Mark Mayo

Travelling Kiwi – 5.5 years of travel now, 65 countries. I’ve lived in five countries now and travel is definitely in my blood, I’ll keep doing it for many years.

I’ve spent 4 months backpacking around South America, and did London to Mongolia overland. I’m just finishing up a year in Vancouver, Canada and setting off next week on a trans-Canada and US trip. Posts to come!

5 most amzing countries – South Africa and New Zealand (my two citizenship countries), Argentina, Tajikistan, and Russia. Planned future trips – I hope to hit my last continuent – Antarctica, at the end of this year.

You can work pretty much where you want to – on the road, do you find it hard to work or do you just have fun and work when you come back home?

While I've always had that dream of working solely on the road, I'm a software developer and/or automation engineer and for some reason almonst all of my contracts have required hardware, or on-site only access. As a result, it's been more of a contract-travel-contract-travel style of life for the last few years :)

I travel blog for fun mostly, I've received a little bit for doing it occasionally, but it's a nice record of the great experiences I've had as well.

Do you feel many people are envious of your lifestyle?

Yes. I feel the pressure of it a lot, actually, when people go on about how 'you have the best lifestyle'. It's not all fun and games - some travel can be hard work - it's not like being on holiday all the time. Then there's the effort after each trip - finding a new apartment, job... setting up in a new city each time is tiring.

You also miss family, friends, weddings, kids, and the like, and it's very hard to have a meaningful relationship while on the road.

Saying that, I certainly don't regret it when I'm on top of a mountain or on a long-haul train somewhere thinking how this totally beats sitting at a desk on a Monday morning :)

In which countries have people recognised you, even when you thought nobody would?

I've had a couple of these. In the UK when I first arrived, I didn't realise just how many of my school friends from New Zealand were over there, and at almost every big NZ event (rugby games, Waitangi Day pub crawl) I'd run into people I know.

The next biggest one was in Stockholm, where I ran into a friend of my brother's.

However, by far the most amazing one was in Khorog, Tajikistan, where a fellow Kiwi recognised me as a tutor from university. I'd not tutored him, but he'd been in the lab when I was teaching!

Which three items would you never travel without?

Netbook. Sleeping bag. Camera.

Are there any specific souvenirs or other things you collect from the places you go to?

Not any more. At first I tried collecting flags, but it's surprisingly difficult sometimes. I then considered the badge-on-backpack thing, but with 65 countries under my belt it would look a bit like bragging, I feel. So now I collect the easiest, cheapest souvenirs - photos. I love them, heck, if I was mugged I'd hand over my wallet, and camera, but I'd argue / fight over keeping my SD card.

Tagged as: New Zealand

Rate this interview:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)