This week we catch up with Norbert Figueroa, who left behind his life as an architect to travel the world in 2011 and never looked back. He’s currently using his XCom Global mobile hotspot to raise money for charity organizations in an epic adventure across the desert for the Mongol Rally. Let’s find out more about his travels are going so far in the first of our two part interview.
– Can you please introduce yourself and tell us more about your blog, GloboTreks?
Sure! I’m Norbert Figueroa, an architect by profession and a traveler by passion. I run the site globotreks.com, where I write about my experiences from my current round the world trip, as well as tips and other information about various destinations I’ve visited. It’s also my platform to inspire people to travel the world by showing them how accessible it can be when you have the desire to do it and know how to plan it.
– As a travel writer, you seem to have the ideal life – traveling constantly, exploring the world, and no worries about a mortgage! What advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Well, to be really honest, when I left New York to travel the world I still had a bit of debt and I do have student loans that I still pay on a monthly basis. Yes, I would say that this could feel like the ideal life, but it was carefully planned to the point where I knew I could manage to live on the road and be responsible, both economically and professionally. In the year that preceded the trip I worked hard to pay off most my debt by cutting most, if not all, of my unnecessary costs, and spent time learning about budget travel and travel hacking.
At the moment I’m making a living out of the blog, but it is not necessary to have a blog to have a life of travel if you have a skill you can offer people while on the road, or if you’re good at writing, you can share you experience with various online publications and freelance.
The key of this lifestyle is to be flexible and creative.
– Can you share some of your tips on budget travel and travel hacking?
For me, budget travel is all about extending your possibilities to travel farther and for a longer time. I often use hostels and Couchsurfing instead of going to a nice hotel. I love to use public transportation and eat at local restaurants or street food. These often provide the best experiences and the best food! I personally establish a budget of $40 to $50 a day. Sometimes it is more than enough to do everything I’m interested in doing, sometimes it isn’t, depending on the country.
Regarding Travel Hacking, for example, a good way to find cheaper international flights is by separating international flights from domestic ones (for example, if you fly from Milan to London to New York to Chicaco, search the flights from Milan to London to New York as a multi-city package, and the New York to Chicago as a separate one way). For some reason, it tends to be cheaper when you separate them (since you have broader selection for budget domestic flights) than when you combine them all. Doing this trick, I managed to book flights from Milan to Puerto Rico to New York to Miami to Brasilia to London for just $1,500, versus the $3,400 it would have cost if I searched all legs together.
Read part two of Norbert’s interview here!