Twipper of the Week: Nathan Allen from I Dreamed Of This.

Current city: Singapore

Age: 37

Total countries visited: 14 and that’s probably not a lot for a “hardcore traveller” like me, but you need to consider that I usually stay in each country anywhere from 1 month to 1 year. Not “long-term travel”, but I like to think of it as “short-term living” (immersion) in other countries instead. I suppose I should speed things up if I want see the world.

What makes you interesting: Cliche these days, but I went on vacation, and never came back. Six years and counting! I also try hard to learn the local languages wherever I go.

What brands do you love: I don’t care much about brands, but with my limited income, the very few possessions I have need to be of exceptional quality and functionality. Apple products may be expensive and pretentious, but my Macbook Air is low maintenance, lightweight, and uber-reliable. For many years, it has survived bumpy plane/bus rides and plenty of muddy trails during tropical storms. It’s worth the price. I have recently been turned on to Pacsafe products as well. To be honest, at first I saw their anti-theft features as a gimmick (and an expensive one at that). However, my opinion has changed. Now I can leave my heavy pack locked up in my guest house and relieve 95% of worry about theft. Seems like a no-brainer, but I guess I just needed to apply it in real life to experience the “peace of mind” firsthand.

How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I used to be a bit of a germaphobe, but my enthusiasm for places like India and Cambodia forced me out of my comfort zone pretty quickly. Also cliche, but super true: Travel has also taught me to see things from other perspectives…to think well beyond my gender, age, race, and nationality. If you don’t remain open, you won’t last long out in the world.

If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: If it has to be a piece of gear I currently travel with, I’d say my ultralight nylon hammock. It has proven to be way more useful than I ever imagined it would be (using it to relax in is just one of many uses)! Otherwise, the sensible answer for a survival situation would be a device to turn salt water into drinking water, right? 

What’s your Travanality: Wow, interesting. I’d say I’m a strong mixture of them, in this order: 1. Purist  2. Culturist  3. Maverick  4. Altruist  5. Urbanite

Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: I would say a Swedish man in Moalboal, Philippines. His name is George Larsonn. What struck me about him was his openness and positive, youthful energy, especially considering that he might be 25 years older than me! He just got married in Vietnam, and his FB page is full of smiles and international adventures. He seems to have never lost that childlike sense of wonder, and I hope I never do, either.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: That the world is not such a scary place at all. The media makes a lot of money keeping our attention with toxic and negative headlines, and unfortunately leaves out most of the positive and uplifting things happening. This severely skews our perception of the world.  Turning off the news and cleaning up our social media feeds can make a big difference…but so can simply going out into the world and seeing the good of humanity for ourselves.

Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Vietnamese villages in 2010. English doesn’t get you far there, and that was a challenge I was happy to accept.

Next travel destination: Japan (I hope!)