It is our second post of this serie where we publish an interview with popular travel blogger. Last week Elena Prokopets gave us an interview. If you are a travel blogger and have what to say our readers then we can organise an interview with you. Just get in touch with us.
Give us your full name please.
Charlie Jean Marchant
Do you have a preferred name or a nickname you like?
My friends just called me Chaz.
What nationality are you?
Which country do you use as your base?
Currently Costa Rica, as I’ve been house sitting there very regularly over the past 6 months. My base changes all the time though. I previously lived in Taiwan and that was my base for travel in South East Asia. Of course, home in the UK is always my base for European travel.
Which country would you like to live?
I’d really like to live in Sweden or one of the Scandanavian countries. I like the beautiful landscapes, the friendly locals, and the delicious cafe culture of places like Stockholm.
What is your favorite way of travelling?
Slow travel is by far my favourite way to travel. I really dislike rushing through places and having to plan ahead to make sure I can pack as many of the sights as possible. I like to stay in one place a long time, have lazy days in cafes, discover the places where locals like to eat and if I’m house sitting then shop in the local farmer’s markets and cook the foods I buy there. I like ambling around the streets aimlessly with no worries or time restrictions.
What is your take on travelling and sustainability?
Naturally I believe very strongly in sustainable travel, which is why I’m such an advocate of slow travel. Doing our best to ensure that we don’t negatively impact the environment is very important. Unfortunately, us travellers are guilty of increasing the carbon footprint because of the amount we travel and especially the amount that we fly. travelling slowly means that I can fly less often and I get by mostly using only local public transports (buses and trains) and I cycle and walk places as often as possible.
Travellers must also be aware of their impact on the destinations which they are travelling to. Conservation the natural environment and a country’s wildlife and preservation of the local culture are the most important things to consider when travelling. For anyone who is interested in reading more on these issues, I have compiled a list of five essential blog posts that everyone who travels should read, and I have also discussed how to enjoy wildlife responsibly and the importance of eating local when you travel.
When was the first time you travelled alone and where to?
I first travelled alone in 2010 on a cultural programme to China. Before this, I thought travelling the world was impossible.
I wrote an application for a government funded programme that sends a small number of students to China every year to learn Chinese, participate in cultural classes and explore the local area. I didn’t tell anybody about it, I thought I wouldn’t get accepted. I did get accepted.
What did you make of your first solo travel experience?
On my first solo travel experience, I found myself in Shanghai, dazed by neon lights and skyscrapers, practising Tai Chi and eating steaming bowls of noodles from street vendors. I was both daunted and captivated by the completely strange and compelling world around me. It was then that I realised that anything is possible as long as you can imagine it.
What is your most memorable travel experience and what made is so memorable?
All travel experiences are memorable in their own way, and they’re all so different. Some I remember more vividly than others, for instance eating pasta in Italy with my mum, sailing on a banca boat in El Nido, scootering through Taroko Gorge in Taiwan, hiking to the top of Mt Kościelec in Poland, paragliding in New Zealand, standing on the Great Wall of China…
What countries have you been to?
In Europe, I’ve travelled to France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Estonia. In Asia, I’ve lived in Taiwan, and travelled in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and the Philippines. As for the rest of the world, so far I’ve visited America briefly, road-tripped in New Zealand, house sat in Costa Rica, and backpacked in Nicaragua. Panama is next on my list!
What country are you looking forward to visiting the most?
I always look forward to visiting everywhere but as Panama is next on my list, I’m going to say Panama! I’ll be house sitting in Boquete, which is a small mountain town surrounded by coffee plantations, this Christmas.
What do you enjoy most about travelling?
As cliche as it is, I most enjoy experiencing different cultures. I like to see different places, meet different people, try different foods and challenge myself to do new things. If you spend your whole life doing the same thing day in day out, what happens when you wake up and you’re 60 years old? Some people might be content but I just wouldn’t wake up feeling fulfilled. I want to wake up knowing that I saw everything I could and tried everything I could.
How do you prepare for a new travel experience?
I always begin by panicking. Once I get that out of the way, I set up a Google doc spreadsheet to keep track of my travel budget and expenses. Travelling with a small budget means that this is essential. I do a bit of online research to work out the most expensive areas and then the cheaper places in a country, and make a note of it. I always search HappyCow for vegetarian eateries in any place I travel to and I try to find local guesthouses to stay in too.
Out of all the things you need to do to travel, which one do you like the least?
Packing. I dislike packing. I love reading, researching, planning, but packing really bores me. I don’t want to carry anything really but I know realistically there are a lot of things that I’m going to need on the road, so packing is essential of course. Sigh.
Do you have a favourite city?
There are so many incredible cities in the world but Barcelona is one that has really stayed in my mind. The vibrant colours of the buildings and the markets, all of Gaudi’s amazing architecture, and Spanish wine. Mmm.
Do you have a favourite country?
Right now, Taiwan is still my favourite country. No where else in the world have I meet a people so friendly and welcoming to the extent that they go out of their way to help you. During my year living in Taiwan, I was constantly touched by the unconditional kindness and generosity of the Taiwanese people, and loved my time travelling around the beautiful little island.
Who is (are) your inspiration in the travel world?
I’m inspired by a lot of different people for different things, but I would say Agness from eTramping is my main inspiration. Not only is she super lovely but she runs an excellent blog with regular, fun content, she travels on a super tight budget and I have never commented on a blog post that Agness hasn’t already read and commented on first! All that and she’s still managing to study and write great eBooks. I admire her ability to be, well, super woman, when it comes to travel! She’s dedicated, hardworking and just goes for it – I admire that a lot.
What travel blog(s) do you read?
I read quite a few travel blogs, but my firm favourites are AngloItalian and The Culture Map. They are run by three incredible travel bloggers who not only love their travels, but they care about the world around them and discuss it very eloquently in their writing. I’m also a regular reader of the Right Tourism blog, which has very informative posts on responsible tourism.
How can you followers or people interested in you connect with you?
I am relatively new to blogging about travel, however I have been passionate about travelling for as long as I can remember. As one of the principal travel blogger for Travel Friendz, I am constantly learning more and more about travelling and journeying through exciting exotic places that I am yet to visit in person, but through researching them for travel articles and posts, I have learn a lot about. I hope you find some of my articles and blogs interesting and informative.