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Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 | 1 comment

Featured Traveler: Duff of Aspiring Backpacker

Today, I have the pleasure to feature a person who can teach us a thing or two about travel and inspiration.  I am referring to Duff, one of the founding members of the popular website called Aspiring Backpacker.

Duff has been globetrotting since 2008, worked and traveled extensively around Asia and the South Pacific, and resided in no fewer than 5 different countries in the last 5 years.  Therefore, continue reading to find more about his interesting travel related experiences and current projects.


Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi there, my names Neil but most people call me Duff. I left the UK to go traveling in 2008 with Johnny Ward from before traveling through most of South East Asia, finding love on the road, moving to Australia, then Taiwan and back to Oz.

Where are you currently living? What is your current life project?

I’m currently living in Sydney, Australia and planning to get married in April next year. This involves a lot of saving so travel has been limited this year… although we had a quick trip to the UK back in April which was great 🙂 Johnny and I have started a little website called Aspiring Backpacker ( which is aimed at helping first time (and long time) backpackers. Whether this is what to pack, where to go or even how to order a beer in a different language the info is there to help any questions first time travelers may have.

Aspiring Backpacker Team

Where have you been? Where do you want to go?

I won’t bore you to tears by listing them all out but I’ve been to quite a lot of places including Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, Caribbean and North America. There’s so much to do and see in the world that I want to go everywhere. However, the top of my hitlist are Mongolia, & a stint in South America.

When did you get the travel bug?

I didn’t really have the travel bug until 2008 when a lot of my friends were on their travels and I wanted to join in on the fun. 4 years on and most have gone back to the UK with one exception and I’m out in Oz.

How has travel changed your life?

In every shape and form! I was almost a little scared to go traveling at first but upon going I’ve done some really cool things with some really cool friends. Sounds cliché, but I’ve opened my mind a lot more since I’ve traveled and I’m more open to trying new things. I’ve made hundreds of friends, taught English, lived in a few different countries and met my wife to be… life changing would be an understatement.

Border Control, East Timor

How would you inspire someone to travel?

The only thing I can do to inspire is to show how much travel has changed my life for the better. Every place you go to, every person you meet presents a new opportunity – grasp it with both hands and enjoy.

What are the most underrated and overrated places you have visited?

Underrated: Indonesia – There is seriously so much to do and see there that a month just wasn’t enough. Looking back, I wish I’d got a 3 month visa so we could explore more of Indonesia – but what we did see was fantastic!

Cambodia – This was the first place I went to and everyone had been raving on about how nice everyone in Cambodia is. Unfortunately, I only saw the side where I was getting asked for money all the time which was a bit sad. Still a great place and getting to see Angkor Wat was mind blowing.

What is you travel pet peeve?

It takes a lot to annoy as I’m pretty laid back… Hmmm, I do get frustrated when people try and have a ‘travel off’ with each other on the road / trying to ‘out travel’ each other. I mean, it’s cool that people have seen some amazing things but don’t you don’t need to show off about it to try and belittle someone.

I love food.  What is your favorite dish?

Steak! I get a bit excitable about steak and even have a steak dance…sad but true

Have you tried some exotic or weird foods (insects, organs or something like that)?

I had snakes blood, some wormy things in Thailand which I wasn’t sure of, Crocodile, Kangaroo, fugu….I’m sure I’ve eaten a lot more without realising it too 😉

Trying snake blood

What travel moment has made you laugh like there is no tomorrow?

One of my friends is the funniest man in the world without a doubt. Everything and anything always happens to him. In fact, Johnny even wrote a story about this particular friend – I won’t ruin it for you but if ever I’m feeling down I read this story and it has me in stitches  –

What travel resources do you use?

I’ll have a look at Wikitravel to get an idea of what to do wherever I’m going. To be quite honest, I’m quite disorganized when I travel and sort everything out either on route or when I get there. As long as I know the main areas that I’m going and it’s not New Year or some other holiday everything usually falls into place.

What is your blog about (and why you started to blog)?

When Johnny came to see me in Taiwan last year – he had an idea about starting a blog to give help and advice for first time backpackers. A few months later and Aspiring Backpacker was created. We’re basically trying to create a one stop site for newbie backpackers to find any information they may need. Hopefully some of the stuff we write will be able to help people about to hit the road and people already on the road.

How can we found more about you and your upcoming projects?

Check out the Aspiring Backpacker ( site and drop us a comment or 5 😉

Something else you want to add?

Savour every moment on the road – even those really horrible annoying bus rides (they’re the ones you’ll laugh about later on in life:) )

Oh, and have a great day.


Thanks Duff for answering all my questions.  I wish you success in all your future projects.

Remember, I am giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card. To have a chance to win it, you just have to like my Facebook fanpage. I am posting cool stuff daily. So come and share the fun on that side too. Like me here: Tell all your friends about the giveaway. I will give you an additional entry if you refer someone.

Note: I can deposit the $50 in the winner’s PayPal account. The giveaway will run till the end of July 2012.

1 Comment

  1. Aww, bummer that you didn’t have a great experience in Cambodia! Like a lot of the people you talked to, we thought Cambodians were SO friendly — everyone smiled at us constantly, and little kids would grin and wave from the back of motorbikes.
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