For our People of the World Series, we are thrilled to introduce the newest member of our Adventure Review Team (oh yeah!), our good friend, and all around ace person, Jon Miller. We recruited Jon because not only is he well traveled and an awesome writer, he’s also pretty funny too! Of course, being funny isn’t the ONLY thing you need to be an adventure junkie. Read on to find out more about his travels and misadventures.
PREVIOUS INTERVIEW: Meet the Unusual Traveler who has Traveled to 97 countries by the age of 27
- When and how did you get into traveling? Do you think your travel style has changed since your first trip?
- What is the craziest travel experience that you have gone through? Have you ever been scared for your life?
- What does adventure mean to you?
- Can you tell us about an unforgettable travel moment?
- How has traveling changed your life?
- Have you been to a destination which turned out completely different from how you imagined it to be?
- How do you fund your travels?
- Lastly, what makes you awesome enough to be a part of the adventure review team?
When and how did you get into traveling? Do you think your travel style has changed since your first trip?
I didn’t begin traveling until I was 25. I didn’t have much of an interest in it before that, but my friend Dave was going to Australia and New Zealand so I thought I might as well join him. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. Even though that wasn’t exactly a challenging trip, I just loved the sense of freedom of being away for so long and literally doing whatever I wanted each and every day. I’ve been on four ‘big’ trips in total now and I do think my style of travel has changed with each one. I feel like my attitude towards them has changed as well. Now, I desire more challenging and adventurous things as time goes by. What hasn’t changed though is that never-ending curiosity to explore, that every traveler wants from every trip. I hope that never goes away.
What is the craziest travel experience that you have gone through? Have you ever been scared for your life?
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve thought ‘I may actually die here, I’m fairly reckless sometimes and have gotten myself into some fairly dodgy situations. I think the scariest has to be in Colombia though. I was stopped down a dark alley by a police officer who was trying to find drugs on me. I didn’t have anything but in an effort to get me to hand them over, or maybe bribe me, he pulled out a knife and threatened to cut me across my chest! In those situations, it’s normally the police you turn to for help, but when they’re the ones attacking you there’s not a lot you can do.
What does adventure mean to you?
To me, adventure is any foray into the unknown. Your whole trip can be an adventure, you’re throwing yourself into an unknown situation, in an unknown place with people you’ve never met before. For me, that’s equally exciting and terrifying, two feelings that are sure to get the adrenaline pumping. Any time I feel my heart race increase, I feel a sense of adventure. Some of the most satisfying trips I’ve taken recently have involved discarding my guidebook and opting for more a spontaneous approach. Waking up each morning and having no idea what the day will bring, knowing I’ll probably discover at least one new thing, gives me a huge sense of adventure.
Can you tell us about an unforgettable travel moment?
Earlier this year I took part in an event called ‘The Rickshaw Run. This involved driving a motorized tuk-tuk from the top of India to the bottom, to raise money for charity. It’s without doubt, the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. To be able to see a country, and a country as insanely beautiful as India, in this way was truly unforgettable. When you get out there, you visit people and places you would never otherwise encounter. You also get to visit towns that have never had Western visitors and they are so happy to see you and so welcoming too. It was also the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done, driving a tiny little tin can 4000 km on some of the world’s most dangerous roads really takes you out of your comfort zone!
How has traveling changed your life?
Well, it’s been a lot more fun than it was before! I don’t know if it’s changed me really, as we grow every day regardless of where we are or what we’re doing. It makes me smile to look back on everything I’ve done, and I get excited about possible future trips, so it’s definitely made me a much more positive person. I think travel, on the whole, opens people up to the world, to break down the barriers that can exist between people and cultures. I’ve met some amazing people along the way, people who inspire you, and people who make you appreciate your place in the universe. I’m certainly more grateful for what I have now. It has changed me physically though! I have a lot more scars than I used to!
Have you been to a destination which turned out completely different from how you imagined it to be?
I don’t think I’ve been anywhere that was how I imagined it to be! Every new place has a way of surprising me. I find it’s best to go somewhere with few preconceived notions. Have you ever been to the cinema and just walked into a movie with no idea what its about? No idea of the genre, or the stars, or the storyline…its a really good way to watch movies…and it’s a great attitude to bring towards travel too! BURN YOUR GUIDE BOOKS! Well don’t…they’re pretty useful, but don’t read up too much on a place as there is no thrill quite like the thrill of discovery.
How do you fund your travels?
I’ve been working as a graphic designer for 12 years now. I think if you do anything for that long, you’ll probably get good enough at it to earn a half decent wage. I’m a good saver too, I don’t spend much on clothes, if you’ve ever met me you’ll realize that. So I kind of just working long enough to save enough for a decent trip and then I go. People say I’m ‘lucky’ to be able to afford this. Well I work hard, I work long hours and I make sacrifices, and that’s choice-not luck. The only luck is that I was lucky enough to be brought up into a world where these opportunities were available to me, not everyone has that privilege. If you want to travel you can find a way to make it happen.
Lastly, what makes you awesome enough to be a part of the adventure review team?
I’m just generally awesome really, and very very good looking. Just kidding, I guess I’ve just ‘been there, done that in a lot of places, so I have the experience to help others out and give them a few tips on how to get the best out of their own adventures. Also, if I’m still alive after some of the scraps I’ve been in, then that should be encouraging enough to anyone who’s a little afraid to try some of these things!