Featured Blogger: Luke from Anti-Travel Guides!

This week we’re meeting Luke from Anti-Travel Guides!

1. First of all, what are your website and social media links?

I blog at www.antitravelguides.com, Tweet @backstreetnomad and Facebook occasionally at www.facebook.com/backstreetnomad

2. How did you come up with your website name?

The name Backstreet Nomad was the first travel blog I made back in May and I arrived at that name because when visiting cities I love finding things outside of the usual sphere of tourism and exploring the backstreets. I find that the backstreets can often be epicentres of culture, which can quite often be overlooked by tourists who are just checking boxes.

This eventually manifested itself into my first travel guide book for Sydney which I named Backstreet Nomad’s Anti Travel Guides. I changed to self hosted and Anti Travel Guides became my new website, blog and direction to support the book.

3. What more can you tell us about your blog? What are your goals or intentions for it?

I write about old and recent adventures and vacations I’ve had. I love exploring my own region and encouraging others to do the same because too often we neglect our own city and country for the bigger world – not that this is a bad thing but it’s about balance.

I also host a weekly interview with a fellow traveler to help readers get to know our world a little better. We reveal a hidden travel destination that the guest finds spectacular, yet is widely unknown. I may be biased but I find every interview I read fascinating because I always learn about something new and just breeds inspiration.

4. Can you provide us with a Throw Back Thursday picture of one of your favorite travel memories with an explanation?

One of my fondest travel memories is from the (northern) summer of 2010, when I visited Egypt. Egypt was unlike any place I’d been to and nothing exemplified this more than sailing down the Nile River on a felucca. Eating, sleeping and playing on the deck (an enormous flat, foam mattress) for 2 days, eating local cuisine (and so mach flatbread!). We played football on hot hot sand with another boat, I had a beer while swimming in the Nile, but most fun was partying with the locals on the banks of the river. Twice this happened and because we were in a pretty remote area in the south (near Aswan), the locals just loved dancing with us (especially with the pretty white girls who were more than a little self-conscious of the attention.)

Swimming and dancing with the locals on the banks of the Nile.


5. Which are your favorite and least favorite cities you’ve traveled to? Why?

My favourite city I’ve visited was Istanbul. I spent a few days there during a Gallipoli Tour for ANZAC Day (important WWI battle for Australia, New Zealand and Turkey). I then revisited as part of a cruise around the Mediterranean. I loved it for the contrast to my own life back home, and the many cities I’d visited in Europe the 6 months prior. The locals were all super friendly, (except in the Grand Bazaar or Spice Bazaar), but despite this, both Bazaars were a highlight: negotiating with and ignoring of the vendors is all part of the experience.

Looking across Sultan Ahmet Park to the Hagia Sofia, Istanbul.
Looking across Sultan Ahmet Park to the Hagia Sofia, Istanbul.

My least favourite would actually have to be Paris. I spent 5 days in Paris, which just a tad too long for my liking. Although some of the sites were incredible (Eiffel Tower, Arc du Triomphe and Sacre Coeur spring to mind) the lines were like nothing I’ve ever seen before, especially at the Chateau de Versailles. Anything worth doing is also very expensive. I found the general public were very nice and helpful, but anyone in the actual tourism industry were rude and patronising, especially if you tried to speak French to them.

The queue snaking around the entrance at Chateau de Versailles.
The queue snaking around the entrance at Chateau de Versailles.

6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Where?

The strangest thing I’ve ever eaten was certainly a travel story, but in no way a cultural experience. When I was leading a camp in Calgary, Canada, we had one of those secret gift-giving things intended to work on team building and friendships and so on. One of my gifts was a tin of escargot. Small, black, slimy snails. I’m sure the French would be mortified! I didn’t exactly enjoy it either, but it certainly made for a good story.

7. Who are your travel idols?

I don’t read a lot of travel blogs religiously. I have a few email subscriptions and follow a bunch on WordPress but generally only read when I have time. That said, I really enjoy the blog Nonstop Travelling (https://nonstoptravelling.wordpress.com/) – It’s a no-nensense account of one couple’s endless trip around the world (6 years and counting!).
In a similar vein I’ve have been very inspired by Wandering Earl (http://www.wanderingearl.com/), who has been traveling for (according to his website – 5,452 days and is showing no sign of stopping).

8. What’s your best travel tip?

Before making it to a destination spend about 15 minutes max reading a guide book. Get your orientation and work out how to get around. Use it to figure out a few of the main attractions to see but after that just go with the flow. Make a plan but don’t stick to it. Give yourself more time than you need to experience the culture of the place, not just see their museums. Wherever you go in the world, there is more to a destination than what is written in the guide book.

9. Which is your favorite post you’ve written?

My favourite post is one I’ve written on Sydney, my second home. It basically embodies what I just mentioned in the previous question. When people visit Sydney they often seldom leave the CBD. The CBD is predominately that, a business district. To experience real Sydney culture you need to get out the nearby suburbs where some of the best bars, cafes and beaches are.


10. What advice would you give to someone new to travel blogging?

Make connections with other travel bloggers and collaborate where possible. This will make it easier to get your name out there and also makes it much more rewarding. Chatting with other travel bloggers is one of the things I love about it.

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