WSGT’s next Travel Influencer is Tim Blight of UrbanDuniya, a travel blog offering comprehensive advice and guides on Melbourne, Lahore, Sydney, Chennai and Pakistan. Tim’s new edition of Pakistan Traveller, the world’s most comprehensive travel guide to Pakistan, will be published in mid-2017, so stay tuned!
1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
I was bitten by the travel bug when I was much younger, and we took family holidays around Australia, to Queensland or Western Australia. It really set in when I went abroad for the first time in 2004 – I went to Iran and the rest of the Middle East, and I haven’t looked back since! Iran was such an eye-opener for me – I just loved it, and I knew that I would come back and spend some more time there!
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
I would buy houses in a few of cities around the world, and spend my life making my way back and forth from them, writing, doing photography and meeting my friends and new people. I’m thinking Sydney, Tokyo, Lahore, Paris and somewhere in South America – maybe Bogota!
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
Before I went to Middle East for the first time I was pretty much convinced by everyone around me that I would have my belongings stolen as soon as I got off the plane, and I might be attacked for being a foreigner. I did a lot of reading before I went, and I knew many people in Australia who assured me that it was not the case – so I bit the bullet and went! Thirteen years later, and I continue to prove my critics wrong!
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
I use Uber and Careem for easy taxis and auto-rickshaws, Google Maps, and Notes on my iPhone to keep track of what I’m doing, how much I’m spending, and any notes for later. And Instagram – the best way to show off where I am and what I’m doing 😉
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
Iran. It’s simply one of the most beautiful, open, welcoming, interesting and safe places I’ve ever been, and it still seems like not that many people know about it. Iran deserves to be a popular destination – it’s just amazing.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
This is a bit funny, but the best advice I’ve been given is “Don’t go there”. It’s like a red flag to a bull – when someone tells me “it’s hopeless/dangerous/terrible/pathetic”, I’m immediately curious – I want to know what it’s really like!! Every time someone tells me “Don’t go there”, I start to discover things I never knew existed – and often the person who gave me the advice is surprised too.
I might point out that “Don’t go there” comes in several varieties – there’s the “don’t go there” because it’s illogical, which is fair enough! There’s the “don’t go there” because of previous experience, like in a dirty hotel – I’d certainly take heed of that. But borne of ignorance “don’t go there” is just an invitation to explore and learn!
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
Pakistan in 2006. I felt terribly ill and my new-found friends took leave from their jobs and slept on a hospital room floor so that I wouldn’t be alone during the night. I still wonder if I can ever repay them for their generosity and selflessness.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
While I love travel, sometimes I feel like I have been searching for a place to call home so I could settle. I know that I would never be settled for long (I’m a traveller, after all!) but it’s nice to find your niche, your groove, your base. Some people find it within a group of friends, some people find it in a workplace or cause, but I found mine in Pakistan – and I couldn’t be happier!
9.)I travel because….
The world is huge, and there is so much out there to see, know, feel, taste and experience. Just when I think I’ve had enough, there’s suddenly so much more to see.
For up-and-coming travel writers Tim recommends: Goats on the Road, and their excellent website which hosts lots of posts offering advice on how to write, blog, photograph and make money off travel writing. Highly recommended!
Tim Blight is a travel writer who lives in Melbourne and Lahore. He is the founder of travel and lifestyle blog UrbanDuniya, and has authored two books; Pakistan Traveller, the most comprehensive travel guide to Pakistan on the market, and Recipes for Ramadan, a collection of easy meals from a lifetime of travels across 47 countries. He writes about his travels regularly on his blog, and his currently working on an updated edition of Pakistan Traveller, to be published later this year.
Stay up-to-date with Tim through his:
Our next Travel Influencer interview will be up in a week, follow the series here.