Frédéric Colas agreed to give me an interview in Adelaide, Australia, to share his first impressions and experiences after 6 months of the We like the World adventure.
It was an exciting interview that made me think and gave me goose bumps! This was because he shared all the emotion of such a human adventure across amazing landscapes as well as the many rich and warm connections he made with locals.
The interview lasted over an hour and I’ve divided it into three parts.
You’re in Australia right now. How do you choose your destinations?
We chose countries before we left based on a number of criteria: they need to be where we want to go, the season needs to be good while we’re there and there must be no health risks for our daughter Héloïse in particular. We began by looking at the easiest countries, and for this second part of the trip, we opted for the most remote destinations both culturally and in terms of climate.
As for towns and cities within the country, in general we selected them a few days before arriving in the country, or even on the spur of the moment when we arrived based on what people told us and on where we could find accommodation. This is what happened in Australia, we only knew our itinerary a week in advance. As for New Zealand, we had intended to stay 2 weeks but when we saw everything there was to do and experience we decided to add a week to our trip.
How do you find accommodation?
In two ways. The first way was those we prepared in advancewhen everyone knew we were coming thanks to our Facebook page and email. The second way was when we found ourselves among friends who put us up or just met people who invited us to stay overnight. For example, thanks to Facebook I found an old friend of mine in Sydney from business school 25 years ago. He found us a night in a teepee with a friend of his in Byron Bay. Apart from a hitch-hiker in Chile, we‘ve never been put up by strangers and we’ve always known a couple of days ahead where we’ll be staying.
The only towns or cities where we couldn’t find accommodation were Seattle because we arrived too late, Ushuaia where we had no contacts, and Adelaide where we’re currently in a bed & breakfast. But up till now we’ve found accommodation in every major city.
Do you have any idea of where you’re going for the rest of the adventure ?
We have some idea of where we want to go but nothing’s set in stone. Our accommodation in Singapore has been confirmed and we have contacts in various places. But we only plan a month in advance, to give us flexibility in our travels. Having said that, I had been all set to go to Vietnam but couldn’t connect to the internet because I had lost my 3G key!
How do you prepare for your destinations?
We need to book internal flights, contact people who have agreed to put us up, or contact our agents in the country. For Vietnam for example, 2 Vietnamese people living in France offered to organize accommodation for us with their families.
How hard is it to get visas?
Up till now we’ve only needed one visa, which was for Australia, and we applied for it before we left via Australia’s immigration website. Asia was more complicated and we had to spend some time sorting visas when we arrived in Singapore.
How have web connections and communication been in general?
Thanks to Orange we had SIM cards to communicate cost-free via our mobiles. For internet, we used Wi-Fi as much as possible to get the fastest speed and because there is no data limit. Otherwise, we used our 3G tablet, mainly in roaming mode, or our 3G stick with our computer. And by the way, I was amazed at how useful the tablet was. It really stands out as a device for the connected traveler, it’s definitely not just a gadget. On our trip, with all the travelling we’ve been doing, the tablet has been ideal. For looking at maps, finding addresses, hotels, locations, preparing itineraries, watching videos or even looking at the stars or acting as a lamp! It’s like a digital Swiss knife… I never thought it could be so useful.
read the second part of the interview tomorrow…to be continued