Let’s start this series of travel interviews with an English traveller that relates his journeys around the globe with his self-growth. Teshie Patel already visited 25 countries, and he’s currently in India.
Midlands Traveller: Talk a bit about yourself
Teshie Patel: The little about me question is always as easy to answer as it is difficult but guess like everyone else, I see myself as a normal guy born in England looking to smile more than I frown. Considering our weather and living in a little town called Dudley, this isn’t always easy.
Movement is my focused passion in life and that’s what keeps me smiling.
From watching someone tightrope walking to a baby clumsily, forward rolling; this always keeps me entertained as I have a monkey-see-monkey-do attitude when it comes to the human body.
I find the human ability to become amazing at anything it truly focuses on is something very magical and unique. Appreciating that is expressed on all levels from singing to art is broadened when you travel.
MT: When did you start to be interested in travelling?
TP: I have always enjoyed getting away. The food, the smells, the colours and odd customs in other countries really help us understand the puzzle of life. But my visit to Vietnam is where travelling became a love.
MT: What is your first travel-related memory?
TP: My first travel memory was in secondary school when they organised a trip to Paris and Euro Disney. A bunch of school friends abroad with a child to teacher ratio in our favour was a recipe for fun and trouble. I will always remember the coach’s journey over.
The sheer excitement and anticipation of away bring such intense energy, especially in the company of friends. It’s a feeling I still take on all my travels.
MT: What is your favourite place (travel destination) in the world? Why?
TP: My favourite destination so far has to be South Africa. I think the ease with which you could drive a car opened up whole new freedom to follow your thoughts rather than an itinerary.
The landscape, food and people are three huge ticks and it is definitely on my “go back to” list.
MT: Have you ever had any bad experiences when travelling?
TP: Bad experiences while travelling never feel as intense looking back and you often wonder why you got so wound up.
However, I did part company with a friend in the middle of India which was a very difficult thing to do, but his behaviour had become pretty toxic.
I always trust my gut when I’m away and although it was the best decision for my trip, it was still a horrible decision to make.
MT: Which countries have you travelled to?
TP: France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Hungary, Iceland, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Turkey, Tunisia, South Africa, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, USA and Canada
MT: Do you have any advice or tips for inspiring travellers?
TP: My biggest tip is to research how to travel internally and adjust your itinerary accordingly.
For example, the rail network in Japan is super-efficient and allows you to travel quickly and freely without much if any prior booking.
In India, the trains are booked months in advance, so you either have to have a set itinerary or use alternative methods of travel. A little bit of groundwork can go a long way on the road.
MT: What are the challenges of travelling solo?
TP: The biggest challenges to travelling solo are those moments when you want someone to bounce ideas off or just some reassurance you made the right decision. You become totally accountable which is a strange place to be sometimes.
MT: How the travels have changed you?
TP: Self-growth is the biggest positive thing for me when I travel. Those moments of defeat and victory will almost certainly add layers to your onion.
Discovering more about yourself is a journey many people never really undertake.
MT: What country or city is your travel bucket list?
TP: There are a handful of countries I will revisit soon, but Ethiopia and a South America journey are both on my bucket list.
MT: Future plans?
TP: Post India, I’m hoping to be just a better version of myself. Peace, love and flip flops.