JAIMIE DAVILA BREAKAWAY BACKPACKER INTERVIEW
Irreverent, honest, sensitive and a little bit crazy… With a touch of spiciness that made his blog – Breackaway Backpacker- stand out from the crowds.
This is Jaime Davila, one of the most inspiring travel bloggers out there (and one of my favorites since I discovered the word „blogging“).
Why This Interview?
This is not the typical series of interviews with bloggers. We already have brilliant series out there, so my aim here is to feature travelers, adventures and writers who did -or are about to do- remarkable things and are a source of inspiration for those who want to follow their dreams, whatever they might be.
Because he is one of the reasons I decided to travel the world. I was looking for emotional support to make the final decision and I stumbled upon his blog: It was love at first sight.
Due to lack of time, there is just a bunch of blogs that I still read regularly. Jaime’s blog is one of them. He’s real, funny and he isn’t afraid to share his private emotions with his audience. Which is a risk, but it paid off big time for him.
After 2 years on the road, in March 2013 Jaime finally went back home, only to find a job and save enough money to leave for his second epic trip around the world, starting on July the 1st 2014 -coincidentally the date of my birthday. Good choice Jaime 🙂
But now straight to the interview! and don’t forget to check out his blog!
1|In less than 2 weeks you will be on the road again. How is the planning going? Everything ready?
I am terrified and yet so excited. The feelings you get before a trip like this are hard to explain. They are like one big roller coaster of emotions constantly changing.
The planning is basically done for now and I actually have everything ready.I can literally leave tomorrow if I wanted to, but won’t. July 1 will be here before I know it.
2| Now a sensitive topic: You wrote a lot about your love story on the road. Considering your past experience do you still believe it’s possible to combine love and travel?
Yes sensitive indeed, but I’ll be honest, it’s very difficult and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Unless the both of you have a desire to travel the world together it’s going to be difficult.
In my case though even if he wanted to he couldn’t have done it. He couldn’t leave Egypt so it was something else I had to come to terms with and even today am still trying to come to terms with the fact that he may never be able to leave Egypt.
I guess it would have been easier had I fallen in love with someone from a first world country. Fxxk, just saying that makes me feel like an asshole, but it’s the truth. It’s a shame that people from developing countries have it much harder to travel or leave their country then the rest of us.
3| You become a celebrity online for your acrobatic toe touch shots and you were mentioned by Mashable and featured on Good Morning America. Where this idea (and flexibility!) came from?
It all started because the tour guide I had for hiking Volcan Cerro Negro in Nicaragua wanted us to take a jumping photo. I kept jumping but he was never happy and said my jumps were horrible so then I told him okay I’m going to do a Toe-Touch.
I did it and everyone was shocked and the picture came out amazing. After I shared it on Facebook and everyone said I should keep doing that around the world so I did.
I can’t believe it got the attention it received. The funny part was always trying to find someone to take the photo of me and having to explain to them what I was doing.
4| Being home after 2 years on the road was hard, and you explained it in detail in one of your articles. What lessons did you learn during the time you were back in Houston?
It was very hard for me to get back into the groove of things and even now still have trouble, but I learned a lot. I’ve learned that life carries on with or without you.
I’ve learned that life really doesn’t change much while you are gone and it’s not a bad thing. I’ve learned that as whole we are very wasteful people and it’s hard not to be with the way we have been conditioned to live.
I’ve learned that it’s hard for people to understand you and the things you’ve changed in your life because of what you have seen on the road. I’ve learned so many things and can go on, but for now I think those are the most important things.
5|You are very open when writing about your personal life, what was the downside of this choice? Do you regret any of your spicy or emotional confessions?
I honestly don’t see a downside to it at all. I do get a lot of grief from my family that reads it, but I don’t let that deter me from writing those types of stories. I don’t regret writing any of my spicy or emotional confessions because it’s who I am and what I experienced on the road.
I am human just like everyone else. We all have sex, fall in love, go through many emotions of feeling lost and found, happy and sad.
In the end no matter what you are doing in life those are things everyone goes through and that’s what makes you relatable to everyone. I had to hide who I was for a very long time that now I won’t and am going to continue being me and hope I inspire people along the way to be themselves, but most of all happy.
6|You traveled for 2 years in a row, and you only mentioned one time when you wanted to go back home. Hypothetically, what would be a situation when you’d say “OK now I’m really going home”?
When I lose my love for traveling or when I feel like I have seen enough and can now just enjoy life at home. I doubt either of those will ever happen. I think I will settle down when I’m ready and just change my travel habits.
7|You are a traveler but also a successful blogger. Have you ever considered making blogging your main source of income?
Thank you for calling me a successful blogger. Of course I considered it, but honestly it’s not something I want to do. I love my blog and love doing things on my own pace and writing about whatever is really happening to me on the road.
I feel like if I did I wouldn’t be able to be as honest anymore and to me that is the most important thing.
8|You almost ended up in jail in Manila and you had some other misadventures during your trip. Which one makes to the top of your scariest moment on the road?
It would be a tie between almost going to jail in Manila and being held at gunpoint in Costa Rica. They are both such different circumstances, but in the end I felt like my life was at risk.
In one I could have been locked up abroad for lord knows how long and in the other I could have been killed. Thankfully now I can laugh about both of them, but then oh man was I terrified.
9| Back in Houston, you said that many of your old friends didn’t get what you did, your feelings, and your travel bug at all. Do you think that people home will ever truly understand our lifestyle and feelings?
Nope they won’t and I have come to terms with it. It’s a part of my life I know they appreciate it, but don’t really understand it. It’s hard to explain to someone how it truly feels to leave everything behind and travel the world.
How it feels to live out of a backpack for two years. How it feels to not need much and that material things won’t really make you happier.
How if feels to be lost in a city you know no one in. How it feels to go through the million emotions you go through in a day of travel much less the entire trip. How it feels to be truly free… free to do and go where ever you want on Earth.
10|What does BreackawayBackpacker represent for you now? Did it evolve during these years?
Breakaway Backpacker represents a part of me. I don’t think it has evolved much during the years and that can be taken as a bad thing, but to me it’s not.
To me Breakaway Backpacker will always be an honest representation of who I am and how I feel at certain points in my life. I use it to document my thoughts and adventures, but most of all to be myself and inspire others to be themselves and be happy.
11|Do you remember the exact moment when you decided to change your life and travel the world? Who was the first person you told it to and what was the reaction?
I actually do remember the exact moment. I was laying in my bedroom floor depressed because I was still on probation for my DWI. The first person I told I think was one of my best friends Jessica and she was like „wow“, but supportive from the 1st moment.
She’s been my #1 cheerleader in everything I do since then. Of course she had a million questions and wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing, but always supportive.
12|Do you notice any difference in your behavior when you are home compared to when you travel? Do you ever feel a “different” person during your trips?
I sure do eat a lot more when I am at home. Refrigerators are the devil when they are fully stocked. Okay, on a serious note it’s two different realities and so difficult to compare. On the road it’s like you aren’t in the real world, but are? It’s like you are able to be and do as you please at any moment in time.
At home you are who you have always been and to a certain extent are conformed to be who you are supposed to be. It’s harder to be who you want to be at home sometimes, because your past is there.
I don’t know if any of that made any sense at all, but I think people who have traveled long term and returned home will understand.
13|The most important lessons you learned during your first trip.
Always follow your gut. I know that sounds cliche, but the best tool you have with you is your instinct. 99% of the time it’s right so go along with it. If it wasn’t for my instinct I know I may not have made it back home alive or would still be jail or many other crazy situations I was in.
The other lesson I learned is that the majority of human beings are nice and that the world is not as dangerous as the media portrays it. I had strangers help me when I was lost, I had strangers take care of me on long train rides, I had strangers welcome me into there home for dinner or have me stay for days.
The world is an amazing place and until you are out there and see it for your self you will never know.
14|Name one and only one place that made your jaw drop and left you speechless.
It will always be the Sahara Desert for me. Nothing in the world can compare to the sheer size and grandeur that is the Sahara Desert. I was able to see it twice once in Morocco and once in Egypt and both times I was just so moved I would get tears in my eyes.
It’s something so beautiful and the way it makes you feel so tiny is something I will never forget. It reminded me of what a small role we play on Earth and at the end of it all we will become I tiny grain of sand.
15| Tell me something about your trips that makes you feel completely free and happy.
Having the freedom to literally being able to go anywhere in the world at any moment in time if I wanted. That freedom is a feeling of pure joy, bliss & happiness. It’s a feeling most people never get to experience and I believe everyone should.
16| You agreed to be interviewed many times during these years. Is there one question that no one ever asked you and you wished they had?
That’s a good question but right now I can’t think of any. I can though think of one person, Talon from 1dad1kid, who sent me an interview a while back with amazing questions about living in Egypt as a gay man with a boyfriend.
I had to apologize to him because I couldn’t do it. These were questions I would love to answer and share with the world. Most of all they were questions I wanted to write stories about and have loved to share on my blog, but never did.
I have to be very careful with what I write and say about gay life in Egypt because you can be sent to prison for life for being gay there. I never wanted to put anyone else in jeopardy for trying to share a story. It’s honestly not worth it. Hell even just sharing my story was a risk, but because it was me it was a risk I was willing to take.
17| What do you think is the secret of your success? What makes Jaime so special among hundreds of travel bloggers? (Humble replies are not allowed!)
Thank you again for calling me successful. What makes me special among hundreds of travel bloggers is that I am me and am always going to be me and continue to be 100% honest.
I see things differently and share my experiences differently than most people. I am unique as we all are, but I know how to share that uniqueness when I write my stories.
18| I don’t know who Kelly Clarkson is ….Do you still like me? (Just kidding!)
OMG… seriously my heart breaks when I’m on the road and I meet people who have no clue who Kelly Clarkson is. I am in utter shock and get so angry and just want to shake them real hard and make sure that by the time they leave they know who she is.
Thank you so much for your time Jaime!
We can’t wait to follow your crazy adventures around the world once again. I’m pretty sure this second trip will be as amazing as your first one!
Best of luck for everything 🙂