There are many kinds of travelers in the world. Ones that explore every corner of their own backyard, ones that take off for a gap year and never look back, ones that balance as much travel as they can while working (like me). Then there are those who always felt the itch, but ignored it, burying underneath the need to have the right job and live in the right neighborhood and date the right person – for them, one day they wake up, scream “enough” and sell off everything they own and hit the road.
The last one there, that fits Ben West of Red Rucksack to a “T.” Fed up with his pharmaceutical career, Ben sold everything including his wardrobe and headed out on an adventure climbing in Nepal. After that he headed to South America – with his parents! How great is that? These stories and more are part of Ben’s new book The Red Rucksack.
There are very poignant moments and very humorous moments. I cracked up visualizing a story of having a little too much cash in Lima! I haven’t quite finished the book, but couldn’t wait to feature Ben for my Traveler Tuesday series!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
I would have to say I started defining myself as a traveler in April 2010, this is when I sold my Pharmacy business (and all my other stuff) to hit the road and explore. Prior to this I had done a few short overseas jaunts but nothing like the exploring I do now, need to do now. This whole exploring game sure is addictive, the more you see, the more you want to see and do.
 What is travel to you in 10 words or less?
Travel is a curiosity which has turned into a need.
 What is your favorite mode of transportation and why?
I love walking. When I go to Nepal to climb mountains, it amazes me that some climbers see long approach treks as a chore. For me, the trek in, which can take weeks, is one of the best bits about mountaineering. I love the meditative aspect of walking around slowly with a big pack on and letting your mind wander. Recently in Nepal my friends and I spent six weeks trekking and dodging storms without bagging a single mountain. I left feeling totally at ease with this ‘failure’ as I was just thrilled to be outside walking about.
 What do you typically do while traveling by plane?
I think long commutes are brilliant, for some reason my creativity really kicks in when I am trapped inside a steel tube hurtling through the sky. I will work on blog posts and book ideas, or whatever takes my fancy. I am the guy lost in his own world still working frantically when other people are shuffling off the plane!
 What is your favorite travel memory involving food?
Cebiche, Peru. The day I discovered this gift from the Gods will be remembered fondly. I was in a tiny Peruvian restaurant down a dark alley in Lima and just pointed randomly at the menu. It must have been fate. Cebiche is raw fish, ‘cooked’ in lime juice with milk, ginger and a tantalising array of local spices. Every time I eat Cebiche it feels as though a thousand happy unicorns are dancing on my tastebuds. Hint: don’t eat Cebiche after 9pm as often the fish is unrefrigerated and you could get ill.
 What is one blogging tip or lesson that you have learned along the way that you can share with my readers?
It sounds too simply but keep a diary. It is amazing how quickly you will forget the little details of adventures. Little details make the difference between a good blog post and a yawning readership.
 Where to next?
My next stop is fatherhood. I have been assured that this will be a crazy trip. My wife is due in late-April. In July we will return to her native Denmark to visit family … naturally I am scheming a side trip to Switzerland with a friend to paraglide and climb the Eiger!
More about The Red Rucksack
Ben’s first book The Red Rucksack was launched in November last year and is receiving rave reviews from fellow bloggers and book critics alike. Well known Australian author and scriptwriter John Harman had this to say: Ben has a natural talent to entertain readers with his raw honesty, engaging descriptions and laugh-out-loud dialogue …The Red Rucksack will take you on a wild ride of self discovery as Ben ditches his former safe and secure life and climbs, treks, para-glides and explores with wild abandon in his quest to find his true self.
You can keep up with Ben on his blog Red Rucksack or his Facebook page Living Vicariously and check out what he talks about on Google+ and Twitter. Wherever you catch him, I am sure you will enjoy his adventures!