(Back From Being) On The Road – Normand Boulanger

NormBNormand Boulanger followed his dream to backpack through six countries in South America.  This was his first trip abroad and he traveled solo (for the most part) from July 16, 2012 to March 1, 2013.  Along the way, Normand shared his thoughts, photos and videos on his blog, Tour Backpacker.  He is back home in Canada, but has now caught the ‘travel bug’ and is inspired to explore the world again, and soon.  Normand granted me an interview and shared some key thoughts about his trip.


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TRAVEL LONG-TERM?

I wanted to do this for a long time and just did not get to it for many reasons.  I thought it would be too complicated.  Then, I met a couple from my region in Canada that had just came back from a 4-year around-the-world trip and that gave me the inspiration that I needed to finally put an “X” on the calendar for a departure date of my own.

 

HOW DID YOU FUND YOUR TRIP?

It took me a little over a year to get the money I needed for my travels.  I sold my belongings, moved in with friends, and did overtime at my job.

 

WHAT WERE YOUR ‘GO-TO’ RESOURCES TO PREPARE FOR EACH DESTINATION?

Most of the time I simply browsed the internet to find information to prepare for a new destination.  Once you are in a specific country you get tips and tricks from other travelers and many will tell you about places you hadn’t even read about.  I would always suggest to read a bit on a country before getting there to know the cultural background of the place.  But mostly, I would say that once you get there, go with the flow it will bring you to some amazing places.  I do recommend carrying a good guidebook to have access to a ton of useful info.

 

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR TRIP?

There are too many highlights to list.  I had one motto the whole time on the trip and it was “Appreciate the Moment”.  I have applied this motto to every place I have been and must say that I have appreciated every moment the fullest that I could.

One highlight per country:

  • Peru :   Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu all together. It’s a wonderful spot.
  • Bolivia :   I would have to choose the “Salar de Uyuni” for the amazing sceneries.
  • Chile :   I loved “Torres del Paine National Park”. Four days of trekking was quite incredible.
  • Argentina :   Such a big country, but my first pick would be the trekking around El Chalten – So many trails to hike.
  • Uruguay :   The beaches of Punta del Diablo were quite beautiful.
  • Paraguay :   I loved the ruins of the Jesuit missions in Jesus and Trinidad. Quite an amazing spot to see (and the least amount of other tourists).

 

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST DAY ON THE ROAD?

Worst day on the road, wow, I can’t really answer that.  I did have a few not so good days, but I am a pretty positive person and try to make the best out of a bad situation.  The only negative thing to happen was having my credit cards stolen in Montevideo on New Years Eve, but I survived.  It was a little bit of trouble to get a new card, but nothing was charged because I was quick to get them cancelled.

 

WHAT CHANGES DID YOU MAKE IN YOUR LIFE IN ORDER TO TRAVEL LONG-TERM?

I made many sacrifices in order to save money, but did not change that much in my life to get that done.  I quit my job before leaving because I had no clue how long I would be gone.  I always thought that I would need to make many changes to travel and that’s probably the main reason why I waited so long to get on the road.  If I have one advice to give, it’s to “just get out there”, once you are on the road you realize how little you actually need.

 

WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU?

I’m now back home but already choosing destinations for my next adventure.  I could be traveling to Southeast Asia as early as next December or January.  If I decide to go to Europe or Australia, I’ll need a bigger budget which could push my travels out to next Spring.  In order to fund the next big trip and to help me travel for a longer period of time, I am finding ways to make money by working online.  I’m also considering a re-design of my blog to give more destination information to travelers.

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Normand Boulanger Can Be Found Online Here:  

Blog : http://www.tourbackpacker.com/
Facebook : www.facebook.com/TourBackpacker
Twitter : https://twitter.com/TourBackpacker
Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/0/117387668908427107275/posts