This week on the Wednesday Wanderer, we’ll be getting to know Nate Johnson of Above Average Nate. He’s no stranger to traveling. Nate’s love for travel started at a young age when he traveled around the United States with his family. Before Nate reached high school, he had already been to all fifty states! In college, Nate’s travel bug led him to do his first solo backpacking trip in England for one month. On his blog, Above Average Nate, you can read posts that show how he is inspired to live an above average life and travel is an important part of that. Nate has traveled to fourteen countries and is planning to travel around the world even more to experience other rich cultures.
1. When did you fall in love with traveling?
When I was growing up, my family spent so much time taking these road trips. We hung dry our clothes, we never went out to eat, my mom had Folgers coffee instead of having Starbucks. Travel was our one thing. We punted most other luxuries in life. We could cram into our Chevy Venture minivan, see all America, and have my sister and I fight over what VHS tape would go in next (remember those)? The drives were long and boring sometimes. There was plenty of yelling and fighting between the four of us, but I was about to see the whole United States of America before I graduated high school. In school, I would learn about the battle of Gettysburg, get lectured, and see some black and white videos. On these vacations, I saw Gettysburg with my own eyes. I saw re-enactments from the Civil War. That brought history alive for me. I experienced different cultures around the United States. I experienced how they spoke, what they wore, what they ate (YUM!), and how they added to the American culture. When we went to Alaska, my dad and I went to the actual towns. We skipped the tourist traps and saw the small businesses that were the backbone of Alaska. I got the best souvenirs from these locals. I met people from all over who would help me understand the world that I saw.
2. What’s your travel style?
I’m a frugal traveler. I stretch every dollar to the max to see as much of the world as I can.
3. How often do you travel?
When I traveled in college, I would take advantage of school breaks. Winter and spring break were the best. I would travel three to four times a year.
4. Why did you start travel blogging?
I wanted to document my travels. It started off as a way for my family and friends to keep up with where I was traveling to.
5. How do you budget for traveling?
I work and save a lot of money. Travel is my one thing I prioritize. I’ve had the same one pair of jeans for the last five years, don’t drink coffee, and am a pretty frugal person. For the actual traveling portion, I prioritize experiences. I’ll take the cheaper flights, crash on couches, and eat plenty of nutella and bread.
6. What is your least favorite destination? Why?
Mobile, Alabama. Not much to do and it was boring.
7. Are you a full-time blogger?
I am not, yet. I’m currently interning with the Walt Disney Company.
8. What’s your favorite city you have visited?
Venice, Italy. I fulfilled my lifelong dream of going on a gondola ride. Venice was relaxing and peaceful. I wandered the twists and turns and ate my weight in gelato.
9. What’s one thing you always travel with?
A water bottle. When you’re traveling and flying all over, dehydration can be a damper on your plans. A water bottle ensures that I stay hydrated and am ready to hit the ground running at my next destination.
10. What have you learned from traveling?
My first solo travel experience was backpacking England for a month. I grew so much during that month and I was so grateful for my friend’s hospitality. I loved going to the local pubs and talking about my country and theirs. We both had so many misconceptions and stereotypes, but talking as people we got to understand each other so much better. I met so many new people and friends throughout the month. Even though I had only a backpack for everything I held, I felt at home with the warm hospitality of others. The world can be scary sometimes, but not everywhere all the time like CNN would suggest.
11. Where are you off to next?
I’ll be off to Hawaii in January for two weeks and am planning to travel around the world in 2018.
12. Has any place you visited surprised you or been different from what you expected?
Yellowstone National Park blew my mind. I was expecting a lot, but the whole park exceeded my expectations. So much beauty to explore.
13. Are you team solo travel of team group travel?
Solo travel. Solo travel pushes me out of my comfort zone and helps me grow. I also don’t have to worry about losing other people when I travel by myself.
14. Do you have any funny or interesting travel stories?
On Christmas morning (2015) in Liverpool, my friend woke me up and told me to come downstairs to open presents. I figured I could watch the family open presents (My family’s present was money for the trip). I get down there and find a chair. His parents come in and point to a couch full of presents, which were for me! I was shocked! Jesse’s family went above and beyond for making me feel included during Christmas. A few hours later, his grandparents came over and brought presents, myself included again. I was and still am blown away by their generosity. We finished the day with a Christmas feast! I filled up on three delicious courses.
15. What would you say to someone who wants to start their own travel blog?
Start documenting your travels. Don’t overthink it. One post is better than no posts. If anything else, think of starting a blog to show your children years down the road. I believe blogs today are the last generation’s scrapbooks. Start with taking notes on your smartphone. Every bit builds momentum.
Be sure to visit Nate’s blog to read more about his travels and lifestyle posts. Follow Nate on Twitter, FB, and YouTube. Let me know what you think about the Wednesday Wanderer in the comments below!