Everyone knows backpacking isn’t just for the party-hard gap year student. With so much diversity on offer in SE Asia there’s something for every type of traveller. When we heard from Penny Frederiksen about her love for travel and her desire to encourage more people to hit the road at any stage in their lives – we knew she’d make a great ambassador!
Early in life Penny realized she wanted to travel, the only problem? None of her friends had the same wanderlust spirit that fueled her soul, meaning that trips fell under the category of vacation more so than adventure. So years later, with a family at home and years of career experience under her belt she decided it was time to throw caution to the wind and embrace the kind of travel she always wanted to do.
For the past ten years Penny has been out exploring the world, whenever she has the time, and South East Asia has been one of her favorite places to visit. Get to know the newest addition to our ambassador team, introducing Penny Fredriksen!
1. Why do you love South East Asia?
Asia has a huge variety of travel destinations and cultures and is affordable for the budget conscious.
2. How did you get into traveling and do why do you love it so much?
My love affair with travel and photography started at a very young age in an unusual setting; the dentist surgery waiting room, surrounded by National Geographic Magazines!
Even though I did not like the dentist or the work he had to do on my teeth, I would always arrive for my appointments an hour early, just so I could read about different cultures and look at the amazing photographs.
My mother gave me a cruise as a school graduation gift when I was young – probably more so to meet a future husband and settle down to domestic bliss than to see the world. I cashed the ticket in and went to Asia instead!
Marriage, mortgages and four children did follow but the type of l travel I wanted to do sat on the backburner until my children were educated and in their own careers.
Penny at home in Australia
My independent, solo travel started about 10 years ago, when I realised all my friends had no interest in photography and getting into the backstreets and villages of Asia. Travel makes me step outside my comfort zone and get a better prospective of the world around me. My idea of a great holiday is to learn, understand and be visually stimulated by the scenery and the people I meet along the journey. Capturing that experience through photographs is such a bonus. Travel makes me appreciate what I have got. I also realise I have only a limited time on this planet and I want to treat every moment as if it is my last.
3. What makes you a backpacker?
I am the ’new’ generation of backpacker – “The Baby Boomer Backpacker” My bag is an up- market Kathmandu backpack, and when I travel, I am doing so with the idea that I may not have the opportunity to return to that particular area. I don’t try to see a country in 10 days – rather, I see an area in 10 days and take full advantage of what it has to offer… from the free to the more expensive travel opportunities.
Exploring Sri Lanka on Penny’s recent travels in Asia
4. Why you love South East Asia Backpacker Magazine?
The magazine is the one stop destination for all your travel needs, no matter what age!
5. What is your best travel moment?
I find the most memorable moments are often those which are not planned.
While traveling in a remote area of Sri Lanka with a good friend, we decided to check out the “drumming” we had heard during the night. Walking through the jungle in the early morning light, we stumbled upon a Buddhist Monastery, much to the welcome and delight of the villagers and monks. We did not want to intrude but they insisted (through sign language) that we stay and share their breakfast.
A humbling experience which no amount of money could buy and which lifted the bar in my memorable moments.
Penny on her recent travels sharing her own photography with children on the road
6. What is something quirky about you?
I have a secret photographic portfolio of random cats from the countries I have visited.
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