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About Me

About Me

  Welcome to Backpacking Diplomacy!

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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.

Yep, that is me. 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

Second Trip: Italy, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic

Third Trip: Iceland, England, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Turkey (5 months – ~$4,000)

Fourth Trip: Ireland, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, and Canada

Fifth Trip: España

Sixth: Puerto Rico

aboutme1 a A quick few facts on me:

  • Where am I from?: LafayetteLouisiana, 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.

 

Travel Trivia

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.

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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: AndyBackpackingDiplomacy (at) gmail dot com

aboutme3 aboutme2 a12

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11 comments

  1. Hello!

    I think I already met you through couchsurfin and at blue moon.

    I just noticed that this website was yours and i have been checking it out since the last weeks ! It is really awesome!! I am really trying to do the stuff on this list even though some are dificult to do without a car. But, really a nice website keep the good work!

    Pascale

    • Hey Pascale! Glad to reconnect. It is funny that you found me through my site, small world I guess :). Some of these definitely require a car, but there are a few around town. Also, look at some of the group stuff on Couchsurfing and Pack and Paddle, sometimes they drive together. Hope to see you around again!

  2. Wow, your story is quite inspiring.As a fellow native of Louisiana I feel you.I am in my freshman year of college and just can’t help but thinking of quitting it all and traveling the world.How would I get started on a adventure like yours.What would I need.I would eventually like to travel to Belize,across the Gulf Of Mexico.What kind of boat should I build,I am quite crafty with my hands,as a carpenter’s son.Write me back your thought,I have loads of other questions.

    • Hey Drew, it is so great to connect with a fellow Louisianan who likes to travel. I’d be glad to give you some suggestions if you could email me. My email is backpackingdiplomacy (at) gmail dot com.

  3. Hey,
    it’s so nice this page! what you have achieved is my ultimate dream-to keep on traveling and learning. Also, we share a fondness for punjabi and Bhangra songs! 😀 they are actually meant for making people dance. everyone should have at least one or two on their playlists.
    Hope you get to see many places and come back to tell the world about it.
    Regards.

  4. While I’m not technically a Louisianan, both of my parents were born there and my grandparents still live there so I claim it! It really is a different world. I’m very jealous of your travel adventures. I’m just starting out on my own. Full-time nomad, that really is living the dream!

    • Hey Mags! Great to connect with another Louisianan, even if you weren’t born there. Thanks for the encouragement. It seems as if you are living your own adventures as well. Full-time nomad would be excellent, I am looking at that over the next year 🙂

  5. Hey Andy…just found your site and love it. Keep it up.

  6. Andy,
    Nice website! Enjoyed meeting you on the train in Italy. Teri and I just got back last night and ready to start planning for Spain next year! Hope you got back to Hollywood safely.

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