Mike Dickens, The Awkward Traveller

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Rarejaunt.Com proudly presents Mike Dickens. After notching 37 countries into his belt, Mike shares with us his thoughts on early travel, culinary excursions in Vietnam, and recommendations for those on the road.

Learn more about his journey at www.instagram.com/the.awkward.traveller

My name’s Mike, I’m 29 years old and I love to travel and take photographs. Any opportunity to do either and I’m there! I have been to 37 countries so far and my aim for next year is to visit many more and hopefully get some travel photography work too.

RareJaunt: How old you were you when you first went overseas?

I was less than 3 months old and my parents had booked a ski trip to France, my dad spent the days on the slopes and my mum spent the days looking after my sister and I in the chalet!

RJ: What do you remember about your first travel experience, or what is your first travel memory?

The earliest memory I have of going overseas was a family holiday to Ireland. I must have been about 3 and the only clear memory I have is meeting my cousins there and playing in the sea with an inflatable boat before getting caught in the tide!

RJ: What is something you would never travel without?

My passport! Also there’s a great app called Maps.me which is like Google maps but works offline. It’s an absolute life saver!

RJ: Where is the nicest establishment you have stayed? Why was it special?

When I was 11, my dad sailed around the world for a year. At Christmas my mum, sister and I flew out to the Galapagos Islands to meet him so we could all celebrate together. It is an incredible place and I would love to go back.

RJ: If you could recommend a place to a fellow traveler, where would it be?

I would always recommend Borneo. All of my best experiences travelling have involved wildlife and Emily and I are big David Attenborough fans. Borneo is like stepping into one of his documentaries. Everywhere you look, you see amazing wildlife unique to the island. On a single day we saw wild orangutans, crocodile, proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants. That evening a herd of around 60 elephants decided to spend the night next to the small wooden hut we were sleeping in. It was an amazing/slightly terrifying experience.

RJ: Describe a culinary experience that stands out from a vacation abroad.

We went on a food tour in Hanoi, Vietnam with a local university student. She took us to a restaurant and recommended the papaya salad with bird. We assumed it was chicken, but served in the centre of the dish was literally a whole sparrow – beak and all!

RJ: What is your idea of an enjoyable vacation?

Any vacation that gives me the opportunity to explore and photograph new places.

RJ: Who would be your ideal travel companion?

My girlfriend, Emily. Our longest trip was 9 and a half months and you can count the number of disagreements we had on one hand! It has to be said that when being stuck with me for such a long time, that is an incredible feat!

RJ: What do you miss the most when you are away from home?

Family and British chocolate – You can’t beat a good bar of Dairy Milk!

RJ: What country do you believe to be under-rated? What about overrated?

I’d say Borneo is definitely underrated. People were very surprised when they heard our trip stopped off here. It is less touristy than the rest of South East Asia which made navigating and booking excursions more difficult, but is always worth the extra effort.

RJ: Where is next on your list of places to travel to? Why?

We are hoping to go to the Philippines in summer 2018. We wanted to add it to our last trip, but it would have been too rushed. We also want to visit Morocco and do a road trip around Italy. I think we need to get saving!

Learn more about Mike’s journey at www.instagram.com/the.awkward.traveller and be sure to contact us with your own story so we can promote your cause!