This edition of What’s in My Backpack features a traveller with a love for beards and real ale. Richard AKA The Bearded Manc is originally from Manchester in the UK and is currently travelling around Australia and New Zealand with his girlfriend.
Tell us about you?
I’m a Northern lad from Manchester in the UK; I love the concrete jungles we call cities. I love food and try to order something different every time I eat. I love a good drink and have tried nearly every beer, ale or stout from the UK, Dubai, India, Japan, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia & Australia.
Where are you now?
Currently, in Brisbane. Me and the Mrs are on a road trip driving up the East Coast of Australia.
Describe your travel style?
Free and Easy. I plan nothing ahead of time, and as soon as I land in a country, I wing it from there. I have discovered and experienced so much more than I ever would have if I’d have planned every step of
I have discovered and experienced so much more than I ever would have if I’d have planned every step of my trip down to the last second.
What do you like best about travelling?
The people you meet. Some of the people we have met while travelling and explored with have become very close friends.
It’s the people that welcome you into their homes, cook for you and give you a bed for the night. It’s the people of every country that are so happy you are there and want to listen to your stories and tell you theirs.
It’s liberating to be sat down in a kitchen of a family you’ve just met eating and drinking and sharing stories of the world together.
The most memorable trip you’ve had?
That’s a hard question because everything and everywhere I have been having had its highlights. What I can do is give you top 2 destinations on this trip so far. That would be Australia and Japan.
City visited the most and why?
In my life its Barcelona, I fell in love with this City when I was 11 years old and have been back several times. I’m sure that I will find somewhere on this trip that I will return to over and over again.
Best hotel, guesthouse or hostel stayed at?
The Arak Hostel was by far the best place I have stayed. The beds are stupidly comfy, and the staff are welcoming, helpful and polite all the time.
The Wi-Fi speed was only beaten by the Wi-Fi in Japan. The whole atmosphere of the place is outstanding. I highly recommend it if anyone ever visits Chiang Mai.
What’s your backpack of choice?
Vango Freedom 80+20L Travel Backpack. It has been perfect for what I have needed it for, and the detachable 20L bag is ideal for a plane carry-on bag or day trips.
What’s in your backpack?
Laptop, different cables, clothes, trainers, a toastie machine!! Yes, that’s right haha – I bought it in Thailand, so I could save money making my own cheese toasties rather than buying the 7 Eleven ones.
Electronics and gadgets you couldn’t travel without?
Mobile phone and laptop. I have an iPhone 6 Plus, and the camera on it is brilliant. It eliminates the need to carry a point and shoot. I will be upgrading to the iPhone 7 Plus with the new camera as soon as I get to New Zealand.
My laptop is a MacBook, and it allows me to write whenever and where ever I want. It is also a place to back up all my travel pictures and videos. Finally, it helps to surpass boredom on flights and in airports as I can watch movies where ever and whenever I want.
How about apps?
Maps.me by far the number one app for EVERY backpacker. The offline turn by turn direction maps has saved my life on this trip. You never have to worry about having data or signal the app works 100% of the time.
I am using it as my only sat nav while I drive up the East Coast of Australia and it’s not done me wrong in over 100,000 kilometres.
Last product you purchased?
Apple TV in Thailand. For some reason the new 64GB Apple TV was 50% cheaper than in the UK. It was maybe an error by the staff in the shop in a mall in Bangkok, but I was not going to complain.
Any tips for travelling on a budget?
Honestly, ask people – it’s that simple. Ask hostels, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, tour companies and nine times out of ten they will help you out with a discount or throw in extras for you.
Also, don’t be picky. I have gone to book $20 a night hostels and left as soon as I’ve seen the room. On the flip side of that the $2 a night rooms I’ve stayed in have been out of this world.
Always go to the accommodation and look at the room before you book anything.
Finally, where to next?
Once I finish travelling around Austrailia, I will be off for a cheeky week in Fiji before I set my bag down for the first time in almost a year in New Zealand and start my 12 months working holiday visa.
If you’re a traveller and would like to contribute to the next edition of What’s in My Backpack |Traveller Interviews, email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org.