Tom Mundey talks travelling off the beaten track
Hey guys, meet Tom Mundey. A 25 year old born and bred Brissy boy with a love of fitness, graphic design, web design, writing and photography. Having recently returned home from a six month adventure, Tom now finds himself with a new found love of travel and a newly acquired drinking problem (courtesy of Europe). Here he took the time to tell us about his whirlwind trip and why dodgy bus companies in Morocco are never a good idea!
How many countries have you travelled to?
I wanted to see everything but my budget only allowed for England, Ireland, Scotland, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Bosnia and Sarajevo, Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Germany.
If you could narrow it down, what would be your top 3?
Its kind of hard to choose just 3 but I’d have to choose Spain for the weather, Ireland for the Guinness and the pubs, and Morocco for the experience. Having said that, every country has its own signature charm and style.
You recently just came back from a huge trip. How long were you gone for and where did you go?
I was gone for just under 6 months and managed to crisscross and traverse all over Europe with a tiny bit of Africa thrown in. I was lucky enough to sample a little bit of every kind of travel experience you could expect in Europe. There were speeding fines in Spain, a boozy Topdeck Tour in the Mediterranean, east London living, food poisoning in Istanbul, couch surfing and sleeping on the floor’s of big city locals. I know it’s a cliché but I wouldn’t take any of it back for a second, absolutely no regrets.
What was the highlight?
Once again too many to choose from, but it’s hard to go past the good times and great weather in Portugal and Spain. Having a car at your disposal just gives you so much freedom. We never planned anything more than a day in advance and were able to stop whenever and wherever we wanted. One day we stopped at a small town called Zambujeira which had this amazing beach, gigantic cliff faces and plenty of space, had a swim, had some cafe con leches and watched a storm roll in before stopping over in an even tinier fisherman’s town to watch Portugal V Spain in the Euro Football semi-finals. There were drums, chanting and grizzly Portuguese fisherman with beards to match and no one could speak a word of English, but they treated us like we were one of them and was just a great way to end the day.
What city would you like to go back to and spend more time in?
London is the obvious choice. It’s got style, it’s gritty, it’s diverse and the city just has this hold over you, it’s almost intoxicating. You only had to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics to realise that the Poms know what being English is all about. Berlin is another place that realises who and what makes their city great, it’s like the city was made for all those creatively inclined and there are young people everywhere who aren't afraid to get outside and socialise. Both places were really inspirational for me and just had an awesome vibe, I'll head back there in the next few years without a doubt.
The best food you found?
One thing Londoners do well is a boozy food filled night out. You’ve pretty much got all corners of the world covered. There are plenty of places with heaps of character in every corner of the city, North, South, East and West, it’s hard to choose just one place to fill up. I was particularly fond of Brixton. You can cruise down and get some of Jeff the Chef’s signature Jerk Chicken during the day and head to Brixton Village at night with some friends and a couple of cheap bottles of BYO wine for some face melting Thai. Then just when you think you’re waistline can’t take any more you run into a makeshift Mexican bar banging out 1 pound tacos and tequila shots. Deadly.
Best city for a beverage?
If you’re in Krakow, Poland head straight on over to the Jewish Quarter and grab yourself a pint of any of the Polish beers on offer. They’re a great price and more than hold their own against the obvious Bavarian choices. Krakow itself has heaps of history, the beer and food is more than affordable and the girls are blessed with Eastern European good looks, it’s almost unfair. Special mention has to go to the 1 pound tallie cans which you can get your hands on 24/7 from the abundant London Off-Licences, a perfect way to end a big night out.
Craziest moment on your trip?
When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Me and my mates had to make our way from Marrakesh to Tahgazout and we couldn't get a ride on one of the 3 reputable bus companies that operate in Morocco. Considering we were leaking cash rapidly we were less than keen on wasting our accommodation we had booked for Tahgazout. After some deliberation we decided to buy a cheap ticket from a shady looking guy working for an even shadier bus company (think dilapidated white phone booth and that’s pretty similar).
We got there the next morning full of optimism but a little worried and soon enough were being taken on a 20 minute walk out of the bus centre to a tiny little bus stop in the middle of nowhere. The bus rolled in and it was completely full of Moroccans who had trouble holding in their breakfast in the sweltering, unclean and completely full bus. Me and my friends were forced to sit on the floor surrounded by a sea of Moroccan feet and used vomit bags. USED! Being the gentleman I am, I freed up some room for the commuters by parking myself in the stairwell of the bus clinging on to the rail for dear life as I watched the broken bus door swinging wildly on its hinge. A 12 hour bus trip never felt so long. It was a pretty cheap trip though.
How would you describe your travel style?
Erratic, unpredictable and unique. I’ve got as many stories about making mistakes as I do about amazing experiences. When you’re forced to pay 40 pounds to get a cab home in London because you’re too drunk to work out the night buses all you can do is just keep telling yourself that it’s part and parcel of the travel experience.
Where are you planning on travelling next?
Given the hell-ish return trip I had coming home from Europe, I'm looking to do some travel a little closer to home. I'm pretty interested in South East Asia and India but who knows. Hopefully hurricane Sandy doesn't wipe out New York before I get there, I have no doubt that city will change my life.
More like this
Unusual destinations to tick off in 2016
The most difficult path is the most rewarding. For the intrepid traveller, there is no greater thrill than having the chance to explore a destination seemingly untouched by tourism. Or at least people in your social circle.
Summer music festivals fit for a holiday
Why hold a festival in the middle of the desert? As I applied more sun cream, a teenager was hauled from a crowd being doused with water nearby. Despite the 40-degree heat, those around him were euphoric, arms raised in the fine layer of cooling spray, all eyes on the stage: swaying, singing.