recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
Quit job and backpacked around the world for a year with under 4K. AMA.

This was back in 2013, finally getting around to sharing the knowledge and experiences I gained with others. I experienced many things. Good, bad, and ugly. I've also started sharing on my new Twitch account, so feel free to tune in: https://www.twitch.tv/llcoolshae.

**Stream OFFLINE: follow to be notified when I do my next live AMA**

I look forward to helping in any way that I can. Ask me anything!

EDIT: If I'm online, Twitch is the quickest way to have your questions answered. Follow and hop on during a scheduled time and ask away. That said, I will do my best to keep up on reddit. Website coming soon!

Proof it's me:

[Imgur](https://i.imgur.com/43KPX9Q.jpg)

[Imgur](https://i.imgur.com/GL4NTXZ.jpg)

https://www.instagram.com/shaesteel/

https://twitter.com/llcoolshae

https://www.facebook.com/NomadProblems/


30
questions
39
score
February 12th 2020
interview date
A1burt

You travelled light, but how light? Toiletries, towel etc. what all was on your person at any given time?


LLCOOLSHAE

I'm in the middle of actually putting together a list of gear I bought for those that are interested.

I had a 40L backpack full of my necessities. Everything was wool or poly, so low odour and quick drying. Toiletries were the basics: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and cheap cologne because there were many days I couldn't do more than sink shower :(

The towel was a microfibre pack towel, could fit it in my pocket.

When I was camping I built a methylated spirit stove. I'd see if I can find a picture for y'all. I really only had one pair of each type of clothing. I'd wash and wear constantly. I only had hiking boots and flip flops.

Surprisingly I was able to maintain a satisfactory level of hygiene.

It was a freeing experience to know I could survive with so little.

https://imgur.com/a/fI6bIq4

Rangeman123

What was your job that you quit?

Ever felt in danger throughout your journey?

What did you carry in your back pack?


LLCOOLSHAE

I was a Clinical Exercise Physiologist.

I most certainly have felt in danger:

I got "kidnapped". I use the term lightly because they really weren't sure how to go about stealing my money and they had a balcony I was able to jump from. I wasn't guarded either. So not sure what exactly was happening tbh.

I almost fell off a cliff. Almost drowned.

I spent nights on the streets (intentionally) and know first hand what it feels like to be looked at like scum. It was the most humbling experience of my life.

See above for my pack, if you'd like a list of my gear I'll post one here soon!

https://imgur.com/a/fI6bIq4

eveningsand

Did you have to replace much of anything you started out with? E.g. you said you'd brought flip flops; those will blow out when you least expect it.


LLCOOLSHAE

The silliest thing I brought was a portable clothes washer that broke after it's second use. It did absolutely nothing but take up space in my bag till I was able to go home over a year later and return it. Yes, I held on to it because I wanted my money back.

My flops were actually amazing. They even survived as a chew toy for 2 awsome dogs I babysat. I wore my hiking boots the majority of the time and they wore out completely by the end of my travels. The other kit that didn't make it was a cheap camping mattress that sprung a leak. My backpack wore out a bit and had some holes but I went with Osprey (as you all should) and spent on shipping for a brand new bag. My stoves broke, but all I needed was another can of beans and I was then able to build a new one.

BololoHaHaBololoHaHa

Could you tell us more about the kidnapping situation?


LLCOOLSHAE

I'm going to tell this story on my Twitch account because I'd be writing an essay to tell it properly and in detail.

Long story short, I trusted the wrong person who then got me in a car with his cab driver friend...as soon as I got in two other guys got in on either side. Drove me down these dark alleys like it the movies (it was approx midnight)...no idea where I was. They made me pay an outrageous amount for the cab. Then took me to a 2 story shack essentially. Then there were more people around me in a room...asked me to "buy" everything in the room...I said "no, don't want it, don't have the money"...they said give us your wallet. I started getting mad and accepted this was the end and was going down with a fight and said "no, you'll have to take it from me". They bickered in Arabic. Then sent me to a room. Closed door and bickered outside of door. Hours went by, it went quiet outside the door. I noticed a balcony, the door was open. I jumped. There was enough light to make out the shoreline. Ran towards it. Got in a cab towards train. Got on the train, and reflected in awe.

Goon_Bug

What was the reason?


LLCOOLSHAE

Hey Goon_Bug 1,

I quit my job and chose to travel because I literally felt like a hamster on a wheel and it was the most depressing experience of my life. I felt like I was being squeezed into this mold of who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do. I reached a breaking point one day and handed in my notice the next day. I saved about 9k working, I wanted to challenge myself during my travels so I spent about 6k on fitness equipment. My plan was when I eventually made it back home I'd start a business as an Exercise Physiologist.

NearbyComfort

If you could go back in time to before you started with the knowledge you have now, in what ways would you pack and prepare differently?


LLCOOLSHAE

I wouldn't pack differently because I think packing any less would be unhealthy and unsanitary. However, I would def ditch the portable clothes washer.

In terms of prep, I would definitely have an idea of what you plan on doing and prepare to have that conversation with the security at the airport...this was my very first time travelling and I had no idea what to do, or what I was doing. So when they asked me where I was going and what I planned on doing, how long etc...I shrugged and said "no clue, wherever the wind takes me". This didn't go well. I was soooo close to being sent on a flight back to Canada. Adventure almost ended before it even started.

runrowrepeatt

How did you afford living flights food?


LLCOOLSHAE

For accommodation, I wouldn't spend more than $15-20 CAD max on hostels. If I was in the wilderness I would camp. If neither option was feasible I would sleep on the streets- this was the most humbling experience of my life. Oh and I met many AMAZING people along the way that hosted me and I did something called WWOOF'ing that offered free accommodation for work.

Flights, well I took very few. The ones within Europe were dirt cheap (i.e. Ryanair), I didn't have checked luggage. If I couldn't find cheap flights I'd take cheap sketchy buses (longest was 30+ hours) or I'd hitchhike.

Food, well I barely ate. When I did eat it was a meal of discount cookies or sandwiches. I was 180lbs of muscle @ 3% BF before my trip. Came home at 150lb @ about 12% BF.

Ihanygn821

Have you ever visited iran? If so how was the experience?


LLCOOLSHAE

I never made it that way, unfortunately.

TheBigGrizzly

What is your favorite and least favorite place that you have visited?


LLCOOLSHAE

That's honestly the hardest question for me to answer. If I had to choose a favorite I would have to say New Zealand. In terms of travel, it had so many beautiful landscapes to take in- and they were all so different. Hitchhiking was also a breeze there.

I can't really say I have a least favorite. They all brought something unique to my adventure.

TerryBlacksBBQ

What kept you going when you felt like giving up?


LLCOOLSHAE

I honestly can't say I ever felt like giving up, it's not my nature.

That said, there were certainly difficult times where I wondered..."what the f$#% am I doing?". However, it was the small victories that kept me going. Always pushing the boundaries and seeing what was on the other side of my comfort zone. This is what made it all worth it. That and human love/kindness. I met so many beautiful souls. People that took me in and treated me as their own.

Milhent

I am at work and can't look up more about you right now, but I'll definitely will. So my question is about something I can find on your accounts most likely.

But anyway, what does "around the world" means in your case? Which countries, at least major ones, did you visit? And which ones of them stand out in your memories for any reasons?


LLCOOLSHAE

I love the questions on hear, I'm glad I started this thread.

Around the world meant that I would literally travel around the entire globe. I started in Canada and traveled east until I made it back to Canada. My last two stops were New Zealand and Hawaii.

The major countries I've visited are Scotland, England, Spain, Portugal, Morroco, France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Estonia...theres def more but that's all that comes to mind right now. New Zealand will always have a special place in my heart...I actually landed there with almost no money in the bank...shh, don't tell anyone. I worked there long enough to buy my ticket home. New Zealand stood out because it was easy to camp, so I didn't waste much on accommodation, and the places I was able to camp were spectacular. I'll post more on my IG/FB soon.

oodledoodles22

What did you do when you returned? Did you have money left over? I guess what I’m asking is how did you get back up on your feet once you got back “home” if you had one? I have thought about doing something similar frequently but once I think of that aspect I start to panic.


LLCOOLSHAE

Prior to leaving I spent 5-6k on fitness equipment. I knew when I returned I was going to run a business out of my families basement. I had the luxury of having a home to come back to after my travels. For those that don't I highly recommend having a plan B if shit hits the fan. Always leave enough for yourself to get back on your feet unless you are free of financial commitments and can find work abroad.

No need to panic friend, just have a plan in place. This will help you rest at ease and know you're prepared for whatever comes at you.

dividendman99

Yeah! that is basically what I did although I always end up living somewhere instead. For example brasil for 2 years and Thailand for 6 years. What was your favorite country and why? I have been so many places, and I still fall back on the two countries I lived in as the best despite the crime due to the fact of how amazing the people are.


LLCOOLSHAE

Amazing man! I feel the same way, because I spent the most time living in NZ, I may be partial to it. That said, it was hard not to love it. The scenery was hands down the best (for a nature/adventure lover). The people were friendly, and hitchhiking/camping was a breeze.

What was your experience in Brazil like? That's on my list. Where in Thailand was there a lot of crime?

Norgeroff

My brother did the same thing a few years ago! Anyways. What color is your toothbrush?


LLCOOLSHAE

That's awesome! Did he have the time of his life? My toothbrush back then? Not a clue. Right now it's blue, orange, and white!

KoogLarousse

Did you had any money left after you spent the 4K? I would be worried to spend all that money and then comeback, unemployed, without anything.


LLCOOLSHAE

I didn't have a dime. I was only able to afford my flight home because I had travel points saved up on my Visa. It was definitely a scary feeling, and if I didn't have a home to come back to I wouldn't have let myself get that broke. That said, when you have a will to accomplish something, it gets done with equal effort. I was able to get that business up and running and eventually save enough to put towards a condo.

coryrenton

Which countries, routes would you say would be the least stressful in your experience?


LLCOOLSHAE

Definitely not Morocco lol.

I'd have to say the least stressful was New Zealand. Hitchhiking was a breeze, the people were wonderful, and the scenery was peace-inducing.

LastManOnEarth3

Hey man, I’m a college student that hates life and everything in it. I feel like I’m in a rat race all the time, everything feels awful. I get terrible grades not because I can’t but because I just don’t have the motivation anymore. I need an out. What’re the requirements to do something similar to what you’ve done? I have the skills (ultralight backpacker) I just have some qualms about how to go about getting the funds. Any help would be appreciated.


LLCOOLSHAE

Hey brother! First of all, you're not alone and it will get better. However, you need to make it better for yourself. Take the time to travel and figure out what it is that is going to re-ignite that spark.

How close are you to finishing your degree? I'd recommend finishing it and working for at least 10-12 months to save enough money to fund the trip. That will also give you the time to look for cheap flights. I recommend getting a travel Visa and start using it for everything! Just make sure you pay it off immediately. Doing this helped me afford my ticket home. Apply for a work visa somewhere you'd like to stay for a while. I did this after I made it across the world in NZ. Work was still work and it sucked, but being somewhere new and exciting made it much more palatable.

As an UL backpacker do you already have most of your gear? That's a huge advantage.

Odolinsky

Did you make love? Which country had the most beautiful women?


LLCOOLSHAE

I did make love, and it was great. However, this was early in my travels. The more impoverished I became, the less I wanted to be intimate with anyone. I then focused more on growing spiritually and from within- rather than finding pleasures externally. When I came home dating was a shit show but that's a story for another time.

I found women in all countries very beautiful, however, at the time I was partial to Scandanavian women.

shaunnnnn

Why did you choose to quit your job?


LLCOOLSHAE

Hey shaunnnnn,

I quit my job because I literally felt like a hamster on a wheel and it was the most depressing experience of my life. I felt like I was being squeezed into this mold of who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do. I reached a breaking point one day and handed in my notice the next day. I saved about 9k working, I wanted to challenge myself during my travels so I spent about 6k on fitness equipment. My plan was when I eventually made it back home I'd start a business as an Exercise Physiologist.

WizardessUnishi

What is your favorite food?


LLCOOLSHAE

I love Thai and Sri Lankan cuisine. Never gets old!

WizardessUnishi

What is your favorite country?


LLCOOLSHAE

Probably New Zealand!

jondrettes

how did you deal with the language barrier?


LLCOOLSHAE

I had enough knowledge of certain languages to get by. However, places like Ukraine that used cryllic were very difficult. People also weren't the friendliest towards me so those that did speak English weren't helpful.

celtic16

Do you support capitalism?


LLCOOLSHAE

It depends on the state governing the people. If I was ruled by a tyrant and was powerless because of rules they imposed, I would look towards the power money could provide to free myself and others of said tyrant.

LittleDipperArt

I'm glad you had fun! We are living in Africa for the year and plan on doing something similar on the way back. Who were some of the interesting people that you met? How has readjusting back to Canadian life been?


LLCOOLSHAE

Amazing! What part?

I met so many interesting people. From the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka...the list goes on.

I linked an image of a small thing that to me was really special. These are the types of things people do when you open yourself up to their kindness.

To be honest, readjusting was tough. Still is, I have a hard time being in one place with all sorts of commitments now. That said I still find time to travel even for short bouts. It also took some getting used to the fact that everyone had progressed in their careers and had established themselves while I was struggling to "make something of myself" in societal terms. No career, no wife, no kids etc. I had to keep reminding myself this is why I left and not something good or bad, it's just not me and I can't equate my worth to those things.

https://imgur.com/MMxm0mk

Wonderise

What was after you adventure? You back to your job, or found another one? How often you called your family, how did they react while you was on the road?


LLCOOLSHAE

After my travels, I started up a business as an Exercise Physiologist. I've also since started multiple other careers.

My poor family and friends never heard from me. The most I'd communicate was over social media- whenever I'd post pictures of my travels.

mitch604

Hey man, where in Canada are you from? Greetings from Vancouver! 🍁

Which place would you say you had the best hospitality and which place the worst?


LLCOOLSHAE

Hey mitch604! I'm thinking of moving out west in the near future. Squamish specifically. I'm currently in Toronto!

Worst hospitality would def be Morocco since I was basically kidnapped lol.

Best was Denmark, Netherlands, and the other Scandinavian countries. I made a friend from Denmark when I was in Portugal. He invited me to stay with his family and they cared for me as one of their own. His mother even cried when I left, it was pretty emotional. You develop bonds in a surreal way when you travel solo. I needed that at the time. I needed to see the good in humanity. I was previously recovering from TBI after being jumped in Montreal and having my head soccer kicked in by a couple of guys. So my mental health was hurting and so was my trust in people.

Travel was the greatest remedy for that.

randomhuman_23

How did u get from place to place with little money? Where u able to earn more while away?


LLCOOLSHAE

I traveled very minimally and frugally. No touristy things, walked everywhere I could, slept on streets, ate sparingly etc. By the time I made it across the world to NZ, I had to work to fund my trip back to Canada.

Rexiepexie1010

How did you make money? So you can keep traveling .


LLCOOLSHAE

By the time I made it across the world to New Zealand I was able to find a job bartending. This job helped fund my trip back to Canada.

Before that, I did whatever I could to make my dollars stretch. For example, I ate a meal a day (usually rice, cookies, or crackers), I slept on streets, hitchhiked or walked everywhere etc.

discountErasmus

How much did your pack weigh, on average?


LLCOOLSHAE

On average I'd say about 40lbs. It was always under the limit for flights, but sometimes not by much.

reddit11224

Do you regret not quitting sooner?


LLCOOLSHAE

Actually the opposite, sometimes I wish I had stayed for longer. I felt my family needed me so I went back to ensure all was well. My brother was graduating at the time and I wanted to be there to support him.

I almost ended up staying at a monastery and becoming a monk. My attachment to family made me postpone this.

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