I am just a simple man who quit the daily stress of a retail management job and decided to live my dream of traveling the world and meeting new cultures.You can follow my journey on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and at www.backpackermike.com (new website coming soon).
TPM: What kind of traveler are you?
BPM: I am a budget traveler who loves to experience culture and spend time with locals doing things locals do along with some of the tourist things.
TPM: Why did you decide to start a travel Vlog?
BPM: I really wanted to show people I know and others around the world that there are amazing people out there from all walks of life and countries. That it isn’t anything like what mainstream media shows; to break the stereotypes of cultures, countries and people.
TPM: I know you recently finished walking the Camino de Santiago. Could you share with our readers a little about your experience on the Camino?
BPM: This question could be a book or story of its own- the Camino experience is like none other. You walk by foot for over 700 kms across Spain with your backpack staying in Albergues that are like hostels. You meet amazing people from all over the world. You walk through AMAZING history dating back to the kings of Spain, the Roman Empire, the Templar knights and wars between Charlemagne and the Arabs. The scenery is breathtaking, the people are amazing, the local culture is a great experience and the respect shown for the task you are undertaking when they see your Camino shell touches your heart- I’ve always said, and this is my second time doing the Camino.
The Camino is three stages into yourself. The first stage is physical as your body starts to adapt to the physical struggles of climbing mountains, walking long distances and keeping pace. The second stage is mental as you begin to think, “What am I doing?”, “Why am I doing this?”, and “I just want to quit.” The third stage is spiritual, this is when you finally hit the 100km mark on to Santiago De Compostela Spain; the rest of the way you reflect on all you have overcome, the people and friends you have met, the amazing feeling of “I am going to do this.”, the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and when you walk into the plaza of the cathedral and the bagpipes are playing it all hits you at once. The emotion takes you over, you’re at a loss of words and the tears begin to flow.
TPM: Where in the world is your favorite place to visit? Why?
BPM: I would say for now walking the Camino from Saint Jean Pied Deporte, France to Fisterre Spain- It takes around 30-40 days to walk. You see amazing culture, meet amazing people and it is pretty inexpensive between 15-45.00 a day depending on how you travel it.
TPM: What is the biggest sacrifice you have made for the sake of traveling?
BPM: I gave up everything I had going at the time- a good paying job, retirement money and more. But to me right now memories and experiences will last a lifetime and if things don’t work out with this venture- I can continue to travel then I can be satisfied in life knowing that I lived my dream and have no regrets.
TPM: Who is your travel inspiration?
BPM: Honestly the one who inspired me with the desire to travel again was my 90 year old father- at the time he was 84 and was recovering from two small strokes. I was pretty stressed because I lost my mother when I was just 5 years old so my father is all I have left. I moved into his house and became his caregiver helping him with his recovery. A commercial for visit Australia came on and my dad said, "I always wanted to go there and I never will now." I looked at my dad and said, "Don’t worry dad I will make it there with a picture of you and I will take a selfie of me with your picture and send it to you- then we can say we both made it together!" I thought I love my dad so much but I don’t want to be that guy- I want to give my dreams life!
TPM: Have you had any scary moments while on your travels?
BPM: Actually the only really creepy moment was walking the Camino through rural Spain in the woods between small towns. It was getting late and I was pushing to get farther when I probably should have stopped earlier. I was coming up this rocky incline through a tight wooded opening and on either side of the trail was a chain link fence to separate farm properties, I assume. Someone had woven into the fence with sticks little crosses- the sun was setting and the sounds of dusk and night were coming out in the woods. As I approached the opening to this rocky path there sat an old red velvet chair almost like a throne chair. It was all on it’s own just sitting there. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to react at this point. I looked around quickly to make sure nobody else was around and I sprint walked as fast as I could past the chair and out of the woods. Pretty crazy to say the least! But, other than that every place I have been and everyone I have met has been amazing and no issues.
TPM: Where is your next travel destination going to be? Why?
BPM: I came back to the states for a wedding and to visit family in Ohio. I will be heading to Florida for the winter months for now and traveling all over Florida showing things like the beaches, swimming with the manatees, Seminole Indian reservation, the Everglades, Islands, Key West, off the normal path things in Florida also. I got so many questions in Europe about Florida where I am based out of that I thought I would feature it and possibly Georgia, New Orleans and the Caribbean for the winter. I will always be searching for cheap tickets though so who knows. Spring plans will be Africa for sure then on from there. I will be in a South African TV series about the Camino and my new friends want me to come visit them and show me around.
TPM: How has travel changed you?
BPM: Travel has truly touched me and has taught me a lot about myself and about other people and cultures. I have found that almost everyone around the world wants the same common things. Peace, love and to help each other when we are in times of need.
TPM: What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about becoming a Travel Vlogger?
BPM: First and foremost follow your dreams! Don’t take to long to decide to do that- I waited a lifetime and wish I would have did it a lot sooner! The second thing is work out a plan of how. "How do I want to approach this?", "How can I sustain traveling?", "How can I positively impact those I have contact with in person and through my content?" Reach out to other travelers and ask questions and use online resources like Travel Pass to see other people's experiences and knowledge. Think of creating it into a business so travel expenses can be written off and it is more professional when trying to contact businesses for sponsorships, affiliates or travel gear. Learn how to edit videos either through online sources or trial and error- at first they will be ok but the more you learn the better they become.
I am always available for questions if you would like to contact me by email at email@example.com or join me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and you can message me through there, if I do not have the answer from my experiences then I will find someone who does.
My tips for when you finally get out there in the world. 1. Have an open mind to new cultures and new things. 2. Take time to enjoy the little things, don’t rush! 3. Respect people of all walks of life. 4. SMILE 5. HAVE FUN!!
Thank you to Travel Pass for all that you do and allowing backpackers like myself to have an outlet to share advice and more.