SAM Gigger’s a mate of mine from back home who’s been on the road for the majority of the past three or four years. He’s been enough places and seen enough cool shit to make any seasoned traveller jealous, let alone a rookie like me. I sent Sammy a bunch of questions a few weeks ago, mainly regarding how long he thinks he can keep this traveling caper up (a recurring theme of this blog if you haven’t noticed), and in true Gigs style he came up with the goods a couple days ago. This is the first of what I hope will be a series of interviews with people I’ve met along the way that have an interesting story to tell about their travels and what will become of them when (or if) they decide to settle down. I chose him first because he was kinda the inspiration I needed to go on my first big trip. Here the 24-year-old talks about living in the woods, working for the man and playing cricket with street kids in India. I’m splitting his answers up between two posts ‘cos he wrote so God darn much, bless him. Plus it allows me to cheat and put up two posts in quick succession without doing any extra work. Enjoy.
First things first, a brief rundown Sammy’s past few years:
Begin – June 2007: Goes to Michigan, USA to work in a summer camp for a few months – Buys an old van with mates he made at camp and drives east to west across the US then up the west coast to Canada – Arrives in Banff and finds a job for the ski season, ending up staying there most of the summer too – Books a one-way ticket to Mexico and surfs for a few weeks before going further south to Guatemala – Spends the next few months bussing it south through Central America, then crosses over to Colombia via a small sailing boat – Backpacks his way down South America for three months before he runs out of coin and heads home – Gets home and realises he needs to get out of Adelaide again – Nine months later with a beefed-up bank account, he heads off with a one-way ticket to Hemsedal, Norway for another ski season – Works the summer in the capital, Oslo, then roadtrips it across the country then on to Sweden and Finland – Visits friends in a few spots around Europe before flying down to India via Istanbul – Spends a month backpacking around the south of India, then flies home for a quick 10 days (managing a surf and some cheeky beers with yours truly) – Then it’s back to Norway, but only briefly – Makes his way to Chamonix in the French Alps, for season number three, where he pens responses to my annoying questions. Jealous?
Where are you now and what are your immediate and long-term plans?
I plan to stay here [Chamonix, France] for the winter season and then head to Sweden to work this summer. Then if all goes to plan I will spend some time in Africa. I hope to spend a few months travelling around and then I plan to be back home for Christmas. I’ve missed the last four so I think so that will keep mum happy.
How long do you think you’re gonna keep the whole travelling thing going?
It’s hard to say mate. I don’t think I will ever stop travelling but I know the time is coming where I want to study or settle in one spot for a while and set up a bit of a base for myself. I can’t say for sure though because the last time I tried to settle it didn’t really work out so time will tell.
Name a few of the things you’ve seen/done in the last few years you never thought you’d experience.
I got to surf waves in Mexico and Chile that I had read about in magazines since I was a kid. I hiked a 6088m peak in Bolivia and snowboarded down a fjord in Norway. I saw the midnight sun in Finland and wildlife in North America that I’d only ever seen in National Geographic. I took a small sailing boat from Panama to Colombia and got to spend a few days in the San Blas Islands. We moored our boat in between islands miles from civilisation and snorkelled in the most amazing underwater cave systems with thousands of fish, turtles and sharks. Some of the best things I have experienced are watching people who seemingly have nothing, yet live happier lives than a lot of people in developed countries who have all the opportunity in the world. I remember travelling through Latin America and watching families dancing to reggae-ton on the streets- grandma’s shaking their hips with their grandchildren following suit at their knees. I played cricket on dusty streets with kids in India. They had their own makeshift bats and ball and they would run around in their bare feet and tattered clothes. But they were happy and they didn’t have a care in the world. It can be so sad to see the poverty in these countries and I know there is a lot of suffering, but so many of these people live their everyday lives and appreciate what they have, not what they don’t have, and I find that pretty inspiring.
I know last time you were in Adelaide and we went for a surf you mentioned to me you weren’t sure if you could ever move back here [Adelaide]. I think you said you’d love to end up living in a cabin somewhere the woods or something. Am I remembering this right? Explain.
Ha ha that sounds a bit hermit-like but I do like the idea of living a simple life in a small town in the mountains somewhere. Adelaide is a great place to live and it has everything I need, but for me the longer I am away the harder it is to come back and I guess I’m a bit confused about the whole thing. Time will tell.
Do you ever have the urge or feel as if you wanna come home and try to find a career or is that not even on your radar at this stage? Do you even know what you wanna do when you’re ‘older’?
I wouldn’t quite call it an urge mate but I do feel like I should do something future orientated. I’ve always said to myself that I’m not going to do anything until the time is right but I’m not sure if I will ever know when the time is right. I’m not in too much of a hurry though. I’m loving life and I’m not quite ready to give in to the man just yet.
*Making you wanna quit your day job yet? Check back here in a few days, I’ll put up the second half of his responses regarding those pesky things we call careers, why you should pack up and go traveling, and whether bodyboarding or snowboarding reigns supreme.