An interview with Kaine, the awesome guy behind The Soaring Moa travel blog. He’s a lovely guy from New Zealand, with a really refreshing style of writing which is both informative and very humerous. Here is me finding out a little bit more about him.
Hayley: OK, first things first, tell me a little bit about your blog
Kaine: Well if you ignore a bunch of other blogs, it is probably the best blog on the internet, ever. I started The Soaring Moa because while I was travelling, I was taking photos and writing travel journals but only using them to show off to my friends on Facebook. I felt it would be better to show off to a broader range of people through a blog.
I want The Soaring Moa to be funny and entertaining. I had read blogs and while they’re very informative, I wanted people to read for entertainment too. I’m a Kiwi, and we tend to have a dry sense of humour. I want that to come through in all of my writing. The best compliment people can give me is to tell me they laughed while they were reading.
Apart from obviously being extremely modest (I joke). What 3 words describe you best as a traveller?
Lost. So so lost…
Getting lost always creates a great story though, as long as you can laugh about it afterwards! Have you had any mishaps while travelling?
Nothing aside from an occasional missed train or forgotten phone charger. I did get food poisoning in the Philippines right before I had to catch a bus for several hours. That wasn’t pleasant, but also wasn’t going to ruin my trip either. Another time, coming back from Bali, I had a reaction to something and my glands swelled making me look like I had a fat head. It took a few days to go down and was generally hilarious for everyone involved, except me.
What type of traveller would you describe yourself as? Serial holidayer, tourist, backpacker or flashpacker?
I’m a backpacker. Some might even say an adventure backpacker, though I end up in all kinds of places doing all kinds of things. Last week, I was in the south of France at a chateau, sitting by a pool drinking too much wine. The week before I was in Kreuzberg, Berlin eating currywurst in the snow. The week before that I was in Iceland, scuba diving between tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust. I don’t feel I would get the same range of experiences with any other kind of travel.
Wow, you have been busy lately! That must be expensive, what do you do for work in between your adventures?
Prior to March I had an IT job in an insurance company, but my role was made redundant, thus I am currently a jobless, homeless vagabond wandering the world alone. The only downside to this story is that being jobless and homeless doesn’t usually get me a second date with a lady. Working in IT often means I can either do contract work, or work remotely, and I’m in the process of building this some more.
Jobless and homeless is the ultimate freedom, you can do whatever you wish whenever you wish! So when you’re on the move how long do you usually travel for?
As I don’t have a permanent role, I’m travelling permanently and doing remote contract work while on the road. I’m heading to Indonesia this Sunday for a month, then I’ll be in New Zealand falling off my snowboard until September. I think four weeks is a good length of time to travel. I will often go somewhere for a month, then try meet up with friends, or visit my parents. If I go much longer than that without seeing a familiar place or face, I start to feel disconnected.
I don’t need the exact number but could you take a guess at how many countries you have visited?
Great question! I try my best to be contradictory as often as possible, so I don’t country count. I know people who have visited 60+ countries, but never see more than the resort bar and the pool, and I know others who have visited far fewer countries yet can take you to the best local food joints all over the country. At a push, it would be in the thirties. Maybe more, maybe less.
Do you prefer travelling solo or as part of a group?
I say I prefer to travel alone but that’s because no one else can stand me. I’m an introvert, and after a while I desperately crave my own space. Sometimes I have to sneak out of the house at 5am so I can spend some time alone, or fake an illness to lay in bed and watch Netflix all day.
There are pros and cons to solo travel. I am my own boss, but then I have only myself to rely on. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. However, I also have to take all my luggage into the toilet with me when I want to pee.
Some places turn out to be completely unexpected. What destination has surprised you and why?
China. Every part I went to was so different to the rest. I suppose it makes sense considering it’s size, but I was surprised how much so. I flew into Beijing and that was how I thought China would be.
Police and security everywhere. It was grey and smoggy. The people were cold and unwelcoming. However, Shanhaiguan was small and the people were fascinated by me, Shanghai was full of bright lights, and Yangshuo was green and natural. Every part was different.
The people were a lot friendlier than I thought they would be. I caught a sleeper train and was playing cards with an old lady who spoke no English, but utterly destroyed me every game, laughing and pointing every time. While we were playing, another lady handed me her infant son, said something in Cantonese, which I had no way of understanding, then wandered off. I admit to wondering if that was how adoption worked in China and whether I was now the father of a small Asian baby.
Do you have a particular beautiful view that sticks out in your mind?
I was driving through the South Island of New Zealand. It was one of those crisp nights in early spring; the sky was clear and the moon was a brilliant white. I drove over the crest of a hill and had this view of a large valley. Across the horizon the Southern Alps glowed in the moonlight. The river was hidden by a blanket of undulating mist, seeming to flow against itself. I stood on the side of the road until the cold finally got too much. It was one the most beautiful things I have seen.
It sounds stunning! Mountains always provide spectacular views. If you could go to any place you have already visited right now, where would it be and why?
I know it goes against the normal backpacker etiquette where I tell you about some obscure town you have never heard of, in a country almost no one has been to, and how they serve a special local dish of some native bird wrapped in chilli and leaves, then roasted in an active volcano. But no. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit, I love Paris. It makes me happy every time. Everything from the history, the culture, the food and the people. I always have a wonderful time in Paris.
Ah, the food in Paris is amazing, I’ll definitely agree with you on that one! Damn, now you’ve got me daydreaming of French cheese in a country that doesn’t have cheese anywhere! Talking of food, what has been your favourite local dish from your travels so far?
Ahh…well while some people may not exactly approve, I recently had horse in Iceland. I swear it was the nicest steak I have ever had in my life. I went back to the same place to eat it again. Other than that, cheese. Perhaps I should put down cheese first.
That certainly sounds interesting. Moving on…how do you deal with being away from family and friends?
I moved around a lot as a child, so I’m used to saying goodbye to friends and family. Missing people has become a constant in my life. While I love the idea of being disconnected, the internet lets me stay in touch with people I care about. A group chat with friends, an email from my father telling me about daily family life, or someone tagging me in memes on Facebook, it all makes me feel like I am still part of people’s lives. I do get lonely. Sometimes it can get pretty hard.
With your bag being the exception, what is your most vital piece of travel gear?
It is boring, but a universal travel adaptor. I have a MOCREO Travel Adapterdesigned to work in over 150 countries, most of which I will probably never visit. For all of its convenience, it is rather large for some tired, old wall sockets, and it has a small blue LED, bright enough for the international space station to see through the gap in your curtains as it passes overhead at an altitude of 409 kilometres.
I have an adapter that does the same and it is a nightmare! Travel tip for you, stick some coloured tape or Blu-Tac to cover the light. Do you have a best travel tip for anyone visiting a new country?
Do all the things you expect someone visiting your country to do, and definitely learn some of the language.
What bag do you use while travelling?
When packing, less is definitely better. Usually I travel with a PacSafe Venturesafe 45L. It’s carry-on size. I’m not 100% convinced it’s the best pack but it does what I need to. If I need to take more stuff, then I have a North Face duffel I use. It depends where I am travelling to and what I’m doing while I’m there.
Any tips for people just starting out travel blogging?
Work towards understanding what your goals are, whether it is to provide information, write a travel journal, or just be entertaining. Knowing this means your writing will have purpose.
Take some time to find your voice; the voice you want other people to hear when they read your writing. It is probably easier to use your own voice rather than someone else’s.
You cannot sit at your laptop, throw words on the internet and expect everyone to love them. No one is brilliant at writing without learning.
I adore waterfalls, is there any particular sight you never get tired of seeing?
In nature, I love seeing mountains. Snow capped peaks against the sky just sing to me. Outside of nature, I love seeing old innovations from hundreds or thousands of years ago. New Zealand is a relatively young country and so old things seem rather impressive to me.
You have a keen eye for photography, could you share one of your favourite travel photos with me?
Just one? Haha. Um…
Finally, where can people find you on social media to follow your adventures?
Thanks to Kaine for providing me with this interview and answering my many many questions!
If you haven’t already done so then check his blog out and hit him with a follow!