This man knows how to juggle his balls. Work, Study… and Travel. Too easy… Or is it? Today TraveLinkSites opens a new category of combining Travel Blogging with work and/or study. So who better to talk to first but Sebastian of Off The Path. Ball juggler extraordinaire.
1. Could you briefly introduce yourself and your site?
I’m Sebastian and I’m the contributor behind the adventure travel blog Off The Path where I write about my latest adventures around the world. I love food and I’m one of those people who experience travel through the tastes of the world. I’m also deeply in love with my cameras which accompany me nearly everywhere I go. I’ve been blogging since 2007 but started with my own domain in late 2010 and with Off The Path in June 2011. Next month I have my first blogiversary and a well-known backpack manufacturer was so kind to sponsor a backpack to give away to my loyal readers.
I’m 23 years old and lived in 7 countries, I visited 4 continents and aim to visit Antarctica within the next 5 years.
2. What are you studying and where have you managed to go during your course?
I’m studying International Business and Management Studies in the Netherlands. It’s a four year course and in the mean time I have visited many countries. I’ve been to 32 countries in 4 years. While studying abroad in Bulgaria I visited Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Greece and Turkey. Since most of my courses didn’t record attendance I was able to do part of my studies while traveling. All I needed was a good internet connection to keep in touch with my university every now and then and write the gazillion reports I had to hand in every semester.
3. Do you have a student loan? Or a job? How do you organise and save your finances to do so much travelling?
In the Netherlands I had 4-5 jobs at a time. I had my own consulting business, where I consulted new students during the summer months and 3 other jobs at bars and clubs and was working for my university. I was the marketing manager of a newly opened club in town and an event manager for a popular bar. I was close to a burn out many times but I needed the cash to finance my lifestyle and my travels.
4. What are the biggest obstacles with combining travel and study?
Definitely time… With all the jobs I had I barely had the chance to take time off! The consulting business was very time consuming in the summer months and in the winter the bars demanded my presence. I quickly learned though that even I am replaceable and just took time off whenever I had enough money to go for a quick trip.
5. Tell us about the countries you’ve lived in on your travels? If you could go back to only one, which one would it be and why?
As mentioned before I’ve lived in 7 countries so far. I was born and grew up in Spain, at 13 I moved close to Salzburg where I lived for 4 years. At 16 I went to boarding school in central Germany, followed by a job in marketing and logistics in Brisbane, Australia where I had to leave the country after a year due to an accident in Sydney. After rehab I moved to the Netherlands to study and this brought me to Bulgaria and to Thailand. If I could go back to only one country I would go back to Australia. Australia is going to be something very special for me, I found my first love there, it’s the country where I changed from being a boy to being a man, I learned to be independent, to enjoy life and to not take things for granted all the time. The country changed me and I will always have a special bond to Australia!
6. Tell us about your worst travel experience. How did you overcome it?
Many people would think that my worst travel experience was when my dinner in Sydney went really bad and my drink got spiked, I got robbed and hit by a car in only 3 hours and ended up spending 2 weeks in Hospital. But I never saw it as a bad experience, I learned who really are my friends, I learned to take life a little bit more serious and enjoy it more, and if it wouldn’t be because of this accident I wouldn’t do the things I’m doing today.
It’s really hard to think about a bad experience I had during my travels, I’m a very optimistic person. I guess the travel experience was when I went to Egypt to a 5 star all-inclusive resort…. I hated it sooo much! I need to be on the road and experience the country and indulge myself into delicious local food!
7. Tell us about your most popular post.
My most popular post is a photo essay of the cliffs of moher in Ireland. I visited two friends which I met studying abroad in Bulgaria and spent a long weekend with them. They took me to visit the cliffs and I’ve spent the whole time running around taking thousands of pictures. It’s impressive to stand right at the edge of the cliff. I called the post “one slip and you are gone” cause I thought I would fall down any second while taking some amazing pictures!
8. What do you think the best thing a blogger can do when trying to monetise a blog?
I’m very new to monetizing my blog. I started to monetize it with sponsored posts and I quickly realized that this is a very bad idea. My readers visit off the path because they are interested in my adventures and my opinion about destinations and products which would be relevant to them. All of a sudden I talk about products I have never used or heard about. It diminishes the credibility of your blog! I will have to find a better way on how to make money without losing credibility. I just created a new blog called Worth-a-journey, where I will publish my best pictures and will try to monetize it!
9. Tell us about where you are now. What are you up to?
I am working as a Marketing Consultant for a Marketing & PR agency in Bangkok. We are focusing on Tourism and Leisure brands but also on other industries. I’ve been living here since early this year and been exploring the country on the weekends. It’s a very impressive country with beautiful nature. I was very surprised how open they are towards bloggers, so far I haven’t paid a single cent for accommodation in Thailand. I hope when I start my nomadic life through South East Asia next month that other countries are as supportive as Thailand.
10. What top tips could you give to anyone daunted by studying and travelling?
It’s important that you overcome the biggest obstacle: Time! As a student you normally have a very relaxed life. You have about 15-20 hours a week of lessons and every two months you freak out for one week because of the exams week. But if you combine it with work it quickly can become very time consuming. Good time planning is essential if you want to combine your studies with a lot of traveling.
Most people might think that the money might be the biggest problem but it isn’t. Many countries, especially in Europe offer many incentives for cheap traveling for students. In the Netherlands we received a free train ticket where we could travel all around the country for free if we worked more than 32 hours a month (8 hours a week).
Phew! What a busy man you are Sebastian. Thanks for a great interview!
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