Welcome to Backpacking Diplomacy!
First off, I’d just like to say that I am very happy that you have taken the time to view my site! If you would like to learn more about the website, then I would like to redirect you to the Why Backpacking Diplomacy page. The reason for the page is really the reason for me writing. I do not intend on this being ‘about me’, but rather more about community and learning from each other. However, I included a page so that you could get to know me a little bit and know where I am coming from. Hope you will consider following the journey!
Where did my interests come from?
Looking back to my initial inspiration for all things travel, I’d have to say that part of it started in the place that I am from. Being from Louisiana, I have been exposed to some interesting people and things in my life (needless to say). From pet alligators to French speaking Cajuns living in the woods, I have seen it all. Louisiana is an eclectic mix of culture with a really interesting history. Anyone who has visited knows what I am talking about.
This exposure continued into my university years. As a student, I was introduced to many internationals and others from varying backgrounds typically much different than myself. Their stories and experiences gave me an unyielding curiosity to experience what I had yet to know in the world and a longing to understand what I had not yet seen. Not long after that, I was able to take a trip to Europe, which is what further ignited my vision for a different world with more understanding.
After I returned home the first time, I wanted to learn all about everything that I had seen and done as well as learn to communicate in other languages. I developed strong interests in everything international be it languages, politics, development, business, and cultural practices. Today, I live for experiencing what the world has to offer first hand and try to share the things that I learn along the way. I am a big fan in cultural immersion and trying new things. And I always believe in respecting local culture when I travel. Click here to read Why I travel or my Travel Philosophy. My goal is to share the world with you through travel stories, travel tips, personal interviews, and lessons that I learn along the way.
Where has it led me?
Since I began traveling, I have been fortunate enough to take multiple overseas trips, traverse a multitude of countries solo, meet people from around the world, climb a mountain, and explore my country with a new perspective. I’ve learned some interesting things out there, but most importantly, how little I actually know.
Read about my top 25 lessons learned here.
I do not really like to count countries, but I’ve been to a little over twenty if I’m not mistaken. Over the years, I I have been able to make my way to most of the US States as well (working on those last 12). I have tried to experience different religions, different languages, and even different forms of travel such as hitchhiking. I’ve even spent nights on the street, another with squatters in Detroit, and an alligator once ate my t-shirt.
Brief trip summary
First Trip: Bahamas
Fifth Trip: España
Sixth: Puerto Rico
- Where am I from?: Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
- Education: Studied International Studies (Global Diplomacy)
- Languages: Spanish, basic Italian and Persian. I can read Cyrillic. I know how to introduce myself, say hello and thank you in a bunch of others, which consequently only helps until someone responds in full force . That’s it for now. A polyglot would be a life goal.
- Favorite music: On a given day I could listen to everything from Bachata to Bhangra to Japanese, Persian, or even classical music. I really enjoy all types of music and have a mood for each type (even a YouTube playlist for each). I guess it really depends on what I am doing.
- Things that I want to do most: Read about my tangibly untangible bucket list here.
- Most mysterious ruin: Tiwanaku
- Favorite topic(s): Ancient Civilizations, languages, and cultural topics.
- Favorite country: Impossible question
- Favorite monument or museum: Alhambra, hands down. Very close second is the Hagia Sofia in Turkey.
- Favorite Food: I am a big fan of spice. After all, Tabasco Sauce is made about 30 minutes from where I was born. I like Indian and Thai.
- Random Fact: I like to walk long distances.
I once ate rotten whale in Iceland.
The first mountain that I climbed was Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
I’m a street food junky. I prefer it when I travel.
It is almost impossible for me to resist dancing when listening to Punjabi or Bhangra music.
I fell in love with Louisiana Hot Sauce while eating a Turkish-style Kebab made by a Moroccan in Barcelona, Spain.
I love horchata and avocados, just not together.
I have spent an entire night walking the streets of New York City, including neighborhoods such as Harlem, Queens, and Brooklyn.
I was once asked if I was Pakistani by a Turkish vendor because I was trying to haggle the price so low in a Bazaar in Istanbul. (I hate tourist prices)
I couchsurfed for a night with a group of squatters in Detroit near 8-mile road.
I once spoke freestyle gibberish with a Scandinavian guy for two minutes in a language that I made up as I went. We eventually just agreed and walked off.
I once sat on a train from Serbia to Bulgaria for 12 hours in a cabin with another man who never stopped smoking. The windows didn’t work and he spoke to me in Bulgarian for the entire time. I don’t speak Bulgarian.
My number one goal when I travel is to get mistaken for a local. If I do that, I have succeeded in cultural immersion.
So, why the site?
I have created this site for you. In the hopes that you can, in your own way, have a similar experience. I have included articles, tips, links, and other resources as aids to you for your travel plans. The second reason that I created this site, was to establish a medium for me to bring all of my passions together. I love backpacking as a form of travel. Furthermore, I additionally have strong interests in language acquisition and communication, history, and culture among other things. So, in writing for this site, I am able to blog about an array of topics. If you are interested in reading more on this, be sure to check out Why Backpacking Diplomacy?
I hope that you find my site useful in your planning and thought process. If there is ever anything that I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to contact me personally. I love helping out a fellow enthusiast.
Contact: Andy – BackpackingDiplomacy (at) gmail dot com