Samuel Jeffery has been a desperate junkie for over 6 years. He wanders around the world wearing tattered clothing while living off of silkworms and snake blood.
Currently eating his way around Thailand, attempting not to gain weight, and sharing the details on his blog Nomadic Samuel.
Sam’s addiction has become so bad that local people laugh at him as he walks past. He photographs their smiling faces as a reminder to check himself into rehab. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work.
Now Sam, I know this subject may be difficult to talk about. But you’re amongst friends here. Nothing that you say today will ever leave this room.
Share your darkest secrets with us, and let the healing begin…
When did you shoot-up with your first dose of wanderlust?
“My first dose of wanderlust came in 2004 when I headed to Japan and Korea during intersession to see whether or not I wanted to teach ESL somewhere in the Far East after completing my degree. After spending a couple of months in Korea it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ I was going to do it, but rather only ‘when.’ I rushed to complete my degree and even skipped convocation to accept a teaching position in Seoul. My life has been nomadic ever since.”
What made you run away from home?
“I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I think a lot of it has to do with growing up in a small town and feeling somewhat isolated and confined. When I went on my first large scale backpacking trip in 2008, I realized this was just the beginning of many long journeys. I’m addicted to travel and I’m totally fine with that.” :)
How did your family & friends respond to your unconventional lifestyle?
“They most likely thought I was nuts! In fact, they probably still do :P Actually, my parents have been really supportive of my decision to go abroad and travel. They’re always concerned about my health and safety, but I think now that I’ve been doing this close to a decade they’re a little more relaxed about the whole process.”
Has your travel addiction changed you?
“I’m a completely different person now than I was before I went overseas. I doubt, if I could somehow hypothetically meet my former self we’d have much in common. Travel has changed my entire outlook on life. My values have shifted and so has my purpose in life. I’m far less materialistic now than I was in the past.”
What’s your seediest travel vice?
“Although I love sampling local cuisine and tantalizing my taste buds with exotic new delights, I eat more comfort food than I’d like to admit. Sometimes the aroma from a pizza joint has lured me away from trying a local coconut based curry.”
Can you tell me about your biggest travel regret?
“I wish I had of started sooner! What the heck was I thinking/doing with my life in my late teens / early twenties? If I had that period to do over again I would have taken a year off from school to backpack around the world and I would have spent at least 50% of my time in college studying abroad.”
How do you fund your addiction? Armed robberies? Prostitution? Stealing copper wire?
“All of the above! Given that I’m a highly volatile and mercurial sort of man… Actually, I’ve funded almost my entire travels by teaching ESL in South Korea and saving diligently. These days I’m attempting to transition from teaching to earning a bit of chump change online with a few travel sites. So far it’s been going well although I do work more hours now that I have in the past.”
Have you ever overdosed?
“I felt burnt out while traveling in SE Asia in 2011. I was revisiting many places I had already been to before and I was getting a little complacent. The remedy was touching down in India for the first time. I quickly rekindled the passion I had for travel given that my senses were being assaulted on a daily basis. India is a polarizing place where few people leave with a middle of the road type of opinion. I know a lot of people who hated traveling there but I absolutely loved it!”
Do you find it hard relating to normal people who are clean & sober?
“Most definitely. I’ve found that many people who don’t travel may (or may not) take an active interest in your stories or experiences for a grand total of 2-5 minutes at best. Once that time period has expired conversations ranging from home renovations to the newest reality television show typically become de rigueur. At this point in time my head is ready to explode.” ;)
Has your addiction got you into any trouble?
“I have an uncanny ability to split my shorts at the most inopportune of times. I’m not even kidding – although I wish I was. The worst incident happened in Thailand when I was visiting somewhere just outside of Bangkok. I bent over to get a low vantage point while taking a photo and suddenly I felt this massive rip in the back of my shorts. The pair of shorts were so badly shredded that on the way back home I was flashing my undies to unsuspecting Thai locals who tended to either giggle or give me looks of extreme horror.”
If someone wanted to get a little taste of your addiction, which of your blog posts do you recommend they check out?
“For those looking to teach English in Asia I have an entire section dedicated to this with lots of posts on how to teach English in South Korea. If you’re interested in travel photography, one of my most recent photo essays highlights Lake Titicaca. Lately, I’ve been struggling on the road trying to find a balance between work and play which I highlight in this post where I discuss the challenges of being a digital nomad.”
Do you ever think you’ll be able to kick the habit?
“No way, José! I’m thoroughly addicted with no plans of retiring my backpack anytime in the near future. Maybe as I get older I may crave a *temporary* base or I might slow down a little bit; however, my days of travel will be over when I’m six feet under.”
How do we find you to stage an intervention?
Well, when I’m not acting as wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of Nomadic Samuel Travel Blog, I’m considered the lesser half of Backpacking Travel Blog which I run with my girlfriend Audrey.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Sam. I sincerely hope your powerful story can help others