So I Met This Traveler: Christian Pollard
So I Met This Traveler is a blog series where I interview fellow travelers I've met on the road.
One of my favorite hikes so far is Mt. Pulag, a spontaneous trip that I took in October 2017. This was also the trip where I met Christian, a traveler from Canada who was on a short trip to the Philippines then. We both had joined a Trail Adventours trek, a 3-day escape to the mountains of Benguet.
I first heard of Christian when we were at the Pasay bus terminal, waiting for one more traveler to join us. "There's this guy from Canada, but we can't contact him," our tour organizer said. "The best case scenario is that he's already in Baguio waiting for us."
And sure enough, his best case scenario was right, because a couple of minutes after our bus had dropped us off at the chilly Baguio terminal at 5 a.m., there was Christian and his backpack, ready to go.
I found it really interesting that of all the places he could have visited in the Philippines during his short trip, he chose Mt. Pulag. Normally, tourists would go for the usual tropical spots -- El Nido, Boracay, or Bohol -- but here he was, sporting "winter" gear, joining this odd group of travelers up a hike to the highest peak in Luzon.
After we'd summited Mt. Pulag, though, and witnessed the stunning sea of clouds, I realized that this guy got it right when he chose his destination. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Name: Christian Pollard
Where are you from? Canada
Where are you now? Australia
Can you briefly tell us about the current trip that you’re doing?
I'm currently 7 months into a trip around Asia, Oceana, and North America. The plan was always to have no plan, so I was never 100% sure how long it would take, but I knew where I wanted to go. I've always known I would take a trip like this at some point, and when the startup I was working for in the US caved in about a year ago, I saw my chance, and never looked back.
How would you describe your travel style?
Active and flexible. I try to see as much as I can in a certain place, or at least feel like I've soaked it in to the best of my ability. And when the plans change for whatever reason, I try to just go with the flow.
Which is your favorite destination so far?
Seoul, South Korea. Phenomenal city with so much to do for a nerd like me.
What is one travel story you will never get tired of telling?
Haggling over 35,000 Vietnamese dong to buy a lighter on my first night in Hanoi.
How do you document your travels?
I try to take lots of pictures, and I write a blog that I'm very behind on. When I write my stories I try to make it a better read than just 'I went here and did this, it was cool." Other than that, I'm just hoping my memory can hold enough of these shenanigans to recall later in life.
What is the most important travel lesson you’ve learned on this trip?
Double check visas requirements. Sometimes they change between when you checked them and when you fly.
Do you see yourself pursuing a life of travel, or is this just for now?
I've spent my whole life traveling, even as a child my family moved around a lot. I'm excited to settle down more after this trip, but there's just so much more to see. Travel for life!
What advice would you give inexperienced travelers?
Trust yourself. And do different things. Everyone does what Tripadvisor says, or what the hostel recommends. Most of the time its still worth it, so that's fine, but unique experiences are that much more rewarding. And if you genuinely don't like something, don't do it. Move on, and go to the next amazing place.
What’s the worst thing about traveling?
Being away for big life and family events. Funerals, birthdays, the holidays. It's all tough to watch through a screen.
And what is the best?
The people, and the connections. The second best thing is the sense of freedom.
Here is the Mt. Pulag vlog where I met Christian: