Traveler Name: Paul Kavanagh
Hometown: Markham, Ontario
Occupation: Infrastructure Asset Management – I know…what does that even mean?!
Describe The Moment The Travel Bug Hit: I honestly believe that the ‘travel bug’ didn’t hit me until I was already home, but let’s start at the beginning. My first foray into traveling was the summer of 2013 after graduating from university. Before that time I had barely left Ontario! I decided to take a couple weeks between finishing school and starting full-time work to get out and see the world. Suffice it to say I was hooked from the beginning, and the trip that was only supposed to last a couple of weeks (I had originally planned to do the 25-day LTC) quickly turned into a couple months (The 40-day LTC, followed by traveling through Southern Thailand and Vietnam with friends I had made on the FnEZ trip).
While I was having a blast, eventually energy and funds ran low and I made my way back to Canada. Fast-forward to a couple days after my return, and the excitement of being back with friends and family again has worn off. Pictures from my adventures begin popping up all over the Facebook pages of my new travel friends and I’m hit with wave after wave of nostalgia.* One such picture had the caption, “You will never be complete at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney. It was a critical moment for me and at the risk of sounding sickeningly cliché – it was the perfect quote. It gave words to my feelings, and a love for travel was crystallized in my mind permanently. I’d been bit!
*FNEZ would like to note that we call this phenomenon being “Roamsick“
Most Memorable Travel Experience with FnEZ: Something like ten days into my SE Asian adventure, our group stopped on a bus ride to check out a waterfall and go for a swim. Those were a very hot two weeks and I was just getting used to the tropical climate. Jumping into the cool fresh water, I was amazed how something so simple could bring such pure happiness. For some reason that waterfall trip was a major tipping point for our group and afterwards everyone just clicked. Arriving to our ultimate destination at the end of that bus ride I immediately starting taking steps to push back my work start-date and extend my trip.
Biggest “Culture Shock” Moment? If you’re about 6’1” and wear a Boston Celtics jersey walking down the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, you will be stopped constantly for pictures because everyone thinks you play in the NBA. That little celebrity experience was more than enough to remind me I wasn’t in Canada anymore.
List the top 3 songs on your travel playlist:
Ride Wit Me – Nelly ft. St. Lunatics is my go-to party starter (old Nelly tracks in general should be highly encouraged)
Oh Darling – Plug in Stereo ft. Candy Groves because my first ever FnEZ group was a mushy love-fest
Peanut Butter Jelly – Galantis because through it I discovered my love for choreographed flash mobbing pool parties in Laos
Any “Must Have” Items In Your Backpack? I keep a travel journal and try to make one entry every day when on the road. I found myself so overwhelmed with amazing experiences that the journal was crucial to remembering all the best details (BONUS – it makes for a heart-wrenching read on the plane ride home). Also, dice and cards. I’ve spent some of my happiest nights simply chilling out at some exotic location, playing stupid games, and sipping on cold beers with FnEZ friends!
Where To Next?! Indonesia is my next FnEZ adventure for sure. I’ve heard nothing but incredible things about it!