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Who the Hell Is this “Drinking Traveller”?

The Drinking Traveller is the Dionysian alter-ego of some guy called Roy. From travel-planning ideas to crazy stories and tips from the road, think of me as your one-stop-shop – the number one online resource for those who like a drink and love to travel. Is there a city you know well? Send me a nightlife guide or guest post. Know a crazy drinking game that’s perfect for the road? Send me the rules and I’ll feature it on the site. Welcome! We’re all “drinking travellers” here.

Where I’ve Been?

Here’s a map of more-or-less everywhere I’ve ever been. Feel free to pick my brains about any of these destinations. No jealousy. If you want it badly enough, I’m here to help you do the same.

I’ve travelled extensively within the UK, and so far my twenties have seen me through 79 countries…and counting. I’ve lived, worked and studied abroad in Japan, Bulgaria and Australia. I’ve toured Europe, the US and Canada by motorcycle, spent a summer in East Asia, a year travelling down the Americas, and another year-and-a-half back in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, plus countless side-trips over the years.

Leaning out of train window, wind in hair, travelling

Speeding across Romania by train, 2007

I’d been thinking about setting up a travel site for a while, because I get around a lot and people seem to want to know where I am and what I’m up to and whether or not I’m dead yet. (The only problem was, I hated travel blogging.)

At a travel blogging conference in Brighton, I met the old travel editor at the Times – Steven Keenan – who said there’s no point starting a blog called something like roystravels.com, because Roy can’t travel forever.

He’s got a point; we’ve all seen once-popular travel blogs reduced to monthly “My Day Trip to London” posts before eventually falling off the map completely. But in this case, it looks like he was wrong. I highly doubt I’ll stop travelling any time soon. In fact, I’ve tried, and I can’t. I was born to move.

“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this… Nothing has worked… I don’t improve… once a bum always a bum.”

 – John Steinbeck. Travels with Charley

The Man Behind the Mask

One thing you’ll learn about me, as we journey together, is that I’ve never been one to do as I’m supposed to. What you have here is something a bit different – a controversial travel blog about the reality of life on the road – the highs and the lows, the people you meet along the way, the moments you share…

japanese theatre noh mask

The man behind the mask? Photo by Guillaume.

At times stream-of-consciousness, at times diary entry, this blog – in the vein of Jack Kerouac – is dedicated to honesty. It’s a place where I open my heart, don’t pull my punches (just look at my terms of service) and hold nothing back: not the good, the bad, nor the ugly. (Maybe the boring.)

Expect to encounter swingers, plenty of swearing, public nudity, police brutality, breakdowns, drink, drugs, rock and roll, more swingers, and just about every bodily fluid you can think of.

How I Travel?

If you’re looking for a “philosophy”, this is probably about as close as I come. I like to travel…

  • On the cheap. The less you spend each day, the longer you can travel for. I rarely pay for anything I can get for free or can do myself, and always find the cheapest way of doing everything. I’m always being asked – often by people with plenty of money – how I manage to travel so much. The answer I give? Money? Time? Luck? No. Balls! I’ve met train-hoppers who’ve crossed continents for the cost of a bottle of whisky. I’ve stayed in private rooms, with en suite bathrooms and right on the beach, for $1 USD a night. Anyone who thinks it’s cheaper to stay at home than to hit the road is tragically mistaken.
  • Light. Experience has taught me (the hard way) that the less you carry, the more free you are and the more fun you can have. I’ve been living out of hand-luggage for years. All you need is a spare pair of boxers and a toothbrush.
  • Fast. For me, it’s all about that magical, surreal feeling you get when you first arrive in a new place. I aim to ride that feeling forever, to live life as one big, egotistical blur across the face of the world. Nobody knows what makes a life well spent, but I do know what doesn’t: staying in one place. Slow travel and living abroad still beat staying at home though.
  • Like a local. I don’t travel to see the sights. I can Google those. I travel for travel’s sake, for the crazy experiences along the way. You’ve probably already heard, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. One man’s trashy hometown is another man’s travel treasure.
  • Off the beaten track. I know it’s a cliche, if not a complete paradox, but there is a beaten track and I like to get off it, from the Gunbalanya Social Club in Arnhem Land to dry Brunei’s illusive “lounge” to Jesus’ Backside, East Timor.
  • Long-term. For me, travel is a lifestyle; not a holiday. The initial flight is the most expensive part. After that, it’s plain sailing.
  • Spontaneously. For Rio carnival I booked my accommodation almost a year in advance. A few days before I arrived, they cancelled my booking and left me with nothing. I had to find something on arrival, which proved surprisingly easy. These days I rarely book anything in advance, if at all. I also don’t have any plans to go to every country, though it looks like I might run out of new ones at some point.
  • Under the influence of alcohol. I drink for the same reasons I travel: to escape the old and experience the new. Do you drink when you travel?

(In other words, don’t expect to hear the words “luxury”, “tour” or “teetotal” thrown around here too often.)

What Do I Drink?

In short? Everything. When you’ve drunk as much as I have, you find yourself campaigning for maximum choice behind the bar. So naturally I’m drawn to the craft beer and cider scene, but also wine, absinthe, gin…all the crazy drinks around the world, from Scotch to sake, a glass of port to a Peruvian pisco sour. I’m also trying my best to bring sherry back. Help me out, would you?

What Else Can I Do for You?

I’m also an experienced copywriter, SEO and online marketeer, having worked in-house for a travel company for over three years and with writing on over 100 websites and in the press. If you think I can help you with your project, don’t hesitate to contact me. Remeber, I’m cheap. Dirt cheap…


14 Responses to Who the Hell Is this “Drinking Traveller”?

  1. Jim

    Hi Roy,Thanks for taking the time to share your life travels,i am 53 this year (old git) i will retire at 55 and i can’t wait to hit the road and get out of this shit hole called Great Britain,i love back packing and have hit numerous south east asian countries,my plan in a few years time is to travel extensivly and yes you can do a lot on very little without slumming it to much,i take my hat of to you my friend.If you are around the Leeds area in the UK,thats Yorkshire that is please drop by you are welcome.
    My web address will be jimmypop.co.uk i have the domain just aint got the time and the skill to get it up and running,i hope to “pop” in and out of as many countries as i can,i have a bit of catching up to your total.
    Hope you read this email,
    All the best and safe journeys where ever you are,
    Jim Paterson.

    • Roy Duffield

      Thanks Jim, I am often in the Leeds area, but maybe won’t be for a while now. Good luck with your travels! Let me know if I can help you in any way with your site, and make sure you come back and give me a heads up when you hit the road again!

  2. Jim

    Hi Roy,I arrive in the Philippines Thursday,I will keep you up to speed as my feet hit the ground,been there before but doing a diving course this time,the weather in Yorkshire is shit but not as bad as the south.
    Jim

  3. Jim

    Hi Roy,just a quick one,you are in India,i noticed your covering a lot of miles very quickly,are you plane/bus/train please let me know.

    • Roy Duffield

      Hey Jim, how are you? I like to have my own vehicle, preferably motorcycle. Failing that, bit of hitchhiking to meet kind and crazy locals, trains so I can read without getting sick, many a night bus and if I have to cross water, a boat. I try to avoid planes, but of course they’re sometimes a neccessity, especially to kick-start a trip. Basically I like to mix it up ;)

      How about you?

  4. Jim

    Hi Roy,I am fine,still working hard here in the UK,I am amazed how much ground you are covering,how did you get from Sri Lanka to India,did you fly to Goa,Goa to Nepal,visas,i just want to pick your brains because i am planning a lifetime travelling trip in a year or so.How much gear do you carry,sorry to be a pain Roy but it’s no good reading up on backpacking as everyone has a different take on it.
    Where to next,
    Jim

  5. Derek Freal

    Hey no worries bro, I hate travel blogging too. But it allows me to keep traveling, which I find priceless, so it’s a small sacrifice to make IMO. Plus you are doing a kick-ass job so far! Guess I shouldn’t be surprised you’ve got a Creative Writing degree. Hell you’re doing such a great job in fact that you are my top pick for the Best New Travel Blog award October 2014 edition. Kanpai!

  6. Pat

    Hey Roy,

    Just discovered your site and absolutely love it, you should consider publishing a book – people would love this shit!

    Just wanted your advice. Last Summer myself and a group of friends went to Thailand for two weeks and loved it. We did Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Chiang Mai and made it to a half moon party.

    We’re looking to have another crazy two weeks this summer mainly based around drinking but also trying some new shit and experiencing different cultures.

    We’re considering Rio De Janeiro at the moment as beach parties are meant to be awesome but we don’t know if the vibe will be as awesome there in June. Also after reading through your posts Indonesia sounds unbelievable so could be an option.

    Where would you recommend some lads looking for new experiences, crazy partying and great craic? We only have about two weeks and looking to go in June, July or August!

    Thanks and well done again on an awesome site!

    Cheers
    Pat

    • Roy Duffield

      Thanks Pat, always a pleasure to hear from another “drinking traveller”!

      It doesn’t get much better than Thailand for that kind of trip, but if you do go to Indonesia, that time of year is perfect and I think you’d really like Bali and the “Gili islands”. I’m also a massive Laos fan.

      Rio can be pretty pricey nowadays, but I’m sure you’d have a great time. Have you been to South America before? If not, I’d definitely recommend Bolivia, Cusco in Peru and a little beach town in Ecuador called Montañita that rocks around the clock. You could do Machu Picchu, drink pisco sours on the beach and experience some pretty fascinating cultures while you’re at it. Or have you given any thought to Mexico?

      My other recommendation is Eastern Europe – also good that time of year, obviously – Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, etc.

      If interested, you can stay tuned by liking the Facebook page: facebook.com/TheDrinkingTraveller. I’ll try and get a post up about my time at Rio Carnival.

      Hope I could help.
      Cheers,
      Roy

  7. Pat

    Hey Roy,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, reading through your website and Bali seemed to be just what we were looking for so we’ve booked the trip for the first two weeks in June and planning on doing 4-5 cities in Bali and on to Gili T!

    Will definitely look at going to South America in the future but can’t wait to experience more of Asia!

    Also liked you on fb so cheers for the heads up!

    Cheers
    Pat

  8. Nick Holke

    Hey Roy,

    Couldn’t agree more with your approach to blogging. Put out some raw and funny stories every once and a while and don’t bore people with every second of your trip. I read a few of your posts and they’re quality stuff.

    I’ve only just begun blogging and I’m trying to figure out how to enter the whole travel blogging world. The typical advice seems to be to like/follow/comment on every travel blogger I can find and to blast out a blog post every couple days until I gain some traction but that just feels too fake.

    Are there any bloggers like yourself out there that you would recommend? I’m trying to follow people who fall more in the funny/honest side of the blogging world.

    • Roy Duffield

      Hey Nick,
      Thanks for the compliment, but that “approach” was never really intentional. It’s just hard to find time to write when you’re too busy having the fun – as I’m sure you know.
      I’ve seen your stuff – it’s good!
      Just keep doing what you’re doing, stick with it, and if you change your style, do it because you want to…is my advice.
      I actually had this exact same issue not so long ago. Off the top of my head I can recommend Graham from insideotherplaces, who writes very good shit but doesn’t care enough for the fame to lick other blogger arse (the fake liking/following/commenting you mention above) and a guy called Will Peach, who stirred up quite a controversy a couple of years back, but – at least, as of last time I checked – has since dropped off the map. There are plenty of others. You’ll find your people.
      Cheers,
      Roy

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