1. Where and what did you study and when did you graduate?
I studied flexible combined honours in glacial geography and middle eastern conflict studies at the University of Exeter
2. Where do you live now?
Right now, I am in Bosnia. I have just started a two to three year trip from the UK to Papua New Guinea, without the use of flights. I’ve been travelling for the last seven years. Eventually, I plan to open a chain of very special hostels across South America.
3. Tell us about your job...
My job is pretty hard to sum up but I shall do my best! I run www.thebrokebackpacker.com, an adventure travel blog I started 18 months ago which focuses on providing information on real budget adventures around the world. I use this site to chronicle my own adventures and to help inspire others to ditch their desks and hit the road. I also work on a freelance basis for numerous publications including The BBC, news.com.au and Buzzfeed. I write, create (amateur as hell) videos and aim to explore lesser visited countries in the hope of breaking down cultural barriers and demonstrating that there are cool folks and epic experiences to be had all over the world; all you have to do is go look.
4) What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to join the marines. This dream was shattered when, at 19, I was hospitalised for two weeks in Costa Rica. My leg was going to be amputated following a serious jungle infection. Luckily, my insurance company insisted on flying me back to England and my leg was saved. Unfortunately, it was permanently damaged. Shit happens and in this instance it worked out for the best.
5) What did you do immediately after leaving university?
I bought a one-way flight to India and, following a difficult break-up, ran away from my problems.
6) How did you feel about your future when you graduated?
Concerned. I had no idea what the heck I wanted to do. I did know that I didn’t want to work unless I could find something I was passionate about. Getting the job for the sake of it seemed like a huge waste of energy. I had a little bit of cash saved from unloading lorries and I was already well versed in extreme budget travel, I knew I could survive a long time on the road and this gave me confidence that I would, hopefully, have time to figure my shit out.
I didn’t attend my graduation day. I think my Mum has my degree certificate somewhere. I suppose, if I was to go back and to speak to myself at the beginning of my Indian adventure, I would have said – “Man, a lot of the time, this isn’t going to seem like it’s worth it. You will be tired, you will be hungry, you will be scared. On a couple of occasions, you will come close to dying yet again. All of these experiences will build your resilience. This will be the most valuable educational experience you ever embark upon. Stick with it and have faith, everything will fall into place.”
8) Would you have done anything different?
There is so much I would have done differently and yet, fuck knows where I would have ended up if I had not have to go through some difficult times over the last few years. A lesson I have learnt only relatively recently; whilst there is always room for kindness, there should be limited time for bullshit. If somebody is an uncompromising drain on your mental resources, cut them loose. It is extremely important that you try to surround yourself with people who have the characteristics which you too hope to cultivate; find inspiring, energetic and driven people and learn from them.
9) What inspires you?
I am inspired by so many different things, this is hard to pinpoint. Mostly, I am inspired by the incredible lengths which human beings can be pushed to when they are passionate. The bar can be raised again and again and again. My own aim in life is to push myself as far as I possibly can, to scare the shit out of myself again and again in an effort to evolve and to learn. Three of my heroes are Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Jack Kerouac and Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett.
10) What would you like to say to our graduates looking for inspiration?
If you really want to be happy in life, having a job you are passionate about can go a long way towards making that happen. It is extremely unlikely that your first job shall be your last. Do not be afraid to quit. You should try one hundred things before you decide upon which course to direct your energies. Travelling is a very good space to try and figure shit out and, if you have the opportunity, you should take the time to travel. You will likely work for fifty years, you can put getting a job off for a couple of years. In my opinion, being your own boss is the only way to move forwards. Find your passion, embrace it, put in the time and the energy and you shall succeed.
11) Your three favourite words
My favourite phrase – There are no limits to what can be achieved.
My three favourite words – awesome, fuck, dig (as in, 'I dig it!')
Find out more about Will's library of amazing stories on his blog, The Broke Backpacker. Follow him on twitter and like him on facebook