An Interview with Ricky Shetty
Ricky Shetty and Family
Home Base: Vancouver, British Columbia
Blog: Family Travel Bloggers
Connect With Ricky
My name is Ricky Shetty and I am a passionate entrepreneur based out of Vancouver, Canada. I run a series of different events, workshop, and conferences about social media, blogging, and internet marketing. I also have 2 successful blogs called DaddyBlogger.com and FamilyTravelBloggers.com. For our family travel website, our goal is to inspire families to travel more with their kids. I have travelled to over 50 countries and we are looking forward to our 1 year travel adventure with my wife and children to Central and South America starting July 1, 2016.
When and how did you discover your passion for travel?
During University, I did a 4 month backpacking trip to Europe as well as a Working Holiday Visa in England. After graduating, I spent 1 year teaching English in Japan and then travelled through Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Since then, I've hooked onto travel! We have done mostly local travel through BC, Alberta, and Washington State since having kids but we are going to do more slow, long-term overseas travel in 2016 and 2017!
How has travel changed your life?
Travel has made me super sociable and open-minded. Having visited over 50 countries, I've become knowledgeable about different cultures and customs so I'm able to relate to and connect with people from around the world. Plus, I've become more passionate about helping people who live in developing countries. Seeing poverty, pollution, and corruption first hand has made me want to do more to make the world a better place.
What is your biggest pet peeve while travelling?
My biggest pet peeve is seeing people stick to the typical tourist trail and just checking out sightseeing attractions without really integrating into the local culture. I don't like big tour buses full of people who get off, take pictures, and then leave to see the next monument. I hope more and more people will switch from being a tourist to being a traveller actively seeking out opportunities to meet with and learn from locals.
What is the one thing you absolutely never travel without?
I never travel without my iPhone since it has everything I need including internet, social media, a camera for both photography and videography, apps, podcasts and music to listen to on the plane, ebooks to read, the ability to blog directly from my phone, and so much more. It's amazing how much you can do with such a small device which fits into your pocket!
What is the most unique experience you've ever "accidentally stumbled upon" while travelling?
The most unique experience was visiting Tibet. I originally was going to only visit India and China. However, I kept hearing how magical, special, and unique Tibetan culture is so I made the last-minute decision and it was the most amazing experience ever, I even got to visit Everest Base Camp!
If you were going on a one-week rest and relaxation vacation somewhere you've previously been, where would you go and why?
I usually like to keep visiting new places instead of returning to places I've already been to. However, since the question asks me to think of a place I've visited already, I would pick Aruba for pure rest and relaxation. I love the Aruban people, culture, and climate. It's amazing that almost every day of the year, it's sunny, hot, and blue skies. I really love blue skies and I wish Vancouver had more blue, sun, and warmth and less grey, cloudiness, and rain.
With the Canadian Dollar being a little weaker than it once was, what is something unique you do to stretch your dollars while travelling?
I stay with locals while travelling through Airbnb so I save money on expensive hotels plus I get the experience of living as a local does instead of how a tourist visits. Also by renting out our own place on Airbnb while we travel, we make some money which allows us to travel for longer!
If you could pack only a carry on sized backpack for an extended trip, what would you pack?
I usually travel light and I prefer carry-on only rather than checking-in baggage. As to must-have items, I usually carry my laptop, cell phone, chargers, DSLR, GoPro, t-shirts, shorts, pants, sweater, light jacker, underwear, and socks. That's really all I need. If I really want something else, I can buy it on the road. That's the one big lesson I have learned after travelling for years: PACK LIGHT! :)
What kind of mistakes did you make when you first started travelling?
During my first trip to Europe, I stuck to the typical tourist circuit visiting Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Roman Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc. Also, I stuck to mainly youth hostels so I was primarily meeting backpackers from overseas instead of meeting locals. After that trip, I started using Hospitality Club, Couch Surfing, and Servas to stay at local people's homes and I had a much, much, much better overall experience.
What is your most embarrassing travel story?
My most embarrassing travel story was being hit by a goat while riding my motorbike in East Timor. I had rented a motorbike for a year to tour around the country. It was getting dark and I was trying to get to my hotel so I didn't see the goat run from the sidewalk across the road. I tried to brake but I couldn't stop in time so I hit the goat and got a lot of road rash. Luckily, nothing was broken and I survived to tell the story!
What's the craziest thing you've ever eaten while away?
I have tried eating lots of unique things while in Asia including rat, dog, snake, etc. I found eating insects in Thailand to be the hardest, especially fried spiders. The main reason I found it difficult is that I could see the legs and head of the spider so I had to close my eyes, eat it quickly, and then drink some water right away!
What is the most exciting thing/craziest story that has ever happened to you when travelling?
My favourite things while travelling was extreme sports such as sky diving, bungie jumping, paragliding, and parasailing. I found sky diving to be the most fun as the experience of jumping from a plane and free falling is incredible. You really feel like you are a bird and the view is simply amazing! I highly recommend sky diving if you have not done it yet.
Of all the places you've been, what was your favourite destination and why?
I love EVERY destination but if you were to force me to pick just one it would be Tibet since so few tourist go there and it is such a magical place. I also love some of the less touristy places I've been to including Syria, Myanmar, Laos, and the Philippines. I also have a special place for Japan since it's so different than the West! See, I told you it was going to be hard to pick just one favourite place! ;)