Turner Barr is a US based travel blogger and the brains behind 'Around the World in 80 Jobs (ATW80)' and 'American Travel Blogger' blogs. He describes himself as an "American Joe next door" who wants to chronicle his "tales of binge eating, binge drinking and unapologetic embrace of the weirdness of the American heartland and beyond". He began his journey in 2007 after college when he went to South America and was hooked for good. Since then there has been no turning back for Turner who hit the road to find interesting jobs and meaningful travel experiences all over the world. We caught up with him recently and this is what he had to say.
What inspired you to start travelling immediately after finishing college in 2007?
After college I hit a wall. I was at a complete lost at what to do with my life. I really bit hard into the "American Dream", rat race, make a million dollars before I am 30 idea - but my heart was elsewhere. After about 30 job interviews, one interviewer flat out told me I could have the job - but what did I really want. So I decided to change things up. And as fate would allow, a number of things pointed me in the direction of Bueonos Aires.
How have you evolved as a traveller over the course of time?
When I first started travelling, I stuck pretty close to the tourism trail, ie what the guide books tell you etc. But as time progressed, I wanted more. So I started couchsurfing and going off the beaten path a lof more. I began really seeking out locals rather than fellow travelers. I think overtime I go back and forth, but I really try to dive head first into the culture whenever I am abroad.
How was the experience of your recent '35 minutes helicopter ride over London'? Are there more places you would like to experience from the air?
I think helicopters are exciting way to view a place. Seeing places from the birdeyes grants you a vantage and different way to viewing the big picture of a place. I would love to helicopter over some jungles, like in the Amazon.
You have written about 5 things one should never do in Vegas, what's that one thing every traveller should do in the city?
I think every traveller in Vegas should probably try to experience some off the strip experiences. Vegas has some pretty interesting gangster roots that are fun to learn about. Or it is also a pretty amazing to see Red Rock depending on where you are from.
Tell us something about your first venture of running a youth hostel in Cali, Colombia?
It was a lot of work but really a great way to meet fellow travelers. It is amazing that so many people from different parts of the world can be so linked together. There is a lot more of things in common with our fellow travelers than maybe even our own countrymen.
You have spent good time in the Philippines. Please share some tips on how to get along well with the local community?
I think being open to locals and showing interest in them will open tons of doors for you. It is amazing how many people travel places but just stick to the tourist trails and sites. But experiences with people, especially locals, you will rememember much more. If you just talk to them about their lives and really show an interest in their culture, you will be blown away with how engaged people can become. Filpinos are extremely friendly and very open with foriegners.
You hail from USA; please suggest a place every solo traveller must visit in the country and why?
I think the seeing the Big Five in Utah is an incredibe thing to do. Everyone says to go to New York or Las Vegas, which are both interesting and unique to see, but a lot of people don't realize how amazing some of the natural scenery in the USA is. Utah has some of the craziest nature and rock formations on the planet. Just go.
Which travel destination is closest to your heart and why?
I love the Galapagos as I think it is a magical place. The animals are not afraid of humans there and the diversity of the animals is pretty remarkable. There are so many different, weird mixes of animals all on these bizare islands. I love it.
Tell us about your travel plans for the rest of the year.
My biggest plans for the rest of the year is to take on Africa. I have been before but I am taking my mother on a safari and to Victoria falls. For me, Africa is still very much virgin travel territory so I am excited to explore a whole new world.
This interview with Turner is a part of Travel Trolley's ongoing 'Best of the Travel Bloggers' series. We are interviewing popular travel bloggers who encourage and inspire people to travel. Check out all the bloggers we have interviewed and learn about their interesting experiences, adventures, travel stories as well as useful holiday tips.