Welcome to Tools of Travel – Great to see you here!
My name is Barry, and I’m an English expat, traveller, and blogger. Here’s a short little background on who I am, and what this blog is all about.
I’m just a traveller like you: I like exploring different countries, I like the food, and I do something that resembles backpacking.
I grew up in sunny England and spent most of my time as kid outdoors. Up until about high school age, I enjoyed the typical family road trips, plus plenty of camping holidays.
Somehow after high school, I decided that working was the best way to spend most of my time and at aged 16 jumped straight into the world of Engineering. I also had the crazy idea to work my way through college/university. After this, I proceeded to travel only a handful of times for the next ten years (so, not much travel!).
Igniting the Passion for Travelling More
My long term goal at that time was like many others… work hard, build a decent career, buy a house and push my way up the corporate ladder.
All this would take time, and there was no illusion about taking any shortcuts.
Then in mid-2005, a trip to Indonesia via Singapore ignited something inside me. I was nervous, unsure how to react to the cultural differences and way out of my comfort zone. But when I returned to the UK, all I could think about was this trip and the big world out there and what I was missing.
It was around this time that I started to ask questions about my life.
For the next couple of years, I continued working and finished University. But again this idea of travelling to overseas destinations, places I had only ever read about in books before, just wasn’t going away.
Finally in 2008, after plenty of planning, I sold most of my gear on eBay and boarded a flight. The first destination was nearby France, then a couple of months later was a 27+ hour flight to not so nearby Australia.
The first trip to Indonesia in 2005 may have changed a few things, but the 12-month working holiday in Australia changed everything.
My trip ended up being much longer than the planned 12 months, as the travelling bug never stopped. It only grew worse and would take me to places I never learnt about at school.
Starting this Travel Blog
What I realised fairly soon after leaving the UK was that travelling for more than two weeks a year is not exclusively limited to those who have plenty of money. I learnt to survive on a budget and what followed for me was a life of travel, overseas working holidays, student visas, and sponsorships.
My friends even started to joke that I should change my name to ‘Barry Holiday’ as I always appeared to be starting a new trip or coming back from one.
Then finally in 2014 while Couchsurfing in Norway I decided the timing was right to share my experiences of travelling and living as an expat overseas. Using my second-hand X1 Carbon Ultrabook (which I still use today) and coffee shop Wi-Fi, I started work on toolsoftravel.com.
Even though I was enjoying travelling Europe on a shoestring, it wasn’t all happy days. The first few months were spent playing around with free blog themes and well, let’s just say setting up this website was a steep learning curve for me.
At the time I was also experimenting with minimalist living and apart from my mobile phone, I didn’t even own a camera.
Even though I had barely enough resources to scrape together a blog, what I did have was a strong passion for travelling and to keeping on travelling as much possible
A few months later I got my act together and started to teach myself how to use WordPress and plugins. It might have helped that I was staying by a beautiful Vietnamese beach at the time.
Tools of Travel
Tools of Travel is just a small snapshot of travel experiences I have taken from around the globe.
Questions like how much does an apartment cost for a month? What about local gyms? Is the lifestyle any good for me? And so on.
Most of what you read here will be first hand from me, but to mix it up and give an alternative perspective every now and again there will be interviews with other travellers and bloggers too.
I try not to take myself too seriously, so I’ve approached Tools of Travel with a casual, informal tone as if we just met around the swimming pool at a guesthouse.
While I publish the information on the website for you to read as if you’re my friend, we probably haven’t met personally (if we have then thanks for reading!). I don’t know the specifics of your history, your age, your biases, marital status, education, so, therefore, I have made the following basic assumption on why you’ve dropped by:
You have a genuine interest in travel
If the thought of going overseas brings shivers down you spin then you probably won’t like this blog!
Supporting the Blog
When I created the blog, I had the vision that it should be a free resource that everyone with an internet connection, no matter of their status, could have access.
As an independent traveller who decided one day to take some time out to travel more, the website provides a platform for me to spread the word about travelling and all of its many benefits.
The main way you can support the blog is by adding to the conversation topic by commenting on posts. Without comments, a blog isn’t really a blog.
Tools of Travel takes an interactive format, which means users are free to leave comments and relate to their personal opinions about travel. All thoughtful comments connected to the topic will be published on the website.
For those who wish to contribute financially can do so by using the below links:
- For accommodation, I recommend Agoda and have been using them to book guesthouses, hotels, BnB’s, and hotels since 2011.
- For everything else on the planet, simply buy your goods from Amazon or Amazon UK and I get a tiny bit back.
- For those who wish to contribute financially can do so by donating to my coffee shop blog fund direct via this PayPal link.
There’s no minimum and any amount, no matter how small, I guarantee it will be appreciated.
Feel free to share the experience with me. Browse around the website, comment, share, absorb what’s relevant to your situation and discard the rest.
Tools of Travel