Name: Jeremy Scott Foster // Age: 30
Hometown: Boston // Current Base: NYC
Languages: Spanish and Mandarin Chinese (…kinda)
Photos taken: 42,398
Diseases contracted abroad: 2
Cell phones lost to taxi drivers: 4
Meet Jeremy Foster of TravelFREAK : Founder of the hit blog TravelFREAK, Jeremy left home in 2010 to embark on a journey to the other side of the world. 6 years later, he’s called numerous places around the world his home (Australia, New Zealand, China, ), and he’s still on the move and exploring other countries. He has friends and family all over the globe. Jeremy is now a traveling cocktail bartender and the head writer for TravelFREAK! You can usually find him on either side of the bar, acting wanky and pretentious about booze.
“Try to just enjoy every day without feeling like you have a schedule to keep.“
Where has Jeremy gone?
USA, Mexico, England, Dominican Republic, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Belgium
What do you do for work?
I’ve been traveling the world as a cocktail bartender and travel blogger. I’ve taken this past year off from bartending to pursue some personal projects, so I’ve been blogging and freelancing full-time since February 2015! This article that I wrote explains exactly how I afford to travel the world.
What’s your travel style?
That’s a great question. I travel slowly, usually with a backpack. That’s been my style for my first five years on the road, anyway. This past year I visited 19 countries, meaning I was on the move at a rate of about one country every three weeks. These days I’m really starting to appreciate the use of rolling luggage, and though I’m not averse to crashing in a hostel bed, I much prefer a bit of comfort. I just turned 30—it must be these old bones!
What’s the hardest part of the long term travel lifestyle?
Not having a community. I miss having buddies that I can call for a beer or regular friends to hang out with on the weekends. But I’m pursuing my goals and living a passionate life. We all have to make different sacrifices.
Ultimate dream trip?
Antarctica! It’s tough to get there…and expensive. I’ll get there one day, though.
Worst travel day?
2015 was the year of bad travel days. Find me somewhere on the road and I’ll tell you some stories.
Favorite destinations and why?
New Zealand, China, and Israel are probably some of my favorite destinations. The New Zealand landscape is just plain stunning, and I developed a very strong love/hate (but mostly love) relationship with China. It’s such a bizarre place, but I can’t get enough of it. I found Israel to be intriguing as well (the current conflict) and wildly delicious (the absurd amount of falafel and hummus). Least favorite destination? I don’t think I have one. There is something to love about every single place in the world!
“The cheapest flight isn’t always the best flight“
What camera do you use?
I think the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is the best DSLR for travel photography. It’s less than $500 and packs a serious punch, especially for the price. It’s a Canon T5i at its core, but packaged in a smaller body (they removed a couple of options to make it fit). It’s tiny (you’ll be amazed when you hold it), has an ultra-crisp touchscreen display, and takes beautiful photos. Comes standard with a 18-55mm lens.
The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Lens [$450] An excellent lens for wide angle and landscape photography. It takes very crisp wide-angle photos and is perfect for capturing wide vistas, interiors, or large buildings. The build quality is excellent, and at f2.8, this lens does incredibly well in the dark (Canon’s 10-22mm option is an f4, which is a major loss).
I’ve been traveling carry-on only for a number of years. The Osprey Farpoint 55L is a great choice for travelers who don’t want to weigh themselves. down. I also travel with the new Slicks Travel System, a revolutionary new day pack with an incredible amount of attention to detail. I’m starting to think it might be the perfect bag!
Just for Jeremy
Your very best travel tips?
What a question. I always recommend that people carry a decoy wallet in their back pocket whenever they’re at risk for pickpocketing. I also think it’s important to remember that the cheapest flight isn’t always the best flight. I book super cheap flights with long layovers only to realize that I spend the extra anyway on food, drink, and WiFi. I’ve realized that it’s worth it to pay more for a short layover on an airline that provides meals. I wrote a long list of my best travel tips that’s worth checking out.
How can we be socially responsible travelers?
Offer smiles and act respectful towards the locals. Especially when we’re on holiday, it’s so easy to get caught up in having a good time that we forget about common courtesies and basic good behavior. That’s not to say I’m not guilty of it—I certainly am, it’s human nature—but the least we can do is be conscious of it. It ultimately comes down to the impact that our visit has. If we get into a fight with a local, what effect does that have on their perception of future travelers? And if we support irresponsible behavior (like riding elephants in Thailand, for example), what effect does that have in the long term?
Encouragement for beginner travelers?
Every new traveler that I meet is really scared. That’s a good thing! You should be scared, but you should also do the things that scare you—that’s where personal growth and development are born. Book the ticket no matter how daunting it seems, and after that, everything else falls into place. And once you get on the road, take your time. I know, there are so many things to see, but try to just enjoy every day without feeling like you have a schedule to keep. That’s the reason you’re going to travel, after all, isn’t it? To get away from your schedule?
Work and Travel
Solo vs Group Travel?
I do actually love traveling alone. There’s a much greater sense of adventure that way. But I love traveling with friends, too. It’s much more fulfilling to be able to share our travel experiences with others. Both travel styles have their merit and yield different types of growth. I can’t say that one is necessarily better than the other, but I do think everyone should travel solo at least once in their life.
Productivity tips on the road?
I meet a lot of people who work and travel like I do, and I notice that so many of them work in the same place that they sleep. When all you have is a hotel room or Airbnb, it’s so important to get out of the house and find a makeshift “office.” I’m 5.3 times more productive when I’m sitting in a coffee shop with my headphones on. I also have a lot of productivity app recommendations, which I’ve outlined for USA today.
Best street food?
DUMPLINGS! All day dumplings. And noodles, preferably Chinese beef noodles or Vietnamese pho. I spent more than a year in Asia and fell head over heels in love with the food there. I think it’s all the MSG. I also love falafel, hummus, and sabich…honestly, the Middle East has some of the best food in the world. I had a Yemeni street dish called Memalawach and it blew my damn mind.
Where are you off to next?
Things are a little up in the air at the moment, but the plan is to be in Europe for the summer, and maybe beyond! I never quite know how things are going to play out, but secretly, that’s just how I like it.