Meet A Travel Writer: Chris Stevens

We all daydream from time to time about faraway lands, daring adventures, and breathtaking sights. It's the people, however, that forge ahead to the unknown who truly captivate our imagination. We have all heard the famous line by Robert Frost that “two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” In this 'Meet A Travel Writer' series, I want to talk firsthand to these individuals who have done just that and find out how they made it all happen.

I first started talking with Chris after I read his post on his "Top 10 Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2014" and tweeted telling him I better be on his next list. After a couple of tweets I spent some time on his website reading about his adventures from all across the globe. When I came to the story about him funding some of his travels through a "nude" movie, I knew he'd make a great interview.

Meet Chris.

So introduce yourself! Who are you?

I’m Chris; A surfer, photographer, free diver, and traveller from the UK. I blog over at BackpackerBanter.com and also run the travel site EpicGapYear.com.

Where are you right now and what are you doing?

I’m actually back in the UK after surf coaching in Portugal for a season. It's my first time home in a good few years. I’m gearing up for the next leg of my trip which starts in South Africa before bouncing to Asia and beyond.

How did traveling become such a big part of your life?

I've always wanted to travel. I’ve always been wired like that and surfing has been a big part of that. After my first gap year in Australia back in 2009, I knew it was something I wanted to do more of so I returned home, made a plan, saved some cash, and hit the road. Since then I’ve been working as a travel writer and surf coach bouncing all over the world.

One of the most inspiring things about you is how long you’ve been traveling. Tell us what that’s been like.

It’s been bit like an awesome roller coaster! I’m still not quite sure how I ended up here but I know I’ve worked hard and grasped opportunities (both good and bad) which have lead me to a life on the road. Sometimes it can be tough not having a real base or routine, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you could give someone looking to travel longterm?

Do it! People talk about it all the time, but most people don’t take the risk. Also, always have a backup plan, whether it’s money, locations, accommodation; It always pays to have a plan b.

Other than occasionally appearing in a nude movie, how do you afford to keep traveling?

Ha! I wondered if you’d bring that one up! The blog is my biggest income at the moment through working with advertisers and companies promoting their products. I also use surf coaching as a side income when I want to base myself somewhere by the beach for a few months. I’ve also recently launched my own online travel agency, EpicGapYear.com, where people can book heaps of travel experiences that I personally recommend.

Does the excitement and novelty of new places, cultures and people ever wear off or become tiresome?

To be honest, yes a little. The simple pleasures of traveling, like being excited for booking flights, planning a trip, or taking off on the runway are lost on me now, which is kind of a shame, but it’s the price you pay really. I still love traveling and I love new places. If I didn’t feel that way I’d simply stop. I still have those WOW moments where I have to pinch myself and confirm it’s real so I’m still as stoked as I was on my first trip.

What’s at the top of your bucket list right now?

Shark cage diving. Hopefully I’ll be ticking that off soon! And visiting Fiji, a country that has been on my radar far too long.

And lastly, leave us with one of your craziest travel stories before you go.

I was once forcibly snogged by a ladyboy in Thailand during a cabaret show.

Ha. Perfect ending. Thanks Chris!


You can read all about Chris's adventures and get great travel advice on BackpackBanter.com and then go book yourself a crazy adventure on EpicGapYear.com. Make sure to become a friend of his on his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @BckPackerBanter