Stelios is an aspiring travel blogger whose story is as interesting as his Instagram page. He is constantly on the go, but without being sponsored by big brands. He is the boy next door, one of us, who has a normal life, yet follows his dreams and passion at any cost. It made me wonder…“how on earth does he do it? Who is this guy?” So I contacted him for an interview. And he accepted! And there you have it:
1) Hi Stelios and thank you for joining me in this interview. First of all, I want to ask, how do you fund your travels?
“Alongside my travelling lifestyle, I work as a cashier at a super market chain. I love this double nature, on one hand because it provides the money I need to travel, and on the other because it offers me a life rich with experiences, a complete one.”
2) Judging from your Instagram account I think I know the answer but I’ll ask anyway…haha! Are you a backpacker or a suitcase lover?
“You have understood correctly. I love backpacks. Even when I am not travelling, I carry my backpack with me all the time. I like the relationship I have with my backpack, as it gives me the ease of carrying a small camera, small gifts for my friends and family when I feel the need to buy them something, even clothes some times, since my restless spirit can set off for work and end up anywhere else.”
3) When and where was your first trip?
“If memory serves me correctly, I travelled for the first time at the age of 8. I can still remember my anticipation and longing for this first experience. This trip’s destination was Russia, where I would spend some days with my parents. I think it’s worth mentioning that every summer, I travelled with my parents somewhere in Greece. As you can see, they are the reason I was infected with the travel bug.”
4) I know it is kind of a hard question, but tell me, from the ones you’ve been to already, which country is your favorite and why?
“I am not sure which answer would be fair to this question. I cannot forget the 20 times I’ve visited Paris, which I loved so much. Paris has sealed loves, friendships, and break-ups in my life. Additionally, I can’t just not mention one more destination such as Bali, which I visited in March 2016, and honestly won me over with its uniqueness.”
5) How do you find good travel deals? Any specific websites? Do you book way in advance?
“I am constantly on a search for new destinations, new experiences, and new goals. My source of inspiration is Trip Advisor, where I can select my next destination, the activities I can have there, even where I should eat. When it comes to flghts, I use different sites, like airtickets.gr, which I prefer the most. Last but not least, I use booking.com for my hotel reservations.”
6) What is your favorite mode of transport? Plane, train or boat?
“I never cared about the way with which I would end up somewhere in the world. I could travel as a crew member on a tanker, by bus, even by bike. I love journeys and I enjoy them significantly. I have a particular soft spot for travelling by plane, of course, and there are a lot of reasons for it. The first reason is that I am an adrenaline fan; the speed of take-off and landing excites me. I love food and always long for the in-flight meals. I like well-dressed people, and that’s why I enjoy looking at the flight attendants. A popular Greek song says that when you look from above, earth looks like a painting, and that’s what I feel when I look through the small airplane window. I love airplanes for one more reason. Because it can take me in a few hours from Australia to America and from Africa to Scandinavia.”
7) Which is the worst place you’ve ever been to and why?
“There is no worst country. All countries, at least those that I have visited, had something to offer me, the experience of travelling.”
8) Do you have any funny stories?
“In 2004, I arrived at the islands of Maldives. One of the funny moments I had there was when I was offered a live crab inside of a glass, which would represent me in the local crab race. I cannot describe how funny it was when approximately 20 people were sitting around a circle, in the centre of which we placed the crabs. Music started playing loud, suspense began to settle, as we all wanted to win a pack of beer, which was the winning prize.”
9) How do you like traveling?
“Despite the fact I’ve travelled solo once or twice, I always choose to travel mainly with friends. It’s nice being able to share the trip with people that know you well, and you know well, too. With them, you can spend all night at a bar in Madrid, rent bikes for you and your friends and get lost in the town of Prague, like I did, and so much more that, when you return home, stay as fond memories and bond you for life.”
10) How easy is it to find a partner to share your lifestyle with? Could you sacrifice traveling over a big love?
“Very easy. People are charmed by travelling, which can also refresh a relationship. Big loves do not require separations and sacrifices. Freedom of expression and selection must be the relationship’s flag.
And since I am certain that you want to hear it from me, no I would not sacrifice travelling over a big love. :-P”
11) What’s your advice to newbies in traveling?
“An amateur traveller will need to have a camera on the ready, a Polo bag like mine, a never-ending mood for adventure, an open mind to be able to perceive the greatness of what they see, and a lot of humor. They also need to be very sociable. When you start travelling, you never know how far you will go. That’s why they have to be open to new challenges.”
12) Quick ones: Favorite food? Favorite beach? Favorite airline?
“Noodles. Platis Gialos on Sifnos island. Emirates.”
13) What is the most overrated city?
“I know that some of you may hate me for this, because I believe that the most overrated city is London. I’ve travelled three times to the British capital and was never able to give an answer to whether I like it or not. Additionally, I was never able to explain to myself why it is as overrated as it is. By the way, I love English tea!”
14) Do you have a specific daily budget when traveling? How do you manage to keep up with it?
“Depending on the country, I have the fitting budget. What I always do is divide the total amount I have by the days I spent there. If one of those days I spend something extra, the next I’ll spend less. This way, I can satisfy my greatest desires, while my trip remains well organised. In extreme situations, like when I was robbed in London – a chain smoker back then – I had to smoke one cigarette every four hours, split in half with my friend.”
15) How did you become so popular on Instagram? / What do you think that your followers like the most about your page?
“I never understood what success means, as this was not the objective or goal. My blog was created for one reason alone, so that I never forget the things I’ve been through in all my trips. I started sharing and setting goals for next destinations by writing with passion and being loud to the whole world about my dreams. I am not sure how unique it is for a simple chain super market cashier to want to travel the world. What touched me and always will, are the messages I receive every single day, that tell me I am an inspiration, asking me to keep going, one step at a time, at least one country per year. In those short Instagram stories of mine, you will find authenticity, uniqueness as they are my personal moments as well as, maybe, a piece of yourself. We are small people, but wish to live great moments.”
16) Last one! Which are your next big plans?
“I am already in the process of packing my suitcase while I am writing these words. I am going to live my dream, just like millions of others, in New York City. My next goals are to travel all the way to China, and walk along the Great Wall, to take a photo of myself in front of the greatest monument of love, India’s Taj Mahal, to ride a boat and admire glaciers from really close in beautiful Iceland.
Thank you very much for this interview. I really enjoyed those questions, as much as I like your blog.”