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Interview with Jub Bryant

Interview with a Nomad...                   Jub Bryant

Hiking around Lake Toba, Sumatra.
Jub, tell us something about your background and how your interest in travel developed.

I represented New Zealand in the World Cup of Poker. That was back in 2009 and that trip to the Bahamas was the first time I’d been outside Australia and New Zealand which convinced me I’d like to travel at some point. I’d read in forums about people living in places around the world playing poker online and the life seemed awesome.

I never did end up living in a beach bungalow playing poker but I’m pretty sure living vicariously through fellow poker players, followed by the trip to the Bahamas, planted the seed.

It still took a few years though, with 2013 the first time I travelled extensively overseas.

How do you feel that your being from New Zealand has affected the way you see the world? How to people react when you tell them where you are from?

Great question!

I feel as though New Zealand is on everybody's bucket list. 99% of the time when I say I’m from NZ the reaction is “OMG I so want to go to New Zealand” or “Wow, I really love New Zealand, wish I could go back.”

Then there are the usual comments about Lord of the Rings, All Blacks, Hobbits and Flight of the Conchords. It’s pretty cool really as everyone loves New Zealand (I still plan on doing a massive kiwi road trip around the country).

In terms of how I see the world? I feel like it makes me realise how small we are. Not just as a country, but as individuals too. When you’re in Europe buildings are thousands of years old. New Zealand is less than 200 years old. It’s crazy.

Random tidbit: In Malaysia there seems to be quite a few randoms wearing fake All Blacks rugby jerseys. When I ask if they’re from NZ, they just look at me confused. It confuses me!

A temple in Nepal.

Tell us a couple of travel stories that have really made an impact on you.

Recently I was in Nepal, exploring the Chitwan National Park. We were offered to ride an elephant ride which in the blogging community is a big no no. We were also travelling with some travel buyers and sellers who did ride the elephants, unaware of the viewpoint against riding elephants. It’s crazy to me, but important that spreading factual information about things you have a strong view on is important. This info does need to be delivered in a respectful way though, and not everyone is always going to agree with you which is totally fine.

The other is related to drugs, will keep it brief. I was in Indonesia recently and someone who I knew of from the hostel got busted with them and that’s certainly not a country you want to be caught with drugs. Situational awareness about the cultural you’re in is massive.

Kerala backwaters, India.

You have your own website...in what way do you feel this is unique compared to other sites?

Every blog is unique, well at least should be, as they are written by that individual. That’s the theory anyway, I think there’s a trend at the moment for people to blog on topics based on SEO, with the personality taken out. They’re almost like tiny media publishing companies disguised as blogs.

I like the storytelling aspect of blogs (Jodi from LegalNomads.com is a wicked story teller) and I’m combining that with my passion for sports I come across as I travel the world.

I’d love to attend all the biggest sporting events in the year as well as interesting sports I come across. Surprisingly sport and travel hasn’t been mixed together much in the travel blogging scenes.

Swinging among the trees in Sumatra.
What are some of the challenges of maintaining a website when you are travelling? And what do you get 'back' from it that makes you feel proud of it?

Creating content that I feel people will want to read. One of the limiting beliefs I struggle to get beyond is: if I know this, everyone else does.

Once I start asking myself questions about what others would like to know is when I get a role on. Just need to find that mindset more often!

The best part about blogging is the community of bloggers who are essentially my work mates now, it’s awesome being able to meet my colleagues in random cities around the world. Even your recent interview with Vicki, I’ve never met her but feel like I know her from different FB groups.

And then there are the emails/snapchats/messages saying thanks for the tips they got from the blog. I don’t get dozens a day, but they’re always fun to reply too.

You have travelled to quite a number of countries. Which countries surprised you, positively or negatively, compared to what you had expected before you went there?

Mongolia surprised me in how diverse the country is. I only spent time in the Gobi Desert, south of the capital Ulan Bator. We certainly weren’t ready when we arrived in the country. Waking up to see snow outside and me not owning anything with long sleeves was a fail.

Manila surprised me in that the traffic was as bad as I’d been told. It’s so hard to make plans there as the taxi ride could take 20 minutes, or an hour. The locals have adapted quite well though which is awesome, it’s a lesson in patience and with technology these days we can read a book until someone arrives.

Relaxing moments in Malaysia.

Which places are high up on your bucket list and why?

I’ve definitely got more experiences on my bucket list than places, especially having completed a bungy jump in Nepal a few weeks ago. I guess Augusta, GA would be up there for the Masters golf tournament.

I’d love to go back to Mongolia to explore more and my current fascination is Ethiopia after a fellow traveller all but sold me on the country when travelling through Sumatra.

So where is 'home' nowadays? And how have your travels shaped how you see the idea of home itself? Of the places you lived in, which one is your favourite?

Right now I’m hanging out in Barcelona with my friend Steph from EverySteph.com who invited to come hangout. My home is wherever my backpack is at the time. I tend to get itchy feet after a month or so, so always need to keep moving.

Home for me is somewhere where I can get into a routine for at least a couple weeks. That might mean going out for some exercise daily, eating at the same restaurants (or going to the same supermarket) and getting to see the same people more than once.

In terms of places I’ve lived, Siem Reap, Melbourne, Riga, Vancouver, Chiang Mai, Ipoh, Penang, I am split between Chiang Mai and Melbourne. Chiang Mai is awesome, the cost of living is low, vegan food options galore and it’s easy to explore from there.

Melbourne has some cool energy and has plenty of international events which I miss having access to (and multiple sports teams) as well as lots of friends who call the city home. The only thing? It’s expensive!

In a few years I’d like to have a base in a couple cities.

Finally the question we always ask - if you could invite four people to dinner from any time in human history, who would you invite any why?

Tiger Woods because he is the best golfer ever. He has had a bit of a tough time in the last few years, but he was someone I looked up to growing up and still think he has a lot to give to others in the future.

Elon Musk because he would make the conversation go next level whenever he speaks and I’d imagine would ask wicked questions.

Steve Hansen because he is the coach of the All Blacks. Coaching one of the best international teams in world across all sports isn’t easy. But he must have some awesome insights.

Tim Ferriss. His book and podcast have influenced thousands around the world (maybe more than a million?) and he asks good questions and doesn’t mind opening up. And knows a good whiskey.

Nepal.
The photos in this interview are from Jub's personal collection and we thank him for sharing them with us.
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