New | England
A tale as old as time as told through modern means, ‘Where’s Walla’ is a blog following the adventures of Allan Hinton (better known to his Instagram users as @chaiwalla) as he jacks in his London desk job to embark on an epic adventure to far-flung places. It’s sayonara to spreadsheets and ¡hola! to the open road and sleeping under stars. With 19 countries in Europe and a year of traveling through Asia under his beard, Allan is taking to the streets and hidden nooks of South America armed with his trusty iPhone, a beat up old film camera, and very little besides.
A while ago you quit your office job and decided to hit the road and travel. What made you decide to hit the road?
I was already hooked on traveling and had previously spent 7 months traveling around Asia in my early twenties, so I knew at some point in my life that I would want another big adventure. London is a fantastic city, but it’s very big, expensive and busy and after 7 years the timing felt right to do something radical. Rather than get stuck in the 9 to 5 and lead a life of regrets, I wanted to give myself a chance to pursue the two things that truly make me happy: travel and photography.
Where are you now and what are you up to?
I am now back in London staying between friends and family homes. I want to focus on photography for the summer and see where it leads. I have a few different jobs coming up, a talk and lecture at the Apple store and a couple of trips abroad.
Please tell us something about the locations where you took your photos.
I choose Brighton pier, Brighton beach and Brighton town center. I think that it’s the perfect place to encapsulate fun and energy and it’s a very traditional trip for Londoners to make.
During your travels do you meet a lot of like-minded people with similar stories?
Yes definitely, especially in South America where the “crowd” seems to be a little older. People are often taking time out from their lives and getting some head space so they can work out what’s next – normally thoughts center around what kind of career they want. In their twenties, many people fall into jobs they are not passionate about and it takes quite a lot of strength to change that situation.
While on the road, do you ever miss your hometown London?
I spent seven years in London so it’s very special to me, but I know it so well now that it’s not the city I miss when I am away, but the friends that I have left here.
Trains, cars, busses, planEs - what’s your favorite means of transportation?
Train travel for sure. I think it’s a comfortable way to travel, you can walk around, eat, play games, relax and it’s just a great way to see the countryside around you.
What have been some of your favorite trips been since quitting your job?
Going to the west coast USA was super fun as I got to meet lots of friends that I had made via Instagram and it had always been a dream to go to San Francisco. I also enjoyed getting into hiking whilst in South America, though it felt a world away from my London life so I made the most of every moment.
Any exhilarating funny stories to share?
It’s not so funny, but I did mountain bike down the death road in Bolivia. That was super exhilarating! Also, climbing to the top of Cotopaxi which sits at almost 6000m high was definitely an extraordinary and challenging experience.
Back to the desk or continue traveling? What’s next for you?
Well, I have decided to live in the present and just see what happens, but I am not ready for my adventures to finish and have a few more trips in the pipeline! If I end up in London, I will try to pursue being a photographer.
What was your favorite Meltin’Pot product to work with?
I really liked working with the dark green trousers – I was really drawn to the autumnal colour and it complemented the sea side scenery perfectly.