Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you travel to these places?

I love history – monuments, ruins, lost cities – and “exotic” cultures and meeting interesting people. I also love nature and stunning landscapes. AND going to remote or ancient places is often like traveling back in time – so I love to time-travel.

Why haven’t you been to the USA?

I will get there. But like other developed Western countries it’s not a priority as the States isn’t changing mega-fast like much of the 3rd world; I want to see the old world before it’s gone.

How many languages do you speak?

English aside, no others fluently; only fragments of a few.

How do you fund your travels?

Mostly, teaching English.

What future travels do you intend?

I want to revisit many places but areas where I have gaps are most of the Caribbean & Pacific Islands; Central America (2009-10) ; North America; Central Asia (2011) ; Central Africa + Southern Africa (2013) ; chunks of Western + Eastern Europe (2015) ; the Arctic  … the Moon.

MRP @ China 1994
MRP @ Great Wall in Gansu – China 1994

Why do you travel?

To have fun, to learn, to experience life.

What’s good about travel?

It’s liberating. I love the freedom to do whatever – whenever, and not be tied to responsibilities, commitments or societal whims. Also travel is a great teacher. And new experiences are thrilling; highly addictive.

What are the downsides of this lifestyle?

Being away from family and New Zealand is something I’ve gotten used too over the years. Being nomadic can get lonely but I’m good at being alone and when I need company I always seem to find friends in strangers.

Micahel Robert Powell blackhawk UN east timor
MRP @ UN Blackhawk helicopter – going from Auturo island to Dili – East Timor 2000

Don’t you get tired of traveling for so long? How do you cope?

Yeah, occasionally. When I’ve done a large road trip moving for many months I find it nice to stop somewhere new and foreign and fun, unpack my bag, and either have an art-creation holiday or work awhile to get into a routine, a slow rut, get restless, get bored and then hit the road refreshed for more intense travels.

When will you stop traveling?

Not sure.

Do you want a family?

Maybe; first I need a woman …

What are you searching for?

Nothing deep: having new, fun experiences, gaining wisdom and knowledge, and off course, checking out the world’s amazing sights – both cultural and natural, that’s my real kick.

Are you crazy?

Possibly …

Less Frequently Asked Questions

What’s with “THE CANDY TRAIL” as a travel site name?

The TRAIL is the journey and the experience THE CANDY

It’s a metaphor for the freedom of travel, to gain knowledge, while also being hedonistic across the world.

I came up with the name in 1996 as a title to a book ( unpublished ) but later applied it to encompass my nomadic life, starting with my first basic website in 2006.

Michael Robert Powell Yemen
MRP @ old city of Sanaa – Yemen 2005

Isn’t traveling for so long very expensive? Are you rich or what?

No. I’m not rich.

In fact, I’m currently poor ( and in China, working to save for my next stage ); as 99% of the money I’ve ever earned, as a teacher of English in foreign countries, has been spent – directly or indirectly – on my travels.

Including all my savings from a high-paying-United Nations field job ( in East Timor, 2000-02 ). No regrets.

As I am making the most of being young, able, and free; and have been to most of the places in the world that I really wanted to experience. I have been living my dream …

Yes, travel can be expensive. But in many Developing countries (like much of Southeast Asia)  it is very reasonable, even seriously cheap, compared to the Western World. Basically I don’t own much, and have no kids, mortgage, car, debts, etc, so all the money I earn goes on travel.

What’s your biggest travel expense?

Paying for the obvious like transportation (buses, trains, boats; occasional flights), accommodation, food & drink, entrance fees, guidebooks, and essential basic travel items like boots, and every few years a new laptop, and camera.

Michael Robert Powell
MRP @ posing – Manaus, Brazil 2003

Ever thought about working as a travel guidebook writer/researcher?

Seriously, no. While it sounds great to be paid to travel I believe the reality is more pain than pleasure. A burden that I would not enjoy. Rushing around on their budget and time constraints, checking facts – boring stuff like accommodation prices, opening hours, bus schedules, etc – rushing around instead of doing things at whatever pace the day’s adventure dictates.

I believe travel is about freedom.

And doing such a job imposes on that freedom. Because it’s a job and the purpose is based within someone else’s plan. I travel, for the pure love of travel.