From The Foot Of Mount Everest To North Korea On Christmas, Steve Is An Adventure Traveler Who Is Making His Dreams Come True
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

GAFFL
28th Jan | 5 min read

Table of Contents

    In 2017, Steve traveled to North Korea to avoid a disastrous Christmas in China. While crossing tunnels and bridges, Steve was previously informed that the tunnels are packed with bombs to destroy the infrastructure in the event of an invasion, and he was worried and prayed throughout his journey, "I hope that the soldiers inside their little booths don't have itchy trigger fingers!"

    Steve is 40 and a full-time traveler and digital nomad from England. After a career in business, he left everything he had behind to teach English in China where he stayed for six years until the pandemic. Now, he works as a freelance writer and blogger. 

    You can learn more about Steve's adventures by checking out his Website, Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram.

    The Trip Goes On

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    My Motivation To Start Traveling

    I have always had a fascination with the world, and especially different landscapes which inspired me to start traveling. Travel writers like Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, and Dervla Murphy also helped nurture my interest.

    The Trip Goes On

    My Process For Choosing Where To Go Next

    I’m interested in seeing new horizons, so usually just choose places that I haven’t yet visited and are reachable by land and sea (I try and avoid flying at all costs). Places that hold an interest be it geographically, politically, or culturally are always high on my list.

    I’ve just returned from a week in Erbil, Iraq, inspired in part by my grandfather’s journey overland from London to Baghdad in the 1950s.

    Worth reading:  These Two Educators Make The Most Of Their School Breaks By Traveling And Doing Extensive Hikes Domestically & Internationally


    Duration Of My Trips

    My trips can be anything from a few days to a few months. Recently, I spent three weeks visiting every microstate/principality in Europe.

    When I lived in China I used to take two months off each year to travel back to England overland and explore Central Asia and other places along the way.

    Meet & Travel With Locals

    I have spent the last month or so living with a Kurdish family in eastern Turkey (through Airbnb). The hospitality has been incredible and I’ve really had the opportunity to explore the region as a local.


    Countries I Have Traveled To So Far

    I’ve just returned from Iraq which was my 61st country (or thereabouts as I include some “unrecognized” countries such as Transnistria).


    Unique Adventures Abroad 

    I’ve visited North Korea twice (in 2016 and 2018). Walking around Pyongyang on Christmas Day with a Santa hat on was a pretty unique experience. I spent the night in the village of Chernobyl and camped next to the Darvaza “Door to Hell” gas crater in Turkmenistan (a very strange country).

    I’ve also slept at the foot of Mount Everest, which along with visiting Chernobyl was a lifelong dream come true.


    Inspiration For Starting My Blog

    I created my blog when I was living in China to keep friends and family in England updated on what I was doing and it grew from there. Now I mainly write to help other people traveling without flying and searching for true off-the-beaten-path destinations.


    Budgeting Strategies I Use When I Travel

    Budgeting is one of the hardest things about travel. The old adage that you should halve the number of clothes you pack and double the money you take is 100% accurate!
    I use a combination of hostels, hotels, and more recently Airbnb to save on expenses.

    Airbnb is great for long-term travel as if you book a place for a month you can save up to 70%. I spent September in Croatia, October in Macedonia, and the last month in Turkey this way.

    Worth reading:  This Ex-Teacher Is Loving Her New Career As A Full-Time Traveler & Digital Nomad

    How I Balance Work & Travel

    Finding the work/travel balance is something I’m still getting to grips with. I try to allow at least three days per week for my freelance work and one or two for my own blog, but it doesn’t always work out this way.

    Staying put for a month at a time definitely helps as it’s very difficult to work on the road from buses, trains, hostels, and cafes. 

    Worth reading:  These Nomadic Nerds From Norway Left Their IT Jobs To Travel The World Full-Time & Create The World's Best Travel Content

    The Trip Goes On

    Skills All Full-Time Nomads Should Have

    I would say good organizational skills, but mine suck and I still manage to travel full-time. An ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances is very useful.

    Plans can change at the drop of a hat and you need to be ready to work around that.

    Worth reading: After A 15 Year Legal Practice Michelle Quit Her Job To Pursue Her Dream Of Traveling Around The World


    GAFFL In My Words

    GAFFL is a great way to find other people to share the costs of travel. In the past I’ve used Facebook to search for people to split the cost of expensive tours (Turkmenistan is a good example).

    Apps I use when travelling include Maps.ME as it’s offline. I really would be “lost” without it! A good VPN to keep my connection secure and access restricted sites such as Google when in countries that don’t have a free internet.

    The Trip Goes On

    Advice I Can Give

    Just take the plunge. I wish I had started out a lot earlier than I did. It’s a lot easier today to work from anywhere if you have the right skill set. With many workplaces offering remote working now has never been a better time to hit the road.


    Things I Wish I’d Known When I First Started Traveling

    Travel brings new learning experiences every day. I’ve learned to be completely self-reliant through travel, to adapt to changing and sometimes challenging circumstances and to not sweat the small stuff.


    Other thrilling stories you might like!


    Tired of traveling alone? Connect with users from over 190 countries to plan trips and travel together!
    Try GAFFL