I recently read an article that told me that—if I was cunning—I could turn 17 days of annual leave into 42 blissful days of holiday this year. It detailed the exact dates I would need to take off and even provided calendar graphics just in case I couldn’t read. With such an enticing incentive, you’d think I’d be writing this from Tahiti. And yet, after reading the article over a month ago I still haven’t booked a holiday.
But apparently, I’m not the only one. A study done by Expedia found that people like me are actually the majority. According to the Vacation Deprivation Report (have you ever heard a sadder sentiment?), last year Australian’s were given 20 days annual leave but only took 15. We also ranked third in the world for going a full year without a holiday.
But we’re not the only workaholics. Americans were given 15 and only took 12 and Asian countries tended to have the most unused. Europeans, on the other hand, took them all.
Unlike the rest of us Aussies, Tyson Mayr, aka The Naked Traveller, grew some balls and booked his trip. But instead of 20 days, he took off for six years, and now—according to most—he has the best job in the world.
As a real life nomad—I think they call it travel blogger—Mayr has visited over 80 countries. We sat down with him to discover his favourite destinations, what it’s like living without routine and where to go when you can’t afford to go anywhere. Read on to find out what it was like to swap the briefcase for the backpack.
Meet The Naked Traveller, Tyson Mayr
What made you decide to quit your job & go travelling?
It might be hard to believe, however, I used to spend every day in a suit & tie, tucked away in an office cubicle. When I was 22, I was working in commercial property and I was offered a promotion which my friends at the time said I would be crazy to turn down. I remember looking around my office and seeing a flash-forward of what my life would be in 10 years. Nice house, nice car, but that was it.
I had never been on a plane before and growing up I was always a curious kid, who felt like there was a big world out there to explore. So I turned down my job offer, sold everything I owned and bought a one-way ticket overseas with no real plan. I had no date of when I would finish travelling, just a hunger to experience as much of the world as possible. I guess you could say I still have that hunger.
What are your top 3 must-visit locations of all time?
Having been to over 80 countries now, I can honestly say there is not a country I have not enjoyed for its own unique reason. However, if I had to choose my top three, I would say:
- South Africa
Both Brazil & South Africa are the only two countries I have visited where I felt like I could have been born there. There is an energy and soul which exists within these countries that you have to experience. Whether it’s the beautiful beaches and nature you can find, or the welcoming locals, both countries are rich in diversity and seem to offer every type of experience you can imagine. Uganda would be my third, simply because of the impact it has had on me.
Uganda would be my third, simply because of the impact it has had on me. I visited Uganda for the first time four years ago to help in providing clean water & during that time I spent a lot of time working with different orphanages. To spend time with children who have next to nothing & see how pure & happy they are, really changes who you are as a person & reinforces what is really important in life. I’m actually going back to Uganda this week, where I am visiting the children once more & setting up a foundation where I can take future volunteers with me later this year.
How about for 2017? Any secret hotspots for this year?
While I have never been, I have a sneaking feeling that Sri Lanka is going to be the next big thing for people to visit! Elephants on the beach, white sandy beaches, exotic food. I will be visiting there in June so I am excited to finally check it out. Beyond that, destinations I plan on also visiting are Iceland and Nepal.
How have your experiences shaped your perspective on life?
The more you travel, the more you see how vast and diverse this world is. Not just the countryside, but the people who inhabit this world and make it what it is. The more I travel, the more I realise what is really important in life. Society lumps a lot of pressure on us from a young age and it leaves many of us just following the norm, without ever knowing what we really want to do. Travel isn’t just about amazing, fun times away, it is self-discovery. It puts us in situations we might not expect and in these situations, we learn who we really are and hopefully what we really want.
What is one experience in particular that has made you thankful for your decision to change your path?
Every single day I wake up and do what I love. I work hard, but it never, ever feels like work, because it is always doing something I am passionate about. These passions will always continue to change, I feel that is natural, however, me taking the decision to step away from the job everyone expected me to do and taking off to see the world, opened me up to multiple experiences which helped define who I am and what I am doing now. There is not one specific moment, rather a collective journey of experiences that continued to open my mind.
What are your tips for people who want to travel but feel they can’t afford it?
If there is a will there is a way! There is a common misconception that international travel has to be expensive. We live in the information age where access to information has never been more available. Spending time to research a destination you are interested in will open up a number of ways in which you can save money (e.g. best time of year to visit, cheapest transport options between cities, cheap locations to eat). There are blogs dedicated to budget travel in all of your favourite cities. Resources such as Couchsurfing & other mobile apps also allow us to now connect with other travellers who can help you to travel cheaper and show you a more local experience. You can also plan ahead and use platforms like Expedia to take advantage of packages and discounts to get the best bang for your buck.
Do you miss having a routine?
Absolutely! I love routine, I always have, however, I also love the spontaneity that travel provides. For me, fitness provides structure to an otherwise unstructured life. No matter what country I am in, what project I am filming, what hours I am working, the workout routines I do each day make sure I have a feeling of completion and help reset my day. I think no matter what you are doing, you can use fitness to add that feeling of routine.
Where have you been that you get the best value for money?
South Africa is one of the best value countries I have visited in a very long time. You can eat out at one of the finest restaurants, with one of the best views and still only pay $10AUD for your meal & drink! Central and South America are also offer great value for money.
In need of a holiday? Try these 7 ways to save for a holiday without even trying.