What's in My Backpack: Interview with Richard the Bearded MancThis 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.

What's in My Backpack: Interview with Richard the Bearded Manc

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.

What do you like best about travelling?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 in My Backpack: Interview with Richard the Bearded Manc #ttot #travelblogger

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.

Electronics and gadgets you couldn’t travel without?

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.

How about travel apps?

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.

Finally, where to next?

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 info@toolsoftravel.com.


  • Travel4lifeblog
    Posted March 16, 2017

    Wow we never heard of packing a taostie machine in your luggage! This guy is a legend! Lol. Thanks for sharing a insight interview with us. We agree no plans are usually the best kind of travel style! Keep up the great work. Patrick&cécile

  • Kreete
    Posted February 27, 2017

    What a wonderful insight to a travellers mind. I find many similarities with Richard and that feels reassuring. Love the toaster, haha! Wouldn’t want to carry it myself, but good on him! Id love to read more stories like that!

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    Posted February 26, 2017

    Richard is sure having a great time of his life. He is enjoying the true spirit of travel. Soaring across the world like a free bird. Very inspiring interview. i do envy him!

  • David
    Posted February 25, 2017

    Another great read, and good to see someone exploring all that Oz has to offer. Noted the hostel if I make it to Chang Mai. Gotta say the toastie maker is a first for me, wow that’s dedication!

  • Angie (FeetDoTravel)
    Posted February 24, 2017

    I “met” Richard through the joys of social media and I have followed his travels as his friend on Facebook so it’s great getting to know more about him. I did actually try to book the Arack Hostel in Chaing Mai on Richard’s recommendation but they are booked out for Songkran when we are visiting 🙁 Love that you carry a toastie machine and we are also on a mission to try every beer along the way 🙂 Thank you Barry for this wonderful insight into the mind and life of Richard and thank you Richard for making me smile with your FB status’ – enjoy a new 9-5 life in NZ! #feetdotravel

  • Shona
    Posted February 20, 2017

    Congrats on your half price Apple TV, those little bonuses are fab, but have you tested it? 😉 Then there’s the toastie maker, LOL!

  • Lisa
    Posted February 19, 2017

    Great post! Sounds like a fun trip with lots of good highlights. Thanks for sharing some good tips. Hope to visit New Zealand soon!

  • wayfaringsarah
    Posted February 19, 2017

    Awesome interview!! I’m from Leeds so we’re practically neighbours! I also fell in love with Barcelona and have been back many times 🙂 Maybe it’s something about being from the North of England – hahaah!

  • Scarlett Begonias
    Posted February 18, 2017

    Beards and beers, sounds like our kind of person! Love your travel style– have fun in Fiji and New Zealand.

  • Midori
    Posted February 18, 2017

    I agree that unplanned trips are the best!!!!

  • Paul and Carole
    Posted February 18, 2017

    Great interview. So right about the people you meet, we have made lifelong friends. Love that you carry a toasty machine, brilliant! #feetdotravel

  • ThriftyTrails
    Posted February 17, 2017

    We used Maps.Me quite a bit during our rtw trip too and we loved it. I find it hilarious that he carries around a toastie machine.

  • tracy collins
    Posted February 17, 2017

    Sounds like you are having an amazing time! Will check out that app – moving to Australia so need a good sat nav!

  • jenn | By Land and Sea
    Posted February 17, 2017

    These interviews are always so fun to read. I love how they have you a closer look into each traveler’s life! Some really good tips in here too! This was a great read!

  • Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)
    Posted February 17, 2017

    Great interview and I love the idea of having the toastie machine along with his must have gadgets. I will have to download that maps.me app and check it out. My fav is that it can be used offline. He is the ultimate traveler that goes where he wants with no plans. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Alissa
    Posted February 17, 2017

    I also like to plan minimally. It’s really liberating to know that if you like a place, that you can stick around, and if you arrive to a city and it’s not doing it for you, that you can get out of there! Nice interview!! Enjoy travels~

  • Siddharth and Shruti
    Posted February 17, 2017

    We’ve heard some great stuff about Arak Hostel as well. Toastie maker sounds like fun and a great way to save money! 🙂

  • Erin Southerland
    Posted February 17, 2017

    I love Barcelona too! It’s still such a mystery to me because I’ve only been on two short trips, but something about it is just so wonderful. I can’t wait to return.

  • Raymond Carroll
    Posted February 17, 2017

    Sounds like an excellent trip! Unplanned trips are the best. Australia and New Zealand are high up in my bucket list! Good luck and safe travels!

  • Annalise
    Posted February 17, 2017

    A toasie maker!! Amazing! I’m currently travelling South East Asia and there are lots of good tips on here, thank you! Happy travels! X

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