Traveller Tuesday with Ben from High Society Hobo

Each Tuesday from now on I'll be hosting interviews with other travel bloggers, to help you discover more blogs and even more inspiration to travel. If you want to be part of this series please contact me.

1. For those who don’t know you, introduce yourself and your blog.

I’m a born explorer and adventurer I guess, something I get from my Dad. As long as I can remember I’ve had a yearning to see the world, learn more about its peoples, languages and cultures. I think it comes from growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I’m all about setting out for random adventures, getting lost in a city and so on. Some of my fondest travel memories grew from such randomness. My blog, www.highsocietyhobo.com, is about those random moments (though I haven’t had a lot of them lately), overcoming travel challenges and also LGBT travel. Not LGBT travel as in sexploration, gay pride parties and gay cruises – there are already several great blogs out there that cover that kind of stuff if you’re into it. I’m just trying to document my experiences as a regular, average guy who just happens to be gay and is traveling with world.

The main idea behind my blog, which will take shape eventually, is more in-depth exploration of a place and doing it with a little bit of class. I’m on a 4-month backpacking tour of SE Asia right now as I kick off this new phase in my life, but my goal is not to actually be a backpacker on a whirlwind trip around the world. I really try to avoid portraying the stereotypical image of a backpacker (which isn’t all that good really). Instead, I hope to be more of what I call a “slowmad” – moving from town to town slowly, spending 3 months here, 6 months there, etc. I really enjoy having local experiences and while it’s possible to do that when you’re constantly moving, it’s much more of a challenge and I feel the experiences you do have are really only a glance at the experiences you could be having if you stayed longer.

I also take a lot of food pics for my Instagram page. I’m a huge foodie.







2. Are you a light packer or an overpacker, what one thing won’t you leave the house without?

I’m definitely a light packer, another trait I get from my dad. When I was a kid my dad was in a band that would tour the country for months at a time. I remember helping him pack – pretty much everything went into one small suitcase and maybe a garment bag, regardless of the length of the trip. When we went to see him off, his band mates would each be lugging around multiple suitcases, garment bags and other boxes of stuff. Yet my dad was the one who always got comments on how well he dressed. So I took a page out of his book. He’s also the one who introduced me to rolling clothes instead of folding and that was probably 20 years ago.

I don’t leave the house without my smartphone. I’ve got loads of travel and social media apps that I use to help me really explore a place and even meet people.



3. Do you plan trips or just go with the flow?

I’d say somewhere in between, but definitely leaning more towards “go with the flow”. I generally have what I call a vague outline of my trip, whether it’s certain countries I want to visit, specific cities or sites, etc. But it can all change when I get on the ground.

4. Where has been your favourite place to visit to date?

Oh, tough question! I like so many places more or less equally for different reasons. That said, I can say that London is my favourite city in the world, but I lived there for two years so I don’t know if that really counts as a visit.



5. Is there anywhere you don’t want to go?

No. There are places I don’t want to go right now (like places where being gay can get me legally executed) but eventually I want to visit every country on earth at least once.

6. What is the most important item on your “Bucket List”, or if you don’t have one what one place or thing don’t you want to miss out?

I don’t really have a Bucket List anymore. It got so long I couldn’t remember half the stuff on it! I really want to go driving and trekking in Ladakh in India. It’s supposed to have one of the most dangerous access roads in the world and the few photos I’ve seen from there are stunning.

7. What is the best experience you’ve had whilst traveling?

I got stranded in the center of Paris late on night a few years back. I was on a super-strict budget so I’d left everything in my hostel locker except for the cash I could spend that night and my metro tickets. I met some friends for dinner and ended up spending all of my cash over the course of several hours. Sometime around 130 am, we parted ways near Arc de Triomphe and I went to the metro station only to discover it was closed. I had no cash and no way of getting any cash so taxis were not an option. I also couldn’t find a bus stop anywhere. So I set off walking, using just the tiny tourist map for a basic guide. My hostel was near Sacre Coeur. I got turned around a few times so it took me over two hours to walk there. It was a cloudless night, with a full moon and the streets were deserted. I even happened upon a few old cobblestone streets with no cars on them. It felt as if I’d stepped back in time a hundred years or so. Such an awesome experience.

8. What tip would you give other traveller’s?

Don’t over plan, if you can help it. Over planning can really take the fun out of travel and also limit your ability to do random things – like hop on a scooter and drive 120 kms to Phuket with a guy you just met two hours ago.



9. If you had to choose one place to live forever, where would it be and why?

Another tough question! I have to say London again it really is my favourite city in the world. There’s just something about it and the people that got under my skin. Plus it’s a great base for exploring the rest of Europe via train or budget airlines like RyanAir and it’s right in the middle of the world: 7 hours to NYC, 10ish hours to SE Asia, 12 hours to South Africa. No place is too far from London.

10. What’s next for you…

I really don’t know! I got tired of the corporate life and quit my job, my last day of full-time employment was Christmas Eve 2014. I’m in Thailand now and will be moving on to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam through the end of April. I’m working on trying to build up new sources of income at the same time, so every day is a new adventure. I’m really hoping to become a full-time digital nomad. I’m doing some writing and (shameless plug) offering management consulting and legal services (I’m a lawyer), focusing on small businesses in general and those in the travel/hospitality industry specifically. My backup plan is either Australia or New Zealand, pretty much the only countries that will give Americans a Working Holiday visa.



Ben can be found around the internet at

High Society Hobo
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Comments

  1. Lovely to meet you Ben - heading over to check out your blog now - I really haven't found a lot of LGBT travel blogs, though I would LOVE to attend a Mardi Gras at some point, so will definitely head over for tips and advice :)

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  2. Great getting to learn about yet another blogger I've never heard of! It's so funny to see people always say London for where they'd like to live forever :)

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    Replies
    1. Right? I wouldn't like to live in London (I get that for people out of Europe its great because a) airports b) easyjet) because black snot all the time.

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  3. Love this interview going to head over and check out Ben's blog. Another blog to add to my ever-growing reading list! :)

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  4. I LOVE the Paris story- just one of those perfect moments that make you realize how amazing travel is. Definitely will be heading over to check out Ben's blog!

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  5. Totally agre with not over planning. The world is not made to plan it all, the best moments are those you are experiencing unexpectedly!

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