Hey there and welcome to my Travelers Interviews project.
Here you can read stories from travelers. How they survive long/short term travels, their tips etc.
My name is Tuliyani, I’m 27 years old. I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, but I call San Diego my home. I used to be a cocktail waitress at a bar before I started teaching English abroad.
1.”When did you start traveling and did you plan that long travel from the beginning?”
I started traveling when I ditched school in high school to head up to San Francisco or San Jose for the day just to be somewhere I was unfamiliar with. Through college I’d take random road trips to LA or a 5 day vacation from work to go anywhere. It wasn’t until 2015, when I was 25, that I decided to move to Japan. The plan was to return after one year, but when my return date approached I decided on a different route: see as much of Asia until my money ran out. My money ran out, but I’m still going.
2. “How did you travel for so long(IF)? Did you work in the meantime or you saved all the money before you started traveling?”
Taught English, saved some money, worked for accommodation, food, and drink
3. “Traveling alone or with company?”
Alone when I touch down, but I always meet people going the same direction and we usually connect and travel together.
4. “How You came to be a female/male solo traveler?”
I was tired of waiting for everyone else to be ready.
5. “Do you ever get lonely or bored traveling alone?”
Nope. If I’m alone it’s because I want to be. If I’m bored, it’s because I never started traveling.
6. “What if you come home early because of homesickness or if You run out of money?”
This is my current situation. The running out of money part, that is. I thought I was homesick, but then I returned home and I couldn’t wait to get back out there. Now everything I do is to get me one step closer to traveling again.
7. “Have you ever had any bad experience on the road? If yes where, and what happened?”
Ha! There are a few, but they’ve always ended in laughter or something positive. Maybe the worst was when we were riding our motorbikes in Vietnam and it took us about 12 hrs to get to our destination because we got caught in the rain and could hardly see. We had to stop on the side of the road and wait it out. Then it was too dark we couldn’t see shit in front of us.
8. “What’s your favorite place so far?”
Koh Rong, Cambodia, SO FAR. I lived and worked for accommodation for a month there. It was like home to me.
9. “What home comfort do you miss the most?”
Real cheese. Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Goat … aaahhhh
10. “Who is the most interesting person you’ve met so far?”
I met a lot of interesting people so it’s hard to choose one, but my favorite one was this man from South Africa that told me and acted out a very detailed story of his respect for women ever since he got his ass beat in Muy Thai in South Africa by one. He had really pretty eyes too.
11. “Toilets: squat or Western?”
After the Western toilets I’ve seen… squat. At least I don’t have to touch anything.
12. “What was your most embarrassing moment while traveling?”
Telling a guy that I wasn’t interested in having sex (with him) and then lifting my backpack only to find a condom wrapper underneath from my previous session with the guy I actually liked. “What, where did that come from?”
13. “What have you brought on the way, that you haven’t used?”
A travel journal specifically designed for mapping out my routes, my interests, important phone numbers etc. I wing everything so it became insignificant.
14. “What has been the most useful item you’ve brought on the way?”
My cracked unlocked iPhone 4s. Nobody wants to steal that shit, and it helped me get around. Oh and bandaids.
15. “What’s the best piece of travel advice you’ve received?”
If someone upsets you, let it go. They’re not worth it. You’re traveling and they won’t be in your life forever.
16. “What’s the worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?”
“Don’t go to Vietnam” It’s my favorite country now.
17. “What’s your top travel tip?”
Bring toilet paper EVERYWHERE. Even those moist towelettes work. It’s so useful and prevents so many uncomfortable situations.
18. “How did your relatives feel about your trip?”
They didn’t know I was gonna be gone for so long. They’re supportive of it now.
19. “What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?”
20. “What’s your dream job?”
Author, and then something to do with movies one day.
21. “How are you documenting your trip(IF)?”
22. “What’s been the weirdest thing you’ve seen?”
The amount of things that people in Vietnam can fit on their little motorbikes.
23. “What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt?”
That we’re all human. Just because someone is driving my bus or loading my luggage onto a boat doesn’t mean they don’t have a sense of humor or that’s the only reason they’re there. Everyone likes to laugh and everyone is kind once you get to know them.
24. “What has surprised you about yourself?”
I’m very outgoing and enjoy meeting new people. I swear, I used to work in the customer service industry and I saw a bad side of people, causing an internal hate for people in general. Now I love hearing people’s stories or having conversations with them no matter their background.
25. “Dorm or private room?”
Dorm because you meet more people that way. Private if I have someone to share it with…
26. “Do you call yourself traveller or backpacker?”
Oohhh, that’s a good question. Well, I have a backpack that I travel with. But I think I prefer traveller because I don’t always just backpack. Sometimes I take it slow and live in new areas. Sometimes I just take a drive to a city outside of my hometown.
27. “What can’t you travel without and why?”
A notebook. Because I always have to write something down, take notes, write about my travels and so on. My notebook is always next to me. That’s where all my original work starts anyway. A thief would never know it’s my most prized possession and I would be more devastated to lose it than my laptop.
28. “What home comfort do you miss the most?”(sorry this question is repeating and I haven’t realized it before…)
This question was already asked, so I’ll say reading in front of the fireplace this time.
29. “How many gadgets are you carrying? Which is your favorite?”
4 main gadgets, my laptop is my favorite currently because I need to update my camera.
30. “Strict schedule or go with the flow?”
Go with the flow, although, this has ended up with me visiting the same place twice.
31. “Beer or wine?”
Wine! I used to be a beer drinker, but wine is a different drunk.
32. “Street food or restaurant?”
Street food, but it’s gotta be the right spot. If there’s no one around and you can’t see where the food is cooked, question it. When there’s no locals in sight, it’s probably safe. While the tables halfway in the street, packed with locals, napkins are thrown everywhere and you can hear the food sizzling, you’re in the right place and it’s gonna be some goddamn good food.
33. “What is your favorite street food so far?”
Banh Xeo is my favorite, but my absolute favorite was in Bai Xep, Vietnam. It was this one little lady who took banh xeo and made it into a wrap for 6,000 VND each. She worked from 3 am to 10 am serving these to the locals. I had 2 almost every morning.
34. “How often do you try the local food?”
All the time. Food is part of the culture, and I love learning about a culture.
35. “What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done so far?”
Deciding whether or not to come home after 18 months.
36. “City or countryside?”
Countryside but I usually need some escape to the city.
37. “Do you prefer to walk, take a public transport or private transport?”
Public transport because that’s how the locals live.
38. “What destination(s) have you found to be overrated?”
39. “Do you read on the way or rather watch movies? Your last book/movie?”
40. “How much stuff have you lost?”
I don’t lose a lot. I left the base to my charger once.
41. “How much stuff have you left on the way cos of the overweight of your luggage?”
A lot. So much. One garbage bag full at the beginning. Then an article of clothing at almost every city.
42. “Have you ever been scammed? How and where?”
Everyone gets scammed at least once. Even if you don’t notice it. It happens. I was overcharged for a private tour. I had no idea at the time. Luckily I didn’t have to give all the money until the end of the tour, because I left halfway through.
43. “What do you wish you’d brought to travel, that you haven’t?”
44. “How do you stay safe on the road?”
Don’t look lost. Always act confident. Hide valuables. Don’t go out alone late at night.
45. “Have you met someone on the road, that you’ve “clicked” with so good, to start traveling together?” (as a friend, new boyfriend/girlfriend, or a group of people)?
So many times. Like I said, I just love people. I met a friend from one of the travel groups I’m a part of and it was like we had known each other forever. Then we started traveling with some other people along the way. After she and I separated, I traveled with a guy and together we hitch hiked. I always set ground rules with them so that we can understand each other if we need space so that we don’t get sick of each other. I’m very open and honest and it’s always worked out for me and my travel buddies.
46. “Is it hard for you to get along with other travelers? If YES, why? If NOT, briefly write how do you do that?”
No, it’s not hard for me. I keep an open mind to what other people are going through or experiencing but if I can’t find a positive reason to be around them, then I don’t stick around them. It’s as simple as that.
47. “How do you communicate with locals, if they do not speak English?”
Hand gestures, facial expressions, and drawings, asking passerbys if they speak English. Google translate is a last resort.
48. “Is there anything, that you would change about your travel/s, if you could start from the beginning and having all this traveling experience?”
Bring lighter clothing material. Don’t listen to others. If I want to do it, I’ll do it.
49. “How would you describe yourself in 3 words?”
Ambitious, Curious, Outgoing
50. “Who would win in a fight: a polar bear with a rifle, or a Barbie with a laser gun?”
Polar Bear with a rifle, all the way. Barbie’s limbs don’t bend well enough to point and shoot a laser gun. Plus, polar bears are a dying breed, this polar bear will have a drive to live: to save his species. Barbie’s will to live is her pink car and her dreamhouse. Maybe Ken, but honestly, what has he done for her lately?
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Did you learn anything from those travelers? Questions? Comment your feelings/worries about traveling.