This week we interviewed Caz Makepeace an Australian with extensive travel experience over the years. Caz has also written for Gap Year Escape and you can read those contributions here.
Where did you go and how old were you when you lost your backpacking virginity?
I was 21 and I went to Indonesia for three months backpacking with two girlfriends before moving to live in London on a working holiday visa.
We backpacked through Sumatra, Java, and Bali. It was a wild adventure and what is a relatively unspoilt area to travel. We went jungle trekking to see wild orang-utans, narrowly missed out on being tigerâ€™s lunch by the river, surfed at the world famous Nias Beach, hiked a mountain at dawn for sunrise over Mt Bromo, the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, and were kidnapped by mushroom tripping locals on â€œhippyâ€ Lake Toba.
You walk into a Hostel and everyone must graffiti on the wall. What do you write?
Make your life a story to tell because life is all about the memories!
What’s the most memorable Hostel you’ve stayed in?
It would definitely have to be BIBS Hostel at St Lucia Wetlands, South Africa This was in the most beautiful area, where hippos roamed freely around the town at night (true story). The workers at the hostel were amazing. They took us on so many adventures showing us the magic of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We snuck up on hippos in their private pools, went crawling through the beach lantana, home of viper snakes to arrive at wild and rugged beaches, and walked past crocodiles baking in the wetlands. Not only that but every night they organized a fun party for the guests, from Frisbee golf, to volleyball comps, BBQâ€™s, and beach bonfire parties.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
I think white water rafting the Nile River. It had some of the wildest Grade 5 rapids and no course in the world could even compete with the terrifying rapid, fittingly called The BAD Place. I thought my time had come.
What type of traveller really bugs you?
Those who want everything to be like it is at home. Whatâ€™s the point? And those who donâ€™t take the time to get to know the local culture and respect their customs. Usually these two travellers are one and the same.
What piece of travel gear would you recommend to us?
A sarong. It doesnâ€™t weigh anything and can be useful for so many things like covering yourself in holy places, a bed sheet , a towel, a picnic blanket, a scarf, a sweater, wind protection, a privacy screen. Amazing!
Have you had any brushes with border patrol/police/security/government officials?
US immigration had a brush with us when they lost our passports. We sent them in for visa extension, which we received along with a notice saying we had to be out of the country in a week,
which was when we had our plane tickets booked and paid for.
The only problem was they did not return our passports with the documents and everyone we spoke to could not quite understand what the problem was. We had our visa renewal now we could leave on time.
Not only did they not understand that a passport is needed to leave a country, they had no idea where they were. Lucky the Australian embassy came to the rescue with emergency passports so we cold leave before being called illegal aliens.
Caz Makepeace is a serial traveller, sunset mojito drinker and blogger. Sheâ€™s one half of the popular y travel blog, which she writes with her husband Craig. Their two daughters now travel the globe with them.