This week on The Traveler Series, I am thrilled to introduce Robert Schrader of the popular travel site (and one of my favorite blogs), Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert is a travel writer, photographer and globetrotter who four years ago swapped a 9-5 job for travel and has since been inspiring people to do the same. His inspiring blog helps over 100,000 travelers a month find the information needed to escape monotony and have their own adventure. Today, Leave Your Daily Hell is hailed as one of the world’s most popular travel sites with Robert’s writing appearing on publications such as The Huffington Post, DETAILS, Business Insider and more. Here, I interview Robert on his travel style, falling in love with Bangkok and how his best piece of travel advice comes from a scribbled note on a wall in Vietnam!
What inspires you to travel?
The sun rising over the horizon, and wanting to see where the light comes from.
For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
I consider myself a bougey backpacker. I stay in guest houses and hostels but use expensive hair and skin products, and wear hipster-y clothes. I shower frequently. I abhor planning, so I usually just get on a plane to the principal city of a particular country of region and wing it.
How do you afford your travels?
I sell ads on my website and do freelance writing for a number of commercial clients. I also offer a service called “Travel Coaching” (http://leaveyourdailyhell.com/travel-coach/) whereby I plan out itineraries for travelers who can’t be bothered to do so themselves.
Where has been your favorite destination and why?
It’s going to sound really cliché, but Thailand. In particular, the city of Bangkok. I’d actually planned to bypass Bangkok entirely during my maiden voyage to Thailand, but got stuck there against my will – and absolutely fell in love. I had past-life regressions, seriously! Anyway, Bangkok is a place I’ve returned to many times over the year, usually due to some kind of serendipity, and it’s a city that’s come to epitomize freedom – and the free way forward – for me.
If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
Probably Bangkok, to be honest, although I don’t think that city’s going to fare too well RE: sea level rise. So maybe Switzerland?
What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
To be honest, I have become so desensitized to “weirdness” that nothing seems weird to me anymore.
I don’t take a lot with me or leave a lot behind. My blog is my keepsake.
How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
Contacts/glasses. I’m blind!
Have you ever traveled solo? If yes, what was the experience like?
I always travel solo. My friends all have “real jobs” and beyond that, I am a dominant, high-strung person. I play well with others, but not when we’re connected at the hip.
What are your go-to travel apps?
What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve picked up over the years?
Not so much travel advice as life advice, but “Jump, a net will appear,” scrawled on a wall in a café in Mui Ne, Vietnam.
Why did you begin your website? How did you come up with your website name?
The name of my website comes from the Tori Amos song “Welcome to England.” I began my website – and chose that name – because I didn’t like the story I was living in and I knew I had to write myself out of it.
What is your best piece of advice to budding travel writers looking to start a blog or website?
Don’t rest on your creative laurels. We already have a ton of bloggers who can’t write, take only smartphone photos and have Web design out of the 90s. You don’t need to be perfect – God knows I’m not – but constantly learning and putting what you learn into practice is the foundation of productive creativity.
What’s next for you in 2014? (Trips planned, etc.)
I’m headed to the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) for two weeks on Monday, to Oman for three weeks in late October and to Tanzania and Rwanda in December for some safari action. I might also be headed on short trips to a couple other countries in-between, but I don’t want to jinx anything.
Keep up with Robert & his adventures here: