Rohan Cahill-Fleury

Rohan Cahill-Fleury Interview

In today’s Why We Travel, I interview Rohan Cahill-Fleury. Rohan is one half behind the website “Travels of a Bookpacker,” a blog that documented her and her partner’s adventures around the world after they quit their jobs. Born in London, raised in New Zealand, and having lived in five countries, change and travel have always been a part of Rohan’s life. She and her partner Max recently settled down after two years on the road. They are in the process of building a tiny house on wheels for more adventures!

Describe your first transformative travel experience.

When I was 21 I booked a one-way ticket to Europe and spent six months backpacking solo through lots of Europe and meeting people from all over the world. I then settled down and worked in the UK for 18 months before returning home briefly and setting off again. This was the first time I traveled alone and started a life-long love of travel. It showed me that I could do it and it was ok to just go without having everything planned out. 

Why is travel important to you personally? 

Travel satisfies my need for change and curiosity about other cultures. I love seeing and doing new things and being in places that aren’t familiar. Travel also introduces me to a diverse range of people I wouldn’t normally get the chance to meet or maybe wouldn’t think about talking to. Travel constantly gives me new experiences, knowledge, and friends, it lets me try amazing food and see incredible architecture – every single day.  

How would you describe your travel “style”?

My partner and I travel on a budget. We couchsurf and hitchhike but we’ve also been known to splash out on nicer accommodation and experiences. We prefer slow and long-term travel. We try to travel overland as much as possible; the longer we can spend exploring one country the better. We like to arrive with a rough idea of what we want to do/see but leave ourselves open to anything exciting that might come up. 

What tips do you have for travelers to make their experiences more meaningful? 

Make sure you take the time to get to know some local people. Anything from staying with locals to as simple as visiting the same café a couple of times and having a short interaction with the staff. It’s these conversations and experiences that will give you a more authentic insight into life in the country you’re visiting and change the focus from tourist attractions to culture and people. 

What are your favorite travel-related books, movies, paintings, poems, songs, etc.?

I try to read books set in the countries I’m traveling to and have read a huge variety of books from around the world. Some of my favorite novels are Ali and Nino by Kurban Said set in the Caucasus, Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien set in China, and Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo set in India as they all paint an interesting and accurate portrait of life in these countries and historical events that occurred. 

Why travel? 

Travel is important so that we can see first hand the diversity of the world and get a feel for what is really significant and what are merely trivial things hyped up by the society we live in. Travel opens your mind and forces you to see things from many different perspectives and challenges you to deal with situations that are totally foreign. 

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