Meet the Backpackers: Simon Petersen of Man vs World

Simon in his travel in Vietnam. Photo credits: Simon Petersen

I met Simon Petersen of Man versus World  on one of the twitter forums on Travel bloggers and instantly, we sort of magnet to each other’s posts. I loved his experiences in Southeast Asia, backpacking his way to Australia to London and to his many adventures of which I ardently follow. He is one of the few guys I have been inspired continually as a backpacker. It is Simon who asked me to join so many world-wide travel blogging events and contests and presently, we are both under #TeamPurple for the world-wide travel blogger-relay.

What impresses me much of his adventures is his ebullient and affecting happiness. Hereunder is his replies to the questions I posed for this segment.

  1. What are the best and worse experiences you have had while travelling as a backpacker?

I’ve been on the road for nearly five years now, first backpacking through Europe and then through Southeast Asia. During that time I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of the most beautiful, fascinating places in the world.

Cambodia was probably my favourite place in Asia (I haven’t visited your homeland yet, Wends!) and Turkey was probably my favourite place in Europe. They’re countries that are rich in natural beauty and fascinating history and culture. But I’d be in big trouble with my fiancé if I didn’t say getting engaged in Bali was a highlight, too, of course!

As for my worst experience, it would have to be the time I had my bag stolen in Spain. I haven’t written about it on my blog yet because it still makes me angry – even years after it happened. Suffice it to say I’ll never leave my bag sitting around in a train station ever again.

  1. Do you go solo or in a group? Why?

I travel with my long-time partner and, now, fiancé. We’ve been travelling together for a long time – she researches, plans and books our trips, while I simply carry the bags and write about it. It’s the perfect partnership – at least for me.

  1. Can you share to us what is meant to you by travelling light as a backpacker, in the context of both literally and figuratively?

I like to keep my backpack as light as possible – but I took it to a whole new level when I was travelling through Europe. Cheap airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet charge you extra for big bags so often I’d pack everything I need into my carry-on luggage. All I’ll need for a week in Europe is my passport and wallet, one pair of jeans, one pair of shorts and two t-shirts (not to mention enough underwear, of course).

Simon in the 2012 London Olympics. Photo credits: Simon Petersen

  1. How far have u been to your journeys as a backpacker, in terms of those insights you have gained?

I’ve been to what feels like the centre of the universe – New York and London – to some of the most interesting, out-of-the-way towns in Asia; I’ve visited historic cities that are thousands of years old and I’ve been to some of the youngest countries in the world. During these travels I’ve seen so many interesting things and experienced so many different ways of life – but the biggest insight I’ve gotten into the world is this: you will find kindness, helpfulness and friendliness wherever you go in the world.

  1. Were there instances you find yourself in the middle of nowhere?

Plenty of times I’ve found myself in the middle of nowhere; in fact, you could argue that my home country of New Zealand is sort of in the middle of nowhere! Getting off the beaten track is half the fun of travel: you never know what you’ll find when you get lost.

  1. How is travelling as a backpacker to you in relation to your obligation to yourself and those who follow you, perhaps in this aspect, how does your travel inspire you?

I owe it to myself to see as much of the world as I can while I’m still young – and I owe the world and all the people in it my respect and tolerance. To my readers I have an obligation to tell the truth and share my travel stories and tips so that they might avoid making the same mistakes I do – and that inspires me to travel even more!

  1. What tips can you give to those who wanted to fill the earth by travelling?

Life’s too short to make plans, so go out and travel now – not in the distant future! Just make sure you never forget where you come from and always respect other people and cultures.

  1. As a backpacker, what was your most reflective moment?

For me it was standing outside of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, waiting for the sun to rise. I couldn’t believe how truly fortunate was just to be there – and how every person in the world should be so lucky to see the sun set over one of the most impressive feats of human engineering in all of the world.

  1. Looking back at where you had been for the last 5-10 years, how has travelling shaped you?

I’d like to think I’m a lot more tolerant of other people, cultures and ideas as I’ve been exposed to ways of life that are different from my own. Likewise, I’m more likely to try new things as oftentimes I’ve been forced to. You never know what wonderful experiences you’ll discover if you only escape your comfort zone once in a while!

  1. Where is the best place you had been to recently that you have left your footprints (inspiration)?

I was lucky enough to be in London recently for the 2012 Olympic Games, which was an amazing experience. It’s a city that I both love and hate, having lived there for four years while I travelled through Europe in my free time.

Otherwise, I’m a huge fan of Southeast Asia. I love the people, the food, the history, the culture. This year I’ve been fortunate enough to backpack through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia – and I loved every second of it.

Simon in the beach. Photo credits: Simon Petersen

Categories: Backpacker's Corner, Meet the Backpackers | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Meet the Backpackers: Simon Petersen of Man vs World

  1. Thank you so much, mate! It was an honour to be included here. Happy travels!

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