This is the second part of our interview with Norbert Figueroa of GloboTreks. In part 1 we learned a few tips about budget travel and travel hacking. In part 2, Nobert shares with us some of the scarier parts of traveling solo along with some helpful hints to protect yourself during your trip!
– If you ever did decide to stop traveling, where do you think you would settle?
I get that question often, and to be honest I don’t know at the moment. New York is still high on my list, since I love living there, but I’ve also used Milan as a home base for the last year and have other cities like Berlin, London, and Cape Town that have piked my attention in terms of living.
It’s still open, though.
– You are leaving now for your next trip. Exciting! Where are you going, and what are you expecting to do/see?
I just started the Mongol Rally (well, a week ago at the time of writing), where I’m driving from London to Ulanbaataar, Mongolia. It is an extreme adventure! But it is not only an adventure, it is also a way to help various charities. My team, The Drama of Llama is donating the car to raise money for charities in Mongolia, as well as raising money for Set Her Free -a chart that helps restore the lives of girls formerly enslaved in the sex trades in Uganda- and Cool Earth -to help reforest the Amazon.
– What adventures do you have planned for the remainder of 2013, what can we look forward to?
I expect to finish the Mongol Rally in about 6 weeks. From there I will jump to China and then back to Milan for a while. There will still be another adventure by the end of the year, but I’m still in the planning phase. It looks like it might be East Africa again! I loved it the first time!
– Have you had any scary moments or encounters during your travels?
Oh yes! About 4 months ago I was assaulted at knifepoint by four guys in Fez, Morocco. It was the first time in my life I’d ever been in a situation like that, and for better or worse, I didn’t react in the most passive way, which left me with a few bruises and a cut on the head. You can read about it here.
– Now that you are approaching nearly two full years of solo travel, what are some of the most important things you have learned along your journey?
Regarding overall long term travel, have an idea of what you want to do and where you want to go, but don’t plan it fully. You’ll see that in a few weeks you’ll throw that plan through the window and will want to do different things according to what you find along the way. People, places, and experiences will make you want to move through different paths than the planned ones, and that is good! It’s part of the overall experience. So, flexibility is key!
Always use common sense and be cautious when it comes to safety, and always travel with travel insurance. You never know what could happen on the road and it’s better to have it and not use it than to need it and not have it available. I highly recommend worldnomads.com. They cater to backpackers and younger travelers and tend to cover many activities backpackers often find themselves in. They also have excellent customer service when it comes to claims.