Macca Sherifi is an author, blogger and photographer. After travelling around the world for two years where he backpacked through India, volunteered in Bangladesh, and worked in China and Australia, Macca went on to become travel editor of gapyear.com, the social network and travel advice website. Macca now works in social media and PR, representing a few national tourist boards, before embarking on his next big adventure; a new video travel website.
Who or what gave you the travel bug?
I always travelled a lot with my family when I was younger, but I’d have to say it was my brother Carl who gave me the travel bug. He travelled for a couple of years in 2005 and 2006, when I first went to uni, and reading his emails every week resonated within me. I used to love looking up each place he had been to, reading all about the history and culture. At the end of my first year I went to Thailand with a couple of friends for a month. That trip was the first real taster of independent backpacking that I had, and I have to admit it, I was absolutely hooked from that moment onwards. Every year after that first trip I went travelling to somewhere new. I had been bitten by the travel bug.
What made you move from hobbyist to professional?
I actually graduated uni as a biochemist. I’m sure you can imagine the number of times I’ve been asked “how on earth have you moved from being a biochemist in a lab to becoming a travel writer?” but for me it was simple – I was rubbish at biochemistry and I loved travelling. After working in the labs for nine months, one of the main reasons I travelled on my round the world trip was to work out what I was good at and what I wanted to do with my life. I think if I’m entirely honest with myself, I hadn’t really thought about it up until that point. Anyway, two years later and I still hadn’t thought about it. It was only when I booked a plane ticket home that I thought to myself “I’ve actually got nothing to go home to.”
I spent the last few months of my trip working out which direction I wanted my life to go in. Also, I asked all my friends and family what they thought I was good at – begrudgingly, they said I was quite a good writer and photographer, so that settled it.
When I came home to the UK I did everything I could to become a professional travel writer.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I think it’s hard to have one favourite place in the world. A lot of it depends on who you’re with and how you’re feeling at that particular moment in time.
For me, the country that I had the most fun in was India – this was where I really learnt what it meant to be a backpacker. India is such a welcoming country in every sense of the word. People can find it quite difficult to travel – yes, it can be very testing at times, but that is half the joy, and it makes the final product so much more rewarding. Everyone has a unique experience in India, usually a good experience, and for that reason alone I always tell people to travel to India. Every state is different, and it caters for all travellers, of all ages.
What three things can you not travel without?
Easy – my diary (which I’m constantly scribbling in), my iPod (gotta have my music) and my DSLR. I think you’ll find most travel writers will say these three things!
Describe your dream trip if money was no object?
How long have you got? I think I’ve got about five or six ‘dream’ trips already planned out. The one that jumps out is diving at all the best dive sites around the world. Throw in the Galapagos and ice diving in Antarctica and you’ve got yourself one helluva trip! Or perhaps buying a motorbike and riding along the old Silk Road. Luckily there’s still time, I just need the money!
Who would be your ideal travel companion?
Short, brunette and loves to travel? I just love people who love life. I’d say I’m pretty laid back and easy to travel with, and I look for people with similar qualities.
What is your top travel trip for our readers?
Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right then don’t do it, and if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Also, say yes, a lot. I mean it…
Thanks for your time Macca!
To find out more about Macca and to read some of his writings, visit www.maccasherifi.com