This week on The Traveler Series, meet Drew of The Hungry Partier. After graduating from university just one year ago, Drew has visited 43 countries in the last 2 years! After studying abroad in Prague, Drew was bitten by the travel bug and can now be found teaching English in South Korea. Here I interview Drew on meeting awesome people and experiencing the nightlife scene abroad and what inspired The Hungry Partier.
What inspires you to travel?
Making new friends with local people and eating local foods are the two biggest things that inspire me to travel. I thrive on stepping out of my comfort zone and getting involved in as many activities as I can! There is never a dull moment to traveling.
For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
I have lots of courage, and I always push myself to my limit. I tried to get involved in as many things as possible, because it’s all about the “true” experience in any culture. I really don’t sleep as much as I should and I party hard in every city I go to. Hopefully, I meet some awesome locals who can show me around to their favorite places. Some of my favorite memories on the road are bungee jumping in Switzerland from 150 meters high, hitchhiking in Bosnia when my friend lost his passport and attending Springfest Beer Drinking festival in Munich, Germany.
How do you afford your travels?
I am currently teaching English in South Korea, and the salary + benefits are MORE than enough to afford any of my travels around the world. To be honest, I live like a King here because things are generally cheap. My benefits include free rent, a $3,000 cash bonus once I complete my 1 year contract, tax exempt, and round trip flight reimbursements from home. If you want to travel the world and you have no money, then I highly recommend looking into teaching English! Oh, and the job is extremely easy.
Prague has a special place in my heart because I studied abroad there, and it introduced me into the wonderful world of traveling. If it weren’t for that city, I probably wouldn’t be in Korea right now.
My favorite country that I’ve visited is Sweden. The people are so nice and everything is so clean. The countryside is breathtaking as well. I’ve never seen so many heartwarming people who were genuinely interested in meeting me. Also, they are without a question the most attractive people in the world who love to party! What can be better?
If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
That’s a hard question for me because I enjoy moving around and exploring as many places as possible. But if I had to choose, I’d say Prague. I know so much about that city, I can speak Czech, and it really feels like home to me.
What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
Honestly, it has to be “matching couples” in Korea. I have been living in Korea for the last 11 months, and the culture is pretty different from anywhere else I’ve seen or experienced. Matching couples are exactly what it sounds like… boyfriend and girlfriend wear the exact same clothes, from head to toe. They go shopping together. The same hats, shirts, shoes, backpacks, socks, jeans and jackets. I know, it’s absolutely bizarre, but it exists here. And it’s common!! I see it everywhere. I always wonder, what happens when they break up?
What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations? (Whether it’s something free like ticket stubs or brochures, or something you have to buy)
Funny question actually, because I just wrote a blog post about all of my travel collections. I am kind of a hoarder when I am traveling. I collect anything and everything that I can get my hands on. I can’t wait to look back at all of these things and remember the good memories that I had in each place! Some of my favorite collections are currency, city flags, city maps, and all ticket stubs (airplane, train, concerts, museums, etc.)
How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
My iPhone. I need to take pictures and communicate with my friends and family!
What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve picked up over the years?
Pack light!! Seriously, I used to pack so much and I never wore half the things that I packed. If you absolutely need something, then just buy it on the road. Also, you can always find a washing machine or do your laundry in the sink. Trust me, less is more.
Why did you begin your website? And how did you come up with your website name?
My friends always asked me for travel advice around Europe and Asia, so I just decided to start a website so everyone can look at my recommendations at once. I came up with the Hungry Partier because I am obsessed with eating local foods and the nightlife in every place. The name just hit me one day out of the blue, so I stuck with it.
What is your best piece of advice to budding travel writers looking to start a blog or website?
Stop procrastinating and start writing. Just do it. I had the idea for about a year before I started and I wish that I started earlier. You will learn a LOT just by trial and error (I still learn something new everyday). The hardest part is just getting started.
What’s next for you in 2014? (Trips planned, etc.)
I have a big 2014 coming up. I am off to Taipei, Bali and Sydney on a 3 week trip in August. Then, I am going to Myanmar, India and Nepal towards the end of the year! I can’t wait!
Join the party and follow Drew on his adventures here: