it’s in Katakana; I’m going to practice it. So Japanese is phonetic; it’s always consonant, vowel, consonant, vowel, consonant, vowel. And the Katakana, when it’s put together, doesn’t necessarily say, like, television; it’s “terebi”. Okay. It’s kind of a stretch, right, but it’s based on the sounds.

LT: Yeah.

AB: So I’m reading this sign, “fureshiyo kurabu”. Any idea what that is?

LT: No idea.

AB: Say it faster.

LT: Say it again?

AB: Fellatio Club. “Fureshiyo”. “Fureshiyo”. Fellatio. Fellatio Club. That was the very first word I read in Katakana, and it was just, like, oh good god. But, I mean, it’s – yeah. You know, that’s one of the fun things; it’s fun. It’s fun.

LT: Well, when I was, like – they were trying to teach me some Fijian, like, trying to spell any of it. Like, I would’ve said it all wrong so I, like, wrote everything phonetically when they were teaching it to me.

AB: Right.

LT: So just, like, I wouldn’t be able to – I probably wouldn’t be able to read it, but I’d be able to speak it at least, which was definitely a lot easier for me, especially seeing as I wasn’t there for very long. And, yeah, the dialect that I knew, I only spoke with probably about 15 people.

AB: Oh wow.

LT: Like the entire time. Just because the island that I was on was so remote that we had barely, like, any other people turn up to the island apart from, like, the guests. But, again, it definitely made, like, my experience there so much better.

AB: Yeah.

LT: Like, in more ways than one.

AB: Yeah. No, it opens up doors. I think that’s it. When you know the language, when people see that you’re putting in an effort, doors open for you, more so than, you know, not giving a shit about anyone’s culture or language, you know.

LT: Yeah, definitely. Cool. So I want to quickly talk about, like, sort of, like, how travelling has changed because, like, before we hit record, you know, we were talking about how, like, you’ve been travelling a lot longer than I have and, like, when you first started travelling, you know, you sort of, like, hinted at the fact that, you know, you had to send postcards to communicate with people back home. So, like, with, like, all the new technology that’s around today that you can, like, find up information about places, I know one of the things that you wrote down in your notes that, you know, because of the internet, it’s taken a lot of the mystery and the surprise away from, like, finding new places to go and visit.

AB: Yeah, yeah. Go ahead.

LT: So, yeah. So I just want to, like, ask you sort of, like, what has been sort of, like, the biggest change – apart from, like, the internet. Like, what has been, like, the biggest change that you’ve noticed in sort of, like, the travelling space now?

AB: Okay. So one of the first things – on my first travel, I used to bring my Sony Walkman with me with multiple collection of mix tapes that I would record from, you know, my dual cassette or the radio. So that took up a huge chunk. That took up a huge chunk of space in my backpack, which is great now as, like, whether you’ve got a little music player with you or you use your phone, right. So, I mean, that’s – for me, that’s just kind of fun. You can download all your books; you don’t actually have to carry paper copies which, again, took up an enormous amount of space. If you were, you know – for example, the Lonely Planet Europe book, it’s probably, like, two, three inches thick, right. I mean, that’s at least a week’s worth of underwear, right. So small things like that. But, you know, you did say that a lot of the mystery has been taken out of it where, you know, when I was planning trips before, I would be flipping through National Geographics or I’d be flipping through encyclopaedias or taking a look at travel books.

I think there were some travel shows or at least National Geographic on television, but when you got to a place you never saw a thousand images from somebody’s Instagram feed; you never saw, you know, the selfies posted on Facebook of them in that plaza or, you know, in that cathedral or church or mountaintop. It became really – it was really fresh and I think, you know, now it’s, like, you go to a place and you start thinking, it’s, like, “Oh right, I remember seeing, you know, Suzie standing here last year when her boyfriend proposed to her.” You know, that mystery, that – I don’t know what you call it. The joie de vie is – by seeing all of these images around us all of the time or social media feeds, it takes away from, I think, that moment. But also too what I’ve noticed is I used to travel with a film camera. And so photos became really precious. You actually had to take the time when you saw something beautiful, first to admire it and just appreciate it with your own eyes, but then, if you wanted to take a picture, you know, it wasn’t cheap being a backpacker and travelling on a budget to buy film constantly. You know, you’d get your roll of 24 and it’s just, like, I’ve got to make this last.

So you really were selective in the images that you took. So you’d sit there and take the time and compose and, you know, really think about what it is you’re capturing. Where now it’s, like, you see people going to different sites and it’s just – they’re in front of their screen the whole time. And, for me, it’s just, like, put it down. Put it down, step away, open your eyes. Like, you don’t need to capture this right away. Like, just sit and appreciate it. So that’s a big difference for me.

LT: Yeah. I mean, that’s something that I try to do as well because I agree, like, far too many people, like, just sit there and worrying more about the pictures that they’re taking or the videos that they’re recording rather than enjoying the moment that they’re in. Now, I sound like a fucking grandad when I say this because I’m, like – you know, it’s not something that you would think, like, someone sort of, like, my age would say; like, going up to people and say, “Put your fucking phone done and just look at it yourself.”

AB: Yeah. Yeah.

LT: And rather than, like, sitting there looking at it through your phone screen. Because it’s more important for you to show someone back home and say, “Look, I managed to take a picture of this.” You know, it can be seen as, like, a silly thing to really, like, complain about or whatever. But, no, I completely agree that sort of, like, technology has sort of, like, ruined, like, the amazement factor of a new place because, like you said, you know, you could’ve seen so many pictures of it that, you know, it doesn’t really surprise or wow you, like, when you eventually get there and say, “Oh yeah, cool, it does look like the picture.”

AB: Right.

LT: And then that’s it. That’s, like, your reaction to it. Unless it’s, like, something, like, proper, like, amazing that, you know, just seeing it in person, like, wows and amazes you. But, like, once you’ve seen, like, pictures of it, it’s – yeah, it doesn’t give you the same sort of, like, shock and awe factor that it would if you had never seen a picture of it before ever but you just, like, heard about it instead and, like, that was the reason why you went there to see it.

AB: Yeah. And, you know, one of the things I recall too is, like, I was in – god knows where I was. I was off the beaten trail; I don’t know; in between; commuting in between somewhere in Indonesia via taxi or hitchhiking or whatever I was doing. And as we got into this little community, there was a funeral going on. And I’m thinking now, it’s, like, if I was there with the technology that I have, I think part of me, just because of who I am, I probably wouldn’t be whipping out my phone to take pictures. But, yeah, there is a part of me that would want to capture it. However, when I was there, god, in ’97, I think, I just became part of it and part of an Indonesian funeral was the more chaos and the louder it was and the crazier it was, it scared away the evil spirits so they wouldn’t take over the body. And so, yeah, foreigners – we were the only foreigners in this funeral procession, but it was just, like, “Hey, you got to come, you got to come. Like, make lots of noise.” And, you know, fireworks, firecrackers were going off and lots of loud music and drums and screaming and, you know, it was absolute chaos. And, yeah, there’s a part of me now if I had seen that would be, like, oh my god, I’ve got to capture this, like, this is just – it’s beautiful and unique and amazing. But at the same time, that old school part of me, the grandmother part, to match your expression, would be like, “No, like, just enjoy; be part of it.”

LT: Yeah. I mean, like – and a lot of the stuff that I got up to Fiji, like, we didn’t take pictures or videos of it. Like, it’s all, like, in my head.

AB: Yeah.

LT: So I was there for six months and I’ve got a lot of scuba diving footage because I had a GoPro, but that’s – I’d say that’s a little bit different than, like, sitting there with your phone taking pictures. But still, like, even, like, the time that I was on land, I probably got some pictures, like, that I took when I first got there and pictures that I took when I was leaving and then maybe a handful of pictures for the five months in between.

AB: It’s crazy, isn’t it.

LT: Yeah.

AB: Yeah.

LT: But it’s, like, because – well, for me, like, it was, like, shocking and awe – well, they had the shock and awe factor when I first got there because you see pictures of Fiji and it really is that beautiful. So it still, like, gives you that – like, you’re still amazed by what you’re seeing. But because it was all new to me, yeah, I did the thing of taking pictures. But then because I was at the same place for such a long time, sort of, like, the amazement wore off and I just started to, like, enjoy my time there. And then when it was come time to leave, I was like, oh my god, I might never see this again. Then it was, like, more pictures to take. So I sort of, like, did both in that case. But, yeah, I definitely agree, like, technology now, it sort of, like, does ruin the experience a little bit. But, like, on the flipside of that, you know, you pointed out in your notes that it’s also made it sort of, like, incredibly easy to go travelling to places.

AB: Oh for sure. For sure. I mean, it’s – you know, you find groups, like meet-up groups, or using Airbnb or booking a hostel online or, you know, reading TripAdvisor, like, is it worth my money to go to this attraction yay or nay, or what are some non-touristy restaurants that I can go to near the Spanish Steps in Italy. And you can find it. So it has made it incredibly easy. There’s tons of resources out there, but it’s also really overwhelming as well, you know. Somebody may give four stars on TripAdvisor and another person is two, and it’s like who do you believe. So I think it still comes down to, you know, word of mouth from your friends or people who are close to you, and taking things with a grain of salt. But, for sure, it’s really opened things up, you know, to make travel easy, to find a place where you want to be or, you know, research about, like, a particular vibe or – you know. It’s, like, all right, I’m a pot-smoking hippie, where’s a good place to go in Australia. You know, it’s, like, you can find, you know, your tribe, your community, your little spot where that’s completely accepted and cool, right.

LT: Well, if that is what you’re after, then I can recommend Cairns and Noosa.

AB: I think I’m beyond that phase right now. Maybe 15 years ago, all right.

LT: Anybody listening, Cairns and Noosa; they’re two places that I, like, saw a lot of – or heard of a lot of that sort of stuff going on.

AB: Here’s a question. Did you ever get to the west coast of Australia?

LT: No, I didn’t. In fact, I never even made it to Brisbane.

AB: Wow. Wow.

LT: Yeah. So I started off in Cairns and didn’t even make it to Brisbane. So I probably saw, like, half of the Queensland coastline and that was it.

AB: When I wanted to go to Australia, I had an open-jaws ticket and it was arriving in Perth and departing from Melbourne. And I actually started – once I left Perth, I started going 4x4ing up the west coast and I got as far as Darwin, and had the opportunity – thank god for bartender friends. He was working at the yacht club in Darwin and we went in there to enjoy some cheap pints, courtesy of him, and while I was there I actually met a Canadian guy who was sailing around the world solo and he was actually looking for crew to do the jaunt between Australia and Indonesia, and that’s a poignant moment where it was just, like, wow, I’ve got my flight leaving from Melbourne. The plan was to do a loop back around the east coast and, you know, you kind of just make a choice at that point and go fuck it, like, this opportunity to sail to Indonesia may never come around again. But travelling the east coast, you know what, I can do that another time and that’s okay. So I jumped on that sailboat and off I went. So, yeah, it’s – I think – we’ve got some similar experiences in that way of, you know, you get to a point where you’re like fuck it, this is a good opportunity and off you go.

LT: Yeah, definitely. And that’s sort of, like, one of, like, the takeaways that I sort of, like, want to sort of, like, end this on too is, like, just, like – I don’t want people to sit there and, like, plan so much, like, in advance and so much ahead that if, like, a cool opportunity like that does come along you can’t take it. You know, with technology, like you said, you know, it does become overwhelming and you feel like you need to sort of, like, plan so much in advance because you’re, like, afraid that you might miss out on something when personally, with my experiences, normally the opposite. When you, like, plan too much, that’s when you miss out on things because you don’t have the freedom and the flexibility to take up these opportunities that just land in your lap, which is going to happen when you’re backpacking or when you’re, like, travelling around.

Because, you know, you’re meeting so many cool and interesting people that, you know, you’re going to – like, opportunities are going to land in your lap and you just can’t take them. Like, I had a similar sort of experience when I was working in Australia as a scuba diving instructor. Ends slightly differently because it wasn’t because I didn’t have the freedom to do it, but ended up being something else. But anyway, so I ended up, like, taking this little kid scuba diving, just some random kid that came up running up to me and asking to – like, can he go scuba diving. I said, “How old are you?” “12.” That was the legal age that kids could go scuba diving in Queensland. I said, cool, like, here’s a medical form, go take it to your mum or your dad and then come back with them so we can, like, go through all the safety stuff. So he ran away, 10 minutes later he came back with his dad, form all filled out. Made sure the dad was okay with everything. Dad was around for the briefing. And then I took him out diving; away we went.

The kid was awesome. We came back, and then on the boat on the way back the dad hadn’t paid for the dive yet so I had to go find them and, like, ask them to go pay for it. So I find them in, like, the captain’s lounge and sat down. Instead of just going to the dad and just going, “Hey, go fucking pay for your son’s dive, like, this isn’t free.” Instead of doing that, I sat down with the kid and started asking, like, how did you find the dive, did you like this, you know, this was something that we saw, blah, blah, blah. Like, small talk for five minutes.

And then, as I was talking, I noticed, like, the dad had, like, a really strong accent but the two kids didn’t. So I asked him, like, “So, why do you two, like, not have accents but your dad does?” And he was like, “Oh, we go to a special school.” And then the dad said, “Oh they go to an international school.” And I was like, “Oh so whereabouts are you guys from?” “We’re from Argentina.” And I said, “Oh whereabouts?” And they said, “Oh we’re from Buenos Aires.” I was, like, that’s awesome because back in England, before I left, I used to be a sort of, like, semi-professional sort of, like, tango dancer, Argentine tango dancer. So once that opened up, you know, we were talking about, like, “Yeah, you need to come to Argentina. You know, we can check out this club and this club. You know, I’ll take you around and show you all the cool tango spots and we can, like, go and, like, have an awesome night out on the town.” I was like, “Sweet. That’s awesome. Let’s exchange email addresses.” So he emailed me so I had his email. So I was, like, “Cool. When, like, my time comes to come, I’ll shoot you an email and we’ll go.”

And then I – well, this was a little bit cheeky on my part, actually, because I was thinking, right, if they go to an international, like, English school, then, you know, he must have some money. So, like, I asked him, I said, “What do you do for work?” He said, “Oh I’m in the government.” I was like, “Oh yeah, like, what do you do?” And he said, “Oh I’m a senator.” I was like, “What?” He was like, “Yeah, I’m” - - -

AB: “So you can get me a work visa.”

LT: Yeah. So I was like, “Oh right, so you’re, like, the senator.” He said, “Yeah, I’m the senator for such and such. I’m good friends with, like, this Brazilian guy and, like, he’ll come with us when we, like, do this tour around the tango clubs,” because he, like, loves it too. And I thought I’d just swapped email addresses with a fucking crazy man. But it wasn’t until, like, I got back home and, like, googled his name - - -

AB: Googled him.

LT: - - - because his name was in his email address that, like, actually he is a senator from Argentina who invited me to go around, like, all the tango clubs in a limousine.

AB: Done. Done.

LT: But the sad part of this story, it wasn’t because I didn’t have the freedom to do it. I emailed him a few weeks later, like, thanking him and, you know, just, like, trying to, like, have some sort of open communications so it didn’t appear, like, some random email came and said, “Hey, can I take you up on this offer now?” So I tried emailing him saying, “Look, it was awesome meeting you guys. Like, tell” – I can’t remember what the kid’s name was, but I said tell the – whatever his son’s name was that I took diving – tell him I said hi, blah, blah, blah. And then pressed send on the email and I get an error message come back saying the email address isn’t valid.

AB: Oh shame.

LT: Yeah. So, like, for whatever reason, like, he switched email addresses and that one no longer worked. But I know he gave me the right email address because he emailed me first.

AB: Right, right.

LT: So all I did was reply to the email and then, yeah, I got a fail message. So I could’ve had some cool stories to add to that one, but sadly not.

AB: Well, you never know. You never know. Things may – he’s got your email address as well. So who knows.

LT: Yeah.

AB: Who knows.

LT: But - - -

AB: Stranger things have happened.

LT: Yeah. And, you know, cool shit like that, like, does happen to people.

AB: Absolutely.

LT: Like, I’ve got, like, another story that I think I’ve told on another episode that I’ve recorded, but basically the short story of it is that I had lunch with Joe Biden and didn’t even – I didn’t even know who it was.

AB: Okay. Okay, so it was the same thing for me. Many, many years ago in Darwin, I was at a hot dog stand outside of a nightclub early in the morning and I had a conversation with Shane Warne, if you know Shane Warne; he was a famous cricketer.

LT: Yep. Cricketer, yep.

AB: Yeah. So I had no clue and it’s just, like, my Australian friends coming to the bar and their jaws dropped to the floor going, “Do you know who that is?” I’m like, “It’s some dude talking about hot dogs.”

LT: Yeah. It was the exact same situation for me because I was, like, waiting for the seaplane and there was another American couple who was waiting too. So we all sat down to have lunch and then he just came and joined us, sat there for, like, 45 minutes, an hour, and then once our we were told our plane was ready to go, we go jump on the plane, say goodbye to him and then, yeah, it was the woman that was, like, tapping me on the legs, like, “Oh do you know who that was? Do you know who that was? Do you know who that was?” I was like, “I have no idea who that was.”

AB: He was a lovely old chap.

LT: Well, it was like, “It was Joe Biden.” And I was like, “I have no idea who that was.” It was like, “It’s Vice President Joe Biden.”

AB: That’s cool.

LT: I was like, “Oh okay. I probably shouldn’t have said fucking shit so much.”

AB: Love it. Love it, love it, love it.

LT: But these are the sort of, like, experiences that you have when you travel, so.

AB: No. And that’s it; you never know who you’re going to meet. You never know who you’re going to run into. And, you know, you just – I think it’s – yeah. One of my takeaways is, like, be open, right. Be open to the experiences. Be open in your schedule. Be open with the space, you know. Things will happen and it’s magic. It’s magic.

LT: I think that’s the perfect note to leave it on.

AB: Yeah, absolutely.

LT: Excellent. So, Amanda, thank you so much for coming on and doing this two-parter, because we didn’t realise we were going to talk for so long.

AB: And I still feel like there’s so much more to talk about, but we will (inaudible)

LT: Oh yeah. I could easily talk to you for another, like, two hours.

AB: Done. All right. When you’re bored one day, you’ve got slots to fill. There you go.

LT: Excellent. But before you do go, Amanda, we do have the rapid-fire question session to go through.

AB: Oh dear. I’m not a rapid-fire kind of gal, but we’ll see.

LT: You’ll have to try your best. Short, quick answers is what I’m after.

AB: All right. Go for it. Let’s do it.

LT: Okay. So number one: what is your favourite country that you’ve been to so far?

AB: Indonesia.

LT: What is the last YouTube video or movie that you’ve watched?

AB: Does a song count?

LT: If it was a video, then yes.

AB: Yeah. It was – I was just going back to my glory days. Portishead, Glory Box.

LT: Nice. What is the weirdest thing that you’ve eaten?

AB: Now, this requires a little bit of an explanation but I think I ate whale sperm.

LT: Okay. Go on, give me the quick explanation for that one.

AB: One of the things being in Japan, people like to give you weird things to try. And I was out with a client one day when I was teaching English and he’s like, “No, you go to try this.” I’m like, “What is it?” He’s like, “No, you got to try it first.” That was the deal. Tried it and I’m like, okay, it was kind of mushy and liquid-y and afterwards it was like, “Okay, what is this?” And the translation that he could give me was whale dick finish. So you tell me what you think that is.

LT: Yeah, I’m probably going to go whale sperm too.

AB: Yeah. Okay.

LT: That’s funny. What is your favourite drinking game?

AB: Favourite drinking game? You know what, beer pong.

LT: That’s the one I hate the most.

AB: Yeah. I don’t like it, but it’s, like, I suck at other games.

LT: It’s a good social game, that’s for sure.

AB: Yeah.

LT: Question number five: if you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be?

AB: Nelson Mandela, hands down.

LT: That would be my person too.

AB: Awesome.

LT: Name one book you would recommend everybody should read.

AB: Oh dear. You know, I really – and I will read it again and again and again – The Alchemist.

LT: Awesome. What is your go-to song when you need to get into the mood to get shit done?

AB: What’s the guy’s name? Bob Sinclair. What is it? Shit. Come on, help me out. Bob Sinclair.

LT: All I know is - - -

AB: One Love Generation. Yeah, I can’t sing, so.

LT: I know he just says his name a lot in his songs. That’s all I can remember. Bob Sinclair.

AB: Yeah, exactly. One Love Generation. Something upbeat, perky. Yeah. We’re good.

LT: With Bob Sinclair. Perfect.

AB: With Bob Sinclair.

LT: What is your favourite swearword that you’ve learnt in another language?

AB: You know what, it’s in English but I just – I love it. Twat. Twat.

LT: That’s a good one. What is your favourite podcast, apart from this one?

AB: Apart from this one, of course.

LT: Apart from this one, yeah.

AB: You know what, I love Pat Flynn. I’ve got a – no. You know what, Pat Flynn would be my secret love – my second secret love. First one is NPR’s TED Radio Hour. Yeah, that’s my number one podcast crush, for sure.

LT: Going to have to check that one out, then. And finally, very last question, can you give me your best travel story that you have in under five minutes. Or one of, because I know you’ve got a lot.

AB: Oh my god, there’s lots. Okay. So perhaps for one of my birthdays, drinking champagne with the yakuza at an Osaka nightclub. Or being an illegal immigrant when I sailed and got off the sailboat in Indonesia. Okay. This one, it kind of incorporates the last question about language and swearwords. Here we go. And I’m sorry, gentlemen, it may gross you out, but you know what, it’s a lady’s story so I’m sure the ladies will love this one.

LT: Perfect.

AB: Living in Japan and – you know what, women are susceptible to yeast infections for a variety of reasons, and travel tends to – travel stress, different food, different temperatures – tends to bring them on. So I was suffering from a yeast infection and I was mortified, absolutely embarrassed, because I didn’t have the language skills to be able to explain exactly what I needed, what medication I needed or what the issue was going on. But I knew I just needed over-the-counter treatment. Went into a Japanese pharmacy and basically I started talking to the pharmacist in Japanese with, “I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I am so sorry.” And I’m bending deeper and deeper and deeper than she is bending to show my – culturally, right, the lower ranked on the totem pole, if you will, or the more humble you want to be, the deeper you bow.

LT: Yep.

AB: So I’m bowing as deep as I can, saying, “I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I am so sorry for the words that are about to come out of my mouth.” And she’s, like, “Okay, what’s going on? What’s the problem?” And what I had said was – and I’ll say it Japanese – “Wa ka shi no, omenko wa, ichi ban kyui des.” Which literally translated as, “Excuse me, but my cunt is number one itchy.” It was the only language I knew. Of course, right, the titillating bad words of course I knew. “Ichi ban”, you know, number one, I knew from the soup commercial. “Kyui”, I don’t know how we learned that but it was in my bank of vocab. And basically proceeded to do charades with her to try to describe, you know, like, yeast, yeast, yeast. Beer and, you know, bread, and was showing bread rising and – so you she brought out this massive dictionary that was probably bigger than her waist, plopped it down on the book and it was English/Japanese. And we went through it, and basically I found what I was looking for, pointed to it and, you know, stone-cold sober face. Like, there was no reaction to it, no reaction to my horrible grammar, my bad language, my profanities. And, yeah, I walked out of there with what I needed to get. So it’s just one of those experiences where, you know, it’s mortifying and weird situation to be in but you get through it.

LT: I like it. That’s a funny story. I’m just, like, picturing you just, like, bowing down as far as you can and it’s like, “My cunt is number one itchy.”

AB: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

LT: Love it. Thank you for sharing that story.

AB: Yeah. Yeah. You’re very welcome.

LT: Cool. So it’s time to end this podcast now. So before you go, can you just share where people can find you online and how people can reach out to you if they wanted to connect.

AB: Yeah, absolutely. I do have a blog; it’s ages old, but it’s there and it’s probably going to undergo a little bit of revamp. But in the meantime, it is backpackerhub.wordpress.com. And you can find me at Amanda Baye on Facebook, B-a-y-e.

LT: Perfect. And for everyone listening, you’ll be able to find all the details for this episode in the show notes. And thank you, Amanda, so much for coming on.

AB: Yeah. No, Luke, thank you so much for having me. It was wonderful to have our little chat and conversation, and I hope we can continue the dialogue.

LT: Definitely. And we’ll no doubt have you on again in the future too.

AB: Brilliant. Take care.

LT: Take care. Talk to you soon.

AB: Ciao.

- END OF TRANSCRIPT -

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