Travel Tuesday with Ian from Barefoot Backpacker

A clichéd pose of feet on the dashboard being driven through Western Australia
Hiking through the Scottish Lowlands on my way across Great Britain

Ah, my latest Travel Tuesday guest is Ian from Barefoot Backpacker. I first met Ian in a hostel/bar in Rotterdam at the Traverse18 conference. While we waited for Gemma (last week’s Travel Tuesday) to arrive, we observed a man sitting outside with his back to us watching porn on his iPad while sitting opposite his wife, which Ian was quick to photo and post on social media!

Ian leaves a lasting impression on you, maybe it is his barefoot wanderings, his painted toenails or his erudite observations of the world. A fascinating guy who once asked if I knew anything about Vanuatu – I did have two facts and you will have to listen to his Barefoot Backpacker podcast to find out my answers!

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So over to Ian from Barefoot Backpacker to answer my Travel Questions:

Q1 – When did you become a traveller?

I think I’ve always been a traveller, of some description. My first proper adventure was a trip across Europe by train in 1994 (I’d just turned 19) to visit my penpal in Belgrade, so I’ve been going on travel adventures off and on ever since really.

Q2 – What kind of traveller are you? Full-time? Part-time? Anytime?

When I had a full-time job, I took intensive two-week trips every few months. After I was made redundant two years ago, I took much longer trips (two months plus). Now I’m nursing what’s left of my money and not really travelling at all!

Q3 – Which country do you originally come from and where do you call home?

I am British, originally from Liverpool, though I’ve moved around a few times over the years. I now live in a small ex-mining town in Nottinghamshire, though I’m taking a couple of months away to lodge with my friend in Sheffield as I feel there are more opportunities here.

Q4 – Is there anything you miss from home when you are travelling?

See, I used to say “my desktop computer” and “my mattress”, but I don’t think either are true anymore. I suspect what I miss most when I’m travelling is the ability to spread out and chill for a couple of days without stressing about food, drink, other people, etc.

One of the few pics where Im facing the camera. Behind is obviously the Grand Canyon

Q5 – What do you love most about travelling?

Experiencing a place that I may only have read about in history books or heard on a TV news report or documentary even decades before. That feeling of being somewhere that previously only existed in my mind.

Q6 – And what is your pet hate?

Is there anything I hate? There are things I don’t like, but they’re all internal things (like commitment/making decisions, dealing with admin). I also don’t like having to speak to people, especially in a foreign language, but that’s everything to do with my social anxiety. Maybe that’s what my pet hate is – doing all this travelling whilst being ‘me’.

Q7 – Tell us about your favourite trip or place to visit.

I don’t have favourites, as ‘everywhere is interesting’ and worth visiting. In addition, there’s very few places I’ve been to more than once, because no matter how much I like somewhere, there is always somewhere new to visit. Of course, “place” itself is very non-specific; have you been to London if you haven’t visited all 32 boroughs and The City – or, conversely, if you’ve visited Croydon, and then decide to go to Hillingdon, does that count as two visits to ‘London’ or not?!

But I digress.

As all my trips are long and varied, I don’t think I have a ‘favourite’ trip because every trip I’ve done has been interesting and worthy. My, this fence is digging into my bottom.

Q8 – How do you prepare for a trip, are you a last-minute packer or days in advance?

I’ve booked international flights on the day of travel before now, never mind pack and prepare. Make your own conclusions. 😀

Standing in front of the Chocolate Hills Philippines The T shirt may be a lie

Q9 – What 5 things do you always take on your travels?

Ignoring the obvious of Passport and camera (and clothes!)… 1) at least one of my travelling soft toys (“Baby Ian”), 2) notebook & pen, 3) nail varnish, 4) business cards, 5) small fabric daypack.

Q10 – If money was no object, where would you live?

On a canal boat.

Q11 – Tell us more about your blog /Podcast?

I have a blog and a podcast. The blog is mainly a way for me to go into detail about the history and my experiences in certain off-beat destinations. The podcast, which I tend to concentrate more on these days, is about aspects of travel, including some political thought.

Q12 – What three four five blogs inspire you?

ah, feck.
I get inspired more by people than by the blogs they operate, so here are three of the most inspiring people I know, who have blogs:

1) Seanna Fallon from “Seanna’s World“- outdoors, mental health, and the perfect person to know in the apocalypse.

2) Laura Lundahl from “Tumbleweed Chronicles“- she will always inspire me; an intelligent and thoughtful person who’s had some very varied and powerful experiences.

3) Katchie Nzama from “The Solo Wandera” – Simply put, Africa’s greatest travel blogger, and fabulous with it. Also likes beer.

4) Cassie Bailey from “Cassie The Hag” – a solo traveller who posts inspiring and thoughtful blogs and long Instagram captions about her travels, experiences (good and bad), and her mental health; basically a younger and more personable version of me.

5) Kirsty Leanne from “KirstyLeanne” – a leading light in plus-size travel blogging and someone not afraid to challenge. Also responsible for my first ever Jägerbomb.

Walking down a country lane in Sheffield in the UKs Peak District

Q13 – And your go-to travel resource?

Wikitravel 😀

Q14 – What advice would you give first-time bloggers?

Everyone has their own way of blogging, and they will tell you that it works, so you should do that. Ignore them. It may work for them, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. The best advice I’ve got for first-time bloggers is to just simply blog. Worry about finessing later, when you’ve more of a feel what works for you.

Q15 – Where are you off to next?

I have no plans to visit anywhere in the near future. But then this fairly normal.

A clichéd pose of feet on the dashboard being driven through Western Australia

Quick lowdown of Ian’s favourite:

Favourite Airport? BHX, probably. Though the airport on Gaua, in Vanuatu, is pretty cool. As is Barra, in Scotland.

Favourite Mode of Transportation?  Train. I’ve always loved trains; I find them comfortable, it’s great to be able to walk around easily whilst on the move, they go through some wonderful scenery, and they’re also the only mode of transport I can sleep on.

Window seat or aisle? Aisle, every time

Favourite City? …. I never stay in one long enough to think about it. But I like Sheffield.

Favourite Country? Benin. Or Belgium.

Backpack or Case? Backpack, obvs …

Travel Book? 
(For a travelogue): “Do Not Pass Go: From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair” – Tim Moore.
(For general travel): “No Shitting in the Toilet” – Peter Moore.
[No relation to each other]

If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” – Katharine Hepburn
“I’ve always been interested in people, but I’ve never liked them.” – W. Somerset Maugham

Thank you, Ian, xxx!

You can keep up with Ian on: 

Facebook –
Twitter –
Instagram –
Pinterest –
YouTube –
and of course on his blog –

Don’t forget to pin this article so you can come back to it later

Travel Tuesday with Barefoot Backpacker. Ian answers questions on his travel style, tips and favourite destinations to travel to.

If you enjoyed this post, read some of the other Travel Tuesdays

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