Today we are traveling with Melissa from A Broken Backpack
My name is Melissa Giroux. A random backpacker from Quebec, Canada. Random? Yes, you read it right! There are a big bunch of backpackers across the globe! So, I am one of them. I travel on a low budget (I even have debts from home!). That means that I have to work abroad to make it possible! I’m writing mainly about the lifestyle as a traveler and about Australia. I want to show the world that it’s possible to travel on a tiny budget. There is no excuse. I also like to cover the emotional (let’s create a word for it!) traveler-coaster to show that travelling is not perfect, but it’s a way of living.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
I’m a backpacker. I used to be a solo backpacker, but I’ve found love on the road. So, now, we are a backpacker couple! At the moment, I’m on a long trip, so I have to work while I’m on the road. That’s why I have a working holiday visa. It was a necessity as I don’t have a big budget. I definitely prefer slow travel anyway!
What’s inside your backpack? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry?
I always have to carry… my backpack and it’s really heavy. (Just kidding.) What’s inside? The survival kit. I mean, enough to enjoy my life on the road. As long as I have my sleeping bag, my camera and my happiness, I’ll be just fine! Now, that I am a blogger, I also carry an heavy laptop! If I have to specify ONE thing, I’d say my passport. Excuse my silliness.
How is a day in your life when you aren’t traveling?
My life at home seems so far from now! 18 months ago, I was going back to school (again!). I was working with teenagers and I was dreaming of travelling. Now, when I am in the working part of my visa, I’m working (and blogging). I’m still dreaming about the next part of the trip. I’m a dreamer.
What are you doing in Australia right now?
I just started my second year in Australia! At the moment, I’m in the working part of that visa. I developed new skills since I am here. As I had a hard time trying to find a good job, I ended up on a farm. So, I, basically, became a dairy farmer. My goal is to save money for a few months, blog at the same time and then, hit the road to enjoy my last moments in Australia.
Can you tell us a hitchhiking story?
Recently, I have been to Japan. It was a solo trip. I wanted to try to hitchhike over there as I have read about it and it seemed safe enough. Big luck; I found a ride in 3 seconds. I showed the driver a map of where I wanted to go. It seemed all right for him. So, I jumped in the car. He was trying to talk with me, saying city’s names. I was wondering if I will end up at the good place as I thought he was, perhaps, going in another city. I was looking all the road signs and it was surprisingly the right way. He tried to make the conversation and every time, it ended up in laughs as we couldn’t understand each other. He was happy. And he made me happy. He drove me where I needed to go. I still wonder if he was actually going this way, but as Japanese are the kindest people on Earth, I’m sure he would have done the detour. I’m pleased as he made my hitchhiking experience in Japan a great one!
As a solo traveler, have you been afraid during your travels? Do you feel safe traveling?
Most of the time, I don’t travel solo anymore as I am with another backpacker. But, generally, I feel safe. When I was in Turkey a few years ago, some people was trying to get to me. I don’t actually know if they were following me or if they wanted to scare me, but it did work. I ended up coming back to Canada by emergency. You can find more details of that story on my blog. Now, I am more conscious of the danger. I did have a few weird experiences hitchhiking, but most of the time, it’s totally fine. As long as you respect your instinct if you have a bad feeling, it should be fine. If you don’t feel comfortable hitchhiking by yourself, don’t do it. Confidence is going to help you feel safer!
Is it easy to find love on the road?
Well. Romance are easy to find as hostels are full of backpackers in search of something interesting! But, most of the time, it’s temporary. People have plans with their own path, their own dreams. I have found love in Australia with an English gentleman. We had the same plan, so it works out perfectly! It’s also great to be able to share the happiest moments with someone! Solo travel gives you freedom. I tried to travel with friends in the past and most of the time, I left them behind. It’s hard to travel with someone 24 hours on 24. Yeah, you might think that travelling alone is hard too. But, believe me it’s worth it. You will be able to meet more people this way. You will find yourself, meet yourself and fall in love with yourself. I always keep in mind that if I have to be there only once in my whole life, I want to do it my way without having to compromise about my dreams.
What’s the big reason why you are traveling?
Because it makes me happy. I love the feeling of discovering a new place. I love the feeling of putting myself outside of everything I know. I love the feeling of challenging myself through the global scenes.
Can you tell us about your longest trip? How long was it and which places did you go to?
I am currently in that trip! Now, it has been 18 months since I left home (Quebec). I have been 5 months in the Canadian Rockies visiting around (Las Vegas, Hawaii). Then, I moved to Australia. I travelled to Japan and to New-Zeland from here. At the beginning, it was supposed to be for two months. So far, I’m still out here! All my plans in Quebec were falling apart, so, I decided to check out flight tickets from Calgary and I found a great deal to get to Australia! As I am on a working holiday visa, I didn’t have to save too much to make it possible!
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far? and why?
This one! It’s a slow trip. But, I really have the impression, I’m becoming a better person. I feel that I have changed a lot. When you go for a short trip, it’s good, but you don’t have the time to dip truly in the difference.
What’s your favorite gastronomy/food cuisine that you had in your travels?
Italian food! Normally, I try not to spend too much money in restaurants. But, in Italy, I couldn’t resist. It was so good!
Has there been any challenging and bad moments? Can you tell us about the experience?
On a long-term trip, it’s certainly more challenging. You are out there without comfort. There are a lot of stuff going on in your life, but also at home. Sometimes, I feel helpless. I am so far and I can’t do anything from here. So, if you get some bad news, it’s not always easy to handle.
What has been you favorite destination on all the trips you’ve done? Please tell us why?
New-Zealand! I had a big crush in Western Canada as I love mountains. So, I was pleased in New-Zealand. You have the best coastal route. You add mountains, beaches, glaciers, fjords, volcanoes on top of that… Stunning. And perfect.
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping? What’s the best? Can you tell us more
I don’t have any worst place…Because, funny stories are always the best!
But, I don’t think anything can beat that time where I did two weeks of free camping on two Greek islands. Under 5 billions of stars (and shooting stars). Sweet perfection.
Are you planning for a new trip or do you already have a new trip in mind?
I have to go home in 2016. I’m not sure exactly when. So, I hope that I can enjoy my last few months in Australia. I’d love to make a stop on my way to Canada somewhere in Asia. I can’t decide where just yet as I would prefer to make 10 stops instead of one. Then, I’d love to go to the UK as the boyfriend is English.
Do you have any recommendations which blogger/traveler should I interview next?
Silvia of Heart My Backpack is such an inspiration. She has the best stories as she travelled to atypical destinations!
Wonderful interview. Thank you for your time, Melissa!
Melissa managed to get 17K followers in 6 months blogging. She’d love to coach new bloggers or to help fellow travellers! She’d be trying to write an ebook in 2016. So stay tuned on abrokenbackpack.com!
Wow! With a blog written only for a few months, and an ebook already on the way, we are definitely INSPIRED. Crazy stories hitchhiking in Japan. Working hard in Australia to traveling longer. Traveling in Europe, wild camping in Greece. Traveling is not that easy, but it is indeed worth it. Melissa is a real traveler and she has really good experiences to share with us.