For McCool Travel’s 199th travel interview, I am pleased to present Will Tang. There is something about Toronto. So many amazing travel content creators call it home. Besides, Will, I have also interviewed from Toronto: Dave and Deb (ThePlanetD), Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington, Nora Dunn, Jane Canapini, and Christopher Mitchell.
Will Tang’s bio:
William is the content creator, editor, and video producer behind Going Awesome Places, a travel blog, YouTube channel, and social media brand that focuses on outdoor adventure and experiential travel. Working with destinations, tour operators, and brands for 11+ years, Going Awesome Places’ speciality is in creating evergreen and SEO-optimized content that revolves around detailed itineraries, travel guides, and creative storytelling through video.
Travel Interview With Will Tang from Going Awesome Places
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and of Chinese descent. Another one of the joys of what I do is that I’m also one of the Destination Toronto ambassadors so I get the honour of sharing my love for the city to the world.
ON EVERY TRIP I MUST BRING …
Being lucky to have traveled extensively, you end up with a pretty similar packing list no matter where you go. There are a ton of must-have items that I bring for every trip which also makes packing a lot faster as well.
1) OM System OM-1 camera and lenses — I’ve always been one of the rare photographers that use OM System (previously Olympus) mirrorless but love their portability, size, and versatile capability for all of the photography and videography I do when traveling.
2) Buff — It all started from being a fan of Survivor but this has been an indispensable part of my travel kit. These make great neck warmers, for wiping down sweat, cleaning off water droplets off of a lens, and so much more.
3) Peak Design Mobile Tripod — This is a more recent addition but I love having a compact tripod that works with my phone whenever we need a group photo, or need to be handsfree.
3 FAVORITE HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME PLACES …
I’ve never been the nomadic type of traveller but there are definitely places that I can see myself going back to again and again.
- New Zealand – This is always my first answer when someone asks where my favourite country is. As a fan of Lord of the Rings, I love geeking out when I’m there, the landscapes are ridiculously beautiful, and it’s so easy to get around. When it comes to a home-away-from-home, it’s comfortable and as a Canadian, we get being the sibling overshadowed by the big brother. We get each other.
- Hawaii – This is a place where I would instantly say YES to every time. I love its laid back vibe and also its adventurous spirit. I can definitely see myself going back many more times and staying for longer.
- San Diego – We’ve just had a special connection over the years, whether it’s memorable road trips through California, being part of San Diego Comic-Con, or watching a concert by its hometown band Switchfoot. You can never go wrong with San Diego.
A FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORY …
I’ll always remember the time we went scuba diving in Fakarava in an area known as the Highway of Sharks. There must’ve been hundreds of sharks in our view just casually passing left and right. We clung onto a few rocks and just watched in amazement.
3 FAVORITE TRAVEL BRANDS …
If I think about 3 brands that I am just absolutely obsessed with, it’s:
3 MONEY-SAVING TRAVEL TACTICS I USE …
You definitely pick up a few tips and tricks on saving money when traveling. My best ones are:
- Learning how to rack up travel loyalty points. The best way to do this is to do this through credit card sign ups. If you plan ahead and take advantage of promotions, you can end up with a huge bank of points where you can get flights, hotels, and more for free.
- You can easily find ways to have a thrifty meal here and there. There’s definitely no shame in packing granola bars or picking up something cheap at a grocery store. This allows you to save money on certain meals and then go for a splash at places that you really want to eat at.
- Exchange currency at the right places and use the right credit cards.
3 WAYS THAT I HAVE FUN WHILE TRAVELING …
- Food is one of the keys to a great trip. Whether you’ve had an exhausting day or if something’s gone wrong, good food always solves everything!
- I love photography and so I get a lot of joy out of capturing incredible moments on camera, especially if you have to work for it. This could mean waking up really early in the morning to catch the sunset, patiently waiting in the rainforest to spot a specific bird, or driving out in the middle of nowhere to find a specific landscape.
- Every trip, I try to find a way to do something wild and adventurous. It could be trying a new sport like hurling in Ireland, going skydiving in New Zealand, or eating raw chicken in Japan.
8 WORD (OR LESS) TRAVEL MANTRA …
“Seek deep connections and experiences”
Travel is not about just rushing through places just to check things off of the bucket list, instead, it should be about meeting local people, investing time to understand the culture, get your hands dirty, and learning new perspectives.
FAVORITE NON-TRAVEL WEBSITE …
The 3 sites that I’m constantly checking are:
- Engadget – I love keeping up with the latest news in technology so you’ll find me checking this often.
- RedFlagDeals – This is the Canadian equivalent to Slickdeals and keeps you in-the-know of all of the hot deals for amazing savings.
- YouTube – It’s crazy how much time I spend watching videos these days.
MOST MEMORABLE SOUVENIR …
On my trip to Ethiopia, I noticed that many people carried these curiously intricate hand-carved wooden ornaments. I eventually learned that this was the mightily indispensable Borkota, a tool that could be used as both a portable chair and headrest.
At Dimeka Market, seeing so many laid out on the ground of one stall, I was curious how much they were so I leaned over to my guide to ask. Negotiation commenced soon after and all of a sudden, I was the proud owner of my very own Borkota.
FAVORITE CHEAP EAT …
I love almost any gyro spot in Greece. It’s so affordable and so delicious. The fries in the gyros are a must!
RECENT DISCOVERY …
On our recent trip to the Ozarks, I learned that this region is more than just the TV show. Lake of the Ozarks is just one small piece of a larger highland area that covers a huge chunk of Missouri and Arkansas.
I AM FORTUNATE TO HAVE MET …
I’m fortunate to have met and made friends with other content creators in our space whether it’s locally or around the world. Through travel industry conferences or special trips, I cherish all of the special connections that I’ve made over the years.
I WOULD LIKE TO MEET …
I love learning from others in our space to be able to pick their brains about how they’ve developed their business and what’s made them successful. I’d love to meet other famous bloggers like you Charles, Nellie from WildJunket, Aileen from I Am Aileen, Matthew from Expert Vagabond, and so many others!
Thank you so much Will for sharing your travel advice and inspiration.
McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes travel interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons.
Previous 5 Minutes travel interview: Carl Wishneusky