This week we’re introducing a new interview series to the site – but with a difference!
As travellers with creativity as the core, we’ve chosen to dig deeper into the how our friends and other fellow travel bloggers search for architecture, art, design and music during their around-the-world journeys.
So, we’re reaching out to our favourite travel bloggers with our interview series, ‘Create/Travel‘
Hi, Agness! It’s seems like forever ago that we first started reading your travel blog, eTramping, so that we too could travel on such a small budget, but for the benefit of those who don’t know you:
1. Who are you and why do you travel?
Hi guys! I’m Agness. I originally come from Poland. I’m a travel blogger who has been travelling and living in different Asian and European countries since 2011. As you know, I’m well-known for travelling the world for less than $25 per day and I share my tricks and tips with the readers of my blog called eTramping.com. Moreover, I’m a food lover obsessed with Chinese cuisine, yoga passionate, life enthusiast and photography freak.
Why do I travel? That’s a good question. , I’m a big girl who’s using the world as my playground. Whether you want to or not, visiting or living in a new place will force you to become a child again and I love this feeling. Secondly, there are not many things more important than learning how to be happy by yourself. If you’re horribly uncomfortable alone and unsure what to do without guidance, life can quickly become a chore. Silly as it may sound, you spend more time with yourself than anyone else, so learning to have a good time by yourself is a seriously useful skill to pick up. Travel can be fun with others, but doing it alone can be a chance to test yourself, to see what you’re made of, and to, hopefully, find a sense of contentment with yourself. Finally, travelling is a learning experience for me. I learn new languages, history of places I travel to and people who amaze me by their stories.
Between yourself and your travelling friend Cez, it seems that there’s no end to the fantastic ways in which the two of you save money and budget so well and it’s quite the inspiration for couples like ourselves who need to make any penny count.
2. What’s the one budgeting tip that forever changed the way that you travel?
Haggle hard or go home! Whether we like it or not, haggling is a big part of daily life in Asia. Whether it’s for a cab fare, bus ticket, street food or even clothes in local stores, you just cannot get away without being able to haggle. If you know how to do it (be confident, but not pushy, learn some local dialect, stay calm and never argue), you can save a lot of money!
We’ve had the enormous pleasure of having you write one of our favourite guest posts before on the difference between Tibetan and Chinese Architecture, so we know that you’re quite the architecture lover too when you travel.
3. What’s the most spectacular piece of architecture you’ve seen on your travels to date?
The Great Wall of China of course! I was proudly standing on top of this greatest engineering triumph enjoying the breath-taking landscape surrounded by high mountains, hills and trees. At that moment, this place was a symbol of diligence, mass manpower and freedom for me. It was a very hot day and I remember how exhausting this journey was for me. I was climbing up and down but I couldn’t see the top of the Wall which seemed to be further and further even when I was getting closer to it. There were many tourists there and the place was very busy as it was Sunday. As Mao Zedong said “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man.” I have, twice.
Over the past year we’ve regularly read posts over on eTramping.com about the many ways you dig deeper into the culture of the many countries you passed through in 2013, and we know that getting up close and personal with local life and local traditions is something you enjoy.
4. Is there a country whose local arts weren’t what you expected and surprised you?
Ruins of St. Paul which are the highlight of Macau. These 17th century ruins are the main touristic attraction of this place. Although the place is incredibly crowded every day, there is no excuse to grab a tour guide, walk there and learn some stuff about Portuguese history, architecture and art. I enjoyed exploring it, but it was not what I expected. In my opinion, its beauty is way too exaggerated.
One of our favourite places we discovered in Asia was a small shop in a Bangkok market where a young designer was producing fashion items with a comedic twist we really didn’t expect from the type of culture we had encountered up until that point, so we couldn’t help but grab something.
5. Is it still possible to still take home great design that you find whilst travelling on a ‘less than $25 a day’ budget?
I don’t necessary pay much attention to great design and local handcrafts. I collect bracelets and necklaces though, which are cheap to purchase and easy to travel with.
Over the past few months we’ve been putting together a playlist for people to listen to as they travel or – like us – need a soundtrack to help them write down all those adventures from their travels.
6. What kind of music soundtracks your adventures?
I’m a big fan of Into The Wild which is the first solo studio album by Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder, and is based on his contributions to the soundtrack for the film Into the Wild which inspired me to travel the world on the cheap. Most of the songs are peaceful and slow, calm me down and make me think of why I travel.
Over the past year you’ve travelled across many great countries whilst also still having the time to return back to China to teach English to young children, which we really admire.
7. What words of advice to you have for those who are about to set off travelling and teaching for the first time?
Of course, there are plenty of tips I could offer to those who are willing to leave their comfort zone and live an expat life abroad. We have actually written an eBook titled Add Your Brick to the Great Wall: Experience-based Advice for China from Expats which sums up our two-year experience of teaching, living and travelling in China.
Everyone planning on going to China should start learning the local language as soon as possible and keep practicing. Knowing Chinese will make your life much easier! Do your TESOL/TEFL course so you can have more job opportunities, not only in China, but in any non-English speaking country afterwards.
Always stick to locals, make friends with them. The more people you get to know, the better. They can show you around and make sure it feels like home. You will not feel lonely and you can definitely spend less money on travels.
Never forget to be open and adventurous. Don’t be afraid of new things such as food. Try new things every day and respect foreign culture and local traditions!
Thanks so much to Agness for letting us into how she views creativity during her ongoing travels.
Agness knows how much we love following her and her antics around Asia and don’t see ourselves stopping any time soon, especially knowing that before long you’ll be back in Europe – exciting times!