The solo traveler’s story

Once deciding that it was enough to waste his only irreplaceable resource – time, Alexander quit his job and set off on an indefinite journey around the world with a backpack on his shoulders and his eyes burning from a feeling of uncertainty! Alexander shared his life hacks as a free traveler, talked about several useful resources, how to save on the flight, as well as where you can live and eat absolutely free while traveling.

– Tell us about yourself.

– Hello! My name is Alexander Demidov, I come from the Primorsky Territory, but 10 years ago I moved to St. Petersburg. Until recently, I led a lifestyle familiar to most Russians: I worked as a hired employee, mainly in an office, had a good income, consumed the benefits of a city dweller, and strove for the goals imposed by society. But one day I decided that it was enough to waste my only irreplaceable resource – time! It was as if I woke up from the everyday routine of life and told myself that you can live differently, live just for yourself, and not for the employer, not for the sake of values ​​alien to me, not for the sake of material well-being, not for the sake of status in society.

I quit my job and set off on an indefinite independent journey around the world with a backpack on my shoulders and eyes burning from a feeling of uncertainty! Of course, before I had already traveled a lot to different countries, but usually I came or flew to some country for a few days, more often as a tourist. But now I decided to become a free traveler!

At 34, I have visited 29 countries, hundreds of cities, 17 seas. Now I am on my big trip for the 2nd year, during which I have already managed to visit 15 countries. And my indefinite journey from St. Petersburg began in early summer 2017

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– How to create a travel itinerary?

– To begin with, I chose places to visit, which I wanted to visit for a long time, therefore, having driven through various cities of Russia from St. Petersburg to Krasnodar, having enjoyed many of their attractions, I went to travel around Crimea. After that, my long journey continued through the Caucasian countries, etc.

And now the list of countries I have visited on this indefinite independent journey is as follows: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and of course Russia, which I give a lot of attention on my journey. For each of these countries, you can write a huge article with interesting stories.

– How to choose a country for travel?

– When choosing countries for a further route, I am often guided by climatic conditions in a particular season, so we can say that my trip, lasting 2 years, almost always takes place in the summer.

– Traveling alone or with a company?

– I decided to travel by hitchhiking, using the community dedicated to hitchhiking – vk.com/ru_autostop. Firstly, this is a new experience for me, secondly, it is the development of communication skills with a large number of strangers from different walks of life, thirdly, it is an element of unpredictability, and fourthly, it significantly saves money.

Initially, I traveled alone, it did not frighten me, did not upset me. I did not feel lonely, because in this mode of travel there is enough communication with people.
A few months later I decided that I needed a travel companion, I threw a cry in one popular travel community on the social network: m.vk.com/avp_travel_ru and quickly found a person who wanted to share with me the delights of a great free trip.

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– Where do you book tickets? How to save on flights?

– Occasionally I use traditional travel methods: air travel, rail and bus travel. In some countries, certain modes of transport are very cheap. For example, in Thailand, it is quite budgetary to travel by train; there are often cheap flights between the countries of Southeast Asia, tickets for which can be found on various air ticket aggregators, for example, skyscanner.ru or aviasales.ru. And also, if we talk about Asia, then you can search for tickets directly on the websites of airlines. For example, one of the most popular airlines with cheap flights to many Asian countries is AirAsia.

How else to save on the flight? If you do not take a large baggage with you, as most low-cost airlines charge an additional fee for baggage, you can save a lot on air travel. If you still have a lot of luggage with you, but you are not flying alone, then you can pack one luggage for two. Also, most of the things can be left in the place from where you fly, and take only hand luggage. This is in case you later return to the same place.

Of course, as a rather rational person, I estimate an approximate route of my journey, but I never rule out the possibility of changes. I am impressed by the theory “Always say YES!” Therefore, I do not hesitate to deviate from the planned path when given the opportunity to visit new places. And very often I am glad of these changes!

– Where do you live while traveling? How do you find accommodation?

– I usually solve the issue of accommodation during my travel with the help of a wonderful Internet resource – couchsurfing: couchsurfing.com . This is an amazing opportunity for travelers from different countries to get acquainted with the life, traditions of the local population, make new acquaintances, and sometimes friends, almost anywhere in the world.

I want to tell you one life hack for budget travelers about housing in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand – how to live for free while traveling. If you were unable to find a place to stay for 1-2 days, you can always turn to the nearest Buddhist temple or monastery to the monks. As a rule, travelers are not denied this request, and are provided with accommodation, and often food.

And if you find yourself in a difficult financial situation, in which you not only have no where to live while traveling, and even have nothing to eat, then in many Asian countries you can eat absolutely free in Sikh temples. All that remains is to find these temples and find out the time when meals are held in them. This can be done using the Internet, there is enough information about this.

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– Have you had any extreme incidents while traveling?

– Quite often people ask me: “Isn’t it scary to travel in this mode? Are there any extreme situations? Is it dangerous? ” I usually answer that your attitude to the world is important. How you are attuned to the world around you, so he will answer you. As for the dangers, you can also meet them in the city you live in, on the next street or even in the entrance of your house. No one has a guarantee. If we talk about my travel experience, then I am grateful to the world around me for the favorable attitude towards me.

– Do you take out travel insurance?

– With regards to unforeseen health situations, especially if there are prerequisites for this, then in my opinion it is worth considering medical insurance for such cases, because medicine in many countries is very expensive, especially for foreigners. Although I haven’t used insurance yet.

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– What do you get from your travels?

– First of all, this is an expansion of the scope of your consciousness, a change in your worldview. Traveling in this mode gives me the opportunity to make sure that the world is filled with kind people, due to this I myself become more open, kind and responsive. The emotions that fill every day of my free travel cannot be compared with any benefits of everyday life. The concentration of sensations, experiences, emotions in my journey is such that it would be enough for many years of the life of an average resident, or even for the whole life.

– Travel Tips.

– The world is so diverse, interesting and exciting that it is strictly forbidden to miss the opportunity not to get acquainted with this splendor! Travel! Enjoy all the diversity of the world! Get to know the cultures of other countries! Be amazed at the kindness and generosity of people! Be happy travelers!

Instagram: @demidovsun
Youtube-channel: The Sun is rising (www.youtube.com/c/thesunisrising)

Interviewed by Olga Avrakh

Photo of Alexander

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