Name: Danik Bates
Travel Blog: Danik The Explorer | www.daniktheexplorer.eu
City & Country of birth: Stevenage, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
My blog has developed over the years when I first started out going solo back in 2011. Starting off with solo budget travel around Europe giving tips and advice on how to get the cheapest stays in the top tourist cities to how to getting around (quickly and cheaply) on the trains. Then I got into fitness and started doing marathon running, so I combined some of my posts on marathon courses I have done and what to do in the areas where they are held. Since then for some reason, I got sidetracked and gone off the beaten paths and headed to countries like Israel, Tunisia, Cape Verde and started to do backpacking outside Europe. Lately, I have gone up to step and started to do luxury travel. Not sure how I got into that but I have got sidetracked with my niche. But things are about to change……
• How do you incorporate fitness into your travels? How do you prepare? Can you give us some tips?
I hope I understand this question but I do have a full-time job working in railway management in Central London sorting out the service when it is disrupted and keeping those train drivers in check. However, it is very good pay and I do get lots of time off. Whenever I have 4-5 days off in a row on my roster, it’s time to fly out and hit a city to explore (or maybe run around) but I do get an extra five weeks off a year as well. So I tend to do some long haul trips from my island. If I am lucky and work on my days off, instead of pocketing the extra money, I turn them into days off and use them elsewhere. My current job enables me to do a lot of
- Share one of your favourite travel stories. How did it change you as a person?
I did fly across the world to win back the girl I love…I may need to briefly explain what has happened. Well, my background is I married a beautiful Latvian girl and we had been together for ten years but about two years ago, for me personally, I drifted away and felt that she was more of a friend than a wife. I did some crazy things following that but back in April 2015, I met a girl called Curious Claire at a meetup full of travelers and backpackers in a bar in Camden, London. Nothing happened, we just exchange facebook details (not phone numbers anymore), and that was all. In the following weeks we messaged each other, hence not often but one Tuesday we agreed to meetup for lunchtime drinks in Shoreditch as we both had the day off from work (we are only part time travel bloggers) to which was great fun, got drunk and shared our first kiss.
After a chicken meal at Nando’s (it had to be done as it’s one of our eating spots back home in London), it was time to part ways. I didn’t want to leave her (but I had to, my wife was expecting the baby to be born at any moment and she didn’t know I was out here), and she didn’t want to leave me. It would be over two weeks until we see each other again but I boarded that plane back to London (I was only in Kuala Lumpur for about 13 hours I think) feeling the happiest man alive. OK, I still got a wife and a baby to come and I knew it would be tough times ahead but all I know is, Claire is the girl for me, my one true love and the girl I want to spend the rest of my life with.
By the way, Kuala Lumpur first impressions, friendly people, cheap, it has a Nando’s and it will always be the place where I sorted out my love life finally. I will come back but next time with Claire holding my hand and we will be doing the touristy thing.
- What are your top 5 travel rules that you follow every time you travel and why?
- Always take a roll of toilet paper with you, it always comes in handy especially in the mountains, forests, and deserts. There isn’t always a toilet around when you need one!
- Always carry a selfie stick with you at night. It’s not just for the camera but makes a great
- Always do the speed limits whilst renting a car in North America and Europe. On the road, I have been stopped in England, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Spain (twice), Poland and Switzerland and I feel I am supporting the economies of these countries!
- To class you have been to another country, I always say you must have used the toilet, tried a local beer at the local bar, tried something of the local cuisine and stayed a night there! (Can be a little bit tricky with the Vatican City (no hotels) and Monaco (who’s got that sort of money?) but if I can do all of these, then I count that country.
- Always go to another country with an open mind and forget about all the politics and other rubbish bantered about in the media. I have been to countries like Russia and Palestine and the locals were fantastic and gave me such a warm welcome.
- What are your top 5 travel things you must bring in your carry-on, purse or satchel?
- My Samsung S7 – this is where the heart of my social networking comes from (and showing pictures of things to locals so they understand what I am looking for).
- A book to read for long journeys – I can’t just sit on a plane watching the entertainment system. I want to be lost in a world and drift away (books are easier to make me sleep on planes and trains than using technology)
- Portable USB power charger for the Samsung – started using these recently and its been a life saver!
- A map of where I am going (if possible) – in case technology fails or does not work in the destination I am going (i.e. Sahara Desert, Arctic Ocean)
- A swiss army knife – as a hiker as well, I always take this but usually, it’s in the hold luggage. So for number 5 I always take cash, simples!
- What are tour top 5 travel hacking tips and tricks?
I have to admit I have only come across the term ‘Travel hacking’. But when booking flights I always hit up Skyscanner first to find the cheapest deals on roughly the dates I want to fly out. When it comes to hotels I always look at Booking.com first otherwise I tend to hit up Google search. I try and look for cheap rental apartments or hostels which has a kitchen then I can cook my own foods and this saves lots of cash!
- What is your most prized souvenir you brought back from abroad and what’s its story?
That would be Curious Claire from Malaysia. Now look at us, a couple, got our own place together, two travel bloggers who are going to bring everyone a new website in 2017, can life be any better.
- Where are you off to next and what are you hoping to experience, eat, see and/or learn?
We are off to the city of Fez in Morocco, our first time in this North African country for a long weekend break. Otherwise, we are hitting up Beijing in January for some hiking, sightseeing and an ice hockey game before flying onwards to a secret destination.
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