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1. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you now?
My name is Manouk, a 20-something Korean adoptee living and working in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. I have a lovely travelblog called Bunch of Backpackers. Even though the name suggests a ‘bunch’ of backpackers, the blog is pretty much ran by just one backpacker (being me). I originally came up with the name Bunch of Backpackers when I was thinking about starting my own hostel. However, since I now work fulltime, I decided to go for a blog instead of hostel!
Besides traveling I enjoy (polaroid) photograpy, running and reading (fantasy and classics). I’ve read Lord of the Rings more than 10 times. I think it’s safe to say I’m quite the nerd.
2. What’s your packing strategy? Heavy or light packer?
Light packer. No real strategy! Just stuff my backpack with basic stuff. I prefer not to carry too much electronic equipement (just my camera and old ipod)!
3. If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
I’d love to visit Ethiopia. And Bhutan. And Myanmar. And all the -stan countries! And Jamaica. And …
4. Is there anywhere you won’t travel to and why?
No, at the moment I can’t think of anything!
5. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve eaten?
Probably a living octopus at the Seoul fishmarket! Read about her experience here.
6. My first solo trip is going to be to Asia as well. What made you choose to go there first and where all did you visit on this trip?
Asia always had an incredible attractive force. I’m not sure why. Maybe the roots? Of course Asia is also quite accessible for first time travelers (especially SE Asia), but that was not the decisive factor. If that same attractive force would’ve come from South America, I’d have traveled there.
7. Do you have a bucket list? If so, are you going to be crossing off any items this year?
I don’t really have a bucket list. However, one thing that has been on my mind for quite a while now is the Cairo to Capetown overland trip (solo). For me this would be the ultimate adventure!
8. What’s the first thing you do when you get to a new place?
Just absorbing new colors, sounds, smells etc. And after that, exploring!
9. You’ve done the Trans-Mongolian Express which is one of my biggest bucket list items. Any tips for others looking into doing it?
The Trans-Mongolian Express was epic! Some tips: buy your traintickets at a trusthworthy organisation, plan in stops in Ulaanbaator (travel Mongolia!) and Irkutsk (visit Lake Baikal) and check out the great train website www.seat61.com!
10. Most importantly, where to next?
Next week I’m off for my first press trip to Thailand with a Muay Thai theme! We’ll have Muay Thai training, visit Muay Thai matches, meet Muay Thai fighters and attend the 10th World Wai Kru ceremony in Ayutthaya! At this ceremony thousands of Muay Thai fighters from all over the world gather to pay respect to their teachers and to the old Muay Thai legend. I can’t wait!
Manouk is the founder of the travelblog ‘Bunch of Backpackers‘. In the last decade she traveled in 35 countries. Some of her favorite experiences include rafting the Nile in Uganda, playing chess with taxi drivers in China, experiencing great hospitality in rural India and boarding the epic Trans-Mongolian Express. She loves adventurous, authentic and independent traveling. Her favorite part is to learn about daily life, traditions and culture. In Asia you may find her in a karaoke bar. Follow Manouk on her travels through Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.