Tell us about yourself!
My name is Moshe. I am originally from Israel, but for the last 5 years I have been living in New York together with my husband and our beautiful mixed Labrador named Sheleg.
For almost four years, I have been living a vegan lifestyle, which includes lots of cooking at home and exploring all the vegan restaurants of New York (and in any other place I travel to).
When I am not traveling, I enjoy exploring my own city, and luckily NYC has so much to offer, even during a pandemic. Strolling in the neighborhoods and parks, visiting museums, eating good food – there’s always something to do here.
At home, after long days of work, me and my partner have a routine of dinner + tv series. The last one we watched is Peaky Blinders and I highly recommend it for a journey back in time to England of the beginning of the 20th century.
When did you start traveling?
My first trip abroad was at the age of ten when I flew with my parents to France. We landed in Paris, the city of lights, late at night, and everything was dark, including inside the airport and at the hotel’s area. As a kid, I didn’t know how to deal with the contrast between what I had expected from the city of lights vs. I was just seeing and experiencing, and it was a traumatic start. I was crying all night.
However, the day after, as we walked outside of the hotel and I saw Arc de Triomphe in front of me – I was captured by the wonders of traveling and exploring. I became my parents’ travel guide in the city – I learned the subway lines map by heart; I had the confidence to converse in English (even though my native tongue was Hebrew) and I led our way in the city.
After that, I traveled more with my family in Europe and the US, but at the age of 21, when I finished my military service, I started my life as an independent traveler. First destination was Australia and New Zealand for 3 months, which was an unforgettable experience!
What have been some of your favorite places or activities so far?
The country I fell in love with during my travels is Argentina. What started as a family visit turned out to be a love story, which made me go back there a year after year. I discovered a country with three main characteristics – the impressive European-style architecture, the beautiful people, and the warmth and hospitality that reminded me of Israel. It made me feel at home from the first day.
The country itself is huge and has so many different landscapes to explore – deserts, glaciers, amazing beaches, mountains and more. It is also culturally diversified, with indigenous people living mostly in the northern provinces, and the strong influences of European immigrants, mostly from Spain and Italy and a little bit of Germany.
Have you been to any places you didn’t really Enjoy?
I always try to look at the good sides of things and enjoy what I have in my hands. However, me and Brazil didn’t get along so well.
After spending more than two months in Argentina, and enjoying every moment, I continued to Brazil for a few more weeks but I just didn’t like it. I didn’t feel safe doing all the things I always liked to do, like wandering in the streets all day long and absorbing the vibes of a new place.
In Rio De Janeiro, for example, I heard so many stories about people getting robbed, even on the beach, that I didn’t want to leave the hostel alone. If it was for sightseeing or even to get some food, I asked friends from the hostel to accompany me.
Then, when I arrived at Salvador De Bahia, I went out to explore the area I was staying in (Pelourinho) like I always do in new places. When I returned to the hostel I started a conversation with the person at the front desk, asking for more recommendations in the neighborhood. I showed him on the map where I was just returning from and he said I was lucky to come back alive. In the same week, in Salvador, I was robbed during the Carnival Parade.
I did have a few good experiences in Brazil, Like the Rolling Stones concert at the Copacabana beach, and also Carnival was a good experience after all, but for me, it is my least favorite place in the world.
Have you had any other misadventures during your travels?
Traveling, especially at a young age, makes you test your boundaries, so misadventures were part of the game. Luckily, I was always safe and nothing too serious that required hospitalization or evacuation has happened to me, but I have on my list a few interesting stories.
For example, I hit a cow while driving in New Zealand; I was lost in the streets of Brisbane, Australia, at 4 am and searched for my hostel for 2 hours; I threw up 4 times on a whale watching “cruise” on a small boat in Sri Lanka (needless to say that I wasn’t capable of seeing any whales); and I was (probably) drugged in a club in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Go back. You hit a cow??
Yep! I was traveling in NZ with two other friends; we rented a car and explored both islands for about two months. We were young and hasty, on a tight budget, so we decided to pass on car insurance and hit the road.
We started on the southern island, drove from one place to another, and had a really good time. After two weeks, we were on our way to Mount Cook (I was driving) and I remember how beautiful the road was. Lake Pukaki was on one side and small mountains on the other. It was late afternoon, no other car was on the road but in the distance, we saw three cows on the side of the road, which added more charm to the beautiful scenery.
As we got closer, the cows decided to get on the road. I slowed down and moved to the right lane. Then, the cows also moved to the right lane and were in front of me. Everything happened so fast, I hit the brakes hard and beeped strongly to scare them away from the road. Two managed to move away from the road, but the third one wasn’t fast enough, and eventually, I hit her back leg with the car’s fender. It was a matter of one second but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to avoid it.
The cow fell on its back leg, but immediately got up and started running towards her other 2 cow-friends. I was shocked. We stopped on the side of the road, and the cows were already far away. Since we saw them running we understood (and hoped) that the poor cow was not harmed seriously. We then realized that there was a small bump to the car’s frame (cows are really heavy and massive) and because we had no insurance, we were super stressed about what we would eventually need to pay for it.
Luckily when we returned the car to the rental company in Auckland, they didn’t notice that bump and just let us go. We felt like we saved thousands of dollars and went to celebrate in a fancy restaurant that night!
What is it like traveling as a vegan? Any tips to share?
Since I turned vegan four years ago, traveling as a vegan has become easier every year. More vegan places open up around the world, more vegan products are available in supermarkets, and the general awareness is growing massively.
Being vegan has also impacted my traveling habits, as searching for vegan restaurants and food options became an important factor in deciding where to go and the way I explore each destination.
In the last road trip that I took in October, a big part of the planning was dedicated to where to eat on the roads, and what I need to have in the car as “back up” food. Burger King now has the Impossible Whopper available everywhere, Dunkin also has the Beyond Sausage (which is vegan when removing the cheese) so it makes traveling less stressful when you know that these options are easy to find.
There’s also a great app called Happy Cow which lists all the vegan and vegetarian places all around the world. This one is a must-have for every vegan traveler!
What are 3 life-changing lessons travel has taught you?
- Money can’t buy happiness, experiences can.
- People are the same all over the world. We might be speaking different languages or have a different skin tones, but we are all people.
- I need to step out of my comfort zone and dare. It has brought me the best experiences of my life.
What countries/activities are still on your bucket list?
There are a few countries that I haven’t been to yet and are up high on my bucket list, like Iceland and Scotland in Europe and Japan in Asia. I also want to explore Europe on a road trip (including countries I have already visited) – from Italy to Germany, France, and Spain.
Do you have any favorite travel books/movies/TV shows?
I grew up on the adventures Phileas Fogg from Jules Verne’s “around the world in eighty days”. Even though I have never fully read the book, I saw the movie and the animated television series based on the book. It really inspired me to discover all the corners of our world and learn about all the different cultures.
Tell us about your blog!
The Top Ten Traveler started in April 2020, during the first days of the Covid pandemic. With less work on my table and lots of free time, I decided to finally do what I always wanted to do – build my own travel website and inspire others who plan their upcoming trips.
As a part-time traveler in recent years, I found it hard to realize what are the main things to do in each destination. It always required too much research and going through so many books, websites and blogs, so on my blog, I try to help other part-time travelers to solve exactly that.
To focus on the top 10 things to see and do in the places they want to visit and to share some general tips that will inspire them.
What is one thing that has surprised you since you started blogging?
The main thing that really surprised me (except for the amount of work that a blog requires) is how big and supportive the travel blogging community is. There are so many groups to get advice and share ideas and bloggers happily support each other. I made new friends and I learn so much from the experiences of others, and I really appreciate that!
How do you balance blogging and travel? Is it different?
Since I launched my site, I was out for only one trip – a road trip in New England, as that’s what I could afford myself during the pandemic. I am looking forward to continuing traveling, as this is not only the fuel for my blog but also the fuel for my day-to-day activities and gives me the power to do everything else in my life.
What tips do you have for new bloggers just starting out?
The most important thing to know is that blogging is a long journey and it takes time to see results. Be aware of that when you start and don’t give up.
My second tip will be to never stop learning and keep improving yourself on the go. The online/blogging/social media worlds keep evolving and if you don’t keep up the pace, you are left behind.
What are your blogging goals for 2021?
My goal is to build a successful and inspiring blog so that I can make an income that will pay for my next travels. Since travel might be back only partially this summer, I am not sure if this goal will be achieved in 2021. But I do hope to see the first fruits when people are back to making travel plans.
Time for the Lightning round!
Plane or train? Plane
Aisle or window seat? Aisle
Beach or mountains? Mountains
Chill cafe or adrenaline activities? Chill cafe
Where can we find you online & on social media?
My blog is thetoptentraveler.com. You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.