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An Interview with Alex Trembath from Career Gappers
#1 Who are you and how would you describe yourself?
My name is Alex and I’m passionate about travel and writing. Together with my wife Lisa, I took a one-year career break to travel the world, an experience that was transformational for both of us.
Now back in the UK, we’re building a blog called Career Gappers with the aim of inspiring more people to take time out of work to travel, and equipping them with the resources and knowledge they need to make it happen.
#2 What got you into traveling?
I have always been an inquisitive person with a sense of adventure and a desire to explore. I grew up in a multicultural family with roots across Europe and West Africa.
As teenager I had my own first experience of extended travel when I traversed Europe by Interrail. This introduction to exploring new cultures and environments ignited a curiosity in me to discover more about the world. It’s a passion that’s only ever grown stronger.
#3 What is your favorite destination in the world and why?
Patagonia is without doubt the most spectacular place that I have visited in terms of natural scenery. We journeyed through the region for a month during our career break, mostly hiking.
Lisa and I usually spend a lot of time outdoors on our travels, but nowhere we’ve explored has quite compared to the glaciers, lakes, mountains and fjords of Patagonia. One of the main reasons we love to travel is to remove ourselves from our regular work-life routine, and nowhere was the disconnect quite so complete and rewarding as here.
#4 What sort of a traveller are you?
I am a very active traveller who likes to pack a lot of activities into a trip, and immerse myself in the local culture as much as I can.
I wouldn’t pigeon-hole myself into any particular category. I’m not a ‘beach person’ or ‘city person’, for example. I am always open to new experiences, and like to vary my journeys as much as possible.
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What an amazing feeling to get back into the water today! Thank you so much to the team at @maltadiving for an awesome #scubadiving experience. We dived through tunnels and had the chance to explore a WWII shipwreck just off Manoel Island. Today has made us fall back in love with scuba diving and reignite that underwater curiosity! We'll be writing all about it soon on the blog, watch this space ❤️ #scuba #scubalife #scubaworld #scubajunkies #lovediving #divingday #scubadive #scubadiverlife #scubapro #scubadivers #maltadiving #malta #malta🇲🇹#maltalovers #lovemalta #maltatoday #instamalta #lovinmalta #discovermalta #backinthewater #trysomethingnew #scubadivingtrip #divingpassport #wreckdive #vallettamalta #maltaisland #underwater #careerbreak #careergappers
#5 What’s your most memorable experience during your travels?
There are so many to choose from, and my answer to this question will always be different depending on what comes to mind. There is one unforgettable moment that always sticks in my memory, though.
We took a three-day cruise of the Whitsundays in Australia. On the second night, we were having a few drinks and chatting with our group. The sky was perfectly clear, and the stars above were spectacular.
Then, with very little warning, a huge thunderstorm started raging out to sea in one direction, and soon it covered half the sky above us, while the other half was still a blanket of stars. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, or have since.
#6 Your take on responsible travel…
One of the problems that has stood out to me, especially when travelling in parts of Southeast Asia, is over tourism. It’s sad to see wonders of nature or unique heritage architecture being damaged irrevocably by the sheer volume of people visiting, and poor regulation.
We always try to do what we can to support local businesses and help charitable causes when travelling. We’ll always visit local markets, for example, rather than a high-street chain. We’ll spend extra money on a tour if we know that the proceeds are put towards a positive local cause.
#7 How do you sustain your travels?
Lisa and I are embracing a lifestyle that involves taking travel breaks at regular intervals as we progress with our careers. We save up while we’re working, and use annual leave to take several trips throughout the year.
We hope that in the long-term we can take extended breaks every so often, perhaps once every five years, to travel for several months or longer. This is a growing lifestyle trend, and many organisations are actually implementing policies to support people who want to do it.
#8 How do you manage your budget during your travels?
We always have a rough plan for where we want to go and how much we will spend. We put estimates together into a spreadsheet separated by transport, accommodation, food and drink, activities and sundries.
We always prioritise activities and experiences with our spending. We will seek to save money on things like transport and accommodation, so we often use public transport and stay in hostels. We’ll treat ourselves more when it comes to trying the local cuisine and taking tours.
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Somewhere in the depths of the jungle in northern Thailand near Chiang Mai. We love getting off the beaten path on a hiking trip. 🇹🇭 When you trek into the unknown with a stick in hand to fend off any snakes that might appear, it gives you a new kind of confidence! It was pretty hot in that jungle, but we're about to cool down under that waterfall in the background 🌊 #chiangmai #thailand #northernthailand #travelthailand #explorethailand #norththailand #chiangmaithailand #discoverthailand #ig_thailand #visitthailand #careerbreak #careerbreakers #travelgoals #careergoals #careerbreaktravel #sabbatical #exploremore #findyourself #lifegoals #confidence #jungletrek #jungle #jungles #waterfall #junglelife #jungletrekking #offthebeatenpath #offthegrid #beintrepid #remoteplaces
#9 What’s the best thing you have eaten and where?
Trying new food is a major part of the travel experience for me. One of our my favourite dishes is ceviche, a dish originating in Peru that consists of raw fish chunks marinated in citrus and seasoning.
Ceviche is an example of Japanese influence on Peruvian cuisine. Lisa and I are big sushi-lovers, but we haven’t made it to Japan yet ourselves – it’s high on our bucket list.
#10 Best and worst airport story…
I’ll start with the worst. While we were travelling in the Philippines, we had to take a night bus across the island of Palawan in order to make a morning flight from Puerto Princesa airport.
When we arrived at about 4am, the airport gates were shut, and we had to wait for a while at a cafe across the road with a small group of people. Unfortunately, while we were there, some drunken guys looking for trouble at the end of a night out tried to attack someone in our group and started hurling stones at everyone. Luckily nobody was hurt, but it was quite scary in the moment.
Our best airport moment was in Rio de Janeiro. We had a really early flight, and we slept through our alarm in the morning – a couple too many caipirinhas the night before! We woke up about an hour before our flight was due to take off.
We had to scramble about, grab our bags and jump into a taxi. We thought we’d never make it, but miraculously, we arrived at the gate just before it was about to close. We had a special Brazilian coffee and airport breakfast to celebrate!
#11 What tip would you like to give to fellow travelers?
Travelling doesn’t always work out the way you expect. Things go wrong, and your plans can be disrupted. Be prepared for this, and don’t be downhearted when you have to take a different path or deal with a crisis.
If something big does go wrong, think about how you can turn it into a positive. We’ve experienced robberies, rip-offs and many other mishaps on our travels. The feeling is terrible in the moment, but we always look back on these incidents as periods of growth and learning. If you can look at it this way while it’s happening, it will make the difficult times a lot easier.
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Travelling doesn't stop when your career break is over. For us, it's just begun! We just got back home after five amazing days in Malta, packed with diving, sightseeing, historic exploration, and LOTS of local food and drink. It's possible to keep up your passion for travel even when you're working full-time. We use annual leave, weekends and cheap flights to explore somewhere new every few weeks, and we're working towards becoming location-independent so we can do even more travel in the future. Why stop doing the things you love the most? There's always a way. #travel #careerbreak #explore #goexplore #adventureiscalling #getlostnow #passportpassion #explorenewplaces #travelcouple #travelaholic #malta #visitmalta #azurewindow #instamalta #visitgozo #gozoisland #maltalovers #lovemalta #maltagram #maltaisland #workandtravel #traveltheglobe #traveltime #travellust #travellingislife #passionfortravel #traveladdiction #wherenext #travelismypassion #travelislove