Interview – Nomadic Samuel

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I recently caught up with traveller, photographer, videographer, and all round cool dude Mr.Nomadic Samuel aka Samuel Jeffery. He is a Canadian vagabond who has been travelling the world for six years, three of which were spent in Korea. With 26 countries travelled so far, his plan is to keep up the nomadic lifestyle and travel for many more years.

Samuel is a self-proclaimed jack of all trades and a man who wears many hats. Nomadic Samuel has been featured in the top 100 travel blogs and for good reason. He and his girlfriend Audrey Bergne have made lots videos showcasing cuisine from all around the world and some crazy train rides in India!

When did you decide to start a travel blog and why?

I started my travel blog Nomadic Samuel on July, 2011.  After years of traveling around the world and teaching English in Korea I wanted to share my experiences with a larger audience aside from just friends and family.  I never realized such an extensive travel blogging community existed; as soon as I found out, I decided to create my own site.

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Have you worked as a freelancer online? How did you get started?

I’ve done a little bit of freelance work online, including submitting my photos to online (and offline) magazine publications along with contributing articles.  I’ve also dabbled with stock photography. In most cases, I’ve been contacted directly; however, I’ve also taken a proactive approach and gone after things myself as well.

How has life as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai been?

It’s been fantastic!  I had high expectations prior to moving to Chiang Mai considering some of my closest friends have lived here. Moreover, I knew it was a hot spot for digital nomads.  In terms of rent we have a modern studio that is roughly $10 a day equipped with amenities such as a swimming pool and gym. For food there is an excellent selection of both International and Thai cuisine; moreover, the street food here is legendary and ridiculously affordable.  There is a thriving expat scene and a lot of different activities one can consider both inside and nearby the Chiang Mai greater area. I think Chiang Mai is an excellent base for digital nomads looking to settle for short and long term stays.

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What is your favorite music to listen to when travelling?

I’m currently listening to Queens of the Stone Age.  Music is an important part of my travels.  Often, if I hear a particular song it’ll take me back to a specific place and/or memory I experienced while listening to the song.

Ever had to bribe a cop or border security?

I was ripped of at the Peruvian-Ecuadorian border crossing.  Given territorial disputes between the two nations, there is this gnarly no mans land zone where it’s mostly a contraband market.  Unfortunately, I had to pass through that zone. The taxi drivers I was with demanded I pay up front and then dumped me off in the middle of nowhere. I had to hire several more taxis just to make it to the Ecuadorian Immigration Office.  I think overall the entire ordeal cost close to $100.

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Have you ever ran out of money while traveling?

No, but I came dangerously close on my first backpacking trip. I’ve known a lot of people who have had to make that awkward phone call back home asking for more funds. Luckily, I haven’t ever had to do that.

What country had the strongest effect on your personality and view on life?

India! I’ve never been to a country that’s so diverse. There is hardly a dull moment – whether one is taking a train or just randomly wandering around for the day. I left India feeling like I experienced several years of travel in just two condensed months. I had as many highs and lows as I did on my first backpacking trip all over SE Asia. I definitely felt more mature and street smart after the entire experience.

Did you ever use HelpX, Couchsurfing or Woofer? Good – Bad experiences

I’ve never used any of those services. Most of my travel has been in Asia or South America where I was able to easily pay for a room without breaking the bank. Next year we plan on doing extensive travels in Europe and I’m definitely going to try out couch surfing then.

Do you read business, self help or success books?

I read all of the above. I find self help and success books keep me motivated to try to tap my potential to the max.  Sometimes all it takes is an inspiring story or a new concept/idea to get me out of a motivation or creative rut.

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Has social media had a big effect on your blog traffic?

Yes, it’s certainly helped my site achieve a degree of success. When I first started out I used Facebook, twitter, and stumble upon to drive traffic to my site before Google gave me any kind of love. These days, I’m still constantly trying to grow my social media reach, so that I can reach new viewers.

Ever lost you wallet/passport or had it stolen?

I had my wallet stolen in Buenos Aires, Argentina back in 2010 while I was watching Argentina take on Mexico during a World Cup match being broadcast at the largest park in the city. When Argentina scored a goal I cheered along with the rest of the fans. Several minutes later I tapped the side of my pants and my wallet was gone.

What is next for your travels and in life?

I’m just moments away from boarding a flight from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Macau, China. The next month will be spent exploring China and then I have a food tour and conference to attend in Israel this October. I’m still undecided about how I’ll spend November and December but I’m leaning towards a temporary base in Turkey.

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Samuel Jeffery is the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of Nomadic Samuel cultural travel blog. He’s also the lesser half of Backpacking Travel Blog which he runs with his girlfriend Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. You can connect with Samuel on his YouTube travel channel and on Google+.

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If you would like to watch an Indian train ride then here it is!

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