I recently did an interview for a fellow travel blogger that will be up next week on his site Travel Blogger Interviews. It was such fun I got a hold of one of my closest friends and travel buddies to do my own interview.
Kurtis and I grew up with one another and now have travelled to a few places around the world together. He studied and has spent most of his young adult life in Winnipeg, Canada and currently is now studying medicine in the Caribbean. Kurtis started his blog Canadians Living the Dream in 2011 before he left to spend 15 months abroad that consisted of living and working in Australia and backpacking through southeast Asia and Indonesia for a few months. He’s a great writer and was an inspiration to me to begin my own blog. If you want advice about living and working in Aus, the difficulties and pleasures of going to school in paradise or just a weird travel story check out his blog. Without further adieu I give you the man who is friends with everyone from everywhere, has a running style that resembles Bambi on stilts and has a borderline unhealthy obsession with sloths.
Kurtis Carlson (or Blake, which was the name I told girls in Indonesia, Thailand and Australia)
Hmmm….not really sure. Born in Hamilton, Ontario. Raised in Fort Frances, Ontario. Lived in Winnipeg 8 years. Lived abroad as for 2.5 years. Now I live in Anguilla in the Caribbean studying medicine. Soooooo I guess home would be “Canada”
Where in the world are you right now?
Writing this I’m Winnipeg on my “vacation” from school.
What are you currently doing there?
Visiting friends and family, partying, blah blah blah vodka.
What is there to do in terms of travel?
Winnipeg? Ugh. I’m gonna pretend I’m at school in Anguilla and refer to that. Anguilla is
stunningly beautiful, postcard beaches and ocean, friendly people, and the rare delight of
relaxation. No paparazzi so it is a frequent vacation place for celebrities. Just youtube Rick
Ross’ video “Diced Pineapples” and you’ll know what I mean…
So you would recommend to visit?
You’ve been travelling for a while now. What has been one of your favourite experience abroad.
There was a day in Railay Beach, Thailand when I was all alone, waiting for friends to arrive
the next day. I looked around and bliss rushed through my body and I caught myself with the
biggest smile I could imagine all day. I wrote everything I was thinking about down and have
referred back to it years later when I’m having a crummy day. Traveling opens up your mind
and heart and there are certain days where you feel that the natural happiness and sublimity
you experience out powers any substance people use to try and catch that feeling. Pure bliss.
I’ll never forget that day.
Oh, I’ve also jumped off the Darling Harbour bridge, swam in “visibly” shark infested waters,
burnt the skin off my leg falling on a fire skipping rope at a full moon party, jumped out of a
plane, bungee jumped, and made many other questionable decisions…
What first motivated you to travel?
My father passed away and I realized that life is extremely short and I need to cross off bucket list items sooner than later.
Whats your next upcoming trip?
Locked down trying to become a doctor right now so traveling is slightly on hold but on my
next 12-day break in school, I will hopefully be heading to South America to meet up with my
What will you do as a tourist while you’re there?
Usually the only touristy things I do lately is enjoying the scenery and beauty of the country I
am in. I try to stay away from zoos, organized excursions, etc because you aren’t seeing the
country the best way possible (some exceptions with this but you get the point).
As a backpacker I get asked a lot, and I’m sure its the same for you, how do you fund your trips?
I’ve been more than lucky to be employed by Joey Restaurants. I won a competition in 2011
and they funded my flight to Australia. I would not have been able to do any of my traveling if
it wasn’t for the flexibility and convenience that working for them provided for me.
Name the most interesting job you’ve work abroad.
I worked at a bar in Vang Vieng, Laos. My job was pouring whiskey down girl’s throats while
my friend tied a bracelet on them. Worked for free accommodation, food and alcohol. No pay,
but what else would I spend money on? Job lasted 5 days, as we believed our livers were
going into failure.
You once played Power Hour with goon (wine). What was your reasoning behind that?
Why not? It’s hilarious. And the results were amazing. A hostel room with 3 bunks flipped over,
6 people puking, you hit me in the face with a wet mop. Best part was that it was 6pm and we
had plenty of time to get ready for the bar, which surprisingly did not let us in.
Can you pin your worst hangover while travelling?
After a while of drinking every night (every backpacker understands), your hangovers get less
and less severe. This is when you know you should probably take a month or two to a
meditation retreat in Indonesia or go farm in Australia to clean your body out. My worst would
be after a music festival in Brisbane. I think I might have cried the next day. I cried.
What’s the worst meal on the road.The one when you were eating it you realize you’d hit a new low.
On a ferry from mainland in Bali to Gili Trawangan. It was “rice and chicken” and wrapped in
banana leaves. I bought it from what I believe was a homeless man. It was all bone, no meat.
I was sick for two weeks and could barely leave my room for more than an hour.
What is the stupidest thing you have done while travelling? (The thing that made you think to yourself “that was really fucking stupid”)
Jumping off the Darling Harbour bridge (I think like 60ft?) in Sydney. Was 1am so dark and
couldn’t see the water. After swimming 100m to the closest exit out of the water, I was
informed that the water was infested with breeding bull sharks. The next day I went there in
daylight to see the jump and noticed that a few meters to the left of where we jumped, concrete and rebar were sticking out of huge water. That was fucking stupid.
You seem to run in with the law more than most abroad, why is that?
Have you ever been injured whilst travelling?
Jumping into that dirty water in Sydney’s harbour infected my spider bite on my ankle and I
was hospitalized for 3 days, getting an IV 3 times a day and assigned crutches.
The burn on my leg at the full moon party didn’t heal for 3 months.
I also ran into a solid glass door and still believe that it was an undiagnosed concussion.
Lastly, cliff jumping in Australia: forgot to pull my arms to my sides and the impact broke open
my skin in several places.
Have you ever missed a bus, train, plane or boat?
On the dozens, maybe a hundred, flights I’ve been on, I’ve never missed any. I’ve showed up
very intoxicated to a few airports and somehow got through but never missed anything,
boring, I know.
Do you prefer to travel by car, train, plane or boat?
Plane usually because of the efficiency but traveling my car in Laos and northern Thailand
was by far the best way to experience its beauty.
Do you prefer to travel solo, in pairs or group? Why?
Solo when I’m trying to relax and “find myself”. Pairs or small groups the rest of the time but
NEVER big groups. People typically stop trying to meet new people while in groups.
Name one experience while travelling that really took you by surprise in a good way.
Have had so many amazing experiences but all I can say is that when traveling, get out of
your comfort zone and do what you normally would do the opposite. Example would be I had
just met a girl in Laos who was traveling north and experiencing the small villages and culture
of Laos, while my friends were going to koh phi phi to party. I opted to go with her and had
one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Experiences that no money can buy.
Where do you intend or where would you like to settle down and live?
What has travel taught you?
Independence. A new way of thinking about the world. I am much more positive now and I
rarely get stressed out over small things.
The best piece of travel advice you have?
The world is quite large and if you have the chance, get out of your comfort zone and go see
it. Chances are, I’ll probably marry one of the hundreds of people I met traveling. Don’t get
small town syndrome. Don’t get trapped. If you are opting for the career at 18, marriage and
kids….make use of vacation time! It’s never too late.
Qiuck Fire Q’s
3 countries. You have to live in one, eat in one and party in one. GO!
Eat: Costa Rica
Whats the best festival you’ve ever been to?
EDC Las Vegas
What festival would you like to attend most on earth?
EDC Las Vegas…and Tomorrowland in Belgium.
Best and Worst Hostels. Best: Nomads Byron Bay Worst: Cool Bananas in 1770, Australia. Horrible management.
Something you could not travel without.
Computer. For the days where you want to relax and watch a movie. And more importantly, to
write my blog.
The best or most memorable meal you’ve had on the road.
Portugese Chicken burger at Beloporto in Byron Bay, Australia.
Kuta beach, Bali, Indonesia. Surfing sunset every day made me a much happier person.
Byron Bay, Australia.
Town: Byron Bay
The strangest place you’ve slept.
In a blowup dingy in the middle of a lake. No shore in sight.
Do you prefer sand, snow or grassy knoll?
If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would you be?
Byron bay, Australia