[Interview] How They Did It: The Guy From Flights And Frustration

February 4, 2014 | By | 4 Replies More
The Guy has over 1,000,000 frequent flyer miles

The Guy has over 1,000,000 frequent flyer miles

There are so many people traveling the world in all kinds of ways from backpacking to business class and everything in between. Here on Curious Nomad, I’m starting an interview series “How They Did It” to show you how others made the dream to travel possible. There are many travelers who are doing so many crazy and amazing things and we can all learn something from them. This series will give you insight to different travel styles as well as the ups and downs of life on the road. I hope it sparks your curiosity to get out there and explore.

The first interview we have to kick off this series is from a man who has over 1,000,000 frequent flyer miles! His experience in the air makes for a perfect title for his blog, Flights and Frustration. I’d like to introduce you a travel blogger who is somewhat of an international man of mystery, The Guy.

Name

The Guy

Where are you from?

England

Why do you travel?

For the last 14 years the primary purpose of my travel has been on business trips. I work for a global, multi-divisional manufacturing organisation. Since I am based at the Global HQ I’m part of a team who interact frequently with other sites. I do get the occasional weekend free whilst travelling but have the odd holiday too. ☺

How do you decide on where to go?

Most of my work travel is dictated by a roster of having to visit so many locations in a fixed time period. There are a few in our team so we split out the trips. With regard to personal travel (i.e. holidays) my wife is a big influencer here and has a passion for Greece.

How do you overcome your travel fears?

I don’t really have many travel fears; I’ve travelled for so long! I don’t like going to perceived unsafe places like Johannesburg etc. To deal with this I follow the safety advice and rely on trusted locals, either colleagues or personal friends. If I was going to an area I was unfamiliar with I would research extensively before going and follow advisories from Government organisations such as the FCO in the UK.

What is the cheapest you’ve spent per day and where?

I’m fortunate that most of my travel is paid for by work so most of it is free to me! 😉 On a personal travel level I can keep costs down in most places. Where possible go by foot to get the look and feel of a place. Many attractions and experiences are free, even sitting on a beach all day!

How do you save money to travel?

By nature I am very cautious about money and have a personality of saving rather than spending. As a result of this I often have savings somewhere to call upon as and when personal travel is planned. I’m also price sensitive when travelling, if I think a tour or entrance fee is too expensive/a rip off I will find another way of doing it or do something else.

There are also a number of other things which help me. Firstly I have frequent flyer miles, a lot of them! I’ve even written about many of the benefits of the schemes.

I also benefit from hotel loyalty cards too!

I appreciate many people are not as fortunate as me in this respect. So as guidance I not only use amalgamation websites such as hotel.com or expedia etc, but if you sign up for their newsletters you can get discount codes and other ways of saving money. Also, whilst in the UK planning holidays I try to book my trips via cashback websites which ultimately reduce my costs.

What is your favorite travel gear or gadget?

I adore my kindle. Whilst I’m far from the best book reader in the world I love the idea that I can carry literally thousands of books with me and not add any extra weight to my luggage.

How long did it take from when you realized your dream to travel to actually making it happen?

I suppose this all happened in the early 1990s when I was at university. Until then my only real foreign trips were family holidays to Ireland. Then some good friends told me they were thinking of interrailing around Europe that summer holiday and would I be interested in going. It took about a month or two to organize finances and be ready for the off. This is when I had first-hand experience of discovering new places and haven’t really looked back since.

How did your friends and family react when you told them that you’re traveling the world long-term?

I think they pretty much accepted it fairly quickly. My parents I think sometimes marvel at the places I go and how frequently. They sometimes comment at how it was unheard of in their day so I suspect some envy. Friends think I have a wonderful job yet admit it is not something they could do (be away from home so often and for so long).

What is one of your most memorable adventure stories?

It is hard to pinpoint one story I guess. However a clear life changing moment happened for me in early 2000. At the time I was working for a different employer and received a call out of the blue from the London office. I was asked if I was interested in going to work on an overseas placement for a number of months. It turns out that the placement was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I initially agreed to go for 5 months but ended up staying for 17 months. I only returned home for good in late September 2001 when the world was a different place.

What is one challenge you faced traveling? How did you overcome it?

Over the years I’ve been involved in long distance relationships though not anymore (I am happily married now). A number of years ago I was in a long distance and longtime relationship. For a few months we planned to meet up in Singapore and spend the week together. When I arrived at the airport she was not there to meet me. She had stood me up for another guy. She never even arrived in Singapore. That was a really tough week for me. I was alone, depressed, upset and didn’t know anyone. I felt like trying to get a flight home yet I had an onward flight connection for some business meetings so could not. I just tried to pick myself up again by calling friends at home and trying to be positive. By the end of the week I’d become determined to move on with my life and never look back.

What is a guilty pleasure you seek out on the road (Mine is McDonald’s and Hooters hot wings, don’t judge)?

Why are McDonald’s and Hooters your guilty pleasure Mig? I’ve no idea, care to share 😉 No, seriously I had to think a while about this one; at first I thought I didn’t have any. I realise that I do have a few little habits. Whilst I hardly ever watch TV when I travel I do when I’m in the US. When I am there I try to be back at the hotel by 6pm each week night. I’m kind of addicted to watching Mad Money with Jim Cramer on CNBC. I dabble in shares as a bit of a hobby with spare cash so it is interesting to see the perspective of a colourful former fund manager. You can’t get Mad Money on CNBC outside of the US so it is a big boon for me. I also like watching Hamish & Andy on TV in Australia, they are hilarious.

What is happening in the world, where you are currently (at the time of this interview), that isn’t being reported in the media?

I’ve just been taken out by my Chinese colleagues in Shanghai to have British fish and chips! Is that news worthy?

What advice do you have for aspiring travelers?

If you really want it, do it. Don’t let life or commitments hold you back. Life passes us by quickly and as you get older you may lose the opportunity that you have now. Nobodies headstone reads “I wish I spent more time in the office”.

The Guy

About The Guy and Flights and Frustration

The Guy is a long term international business traveller. He spent 17 months between 2000-2001 working and living in Saudi Arabia. Since then he is taking a flight abroad almost every month, covering 6 continents. He has over 1 million frequent flyer miles. The Guy blogs at Flights and Frustration which is about the rants, ramblings, and ruminations of a frequent traveller.

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Comments (4)

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  1. The Guy says:

    Hi Mig, many thanks for featuring me here. It is a real honour to be the one who opens up your series.

    I look forward to seeing who else you will be featuring.
    The Guy recently posted…The Underground Railroad In Blairsville, Part Of The History Of Slavery In AmericaMy Profile

  2. Cez says:

    Oh yeah, travel without kindle is also hard for me. Although you can carry thousands of books, for the journey I’m on now I uploaded only one to my kindle. I read it in the first week… Actually, it’s good because it took too much of my time while I should be living in the present.

    Great interview the Guy. There are so many people in the world who would like to have a job like yours (but they normally don’t realize how hard it is to be constantly on the road).

    Good luck!
    Cez recently posted…5 Free Things To Do In FloridaMy Profile

  3. Andrew says:

    Great interview Mig and the Guy. You’re job sounds interesting too, I guess your company sorts out all the annoying and complicated things like Visas for you though? The Kindle is great too, although we do find ourselves with a couple of books that aren’t available.
    Andrew recently posted…Border Crossings and BribesMy Profile

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