Dessislava Rumenova from Tales from Earth
Current City: Sydney, Australia
Total countries visited: 60
What makes you interesting: I would say the way I travel. I always say I’m more a traveller than a tourist. I try to avoid hostels/hotels as much as I can since I love staying with locals. It is an amazing way to really experience the culture and to understand the country. I have stayed with locals all over the world, from Rapa Nuis in Easter island to amazing Persian families in Iran. From Bedouins in the Sahara desert to a Yapese family in the small island of Yap, Micronesia. These and many other experiences have enriched me so much and have made me have a better understanding of the world we live in.
What brands do you love: Not sure on what subjects the question is referring to but, for example for photography, I’m totally a Nikon girl. I also love analogue photography and I have a few cameras that I adore, like the Diana F+ of Lomography, and the Fuji Instax Mini, of Fuji.
In terms of fashion clothes my favourites will be Forever21, H&M, ASOS and CottonOn. When it’s about traveling and sport, I’m a Qechua (Decathlon) and North Face fan.
#1 thing you must do when travelling: taking pictures. I’m a photography lover and even though I’m still learning, it has become a passion. I love street photography the most. Capturing the streets, full of life, and the people doing living their lives, is amazing.
If your personality was a city or a country, which one would it be: Australia. I love the Australian way of life. The country is beautiful and they are use to do so many outdoor activities: surf, bbqs, yoga on the beach, etc. I also really like how much they care of their environment and the nature.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I learned to love myself the way I am and to have trust and confidence in myself. Usually girls are very insecure of their bodies and so I was. But I learned that everybody is unique and beautiful the way it is and if I don’t love and take care of myself, who is going to do it?
I also learned that I’m capable of doing anything that I desire. You just need to trust in yourself and work, and keep working and believing in yourself even when you are going to rough times.
Describe the last time you have tried something new: Recently I tried the van life for 2 weeks. I lived and travelled in a self made van around the South of Australia for 2 weeks. It was such a great experience that in the next 2-3 years I’m planning to buy a bus, reconvert it and live there on a permanent basis.
What is your favourite passport stamp: the one I got on Easter island. Is not an official stamp since the island is part of the Chilean territory, but you could stamp your passport on the arrival to the island, so I did.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried: I tried rat meat in Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Iwas impressed at how delicious it was and I recommend to everybody to try it.
Next Destination: Fiji Islands. Can’t wait
James and Susan from The Savvy Backpacker
Current city: New York City
Total countries visited: 17
What makes you interesting? I’m not very interesting that’s why I like to make the destinations I visit be the hero. That’s the interesting thing.
What brands do you love? Apple, Google, Osprey, Patagonia, Nike, New Balance.
What’s your favorite passport stamp? Every passport stamp is awesome. My favorite thing is my passport is my French work visa.
What motivates you to travel: Simply seeing the world, trying new food, and doing something out of the ordinary are motivating. But keeping up with our blog and motivating other people to travel also motivates me to travel.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: We rented Vespa scooters and spend the day riding through the small roads through rural Tuscany. Still look back at that day and smile.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling?Chill out. Don’t try to see everything. So many people try to cram in so much and end up burning out. And don’t fight with your travel partner. It’s easier said than done but remember that you’re a team.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be? That’s a tough one… maybe Amsterdam. It’s a such a laid-back city that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where?My favorite meal was in Florence. It was a pumpkin ravioli that I still remember even though it was like two years ago. I’ve never had anything so good.
Next travel destination: We really want to visit Tokyo.
Zach Boyette from Zach_Boyette
Current city: Chicago – but flying to Iceland tomorrow, and I’ll be tumbleweeding around Europe all summer.
I spent the last 3 months in the US, living for a week or two in each location.
Total countries visited: 31
What makes you interesting: I run my own fully-remote company, which allows me to travel full-time. I’m never in one place for longer than a month. I spent the last year traveling the world with Remote Year, living across Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America. I’m passionate about travel photography, and pugs. I want to own 4000 pugs in the future and open a giant pug ranch. Only halfway kidding.
What brands do you love: Allbirds shoes, Away luggage, Bird Dog shorts, Wool & Prince t-shirts and button downs Lululemon workout gear, Sony A7RII camera, DJI Mavic Air drone, Apple computer / phone / headphones, Osprey backpack, Bluffworks chino pants. That’s basically my entire suitcase!
What motivates you to travel: Traveling is much more than vacation to me – it’s a type of lifestyle. I love the freedom of being anywhere, anytime. I love the people and stories you collect on the road, the weird stuff you eat, the strange places you find yourself. It’s truly living.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Outgoing, tech-nerd, on-the-road
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age? My first job out of college was with a multinational company, and they flew me business class on a trip to Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Brussels, and Paris. I was 22, and I’d never left the country. I got robbed in Barcelona but still had the time of my life, my entire hostel jumped to the rescue to help me out!
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go? I really, really want to go to Antarctica. Some homies in my Remote Year group went and met all the baby penguins and it made me jealous. Antarctica represents the last great terrestrial adventure to me – it’s so alien, and foreign, and hostile. I want to conquer it.
Is there anywhere you will not travel to and where: After experiencing Varna, Bulgaria, I’ve decided I’ll avoid the kitschy tourist resort towns, because they’re basically the same thing everywhere 🙂
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you? Travel has shown me that cultures are incredibly different, but people are the same. We all care about the same things – family, friends, health, happiness. I’ve been humbled to learn how similar we all are, and that’s an important lesson in humanizing countries that you may only see in the news.
Next travel destination: I’m flying to Iceland tomorrow with my little brother. He’s a professional videographer and we’re going to drive the entire ring loop around the Icelandic island. Can’t wait!
Jeremy Albelda from World or Bust!
Current city: Mexico City
Total countries visited: 51
What makes you interesting: I’ve been a travel and motorcycle influencer for about 7 years now and I just opened an English Pub in Mexico City
What brands do you love: Harley Davidson, Timberland, Calvin Klein, Samsonite
Best travel advice: Don’t wait for other people. If you want to go somewhere or do something, just do it! The only thing you can’t buy is more time.
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: Mexico because it’s my favorite country!
What destinations are on your bucket list and why: Armenia not many people have been there and it has amazing history and nature.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Philippines the infrastructure is very old and getting around or getting anything done is a major chore.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: I was in a Romanian music video once pretending play guitar on the beach.
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home and tell us about that experience: I slow traveled without a base for almost 2 years. It was an amazing experience because I feel like I grew a lot in that time.
Next travel destination: Brazil!
Dev from FootLoose Dev
Twipper of the Week: Footloose Dev
Current city: New Delhi, India
Age: 28 years old (27/Mar/1990)
Total countries visited: 18
What makes you interesting: The fact that I always go for local experiences rather than redoing a well-marked tourist trail, is what people adore about footlooseDev. I stay with local families everywhere I go, trek in the Himalayas and create my own trails, hitchhike and make friends on the road. For example, I stayed with a local family in Germany helping themin their horse farm, and in return, learning a bit of Horse Riding — the German style. Then I stayed with another family in Italy, near Rome, and helped them look after their garden. Such local experiences make travelling a more enriching experience.
What brands do you love: I particularly like Lowepro for their camera bags, Deuter for their rucksacks and I use Quechua for travel shoes.
What motivates you to travel: It’s the freedom and learning part that inspires me the most to travel. When you’re travelling (particularly solo) you learn more about yourself and different communities around you. You learn to fit in! Before I started travelling I was more of a team player and not a leader. I wasn’t confident about myself as I am now. My decisions would wait for others. But now that I’ve travelled enough, having no one but myself to rely on, I’ve learned the art of decision making. I have learned learn to resolve.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where? I happened to eat a traditional dish called JADOH in a tribal area in the Northeastern part of India. So these indigenous tribe called Khasi believes that when you kill an animal it’s more humane if you at least consume it entirely and not throw any part of the animal in waste. Sticking to that belief, their traditional dish JADOH includes pig’s intestine and brain as curry, served with rice cooked in pig’s blood. I think it was interesting and intense for me, at the same time.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels? I’ve learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I was, in every way.
Describe yourself in three words: Compassionate, unworried, globetrotter.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be? and why?: I think Thimpu (the capital city of Bhutan) because it is both modern and traditional at the same time. It is one of those cities in the world that is comfortable to live, has access to everything local you can imagine, yet doesn’t grow mad on you. You can spend years in Thimpu and not feel that you need to move. It’s easy going, and beautiful.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Make friends. Because travelling is not just about visiting new places, a part of it is about making friends as relations as well.
Next travel destination: Tokyo. And because of the same reason. Tokyo is one of the craziest cities, yet the way it has protected its culture is amazing. I’d like to know how they did it, while most other cities in the world lost their culture as globalization hit the world.
Current city: Wil, Switzerland
Total countries visited: 26
What makes you interesting: Hm I don’t really think of myself as interesting but I like to think that having traveled solo through 10 countries doesn’t make me the least interesting person.
What brands do you love: I wouldn’t say I really “love” a particular brand but I do really like the bags from Osprey and the cameras from Canon.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I think travel has made me a (little) bit more open. I am quite introverted and not particularly fond of that but when you travel alone you just have to get out of your comfort zone and approach people. And it gets easier the more you do it.
Describe the last time you tried something new: Two weeks ago I decided to explore my home country a bit more since I’ve never actually traveled much around here. Traveling solo at home is certainly different than abroad!
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: Probably Belize. Not because it was my favorite country I’ve ever been to but because the stamp is round and looks better than all the others.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go and why: Iceland. While I’m more of a fan of warmer climates I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland. The landscape looks unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I hope I’ll make it up there sometime son!
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels and why: Eating local cuisine. I love food and I like to try out new tings. I think the food is such a big part of a country or culture that you visit and you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to try smething you don’t know.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: I’ltry to smile and be friendly and communicate with hand signals. Usually it’s easier than you might think.Next travel destination: Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe!
Twipper of the Week: Andrew Kearns!
Current city: Laie, Hawaii
Total countries visited: 6
What makes you interesting: I always have a camera with me and travel more often than not.
What brands do you love: Canon, Leica, Value Village, and Arcteryx.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Experiencing other cultures and capturing it with my camera.
Describe yourself in three words: I’m never content
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: My surfboard! I have to have some fun somehow.
What destinations are on your bucket list and why: Norway because the landscape looks amazing! Cuba because it would be fun to photograph and Guatemala because I’d love to go back and shoot there again.
What item will you never leave home without: My camera. I love taking photos all the time.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Norway, Cuba, Guatemala and New Zealand – I always said I would get there.
Next travel destination: All the Islands around Hawaii.
Elona from Elona The Explorer!
Current city: New York City
Total countries visited: 39
What makes you interesting:I would say how busy I am. I sometimes surprise myself with how much I have on my plate: a full time job, a charity, a jewelry business, and a blog … and I try to squeeze in a full time travel itinerary in between!
What brands do you love: I’ll have to be a bit biased here and say NULA Jewelry, a travel themed chic an affordable jewelry line which I launched last summer. I also love MelanieAudrey bracelets. In the hospitality world I am loyal to the Ritz-Carlton and the Shangri-La.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: I always had this generic thought that traveling would “help me find myself.” But the reality is that traveling helped me create myself rather find myself – basic human interaction with individuals around the world who come from various backgrounds made me kinder, more compassionate, more understanding, and more open minded. Every time I travel, I invest in myself by injecting a multitude of experiences (both good and bad) which shape me into a better and better human over time. I will never be perfect, but I get better and better every time I am abroad and exposed to more experiences and interactions.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Definitely food. [And wine.] I try not to spend money on anything except for food!
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: I always have a handheld facial frequency device, which helps reduce puffiness especially after a long flight and lack of rest. I always have my camera and a mini tri-pod when I travel solo and most importantly gym clothes!
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: Google Translate with offline mode would be my first step. Next step is to find the nearest hotel (surely someone has to speak English), third would be finding WiFi, downloading a map offline with all local attractions and just winging it on my own.
Describe the last time you tried something new: This past November in Singapore, I tried jelly fish – I know it might not sound that crazy but that was a big step for me! Wasn’t too bad either.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Walk around – I don’t care where I am or how the weather is, I love to walk around and get a feel for what the destination is like. I love to walk into small mom & pop shops and cafés and chat with locals – it’s really the only way to get immersed in a foreign place.
Next travel destination: Milan this week!
Twipper of the Week: Tirthankar Bose from The Poor Nomad!
Current city: New Delhi (India)
Total countries visited: 13
What makes you interesting: I am good at starting conversations and making it lively as well as I have a lot of experiences and stories to share. However, I am a good listener too.
What brands do you love: I mostly prefer three brands for all my travel needs: Northface, Wildcraft, and Quechua.
What does “Travel” mean to you: You cannot define travel as everyone has their own definitions. Some like to travel for freedom, some just for fun, some travel with friends and so on. To me travel is exploring new cultures, food, meeting new people, knowing their style of living and decoding some untouched lands. However, travel always empower me with freedom and discover that how everyone is wrong about other countries.
What is your most favorite travel memory: My favorite travel memory is my first solo backpacking trip, which I did in the year 2006. When I had no idea how to travel still I went for the trip with little and no money and after some huge goof-ups, I finally completed it. But that trip gave me a lot of confidence that I am still carrying with me even now.
For more, you may check out the story of my first backpacking trip:My First Solo BackPacking Trip To Yumthang Valley – How It All Started
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Being a solo traveler, sometimes it’s very hard to keep your travel under budget, getting information and knowing all the do’s and don’ts about the destination. So the best way to tackle all these is to start a conversation with a local. I always try this trick to get ideas on how to travel and where to stay and all. As most of the times, the locals have more idea about that place than Google. The best way to do break the ice: “Hi, I’m from [insert home country or city] and I’m here for a week, do you know any good hotels here or any good place to visit?”
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I would go to Pakistan. Being an Indian, unfortunately, we were always told how vulnerable Pakistan is. But I would like to crack this myth and would love to show the world that even the local Pakistanis are peace loving people and are hospitable too. However, Pakistan has its share of some amazing places but most of us have no idea about this.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: I don’t know whether it can be termed as unique or funny but there is one experience which I would really like to share.
I was in Udaipur with two other travelers from France and Spain. We went to a local bar and ordered a beer each, after an hour or two we were all out and toxicated. And I promptly had a ‘micro sleep’ on one of the tables. After 15 minutes when I woke up, there were smashed glasses, broken chairs and tables everywhere. Apparently, one of my mates told me that 5 minutes after my nap two groups started fighting after a heated discussion and the best part was that all this was happening just 5metres from me. Glasses, chairs, and tables flying everywhere, and I just slept through it all completely unscathed. When I woke up, one of my friend was covered in bits of glass and I didn’t have a clue what had happened… haha!
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: I would say, it would be Nepal. I love backpacking and exploring new cultures with a pinch of adventure. And Nepal has it all. It is a haven for backpackers and for people who love adventure.
Next travel destination: Nepal
Marta and Michal from WanderIT
Current City: We currently live in Chester, United Kingdom
Age: We’re both 26
Total countries visited: 30
What makes you interesting: What makes us interesting is probably what we experienced throughout our travels, and the hard work and effort we make to be able to afford seeing the world.
What brands do you love: Our favorite brands that compliment our travels are Faithfull, The Brand, Douchebags, Nikon, Sony and DJI.
ost magical place on earth: Bali and Santorini. We consider Bali our second home because of the its incredible nature, endless waterfalls, sunsets and the most friendly people we’ve met when traveling. Floating in infinity pools and listening to the sound of jungle is one of the most magical and relaxing experience I could think of. Santorini is a pure magic too- the blues and whites combine the most beautiful landscapes one can ever imagine. It’s surely one of those places that leave you absolutely speachless.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: For both of us, the most unique travel experience we’ve had so far was swinging over the Balinese jungle.
Describe the last time you tried something new: We’ve recently started a new chapter as content creators which is making videos.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: We love waking up early in the morning to travel to most dreamy locations and enjoying them before the crowds arrive. We hardly ever relax trying to make the most of the time we spend in a certain country. As we travel, we love taking pictures and shooting video content for our blog and social media which has lately became our biggest passion.
What item will you never leave home without and why: Most probably we would not leave home without our phones. Since we’ve started travel blogging, we constantly stay in touch with brands we collaborate with, and other content creators that we’ve met via social media.
Best travel advice: Do not plan too much and be spontaneous- in this way you’ll make some good memories. I used to have every trip of mine planned in details from the first till the last day and since I’ve learned to improvise I felt its so much more fun. Take a risk, get lost, always be respectful, open minded and ready to try new things that you did not read about beforehand.
Next travel destination: This year we will explore Morocco, Kenya, Seychelles, Abu Dhabi, Zanzibar and the magical land of Cappadocia!
Penny Sadler from Adventures of a Carry-On!
Current city: Napa, CA
Age: I’m a woman of “ a certain age”
Total countries visited: 8 with at least 10 trips to Italy and even more to Mexico
What makes you interesting: I’ve just blown up my career as a professional makeup artist for 25+ years and moved to Napa Valley to learn the wine business. Most people eligible for AARP discounts do not do this! I’m still curious, still interested in adventures and trying new things. I think that makes for an interesting person.
What brands do you love: I guess it depends what you are referring to? As a professional makeup artist I love Dior and other luxury cosmetic brands but rarely purchase them. In the wine world I love any brand that offers high quality to value wine. Alsace varietals have my heart.
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: My favorite stamp is the one I got when I went on my first media trip to Italy in 2013. I felt like I’d really arrived traveling to Italy all expenses paid.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: When traveling I have no problem spending money on unique local experiences. Hot air balloon rides, and private tour guides are totally worth it!
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has made me tolerant, patient (which I’m definitely not!) and adaptable. It’s also honed my creativity and my appreciation for just about everything in life: food, wine, art, culture.
What are your travel pet peeves: I think my biggest pet peeve is people who work in travel and tourism but dislike tourists.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I try something new almost every day. Especially as a new resident in California There’s always something to do, see and try.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: I’ve met many many interesting people while traveling, it’s truly hard to narrow that down. I think the most interesting people are the ones who are curious about others, willing to share and listen too. That said, I once met a rather famous Italian author while sitting in a Piazza in Pavia. I didn’t know it at the time because he really didn’t speak very much English and I don’t speak much Italian. He invited me for a tour the next day but somehow I missed the connection. Che casino!
Next travel destination: I’ve just taken a 9 – 5 job which does limit my travel options quite a bit. However, I’m determined to go back to Italy this year. And hopefully Alsace too. I’ll definitely be exploring more of beautiful Northern California.
oe Looker from Joe Travel Blogs!
Current city: Reading, United Kingdom
Total countries visited: I really can’t remember but roughly 15! I think I am doing quite well considering I didn’t start travelling until I was 18 years old.
What makes you interesting: I always travel on a budget as cheaply as possible, so I can maximize the countries I go to. I always stay in hostels or with friends abroad, it means I can see so much more of the world.
What brands do you love: National Geographic because their work is incredible and constantly inspires me and Osprey for there rugged travelling bags.
What destinations are on your bucket list and why: Japan was the biggest thing on my bucket list for years. But I ticked that one off in January which was incredible after dreaming about going for so long. Now I would say highest on my bucket list is Norway or Canada! If you want to see more, my full bucket list is actually on my blog.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: When I traveled to Peru I tried Cuy which is wild guinea pig. I was in the Sacred Valley and it was cooked on a spit. However it was a bit boney, I am not really in a rush to try it again.
What was your best and worst travel experience: My best travel experience was going to the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand because we trekked the whole glacier and even got a helicopter ride to the top. It is also something that is becoming harder and harder to do now because of glaciers melting. So I’m really glad I did it when I had the chance.
My worst experience was at the Bolivian border. I was on a long haul sleeper bus and we just had to get off the bus and hand in our passports, get a new stamp and go. But my entry card had fallen out of my passport, which was unknown to me. It was so confusing because they were talking Spanish really quickly and I was only understanding parts of the conversation. Then I got taken into a different room and he said for 5 sol he could make me a dodgy new one but to keep it quite. It was all very sketchy. Then about 5 minutes later I got back on the bus and into Bolivia.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: I think in 2050 I will be really proud to have visited Cuba before it was turned into a tourist hot spot. I believe it will change hugely soon because of how the country is trying to come out of communism and change to capitalism. The government also drives tourism massively with it being there biggest and most profitable sector.
What people say when they travel with you: Wow he never spends money! Haha
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Money is only a number and is worthless compared to experiences and memories.
Next travel destination: Italy because I have never been before and it is only in Europe so it is very close to me in the UK! I love the food and culture of the people. I really can’t believe I have never been before.
David and Veronica from The GypsyNesters!
Current city: Ventura, California
Age: David 58, Veronica 54
Total countries visited: Our current count is 54,and we are always looking to add to that total.
What makes you interesting: Hmm, can’t say we have been asked that before. We have had quite a life, married for 35 years, living in Nashville, St. Croix, New York, and now Southern California, and having dozens of different jobs through the years, along with all of the stories from our explorations. It’s all in our book GOING GYPSY: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All.
What brands do you love: We love our iPhone, can’t imagine traveling without it. As for travel companies, we love Backroads, Viking Cruises, Road Scholar, Discover Corps., Country Walkers, and VBT for amazing adventures that are well planned and cater to folks like us that want to be more than just tourists. When we visit a destination, we want to do more than just take a quick look.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: There is great quote from Mark Twain: ”Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” We have found this to be very true. Our greatest discovery in our GypsyNester journey has been that people all over the world are basically good and decent, friendly and welcoming.
What destinations are on your bucket list and why: There are still a few. We call ourselves “greedy travelers” because the more we see, the more we want to see. Antarctica would have to be near the top of our list since it would make all seven continents visited for us, but there are plenty of others as well. We’d love to see New Zealand, Scotland, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the South Pacific, or almost anywhere else that we haven’t been.
What are your travel pet peeves: The fact that we are both sitting here trying to think of something must mean that there really aren’t any big ones. There are always little things, but we have become quite good at letting them slide.
Describe the last time you tried something new: It wasn’t the last time, but certainly the worst. Eating silkworms in China certainly stands out, but not in a good way. Of all the crazy things we’ve eaten (and it is quite a few, we have a whole category on our website) it is by far the nastiest. Thoroughly disgusting, but we found the humor in it, even at the time.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: We discovered that by trying and experiencing so many new things together we really reconnected as a couple and found those crazy kids that fell in love decades ago.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited and why: One thing we really like is visiting places that were not allowed back in our younger days. Russia, China, Cuba, Poland, Czech, Estonia, Slovenia, and Hungary, were all forbidden so were extremely interesting to see. But that wouldn’t be our proudest, that would have to be our voluntourism experiences. We have had the chance to help while traveling in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America and right here in the states, and hopefully by 2050 will have added significantly to that list.
Next travel destination: We are off to Hawaii, which will mean that we both have visited all 50 states.
Renuka Walter from Voyager For Life!
Current city: Mumbai
Total countries visited: 5 (including India)
What makes you interesting: I follow my heart. I have created a new definition of success – “You are a success if you are living the kind of life that you really like.”
What brands do you love: Airbnb, TripAdvisor
What does “Travel” mean to you: A better way to live. If I have money I think I won’t be home!
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels and why: I mostly like wandering, taking in the vibe of a place, taking lots of photographs and then settling for a cup of good coffee.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: My first travel experience was way back when I was a child – perhaps 8 or 9… it was in the rural part of Uttarakhand (North India), which is also my birth place. My very first remembrances of my travel are the mountains of Uttarakhand – our long walks (my siblings and cousins).
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be and why: I think it would be Udaipur (Rajasthan, western India) because I think Udaipur is calm, beautiful, relaxed, laidback and a dreamer like me.
Best travel advice: Travel as much as possible. It’s one thing you will never regret.
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: Sleep as much as you need to and for the sake of it.
Next travel destination: I’m anticipating traveling to a few destinations, but nothing is sure as of now.
Janice and George Mucalov from Sand In My Suitcase
Current City: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Age: Are you supposed to ask that of anyone over age 50? We’re young for ours.
Total countries visited: We’ve not kept count, but many – everywhere from Panama to Estonia to Mozambique. Between us, we’ve explored all 7 continents, including Antarctica.
What makes you interesting: Who says office romances don’t work! We’re both lawyers who met at a firm. Janice then tried writing a romance novel, getting many rejection letters before following her true passion – travel writing. George? His lucky escapes range from a circling tiger shark (while scuba diving) to a toppling out-of-control motorcycle to a horse intent on rolling over him.
What brands do you love: Four Seasons always get it right with their sense of arrival – to reach their private island resort in Bora Bora, you take a 15-minute boat ride through the popsicle-blue lagoon. Viking Ocean Cruises is a new favorite; the chairman famously said Viking passengers would “rather have free laundry” (found on every deck) than a casino (not found on any ship). UnCruise Adventures is great for anti-cruisers. And you can’t beat Windstar Cruises’ sailing-style, tall-ship yachts for romance on the high seas!
What are your travel rituals: We love a good glass of wine and fine meal at the end of a day. And then we try to figure out how to work that off the next. Hiking? Snorkeling? Maybe stand-up paddleboarding (Janice) or “fall-down” paddleboarding (George)?
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: Namibia. We needed a Namibian stamp to check into the “Zambezi Queen” safari riverboat. We had to cross the Chobe River in a small boat from Botswana to the Namibian side, where we trudged up the river bank through ankle-deep sand to a wooden border shack. But the immigration officer wasn’t inside – he was sleeping under a tree out back. We woke him up so he could stamp our passports. Then we got back into the put-put boat which ferried us to the “Zambezi Queen.”
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: On our river cruise in Myanmar, we started chatting with an elegant, silver-haired woman working quietly on her tablet at the WiFi hotspot. She told us why boat guides continuously plunge wooden measuring poles into the water of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, barely six-and-a-half feet deep in places. Turns out the river’s sandy bottom is constantly shifting, and no one wants to get stuck! Later, we discovered she was Mrs. Sherwood. Her husband founded the fabled Orient-Express (now Belmond) group of luxury hotels, trains and river cruises – so it was “her” riverboat.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling and why: Taking along the perfect shoes (Janice) – flats for walking, strappy sandals for the pool, runners for the gym, heels for dinner… George: He says he never breaks the bank . Though there was that irresistible Turkish carpet – a treasured reminder of Istanbul.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Time away from the computer and Internet. Of course we take our laptops and phone with us. But we make a conscious effort to immerse ourselves in the travel experience and be in the “here and now,” staying away as much as possible from social media and emails.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: We’ve loved the many different cultures and people we’ve met. We hope our travels will continue to give us a broader perspective on the world to share with our readers.
Next travel destination: Sri Lanka.
Sheila Berrios-Nazario from Golden Age Trips!
Current city: Lakewood Ranch, FL
Total countries visited: 7
What makes you interesting: I am a science major who edits life sciences and medical research papers, and who is now also working as a Travel Agent and blogger.
What brands do you love: Under Armour sneakers, Herschel backpacks, and Supergoop! sunblock.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Iceland, because it has been the most incredible travel experience up to date.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Definitely food. I also enjoy a good night sleep and don’t like to compromise too much on accommodations.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: It had put numerous things in perspective. Especially how much there is to see and learn, and how we as humans don’t have that time available to us because of all our responsibilities and bills.
What are your travel pet peeves: I’m scared of doing something that offends locals. Crying babies and loud talkers are also not my favorite things in the world.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I tried Soda Bread for the first time, drove on the left side of the road, and hung out with hawks and owls just this last week.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: This is a difficult one… but during a summer internship at the University of Iowa I met a group of peers from different backgrounds who had gone through so much to be where they were. We all had our challenges and struggles but were trying to be the best version of ourselves and ‘save the world’. I would say that as of today most of them are actually doing something meaningful and helping their communities in their own way.
Next travel destination: Probably Portugal or Norway.
Shubham Mansingka from Travel Shoe Bum!
Current city: Jaipur, Rajasthan
Total countries visited: 4
What makes you interesting: I believe that the best stories on the road are the unexpected ones. We realize that the world is amazing and most people are good when we travel. Unexpected love makes me feel good, I try and give myself a fair chance of receiving the same and hence ‘the goodness of strangers.’
What brands do you love: Brands that have long stayed true to their word. I love Adidas and Apple products.
What motivates you to travel: Travel has made me realize the world is a wonderful place and there is so much goodness everywhere. From natural beauty to culture, local food, crafts, folklore, architecture, there is a whole lot to explore. Travel has taught me to live in the moment and not worry about what’s gonna come next.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: When I am fulfilling a dream adventure in the mountains!
Describe the last time you tried something new: I recently tried skiing on a long slope for the first time.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Among the greatest memories for my entire life, the solo trek to Zanskar will most probably be an experience that I will be forever proud of : https://travelshoebum.com/2016/05/11/doing-the-unthinkable-solo-trekking-to-zanskar/
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Once on a long journey in India, I met a young bloke who was roaming on his bike for more than four months. We travelled together for a bit and also did a trek together. I really enjoyed his company.
What item will you never leave home without: Himalaya Lipbalm
Next travel destination: Kerala.
Sarah Gregg from Backpacks and Dreams – Travel off the Beaten Track!
Current city: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Total countries visited: 47
What makes you interesting: This is a difficult question! What makes me interesting is that I travel full-time with my husband. A year ago, we made the decision to quit our successful jobs. We sold our house, our car and our belongings. People warned us that leaving was a risk, but for us, the biggest risk was staying. Life is too short not to do what you love.
What brands do you love: For technology, GoPro & Lenovo, Revolut for travel money card Liha Beauty for cosmetics.
What motivates you to travel: The world continues to amaze you when you travel. There is always something more to see, do and experience. I love exploring places of natural beauty, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.
What is your most favorite travel memory: There are so many! My favorite from this trip is receiving a blessing from the youngest high priestess in Bali, Ida Resi Alit. Her story of how she returned from the dead really intrigued me. Meeting her in person and receiving a blessing was very a special experience.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I love the challenge of getting off the beaten track. Getting off the beaten track means different things to everyone. For me, it’s simply finding places where you can connect with local people. Some of my most memorable experiences have been in places you wouldn’t find a guidebook.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: China. We arrived after travelling overland by train on the Trans-Siberian. I remember getting off the train and feeling overwhelmed. The language barrier, the volume of people and the cultural difference was so vast. To beat the culture shock, we sought refuge, and coffee, in the only place we could recognize – McDonald’s!
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: GoPro Hero 5. It’s captured some amazing, natural moments.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I would love to do the Mongol Rally, a 10,000-mile car adventure across Europe taken in beat up old cars. I’ve never entered a travel challenge like that before so it would be an incredible experience.
Next travel destination: I am heading home to Belfast, Northern Ireland next week. I am excited to see family and friends. The one thing I am not excited about is the cold! Then we fly back to SE Asia to continue travelling.
Doreen Pendgracs from Chocolatour!
Current city: I live an hour north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Age: Old enough to appreciate cultural differences and personalities
Total countries visited: 35
What makes you interesting: I travel the world in search of the best chocolate experiences. That means I search out the most fascinating and innovative chocolatiers, chocolate makers, chocolate events and attractions and chocolate spas. Yes, I’ve been slathered in molten chocolate from head to toe in a growing number of countries and love it! I’m also a terrific listener. Maybe that’s partly thanks to being a Toastmaster for the past 17 years. But I truly love hearing and telling people’s stories.
What brands do you love: I love NAOT footwear and have worn them for years. Comfort and fashion combined to perfection. I love MAXIM ice-cream bars as they are coated in really good quality chocolate. I love the APPLE brand and have an iMac, MacBook Air, iPad, and iPhone and love how they all communicate and share via the iCloud. I also love WESTJET Airlines and fly them as often as I can for their great pricing, reliability, and friendly staff.
What people say when they travel with you: “When you travel with Doreen Pendgracs, it is a first-class experience. Doreen works with tourism officials to arrange every detail and special extras for the trip and makes sure that accommodations are always up to her high standards. Even having to deal with three days of rain in Miami, Florida, couldn’t dampen her enthusiasm and it was the best time to take the bus tours she’d arranged for us.” And from another friend and colleague: “I was honored and delighted to be Doreen’s travel companion/interpreter on the inaugural Chocolatour to Belgium, France and Switzerland. I was most impressed with her organizational skills, her contacts, and her ability to find great places to stay and great deals for travel. She researched everything before we left Canada and booked interviews with key chocolatiers in all three countries. The entire trip was educational, but most of all, fun!” And from another friend and colleague: “Being stranded behind a mudslide on your way to visit cacao farmers in the Ecuadorian jungle isn’t so bad when you have Doreen along to entertain you for eight hours. She even had the wherewithal to bring snacks, and the generosity to share them with our fellow passengers in the taxi.”
So far, where have you tasted the most delicious Chocolate: I guess if I had to pick one country, it would be Switzerland. Switzerland makes the most amount of milk chocolate, and they are the highest consumers of chocolate in the world (according to some polls.) They really know their chocolate, and make exquisite chocolate creations of every variety and from a wide range of cocoa origins.
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home and where did you go: The longest time I’ve been away from home has been six weeks. We went to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. I absolutely love Vancouver Island as it is a nature lover’s paradise. Clean air and water, magnificent forests, and plentiful wildlife. What could be better?
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: My favourite mode of transportation is flying first class on long haul flights. I think my most memorable flight was to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Etihad Airlines. The quality of service was absolutely amazing and having a comfortable bed to stretch out on during the 13+ hour flight was fantastic.
What are your travel pet peeves: I have two. One is when you are in a hotel room and the alarm goes off at 6 am because the cleaning staff had neglected to delete any settings made by the previous guests. I think hotel staff should be trained to always ensure the clock is set correctly, and that any previous alarm settings are deleted when they clean the rooms between guests. My other pet travel peeve is encountering fellow travellers who do nothing but complain because something is “different/not as good as at home.” Travel is and should be an adventure. If you don’t want to take chances and seize the opportunity to encounter and experience different customs and foods, stay home so you don’t spoil it for the rest of us.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: That I truly love people. I enjoy meeting people from different countries and cultures and feel that I am the person I am today because of the incredible travel experiences I’ve had over the past 40+ years.
Next travel destination: Scottsdale, Arizona later this month. I was there quite a long time ago (BB — before blogging!) And so, a return visit to explore their chocolate scene and familiarize myself with what’s new in their lodging and culinary scenes will be terrific.
Current city: Tucson, AZ
Age: 71 (though since I can’t really picture myself as 71, I prefer “veteran travel writer” or “cutting-edge baby boomer”)
Total countries visited: 120
What makes you interesting: People seem to find the life of a travel writer interesting – that you can actually make a living traveling and write about it. I don’t like to talk about my work all that much – there’s a lot of sitting in front of the computer pounding out (I hope) golden or at least silver or bronze words, and that’s anything but glamorous – but I do love to talk about travel, and I can do that for hours. But only if the person on the other end of the conversation is genuinely interested and asking questions and isn’t fidgeting or dozing off; not everyone wants to hear about your latest trip. Otherwise, I put my work out there and let it speak for itself.
What brands do you love: LL Bean, Travelsmith, Magellan’s, REI, Columbia, Keen – all for travel clothes and travel gadgets.
What motivates you to travel: Of course, as a travel writer I’m motivated to travel when an editor sends me somewhere on a paying gig, but in truth, I would – and often do — travel even if I’m not on assignment. I can only say that I love it and there’s some sort of burning pit inside me that propels me to want to go anywhere and everywhere at just about any time. I think it’s mostly being curious about the world. What’s a place I’ve only read about really like? I never feel I can answer that question until I’ve been there and seen it for myself (and, often, write about it afterward – which helps me clarify my thoughts). Then there are countries like France, Spain, Italy and Greece that I return to again and again just because I like being there so much and enjoy the ambiance, people, and food.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: I’ll have to divide that into two parts. My parents were both teachers, had summers off and loved to take driving trips around the U.S., so I had traveled to 48 states by the time I was 12. My first big trip was at age five when my family visited New York City and Washington, DC; I’ll never forget the impression the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and the U.S. Capitol made on me then. But of all our trips, I was especially enamored of California and the “wild” West, which seemed incredibly exotic to a boy growing up in Indiana. My first overseas trip was to Europe when I was age 20, in college. Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome, Amsterdam, Lucerne, and London were magical places to me and really opened my eyes to the world. And I’ve been traveling every chance I’ve had ever since.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: So many, but one quickly comes to mind: Margaret Mead, the anthropologist. She was quite old at the time and I was quite young, on my first trip to Africa trying to dig up stories for a news service but finding myself more interested in seeing the sights (naturally). I was sitting in the outdoor cafe of the New Stanley Hotel in Nairobi when I spotted her, cane in hand, standing at the corner of a busy intersection, clearly wary of facing the traffic. I recognized her immediately and jumped at the chance to help her cross the street, then accompanied her to a conference she was attending on environmental issues. She was incredibly smart, of course, but also very funny – she couldn’t get over how there was a KFC (which she called “that chicken place”) right across the street from the conference center — and I got a good story out of it.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Walking around a city or hiking through the countryside, just observing, soaking in the atmosphere, people watching and relishing the scenery: The world’s best freebie.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Probably the stamp I got on Easter Island (“Isla de Pascua”) on October 17, 2006. It pictures the moia – the giant carved stone heads the island is famous for – and epitomizes to me getting to someplace that’s in the middle of nowhere but absolutely fascinating.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: Besides my laptop and camera, which I couldn’t do without, I still rely on good old-fashioned print guidebooks (often with the appropriate pages torn out to reduce the weight). My most useful guidebook was when I bought Arthur Frommer’s Europe on $5 a Day back in 1971 while spending three months traveling around Europe. Until I picked up that book, I was sort of aimlessly wandering around, and when I started reading it I realized how much I’d been missing. I’ve been devoted to print guidebooks ever since, no matter how smart my phone is.
Next travel destination: Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, hot springs, cherry blossoms, bullet trains, great noodle dishes, a culture very different from the U.S.
Stephanie Sack from Barge Lady Cruises!
Current city: Chicago
Total countries visited: 8 and counting
What makes you interesting: I am a northside Chicago native, hardcore hot yoga junkie, passionate self-taught Paleo chef, Europhile medical and recreational cannabis supporter, PANK (Professional Aunt No Kids), true crime podcast addict, and all around wacky gal.
What brands do you love: ModCloth for street chic clothing; Airbnb for its innovations in global hospitality and travel marketing; Burning Man for its dynamic representation of inspirational creativity; Daybreaker for producing the best sober raves around the world; Atlas Obscura for positioning local discoveries as accessible for all.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: As someone who is relatively late to travel, I am consistently amazed, blessed, and honored by the local, secret, and offbeat experiences exclusively available to me as a traveler, which helps me stay youthful and present. Travel is one of the fountains of youth from which I drink often!
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Anywhere with a Bikram-style hot yoga studio is where I plan to get my sweat on between now and 2050!
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: I can always find the most awesome events in any city. Recently, while in San Francisco, I attended a screening in an underground movie theatre of Akira, the classic Japanese anime, with a live techno soundtrack commissioned for this one-off screening. YAS!!!
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: 15 years ago, I was in London with some other young folk, and somehow we found the most amazing underground nightclub! The music, space, lights, crowd – all of it was right out of David Bowie’s “Young Americans”. We danced for hours, made a ton of friends, and had an epic time. The next time we went to try to find the club again and literally could not locate where we had been. I am convinced we entered a portal to some killer nightclub from another dimension!
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed and why: Almonds. I always have almonds at the ready when I travel. They just solve a bunch of problems!
Next travel destination: San Francisco, for a one-night-only listening party to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon!
Jane and Duncan from To Travel Too!
Current city: Sydney, Australia
Age: Jane is 60 and Duncan is 61
Total countries visited: 55 countries
What makes you interesting: We both gave up the corporate world, sold up everything, in our 50’s to travel continuously until we cannot travel anymore. We travel the world (including flights and insurance) on AUD92 per day – this is in line with the Australian Aged Pension, although we are not at that age yet. We are inspiring those considering their transition to retirement or already in their retirement to ‘chase time, not money’ and that ‘age is no barrier when it comes to travel’.
What brands do you love: We travel with Osprey carry-on luggage and Osprey Daypacks for our technology. Over the last 18 months on the road, they have done us proud. For technology our laptops are Apple, Jane’s phone is an Apple, Duncan enjoys his Samsung phone and we use a Panasonic Lumix camera.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel is a freedom that brings new experiences and adventures every day of your life.
What item will you never leave home without and why: Our power board for our technology, Jane’s laptop, and phone. Needless to say our Australian Passports.
Describe the last time you tried something new: In November 2017 we traveled to Kerala and Goa in India and had an amazing overnight houseboat journey on the backwaters of Kerala. Such a peaceful experience, the only ones on board, and the food were incredible. A memorable experience for us both.
What is your best and worst travel memory:
Our worst travel memory: would be having our passports and credit cards stolen in Quito Ecuador. We were on our way to Otavalo, a 2-hour bus journey, to visit the largest market in South America. It took us 3 months to have our passports, visas and credit cards issued.
Our best memory: we can’t decide between trekking Machu Picchu and our very first hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Most magical place on earth and why: A tough question this one!
Jane: My most magical place on earth would be – Tikal National Park at sunrise, hearing the jungle waking up around as we wait for the mist to clear over the temples and the sun to rise.
Duncan: Macchu Pichhu and entering the sacred valley after our four day Inca Trek.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go and why:
Jane: I would love to be able to chill for a week on a small island in the Maldives, with lots of books to read and enjoy time off from ‘blogging’.
Duncan: To visit the Northern Lights and ride on a toboggan driven by dogs to an ice retreat.
Next travel destination: We are off to Brisbane and Noosa in Australia for 2 weeks. Part of the trip is to present at a conference, catch up with some friends and revisit these 2 cities which we haven’t done for quite a while.
Richelle Gamlam from Adventures Around Asia!
Current city: Ben Lomond, NSW, Australia
Total countries visited: 33
What makes you interesting: I lived in China for five years, and I’m fluent in Mandarin Chinese!
What brands do you love: REI, Osprey, Pacsafe, Eagle Creek, Context Tours, Tinggly, Skyscanner, Lost Plate
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Travel taught me how much I can do on my own. Traveling solo and living abroad has really forced me to rely on myself in a way I just didn’t have to when I was back home in the US. I had to solve problems and deal with “disasters” and tough situations all on my own. It was a great lesson in what I’m truly capable of, and it’s shown me that most of the time, travel disasters aren’t actually as a big of a deal as you might think!
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Get lost! Spend a day wandering around the city, or take a motorbike around your town or island. You’ll never imagine what incredible things you can see if you just get off the beaten path.
Most magical place on earth: I’m a little in love with the island of Siargao in the Philippines. While this island is known for surfing (and I’m not a huge surfer), there are plenty of other things to do. Rent a motorbike and ride around the island, go scuba diving, swim in rock pools, touch stingless jellyfish in a lagoon, explore the mangroves, and have BBQ with friendly locals.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: I think Taiwan fits my personality most out of any country. Taiwan is such a fun, friendly and welcoming country full of outdoor experiences and incredible (and cheap) food, night markets, beaches, mountains and more. I’d love to live in the cosmopolitan city of Taipei and spent my time hiking, swimming, diving, and stuffing my face with cheap Chinese food and fresh fruit. I love Chinese culture, and after five years in Mainland China, I think Taiwan is a much better fit for my personality.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: The first travel experience I can actually remember is a trip I took to France and Italy with my parents when I was in 4th grade. This trip was actually a bit of a fluke- we gave up seats on a flight and ended up with enough miles to almost get us to Europe! This trip really taught my family that travel isn’t as expensive as you might think, and inspired many more trips throughout my childhood.
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: Take a small nap and then get out and explore! If you keep yourself busy, you won’t fall into a pattern of sleeping at the wrong times.
Next travel destination: Kenya and Tanzania! I’ll be heading home to the US for just over a month to see my family, but after that, I’ll be heading to Africa.
Edward Rivera from Roving Rivera!
Current city: Beijing, China
Total countries visited: 35
What makes you interesting: Well, I guess one thing is that I have lived in 4 different countries for over 1 year.
What brands do you love: I love Canon cameras, they are my go-to brand for sure.
What motivates you to travel: Culture, languages, and constant adventure.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Eat local cuisine definitely. Learn some of the languages.
What is your favorite travel memory: There are many, but I guess I would say my favorite memory was when I first left the U.S.A study in Italy. I remember waking up, opening the window seeing rolling hills and finally realizing I was beginning my dream career in travel.
Describe yourself in three words: Driven, Open, eclectic
What’s your favorite passport stamp: South Korea, I lived there for 4 years. It really brought me a lot of opportunities.
Who is the most interesting person you have met and why: I’ve come across a lot of interesting people but I guess I would say I met an American guy on a beach in Phuket Thailand. He sold all his businesses bought a bamboo hut and placed it on a beach. He lived the simple life on a beach in a bamboo hut. He would literally wake up walk out his hut swim in the sea come back and just talk about how he decided to settle on a beach alone.
Next travel destination: Borneo, Thailand, Vietnam
Gunnar Garfors from The Garfors Globe!
Current city: Oslo, Norway – I’m at home between travels
Total countries visited: All
What makes you interesting: I am not all that interesting, but I love sharing travel experiences with others and getting to know locals and fellow travelers, so I am not the worst company for a coffee. I think.
What brands do you love: Any company that can get me from A to B. SAS, Lufthansa and the other airlines of Star Alliance do so brilliantly most of the time.
Best travel advice: Travel with hand luggage only. It is faster, more flexible, makes you seem less like a tourist and is friendlier to the environment. And it is far from impossible, bring washing powder and buy new clothes wherever you go, that is often cheaper than at home anyway. And you get more original clothes.
What destinations are on your bucket list: The most exotic countries of the world. I am currently writing a book about them so I will return to the top 20 of them in the next few months. Let me just say that both São Tomé, Príncipe and the Marshall Islands are among them.
How do you do to stay healthy when you travel: I go running several times a week. It helps me keep fit, and it is a great way of exploring a new neighborhood. You’ll also be surprised how many smiles you see when you run abroad.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: There are hundreds of episodes to pick from, many of which I have written about in my first book “How I Ran Out of Countries”, but what my sister Kjersti and I experienced in Lesothomade me laugh. We were stamped out of Lesotho in the border police shack on the edge of the infamous and feared Sani Pass, on the border between Lesotho and South Africa. The police officers giggled when they saw our tiny rented Fiat, although we didn’t quite understand why. The road there hadn’t been all that bad, despite a lack of pavement and an overdose of goats. It was when we started driving down from the top that we realized what the giggling had been about. As we would have known had we read about Sani Pass on Wikipedia. “It is a notoriously dangerous road, which requires the use of a 4×4 vehicle. This pass lies between the border controls of both countries and is approximately 9 km in length and requires above average driving experience. It has occasional remains of vehicles that did not succeed in navigating its steep gradients and poor traction surfaces, and has a catalog of frightening stories of failed attempts at ascending the path over the Northern Lesotho Mountains.” In Lesotho I was proposed to by a girl from one of the mud hut villages. We were stopped in the mountains, a mother and her two adult daughters were hitchhiking. We drove them to Linakeng, almost an hour away. They told us about farming and tough conditions in the cold mountains. We were however also told that the mother’s husband was the chief of the village. They were grateful for the ride. I got a big hug from the mom, who used the occasion to propose to me on behalf of one of her daughters. The prettiest one, even. A future as chief son in law in the middle of Lesotho was tempting. I would presumably tale over the chief title when my potential father in law would call it a night. The average life expectancy is only 48 years, so a transition of power could happen relatively soon. I showed some interest for the offer. My sister wasn’t equally impressed, and we left without .
Describe the last time you tried something new: I never say no to new opportunities or to try new things. Life is too short for that. It’s not too long since I tried orienteering for the first time. A great way to see and feel the nature, enjoy the fresh air while having to navigate and run or walk at the same time. I am not at all a pro, but I loved it!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Never to forget that everyone sees their own hometown and home country as the center of the universe. That is something every traveler should keep in mind. It should help keep any arrogance at bay. Travelling has also given me more input an knowledge about people, places and myself than anything else. Not to travel would be a grave insult to my mind and my intellect.
Next travel destination: I’m off to Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) in a week. That was the last new country I visited, number 198 of 198, so it will always have a special place in my heart.
Paula and Gordon from Contented Traveller!
Current city: Wollongong, Australia. This is our home by the beach, and we love it. We are only here a few months of each year now that we work as professional travel bloggers. When we are here, we feel as if we are on holiday. Its 8 am in the morning and we will walk across to the beach for coffee. Gordy will go for a surf and I will work on our website in a little café.
Age: 60 and 61.
Total countries visited: 51 (though Math is not my strong suit).
What makes you interesting: For some reason, in an interview we were referred to as ‘Seniorpreneurs.’ We both come from corporate careers and became travel bloggers. Many people want to be like us, ‘when they grow up.’ We love people, and we are good at communicating with them. This transfers when writing for our blog which has won many awards by keeping our readers informed, and amused at the same time. We ‘keep it real!’
What brands do you love: Merrell, North Face and Icebreaker, because we both love to ski. Apple anything and everything. I was going to name our apartment the iApartment. Panasonic for our camera equipment.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel is all about serendipity, and it’s those random events you cannot plan for. Meeting local people, eating local food, and trying to immerse in the culture, mostly through watching people go about their daily lives. What Gordon sees, and I see, and how we interpret these things can be vastly different, and that’s a good thing.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Walk around a lot, people watch and eat!
What destinations are on your bucket list: South America, as we haven’t been there yet. Chile because our friend comes from there, and Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador are all appealing.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: From a work perspective, it is great because we can balance out the blog with two of us working on it. Also, Gordon does all the adrenaline stuff, like diving, etc. On the flip side, I have a habit of picking up people, and these end up being great stories …well Gordon wasn’t very happy when I picked up a man who had just been released from jail, but there is always a story in a story. Apparently, he is/was a world-renowned videographer. Also, we actually really like one another. Ok, we may get divorced a few times a trip, but we make up quickly.
What is your most favorite travel memory: I’m like a child when I travel. I get so excited seeing new things. Maybe staying on a houseboat on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam, where people thought we were locals, and waved to us. Also, I had a broken leg from skiing and it was nice to wave my crutches at them. I adore Amsterdam.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I want to say back to Amsterdam, or Ireland, but perhaps to South America, and the Galápagos Island.
Next travel destination: Skiing in Nozawa Onsen in Japan, our home away from home, via Bali.
Tony Giles from Tony the Traveller!
Current city: I live in Devon
Total countries visited: 125
What makes you interesting: I’m totally blind, severely deaf, yet traveling the world alone!
What brands do you love: no brands!
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I’ve learned humility, self-confidence, respect for others and become more open-minded.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: Cammel in Alice Springs, Australia!
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: If I were a city it would be Manchester, England: funny,
positive, active, lively, optimistic! If a country, possibly South Africa, diverse, progressive, emotional, active, forward thinking in many areas!!
Describe what has been the most magical place on earth so far: Antarctica, the open silent spaces, the penguins, seals, whales, the cold and the wind, touching whale bones, glaciers, icebergs etc.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I tried Luging in New Zealand, basically an open board on wheels with two seats, one behind the other and handlebars. You descend a hilly track at speed – wicked!
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Every world country including both Poles, and maybe the Moon!
Next travel destination: Lebanon and Iraq
Tessa Juliette from Where To Next?
Current city: Based out of Brooklyn NY
Total countries visited: 34
What makes you interesting: I regularly travel alone but also with people I have just met because I think those are the best experiences!
What brands do you love: Free People, Urban Outfitters, Malai Swimwear
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: Problem-solving alone is so much harder but also SO much more rewarding.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: My personality is a bit like London. Hard and cold on the outside but full of so much charm once you get to know it.
What is your favorite and worst travel memory:
Favorite memory: Taking an overnight camel ride to the middle of the Saharaon the outskirts of Morocco. I was with a tour group of about 15 people, all from different backgrounds and countries. Americans, Europeans, South Africans, Moroccans – we all got along so well. That night we had no wifi – again we were in the middle of the Sahara and almost no life except for a fire. Our guides played the drums and one of the guests had brought her violin with her. She started playing with them and we all were singing and they passed more drums out for us to use. It was a moment you dream about when you travel. 10+ different cultures, ethnicities, and diverse group of people just having a great night. Laughing, singing, and living in the moment.
Worst memory: It was actually the next morning. We all woke up and heading back to civilization. We stopped at a coffee shop and finally got the signal on our phones back. The TV in the coffee shop had a news station on and we learned what had happened during our amazing night in the desert: The deadly Paris attacks. The mood immediately changed to one of fear and sadness as our phones began exploding with missed calls, voicemails, and text messages.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels and why: Meeting locals and asking them about what life is like where they live. What their favorite spot in the city is and why.
Describe yourself in three words: Positive, energetic, and flexible.
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: I’m easy going and enjoy simply wandering a city or searching for waterfalls.
Next travel destination: Jamaica!
Twipper of the Week: Robert Michael Poole from RMP
Current city: Okinawa
Total countries visited: 127
What makes you interesting: I’m from the UK but lived in Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Japan, before recently becoming a full digital nomad sharing images via @robertmichaelpoole.
What brands do you love: Ted Baker and Paul Smith
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Hopefully all remaining other countries on earth! I plan to tour the Pacific Islands next and then South America.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I think the greatest lesson anyone can learn is that you are who you are because of where and when you are born. Your morals, thinking processes, values, ambitions, and desires, are all a product of the society you grew up in. It’s important to understand how different you’d be if you were by chance born somewhere else, and so it’s good to try to step out of your bubble because until you do, you’ll never truly know who you really are.
Describe the last time you tried something new: Fortunately, in my life, every day brings something new, since I had no base and no routine. Yesterday I tried an incredible spa relay course in Okinawa, 14 spa pools each different to each other, offering different ways to relax the body. Tomorrow I’ll head to China to experience a helicopter ride over the Great Wall of China, which should give me an incredible perceptive of this mammoth structure. I do feel the need to try new things every day, though most are much smaller in scale, from new food combinations to new conversations with new people I’ve crossed paths with.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Probably the Dalai Lama, though I’m a firm believer in the fact that everyone you meet has some knowledge and experience that you don’t, and it’s up to you to discover this in each person. Some people may be interesting up-front, but everyone has something interesting to share, and the fun is in discovering them.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by? Smile and use hand signals. I don’t think any languages are really so obscure once you have some experience traveling, all world languages are connected to each other in some ways and have imported words from each other.
What are your travel pet peeves: Encountering people who are only capable of viewing another culture from their own perspective, and thus pass judgment on others rather than finding value in understanding the variety of this world.
Next travel destination: China.
Twippers of the Week: Kate and Jeremy from Our Escape Clause
Current city: None! We’ve been nomadic since May 2016.
Age: 26 & 27.
Total countries visited: 29! We had hoped to hit 30 in 2017, but we’ll kick off 2018 with a milestone instead.
What makes you interesting: We are high school sweethearts who had never left the USA before our honeymoon at an all-inclusive in the Bahamas 4.5 years ago. After buying a house and spending a few years in the working world, we decided to take our lives in an entirely different direction and sold our house, car, and most of our belongings to take off on a 6-month round-the-world trip.
Six months has turned into 1.5 years and counting: we have fallen in love with a life of travel and seeking out adventures around the world. Some of our favorite adventures so far include camping in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, climbing a volcano in Guatemala, cliff jumping in Croatia, tasting wine in Tuscany (we actually just finished up a whole month living in Florence!), and learning to scuba dive in Thailand.
What brands do you love: We have several! Osprey, Gregory, and The NorthFace have all been great to us in terms of our gear. Southwest has our loyalty as far as airlines go: they’re our first choice whenever we’re flying to a destination that they reach.
What motivates you to travel: The desire to continue to learn about the world and experience it in an up-close-and-personal way. Travel has taught us so much about ourselves, the world, different cultures, history, and more, and we are so grateful for it.
Describe the last time you tried something new: Hmm–well, this isn’t a super exotic one, but it is recent! A couple of weeks ago we tried Korean BBQ for the first time in NYC–it was delicious!
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Knowing that someone always has your back. Whether it’s having someone to watch your luggage while you run to the restroom in an airport, someone to divide and conquer logistics with, or a dive buddy you truly trust with your life, there’s a deep peace in knowing that someone you love is always in your corner. Since we are also each other’s spouse and favorite person in addition to travel partner, we have the added bonus of knowing there is no one else we would ever want to travel with more!
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: Belize and Thailand are a tie–they both used colorful ink and had interesting shaped stamps (a triangle for Thailand, a circle for Belize). We love for our passports to be as bright and colorful inside as possible!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Simply put, to relax. Traveling long-term beats impatience out of you–when dealing with imperfect and unpredictable transportation in less developed parts of the world, at a certain point you’ll either relax or live in a constant state of high anxiety! Also, that the world is ultimately not a scary place. We knew that intellectually beforehand, sure, but the ease with which we move through the world now is much greater than the first time we stepped outside the USA!
Next travel destination: Who knows! We’re currently home for the holidays with loved ones in the USA, and while we have several adventures calling our name for January, at some point we’ll need to pick a destination and stick with it! Right now, we’re considering options, near and far, on 3 different continents.
Twipper of the Week: Tracey Coleman from Brooklyn Travel Addict!
Current city: Johannesburg
Total countries visited: Not sure! 30-40?
What makes you interesting: I’m a Creative Director/Event Planner/ Travel Writer/Humanitarian from the South who wandered into Brooklyn and is never moving back! I also have a popcorn obsession.
What brands do you love: Dove, Bose, Zara, any brand of popcorn, and Apple.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Food! I love to eat, so whatever is on the menu during my trips is top priority!
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has made me much more empathetic with people abroad who suffer from poverty. That’s why I started a nonprofit called Purpose Driven Passports to find ways to help people in need while on vacation.
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: Zambia. I jumped off the Victoria Falls Bridge, which is the biggest bridge in the world. It was the single best experience I’ve ever had while traveling and I was in the country for less than 48 hours.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge, and flying over it in a helicopter the day before. An indescribable rush of adrenaline that did not wear off for hours!
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: The first one I can remember is the San Blas Islands on a cruise around age 10 with my parents.
Next travel destination: Trinidad & Tobago for carnival
Twipper of the Week: Anne Maclver
Current city: Barrington, Illinois, USA
Total countries visited: 23
What makes you interesting: I’m a lawyer-screenwriter-mother-editor who loves languages, travels light, and took four international vacations in the first five months of 2017. I also like anchovies.
What brands do you love: Revolve, Houzz, Duolingo, Songkick
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why: Chile from April 2017. I went to watch my son play team handball for the USA Men’s Youth national team in the Pan-American Championships. Since team handball is barely even a thing in the U.S. and half his teammates are European dual citizens, it was the ultimate global experience!
If you get washed up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: I was instinctively going to say toothpaste, but then I remembered deodorant. Clearly, they need a single product that dispenses toothpaste out of one end, deodorant out of the other. And also talks to you and keeps you company.
What motivates you to travel: New cultures, new people, new languages, new adventures and new bakeries! Primarily I enjoy immersing myself in another culture and impersonating locals. Travel is the ultimate antidote to stagnation.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I have learned that I am much more independent and spontaneous than my daily life would suggest. I have an irrepressible sense of adventure, and a whole other self I need to indulge that is totally separate from my home and family and Chicago life. I’m a hot mess if I don’t get both.
What item will you never leave home without and why: My iPhone Kindle app. It helps me handle any delays, inconveniences, or disruptions and remain calm—even blissful!
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Pure, revelatory freedom. The freedom to wander, to not wear a watch, to stop to talk, to change direction, to meet people you wouldn’t, and to try things you shouldn’t. Mostly I enjoy walking cities because you miss too much taking public transportation.
Next travel destination: Might have to be Norway. I am deep into Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series and have started learning Norwegian on Duolingo for no reason whatsoever. If I visit Norway, I can pretend that was my plan all along.
Twippers of the Week: Matt and Holly from Far From Home!
Current city: Vienna, Austria
Age: 28 and 23
Total countries visited: Matt has visited 54 and Holly has visited 42. We were both big travelers before we met, however together we have visited 25 countries.
What makes you interesting: We are both very open minded, we like to try new things and go to new places that we haven’t been before. We are very spontaneous with our travels, once we talk something we make it happen. We are always on the move!
What brands do you love: We love Landrover, hence our vehicle the Defender! Kathmandu is another one that has definitely been very helpful along our travels! We love things made by a Master Craftsman!
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means a new experience, a new culture, new people – a shock to the senses.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: It’s exciting getting to talk about our travels afterwards, we reminisce a lot, we get pumped for new adventures by talking them through with each other. We have made so many incredible memories together and it has brought us so much closer together!
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Madagascar – right now we are in Austria and its freezing! We love tropical beaches, any beach actually.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Be spontaneous, loose and open. The best memories are made from things you didn’t plan!
What’s your favorite passport stamp: The Machu Picchu stamp, it’s the only stamp in our passports thats not from a border.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: The Amazon jungle – we had the opportunity a few years ago to camp in the rainforest with native people and shamans. It was an unforgettable and life changing experience. Not long after we got home we sold everything we had and left New Zealand to see the world.
Next travel destination: At the moment we are in Austria where we will be spending the winter close to the Alps. The goal is to try to not die, go snowboarding and have fun!
Twipper of the Week: Elise Goodhoofd
Current city: Toronto, Canada
Total countries visited: 19
What makes you interesting: I am constantly pushing my creativity to the limits – I’ve been told I bleed rainbows. I’m obsessed with color – but I am a chalk artist. I live for new experiences and want to see as much of the world as possible in my lifetime.
What brands do you love: Apple, Nike, Kit & Ace, Tim Horton’s and Sharpie.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I braved taking the tube in London, without GPS on my phone. It was surprisingly easy – I just followed the same coloured signs.
What is your most favorite travel memory: I don’t have a favourite memory – every new place gave me something unique. But, most recently – I stood up for my friend, as she married her man in St. Peter’s Basilica (The Vatican) in Rome Italy – such an unreal experience. Also, last year, sailing for 8 days from Dubrovnik to Split, Croatia with new friends on a 60 foot sailboat.
Describe yourself in three words: Crazy. Colourful. Ambitious.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: In 2005, my older sister was studying in Belfast for a few months. My mom and I visited her and road-tripped around Northern Ireland. We ended up at a random sheep auction, saw Giant’s Causeway and toured a few castles. I love traveling with my family.
What people say when they travel with you: “Is the GoPro necessary at all times, Elise?” (They find it annoying – until they see my trip videos!) “Wait up, e!” (I have long legs and there is a lot to see!) “Where do you get all of your energy?” (I’ll sleep when I’m dead! Too much to see.)
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Canada – I’m friendly, clean, smart, one of the best and there is always something new you’ll learn about me.
Next travel destination: New York & Brazil for Carnival next year!
Twipper of the Week: Tara Donaldson from Living With The Travel Bug!
Current city: New York City, New York, USA
Total countries visited: 36
What makes you interesting: I think being interesting has a lot to do with the different experiences you’ve had and the different cultures, people and places you’ve been exposed to. Travel makes you well-rounded and full of unique stories. I guess I have a lot of those!
What brands do you love: Flight001 for travel stuff and Paravel, which is new on the scene but making a lot of cool vintage inspired travel gear.
What motivates you to travel: Everything! I like to travel when I’m happy, when I’m sad, for fun and for work, with family/friends and solo. I love travel so much just about anything motivates me to do it.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Eating, exploring and shopping!
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: A bathing suit. Definitely a bathing suit.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: This is a hard one because so many interesting and odd things happen when you travel! I’d have to say getting to walk on The Great Pyramids of Giza and then climbing inside to see the tomb. Those Pyramids are such an incredible feat and to see up close. It’s amazing that thousands of years ago, people were able to build them to be perfectly shaped pyramids when you see them from afar. That was easily one of the best travel moments I’ve ever had.
What are your travel pet peeves: Rude travelers and people who aren’t open to the culture, or the ways of the destination they’re visiting. If you think home is so much better than where you are and you’re constantly making that known, maybe traveling isn’t for you.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go and why: India. I’ve been obsessed with India forever. I just think it’s so majestic. I’d want to see the temples, the markets, eat the food, interact with the people, buy fabric, do yoga and watch the sunset.
Next travel destination: Probably Trinidad & Tobago. The place where my family is from and I call home. Tobago is the sweetest little Caribbean island ever.
Twippers of the Week: Torben and Angie from The Global Wanderlust!
Current city: Barcelona, Spain
Age: 33 & 39
Total countries visited: Who keeps count?
What makes you interesting: Our differences. Angie is from the Dominican Republic and I’m from Denmark. Two different cultures, two different upbringings but we are the perfect example of opposites attract.
What brands do you love: I’m sure Angie has a long list of high-end designer and clothing brands she loves but I’m more a simple kind of guy. My favorite brands would be any good food brand!
Most magical place on earth: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic will always be a special and magical place for us. It’s a gorgeous part of the island, not so crowded with all-inclusive resorts and tourists. It feels like home and it was actually where we got married!
What motivates you to travel: To live new experiences, meet new people, see the world and all its wonder. It might be a cliché but we feel the most alive when traveling!
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: Definitely our beach wedding in the Dominican Republic. I got married with a set of brand new shoes that weren’t even from the same pair and didn’t notice until after the wedding was over. Brilliant right!
Describe the last time you tried something new: I tried a new restaurant yesterday, that was pretty good!
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: We both were very positively shocked in Japan. It’s such an impressive culture. It was educated, traditional but modern and different from the western culture. It’s quite the experience; had I not been there, I would put it on top of my bucket list!
Best travel advice: Don’t be a tourist!
Next travel destination: Seychelles, Africa
Twipper of the Week: Tosin Idowu from Tosinfinity and Beyond!
Current city: Suphan Buri, Thailand
Age: 25 years old
Total countries visited: 35 countries
What makes you interesting: I’m very free spirited. I sing and dance whenever I feel like it. I take photos of things I think are beautiful. I laugh at anything/everything. I am unapologetically me.
What brands do you love: I love Chipotle. While traveling, that’s the only chain of food I have found myself missing.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: My phone, only because it has all my music. Music means so much to me. It makes moments that much more beautiful. I would be thanking God for the full battery on my phone to dance to Spotify music all night.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: Can’t really say I have one special one. I try and make every moment a memorable one.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: I haven’t really met anyone famous while traveling. I’m hoping I happen to run into Coldplay one of these days.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: I have no problem breaking the bank for something I really want if I know I won’t be able to find any where else in the world. I do make sure I don’t leave without the special item I want.
What people say when they travel with you: I’m crazy. I’m the crazy friend. The bold friend. I will approach anyone for anything. Whether it’s getting a taxi for a cheaper price or getting a guys number for my friend. I do it.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: You have to be in a constant pursuit for the things that set your soul on fire. Life is way to short to be anything short of happy.
Next travel destination: Stockholm, Sweden and then Spain!
Twipper of the Week: Jenny Feng, contributing writer at The Outbound Collective.
Current city: Home is Calgary, Canada
Total countries visited: 23
What makes you interesting: The diverse life experiences I have accumulated. I grew up and spent my childhood in China and lived in Canada since my early teens. I built a career in corporate banking in the last five years which I’m extremely proud of. I recently left banking to work on a new project (in stealth mode). Instagram has been a wonderful creative outlet for me the last year. I have traveled to five different continents (6th in 2 weeks!). I’m an adrenaline junkie and have done everything from skydiving in Dubai to cage diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa. I love house music. I love geopolitics. I love meeting new people from all walks of life. I ran a full marathon in Spain in 2012. I have always believed in giving back to the community, making a difference, and have always been involved with different charity organizations since university. I live for new experiences!
What brands do you love:Google – I admire companies with such incredible innovation and creative capabilities, and their power to change and disrupt the world as we know it.
Where are you the most authentic you: Anywhere and everywhere – because why would you ever be someone else?!
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited:Egypt (check), Dubai (check), Philippines (check), Machu Picchu, Kenya, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Antarctica, and hopefully as close to 195 countries as possible!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Don’t take everything at face value, and don’t believe everything you see or hear. Go experience for yourself.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has made me more humble as a human being, more understanding of our differences, and more grateful for this interesting little journey we call life!
Next travel destination: Sydney and Cairns, Australia, and moving to Cairns this winter!
Current City: We are currently at home in St. Louis and gearing up for an adventure to Central America for the very first time.
Age: Josh is 38 and Krissy is 36.
Total countries visited: So far we’ve explored the cities and regions of 35 countries, 33 of which we’ve visited in the last three years.
What makes you interesting: Next month we’ll be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary… It’s amazing how time flies!! We have spent nearly half of our lives together and have only traveled abroad together.
What brand do you love: We love brands that help us travel more efficiently. For example, when we touch down in a new country, T-Mobile automatically connects to the local mobile provider, giving us data for no extra charge. Another great one is Charles Schwab’s ATM card, which refunds fees from any ATM in the world. We also love Airbnb, which allows us to travel slower, live in real neighborhoods, and cook whatever strange things we find in the local markets.
What does “Travel” mean to you: For us, travel is a way to truly expand horizons. There is no way to better learn more about yourself than to be confronted with unimaginable scenarios in strange surroundings, and overcome new obstacles. It’s also amazing to find that most people are friendly and willing to help when someone is in need. International travel also makes the world a much smaller and more relatable place!
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: We purchased a RAVPower 26800 mAh portable charger that has been priceless. It has three outputs and can charge an iPhone 7 nine time between recharges. Also, it may seem simple, but when living out of a backpack, packing cubes are a great way to fight wrinkles and keep things somewhat organized.
Describe the last time you tried something new: We are always on the hunt to try new things, and are cautiously up for anything. It’s definitely not our most exciting “new thing”, but we recently tried our first all-vegan restaurant and were very impressed!
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: In order to battle jet lag, we try sleep on the plane based on the local sleeping times of the places we visit. Also, we find that bringing extra drinking water onboard the flight and avoiding caffeine and alcohol seems to help.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Traveling with a partner is the only way to go! Most importantly, you’ll form a special “co-pilot” bond and can revisit shared memories for life.
What is your most favorite travel memory:The first travel memory that comes to mind was from our first European trip. We were traveling from Barcelona to Nice and made every mistake possible. We went to the wrong train station, got on the wrong train, and when we finally figured things out and made it to France, we were so sick of trains we hopped off and rented a highly over-priced car. It was getting late as we neared Nice, and when finally we pulled off the highway for gas, all the stations were closed. When we finally found an open station and rolled in on fumes, our credit cards weren’t working and our phones were dead. We ended up getting just enough gas with the coins we had for tolls, and made it! It’s funny how such a stressful day can turn into such a funny memory. As they say, “It’s the journey, not the destination.”
Next travel destination: We are currently fanning the flames on our new St. Louis-based business, but we are planning to spend some time in Central America once the temperatures drop a bit. Everything’s up in the air as of yet, but Costa Rica, Guadalupe, and Panama rank high on the list!
Twipper of the Week: Gareth Leonard from Tourist 2 Townie
Current city:Tokyo, Japan
Total countries visited: 45
What makes you interesting: My passion to “Travel Deeper” and truly understand a place through the people and culture that define it.
What brands do you love: Anyone with an appreciation for “micro influencers” haha!
What’s your favorite passport stamp and why:Bhutan, because very few people have even heard of this incredible country.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Make friends.
What are your travel pet peeves: People that don’t respect local culture / expect the same environment as home.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be and why:Rio de Janeiro – On the surface I seem a certain way, but if you look closer there are many different layers and stories.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: The Philippines, India, Ghana, Mars.
Describe your first travel experience and at what age: I studied abroad in London when I was a Junior in college. It shaped the way I travel now because I didn’t leave my comfort zone and have regretted it ever since. I stuck with the other Americans in the program and didn’t make an effort to meet or interact with locals. It’s safe to say that, that has all changed.
Next travel destination: Trekking the Dolomites in Northern Italy.
Samantha and Angus from Those Crazy Nelsons!
Current city:Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Age: 40 & 46
Total countries visited: 15+
What makes you interesting: In 2014, we sold our house and most of our belongings. Samantha quit her career in higher education to homeschool our younger children. Angus worked remotely, and we traveled–staying in new places every 30 days. We traded our mortgage for memories and found that life can be lived very differently! From that entire experience, we discovered travel blogging and have been doing it ever since.
What brands do you love: We love Kia cars, Nikon cameras, Apple products, Southwest Airlines, and Airbnb.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Life doesn’t have to be traditional in order to be enjoyed. Don’t be scared to ditch conformity a little and blaze your own trail with your family. People may scoff and not understand. Worse, they may think you’re being foolish. You have to listen to your heart and pursue the things that bring you peace.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Samantha’s is Koper, Slovenia and Angus’ is Soviet Union (before it was Russia).
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Samantha would be Aruba–laid back, peaceful, and operates on her own time. Angus would be New Zealand–laid back, beautiful places to explore, and tucked away from the world’s drama.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Watching the sunset in an infinity pool while sailing the Mediterranean Sea on the Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Sharing memories and having someone there who is able to remind you of the highs, when you’re facing the lows. Our children are also our travel partners and the best thing about traveling with them is watching them learn about the world and interact with people of all cultures.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: We bought carseat vests for our children during our year of travel that made life so much easier! We threw away the bulky car seats and opted for the Ridesafer carseat travel vests.
Next travel destination: We’ve got summer trips planned to Louisville, KY, Indianapolis, IN, and various parts of Virginia!
Noemi and Joël from The Highlife Couple!
Current city: At the moment we are back in our hometown called Aarau, it is situated between Zurich and Bern, Switzerland.
Age: We both are 23 years old.
Total countries visited: As we both started to travel at a young age, we already discovered 40 countries.
What makes you interesting: As a young and active couple we are trying to inspire others to go out and see the world.
What brands do you love: We recently bought the new GH5 camera from Panasonic and we absolutely love it. It takes amazing pictures and even greater slow motion footage.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Traveling means to us that we get the opportunity to escape our normal eight-to-five life by get lost somewhere new.
What item will you never leave home without: Our gear bag with our GH5,Mavic Pro and our beloved Zhiyun Crane stabilizer.
Most magical place on earth: For us it is probably Byron Bay, New South Wales Australia. We do have a deep connection to this town because we spent our first weekend trip there as a couple.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Since we are real foodies the first thing we usually do is trying the local foods.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: When we visited the sacred tree temple in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. We learned so much about Buddhism and the Sri Lankan culture.
What is your most favorite travel memory: This was definitely on our road trip to the Ayers Rock. We were camping in the Australian Outback, just with our sleeping bags. We were actually so scared to fall asleep because of the wild animals that we spent the whole night counting shooting stars instead of sleeping. Although we did not get a lot of sleep, it turned into one of the most beautiful nights ever.
Next travel destination: Calp, Spain
Current city: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Total countries visited: 30
What makes you interesting: I’m a registered nurse, a twin sister, and I’ve only ever had long distance relationships because I travel so much and fall in love with the people I meet!
What brands do you love: I love GoPro, Canon, Apple, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Victoria Secret Pink, Urban Outfitters, Trader Joe’s, and many others! There’s so many I’d take the entire page up.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: You never know what people are going through from looking at their exterior so don’t assume. Cultures are different and people express themselves differently than your own culture. Be open and observant.
What are your travel rituals: I like making a list to get me excited. This list includes tech supplies I’ll be using on my trip and what outfits to wear. Also, getting carry on sized toiletries from Rite Aid. Lastly, getting to the airport super early and finding a lounge to relax in.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: I would say the most interesting would be a grilled beef heart at LA Food Fest, or buffalo meatloaf in Mammoth Mountain, California!
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: I have been away over five months a couple times. I stay abroad for minimum one month to really get the feel for the region and travel to many destinations around the region!
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: I put my iPhone, camera, computer, makeup bag, socks to get cozy in on the plane and external batteries for my phone. I’ve also been traveling with a green camo bag since 2012 and it goes everywhere with me.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I love interacting with locals, looking at historical sites & architecture, taking photos/vlogs, and trying local cuisine. I see food a huge cultural experience.
Next travel destination: My next travel destination will be Oahu, Hawaii, USA! I’m so excited my second visit since last time I was there was over 15 years ago!
Current city: Salt Lake City, Utah
Age: There are eight of us ranging from 51 to 4 in age.
Total countries visited: Over 40 countries in 6 continents. Believe it or not, one of those continents is Antarctica. We need to get to Australia asap so we can make it 7!
What makes you interesting: We usually travel all together as a multigenerational family. We fight and argue like most families, but love being together and trying to put experiences together.
What brands do you love: We LOVE Inspirato Travel, The Marriott Group, St. Regis, and of course we use Tripadvisor almost everywhere we go! We also almost always fly Delta because we have a hub right here in Utah.
What motivates you to travel: Being together! Seeing the world, learning, experiencing and growing as individuals and as a family. With each new place we become more aware and realize most people around the world – regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity – just want to be happy and have a successful family. It is very empowering and makes the world feel like a better place!
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: There are so many! I think that stumbling upon one of the naked parades in Spain when I was little was pretty unique and actually quite hysterical! I can’t remember the purpose but there were thousands of naked people riding bikes through the center of the city (I think it had to do with an environmental law that had just been passed ) and I kept thinking – wouldn’t that hurt, haha?
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling:Where we stay! We like to stay in nice places where everyone can have space. Oh, and good tours of course! While we have no problem prioritizing what we spend our money on, it’s also all about the budget! My awesome dad funds most of the trips so we try and stay in the budget so we don’t stress him out.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I would go ANYWHERE! My bucketlist honestly changes by the day but right now I have Vietnam and Isreal at the top!
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I have learned that I love people! I love seeing and experiencing how people live and getting to know people from around the world. I also have realized that there is something about being somewhere new with your loved ones and being able to get a break from everyday life and really focus on each other. It’s so refreshing and needed for my well-being.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I love art! The boys (my hubby included) love golf! My littlest brother loves any sort of animal encounter and my sweet baby is all about the treats! Traveling with 8 people, we get a great mix of different experiences and activities.
Next travel destination: We all will be traveling to Thailand soon as an entire group and we can’t wait!!
Bjorn Gent from Gent on the Loose!
Current city: I’m currently in Halmstad, Sweden. It’s the town I grew up in and my wife and I just got married here.
Total countries visited: 72
What makes you interesting: I once won an Orienteering Cup without even running. I simply was the only one who read the map right. Other than my flawless navigational skills, I also happen to speak five and a half languages.
What brands do you love: I absolutely admire the work Daniel Wellington have done with their product and their marketing. It’s a social media sensation and I’m very happy to have played a little part in it. As I’m working remotely, I love my @thefreedesk – a super beautiful portable desk that makes it possible for a 2m tall person like me to stand up while working. Everyone should try working while standing up – you will get so productive!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Even though people grow up in different places in this world, they are very similar to each other. They might have been brought up with different cultures and political perspectives, but you can always find a common denominator with everyone. Building relationships isn’t hard if you focus on things that bring you together instead of pointing out differences.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Waking up early and getting that perfect sunrise shot! My wife doesn’t enjoy it as much though.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I have always aimed for the stars. I’ve always wanted to surpass myself and I’ve always pictured myself as an underdog. Travel has made me appreciate everything I have much more. It’s a true privilege to be able to afford good standards, and see and learn from so many countries. I’ve always been good with building relationships with people from different cultures and I think traveling has helped me even more to find a common denominator with everyone I meet by being more familiar with their backgrounds and cultures.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Everything I need. I never travel with checked bags. Ever. My carry on is enough for my camera and clothes for 8-10 days. You can always fix laundry along the way and it’s much cheaper than to check a bag or risk it getting lost in the handling. The only downside to this is that people on Instagram think I wear the same clothes all the time.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: The best thing about only flying with a carry-on is that there isn’t much space to buy unnecessary things. So the money can be spent on more travels instead.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: A knife, but that’s highly unlikely as I only travel with a carry on.
Next travel destination: Me and my wife @dentistontheloose are going on a monthlong honeymoon in October. We’re going to spend most of our time in Australia but we’ll also have the chance to explore Malaysia more thoroughly. We can’t wait!
Charlotte and Josh from The Spindrifters!
Current city: Gili Islands, Lombok
Age: Charlotte is 27 and Josh is 28
Total countries visited: In total, we have visited 30 countries between the both of us.
What makes you interesting: We’re a travel couple who volunteer all over the world. We have worked for an NGO on a tropical Island in Borneo, been teachers in the slums of Mumbai and worked in countless hostels in India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
What brands do you love: We love brands that associate themselves with developing communities and promoting responsible tourism. We think it’s important while traveling to recognize how brands and tourism can impact the local community and help to support them while promoting specific brands.
What motivates you to travel: An insatiable thirst for experiencing and discovering new and exciting places. We travel relatively slowly so that we can delve deeper into how people in that country/community live and learn as much about different cultures as possible. We think that you learn so much more from traveling the world than anything else. Traveling challenges you every day in a completely different way and you should constantly be ready for the unexpected. We also think it’s incredibly exciting to learn more about the world we live in and the amazing people that occupy it!
What is the best part about having a travel partner: The best part about being a couple on the road is that you get to share all of the best, and worst, moments with someone! We have both traveled independently before but now traveling together we realize how special it is being able to have incredible shared experiences and being able to push each other’s travel boundaries to the max!
What was your best and worst travel experience: Our best travel moment is tough as there has honestly been so many but we can narrow it down to a couple of standout experiences:
- Sunrise at the Taj Mahal – Something we had both always wanted to experience and it didn’t disappoint! We were lucky that there weren’t many people and there was an amazing low fog surrounding the base of the Taj that faded as the orange sun rose above it. It was special.
- While volunteering in Borneo we were having a bonfire on the beach on an incredibly clear night. We were sitting with some guests and while gazing up at the perfectly clear Milky Way above us, luminescent plankton started lighting up on the shore of the sea. Magical!
Our fist worst travel moment was when we traveled the length of India from Jaipur to Goa in two days flat and ended up spending one very uncomfortable night sleeping amongst the rats and cockroaches on the floor of one of Mumbai’s very busy train stations. Safe to say we didn’t sleep for almost three days.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited:China, Japan, Galapagos Islands, Tanzania, Nepal and Iran.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: Hands down our favorite and most used app is Maps.me. It’s an absolute life saver and safe to say we use it every day without fail.
Best travel advice: First, always be open minded, go out of your comfort zone and push your limits to the max. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve! Second, just smile. This is the easiest piece of advice to give and sometimes the most important. What a smile can bring is truly amazing. A smile can cross language, cultural barriers and turn an awkward situation into a friendship.
Next travel destination: We will be heading to New Zealand after a brief stint back at home in London catching up with friends and family!
Jill from Reading the Book!
Current city: Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Total countries visited: 56, with another three lined up for next month!
What makes you interesting: I love to be culture-shocked and the more so the better! Any situation where I’m seeing a life that’s totally different from my own makes me very happy.
What brands do you love: I’m not really a brands girl, to be honest. All of my money goes on travel so I tend to buy cheap! But I’m definitely a sucker for anything Apple or Nikon, or travel-related gear like Trespass or Rohan.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has made me much more aware of how small my place is in the world and how many more ways there are to live successfully than just the culture I’ve grown up in. I hope it’s made me a lot more tolerant and open-minded.
Best travel advice: Buy your mosquito repellent when you get to the destination. The brand that’s popular there will be the one that works on their mosquitos!
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Antarctica. It’s a dream, but just so expensive.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: That a small amount of money to me can be a fortune to someone else. It’s never worth haggling over a few pence. Decide what the item is worth to you and then stop there. You would have spent that extra money on a beer, but the stallholder will use it to feed his children.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Walking. I’m normally pretty sedentary at home but I can walk for miles and miles when I travel. You also can’t beat a tuktuk for a fun way to get around!
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Singapore, 2008, on a metro train. Not for any particular reason other than this was the first time I was ever the only Caucasian in my environment. I looked around and noticed everyone else in the carriage was another ethnicity, and that, with good reason, I was the outsider. Having grown up in Europe, it was an eyeopener, but also really cool.
Next travel destination: Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. I can’t wait!
Chandni Sehgal and Simone Pardiwalla from Grab Your Globe!
Current city: Mumbai, India
Age: Simone and Chandni and 27-years-old.
Total countries visited: 22 and counting!
What makes you interesting: There are thousands of travel bloggers all over the world, and we like to think we bring our own brand of zany to this genre. We noticed a lot of the successful bloggers are people who gave up their day jobs and went traveling full-time. That got us thinking – how can we pursue successful careers while continuing to travel? That’s how we came up with GYG’s tagline – work hard, trip harder. It’s not feasible for everyone to drop their everyday lives and get on the road, so we try to lead by example and balance the two.
What brands do you love: Ray-Ban – whether visiting beaches, mountains or cities, they’re our constant companions. Timberland, Converse and Doc Martenfor their super resilient boots. Zara and H&M for their easy breezy all kind-off weather wear.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: First, it’s important to acknowledge cultural differences and embrace them. You’d be surprised at what you’ll learn from someone else’s way of life. Immerse yourself in travel. Don’t visit a place by doing a fly-by-tourist drop, instead, live in the place you seek to discover. Second, welcome change with open arms. Traveling is all about new and sometimes scary experiences that’ll often alter the way you think. Embrace it.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: There are several things beyond the most basic essentials.
- A multi-currency travel card is always useful.
- Multiple copies of your passport in case of unforeseen emergencies, like getting drunk and subsequently losing your stuff in a foreign country.
- DSLR for those gorgeous shots.
- Travel Insurance.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Two 20-something year old girls in the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil who live in the back of beyond, studying dolphin behavior and isolated from the rest of the world.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Japan, inspired by Murakami‘s eccentric descriptions of the place. Corsica, for what used to be its raw, untouched beauty. Giza, for the pyramids. The arctic regions for the Northern Lights.
Describe the last time you tried something new: Climbing Machu Picchu was an unforgettable experience as was scuba diving in the beautiful waters of Bali. Also, eating a gigantic roasted ant in the Amazon!
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: Sign language, and Google Maps and Translate.
Next travel destination: Borneo! The largest island in Asia.
Pia Kabitzsch from Wander Loove!
Current city: I am currently living in beautiful Munich, Germany but I’m going to move to Lund, Sweden this August.
Total countries visited: Wow! I’ve been to 29 countries.
What makes you interesting: I’m a very positive, passionate and adventurous person. I believe that you can achieve almost everything when you just stop talking about it and start doing/working for it. Make it happen!
What brands do you love: I used to care about brands but this has changed. I think money is way better invested in traveling and good coffee than in expensive designer clothes. But I must admit that I am really loving my hiking boots and my back pack from Jack Wolfskin, and my Nikon camera.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I’ve got to get to know myself quite well while traveling and discovered what I want in life which is traveling the world while inspiring and encouraging people to live out their dreams and believe in themselves.
What item will you never leave home without: My passport, my camera and my phone. Google Maps and I are in a committed relationship. If I must narrow it down to one item, I would probably choose my passport. You just never know when you will book a spontaneous trip leaving the very next day.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I love to explore new places by foot, get to know the locals, their food (the coffee culture) and traditions. I also really enjoy meeting travellers from all over the world and exchanging experiences with them. Of course, I love taking pictures and sharing “goosebumps moments” with my followers.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: That would probably be a about 65/70-year-old lady. We called her “turtle lady” since she looked a little bit like a turtle and, seemed to be very wise and experienced. I met her while staying in a hostel in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She was traveling the world for at least six months by herself and always stays with locals or in hostels.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada for sure! The landscape must be beyond beautiful. I’m already getting goose bumps by just looking at pictures.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: This would probably be the Himalaya and Antarctica. I must say that I am proud of every single place I’ve traveled to since I’ve made it happen all by myself and that just feels so good!
Next travel destination: Iceland in less than a month. I’m beyond excited!
Michael Huxley from Bemused Backpacker!
Current city: UK
Total countries visited: Over 100
What makes you interesting: The places I’ve been to and the things I have done there.
What brands do you love: I’m not really a brand person. If the kit is good and it works for me when traveling, I like it. If not I don’t.
What does “Travel” mean to you: It means filling my life with meaningful moments, experiences, sights and sounds, so when I reach the end and my life starts flashing in front of me, it’s worth watching.
What are your travel rituals: I think if I had any it would be heading to find the nearest and best street food whenever I arrive in a new destination.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling:Experiences, no question. Budgeting is really important, especially if you are traveling long term, but there is no point in traveling all over the world if you have to miss out on the once in a lifetime experiences just to save some money. I also have no problem upgrading to flashpacker status and getting a private room whenever I feel the need.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: Easy, I learn as much of the basics as I can, hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and then use a lot of smiles and hand gestures. I have found that if you make the effort, polite and friendly, locals appreciate it and return the favor. When that happens language barriers break down pretty quickly.
Describe the last time you tried something new: Someone dared me to eat Balut (bird embryo) in the Philippines. Not my finest moment.
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: I tend to know where all the best street food spots are in most places, and as a qualified nurse I generally have a first-aid kit with me which can come in handy,
Next travel destination: Southeast Asia.
Jennifer and Sean Evans from Venturists!
Current city: Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
Age: Beyond millennial, before retirement.
Total countries visited: 45, which sounds like a small number given the fact that we traveled quite a bit before we left our home three years ago and embarked on a life of full-time travel. We really love to travel slowly. That allows us to really get to know a destination and to avoid travel burn-out. Very few people would enjoy living out of a suitcase an extended period of time.
What makes you interesting: The fact that we have found a way to adjust our lifestyle and find a way to slowly travel the world while still earning an income online isn’t unique, but it is a lot of fun.
What brands do you love: We love our eBags 21″ Mother Lode bags which have been with us since day one of traveling. That said, Sean has his eye on a Tule backpack. Sean is a Mac guy, but I still love my Lenovo Yoga.
Describe your unique or funniest travel experience: Try getting a haircut in a place where you don’t know the language. I searched Google Translate for the right words, practiced and stressed ahead of time, and then forgot everything when I sat in the chair. At the end, I just mimed cutting, and left it up to fate.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: We have gotten a lot better at understanding the difference between what we want and what we need. They’re not the same thing at all.
What are your travel pet peeves: Please don’t recline your seat on airplanes unless you are trying to sleep on a long-haul flight! Just don’t.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go:New Zealand is on the radar!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: People, the world over, are pretty normal. Despite what you see on the news about all the dangerous places and people in the world, the vast majority of people just want to make a living, spend time with their families, and live their lives.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Same thing as having a perfect life partner. Having that support during times of stress, someone to share in celebrations and to experience all life has to offer is immeasurably rewarding. Relationships are work, but also provide the very best and most important rewards.
Next travel destination: Back to Europe – Spain, Portugal and then Ireland!
Shem Hooda from Sugar and Stamps!
Current city:San Francisco, California, USA
Total countries visited: 16
What makes you interesting: Alongside travel blogging, I also juggle a full-time job. Working in health care gives me the ability to help others while also saving up for my travels. I’m living proof that you don’t have to quit the career you love to travel often!
What brands do you love: Anyone with a great loyalty program! I love brands who value their customers and reward them respectively!
What’s your favorite passport stamp: My stamp from China! On a recent trip to Thailand, I had a 16-hour layover in Beijing. Thanks to a little research, I was able to hop off the plane and over to The Great Wall of China without having to obtain a visa ahead of time! A temporary transit visa granted me an unforgettable experience and one of my favorite passport stamps!
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: My camera! I can’t imagine not being able to document the experience.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Something unique to the city or country I’m in. An experience I won’t be able to have or a cuisine I won’t be able to taste anywhere else in the world is always priceless in my book!
Where are you the most authentic you: I’m my most authentic me when I’m happy. When I’m traveling, and have the freedom to explore a new place on my own terms, my adventurous and most authentic self shines through.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I took a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley in California. It has been on my bucket list for such a long time and I highly recommend the experience to everyone. The feeling of floating up in the air with no one else in sight was breathtaking.
Who is/are the most interesting person/people you have met while traveling: In Dublin, I met a group of girls from Holland. Despite our mild language barrier, we ate our way through the city, made jokes, laughed and spent the day exploring new sights together. That’s the thing I love most about travel — it leaves you with the opportunity to interact with people you may not normally meet.
Next travel destination: I’m headed back to Mexico for a wedding. I plan to fill any downtime with some R&R on the beach, a trip to Chichen Itza and some scuba diving!
Dave Anderson from Jones Around The World!
Current city:Rome, Italy
Total countries visited: 45
What makes you interesting: I’ve been living and working abroad since 2011. I’ve been an international travel guide in Europe, spent 18 months in Asia while earning a master’s degree online, and then moved to Australia for a year on a Working Holiday Visa.
What brands do you love: I’m personally in love with Apple. I’m on my MacBook Pro and iPhone a lot, and just think it’s the best brand out there. Super user-friendly, and great for people who work online.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: Well my very first international trip was to Cancun with my family around the age of 10. After that though, I would consider Paris to be my first destination abroad when I was 19.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Tough decision, but that would have to be spending a month backpacking in the Philippines. It was such an amazing trip, and I’ll never forget it! Palawan was so beautiful!
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: That money isn’t everything, and you should never give up on your dreams.
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: I spent 26 months away from California in the past 2+ years.
Describe the last time you tried something new: Well I’m not sure if it was the last time, but skydiving for my first time was one of the coolest new experiences. I’m looking to get my solo-jumper’s certification now! It’s an adrenaline rush that I would recommend to everyone.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: Probably not the most logical answer, but for the sake of having an interesting response, I’d say my portable music player. I’m always listening to music, and wouldn’t like the idea of not having some tunes to enjoy on a deserted island.
Next travel destination: I’m traveling around Europe for the summer, and I’ll be heading up to Florence soon! I used to live there, so I’m very excited to get back!
Sabina Trojanova from Girl vs. Globe!
Current city: Vienna, Austria
Total countries visited: 40
What makes you interesting: Being a full-time blogger is an interesting job in its own right, but I know bloggers are a dime a dozen these days! What makes me unique is my perspective. I’ve recently committed to living more responsibly which has completely changed the way I think about travel. Despite being 23 I’m also not new to exploring the world. I first moved abroad with my family when I was 13 and on my own at the age of 17. I’ve lived in five countries so far and speak five languages, which makes having really authentic local experiences much easier.
What brands do you love: I love brands that take time to think about the world we live in. I don’t want to name any particular names here, but would like to urge everyone to look at how their favorite companies operate.
Where are you the most authentic you: Anywhere, as long as I feel comfortable. That usually depends on the people I’m with rather than the location.
What is your most favorite travel memory: I’ve hitchhiked through France dressed as a nun, spent hours at a Russian police station and went on a sunset mountain hike in Iceland. In other words, I’ve had my fair share of hilarious and memorable travel experiences. But my favorite memories are always times spent with local families. Staying with a Berber family in Morocco, making dumplings with a Chinese family in Beijing or learning about authentic Italian recipes from an elderly couple in Tivoli – those are the kinds of things that really stick with you!
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Antarctica! Cruises aren’t exactly my thing but this would be the opportunity of a lifetime.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has taught me a very valuable lesson. The people you meet on your travels may look different, sound different and lead vastly different lives, but at our core, we’re all very similar. We all love to laugh, spend time with our loved ones and enjoy life to the fullest. I believe that’s the most important lesson we can learn in today’s world, filled with so much hate and fear mongering by the media and politicians.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: I spent a month living in Beijing and studying Mandarin. This was the only time in my life I’ve truly experienced culture shock. Going forward I want to turn my focus to places outside of Europe and North America and be pushed outside my comfort zone again. It’s exhilarating, not to mention eye-opening.
Describe yourself in three words: I’m curious, ambitious and a little bit crazy. You have to be to do this job!
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Syria, Somalia and a handful of other countries where violent conflict has finally subsided. That’s my biggest wish.
Next travel destination: I’m going on a nature and wildlife trip to Wales in the United Kingdom. I’ll be hiking, sea kayaking and hanging out with seals, puffins and dolphins. I’m beyond excited!
Chris Walker-Bush from Aussie on the Road!
Current City: Beijing, China
Total countries visited: 21
What makes you interesting: I’ve been an almost non-stop expat since I left Australia back in 2007. I started out as an ESL teacher before transitioning into being a full time writer and working as a safari expert. I maintain a 1,000+ item bucket list that I regularly check off, and my blog is a mixture of brutal honesty, wildly inappropriate humor, and descriptive narratives of some once in a lifetime experiences such as gorilla trekking and hiking the wild Great Wall.
What brands do you love:Shadows of Africa, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Apple, Bethesda, World Nomads, Tarocash, Gentsac, and Amazon.
It’s 2050, list all of the places you are most proud to have visited: My goal is to have explored the entire African continent before I die. My abiding fascination with its diverse cultures and wildlife demands it.
If your personality was a country or city, which one would it be: If I were a city, I think I’d be either Seattle or San Francisco. Laid back, tech savvy, food and craft beer loving, and just genuinely fun. If I were a country, I think I’d be somewhere Scandinavian. Liberal and occasionally depressing.
What are your travel rituals: I am always at the airport entirely too early. Between being paranoid about missing a flight and just hating being rushed, I’m often having a bite to eat or a coffee before check-in has even opened for my flight.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: My first time in Africa, I was definitely taken aback by the chaos and the poverty. I’d landed in Nairobi running on zero sleep, and taking the shuttle bus from the city down into Tanzania was one jarring encounter after another. I would later call Tanzania home, so it all seems very normal to me now, but I remember just being both scared and enchanted by it all.
Where are you the most authentic you: Probably in the sleepy mountain village in which I was raised. There’s not a lot to do, so you’ve got plenty of time for writing, contemplation, and long conversations.
What item will you never leave home without: It’s a sad cliche, but probably my iPhone. Not so much because I need to be connected 24/7 (although I kind of do), but because it’s where I do my photography and my editing, my draft writing, and my music listening. It’s become such a vital part of my travel ritual.
Next travel destination: A two month African odyssey in November.
Elizabeth Raflowitz from ER: Where to Next?
Current city: Boston, MA
Total countries visited: 52 countries/territories, 7 continents.
What makes you interesting: No to sound too nerdy, but I love learning all the anthropologic elements of other countries – the culture, language, architecture, and of corse the food. I love embracing their traditions and trying to pick up a few words in their native tongue.
What brands do you love: Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade and Lacoste are my faves, but while abroad I always look for Bershka and Zara (it’s better than U.S. Zara).
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Acceptance of other people’s cultures. Every country has a unique history, and the point of traveling is to expand your outlook on people and the world.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: When I was in college I studied abroad on Semester at Sea. I spent 100 days on a small cruise ship and traveled around the world beginning in the Bahamas, traveling through South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, Asia, across the Pacific and docking in San Diego. We visited 9 countries, and it was the most eye-opening experience and was where I met some of my closest friends.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: My favorite passport stamp is definitely my one from Antarctica. It was such an achievement to be able to visit my 7th continent, but my coolest passport stamp is from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales – the longest town name in the world!
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Just one? I really love to live in the moment when traveling but food and unique home decor are things you have to do right. No one makes that place’s food better than the locals, so I be sure to take it all in. For home decor, I like to bring a piece of the country back home with me, whether a piece of art or decoration. It’s always a talking point when people are at my condo.
What is your most favorite travel memory: One of my favorite trips was spending Christmas in the Malaysian rainforest with my family. We spent the holiday in a treehouse hotel, hiking through the rainforest, and seeing Santa in a bathing suit!
What item will you never leave home without: My passport! But sadly, it’s probably my cell phone because it sometimes acts as my camera, my boarding pass, and my way to pass the time on flights.
Next travel destination: I just booked a very spontaneous trip to Oslo, Norway for Labor Day Weekend with my two friends from Semester at Sea. We found great deals on flights, so how could we not book?! We’re still figuring out the details, but possibly also heading to Bergen on the west coast to see the fjords while we are there!
Chris Backe from One Weird Globe!
Current city: Zagreb, Croatia
Total countries visited: 21
What makes you interesting: I focus on the weird, bizarre and offbeat destinations. That means while I haven’t been to Disneyland, I have been to America’s only true medieval structure, watched snake venom extracted, and been to a museum of garbage trucks – and that was just Florida.
What brands do you love: Big fan of Google everything! Lowepro‘s makes a great camera bag that has taken more than a few licks.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be:Toronto – mainly for its diversity.
Best travel advice: Group destinations by geography so you’re not bouncing around from one side of town (or the country) to another.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Allow yourself to wander when you’re not on a schedule. With that said, you never have enough time while traveling, so schedule your time and research ahead to make the most of it.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: At around 17 I went to Mexico as part of a mission trip with my youth group at the time. We interacted with the locals a little bit, but our primary goal was to witness to the locals. This was the first time I’d been to a new country and definitely was an eye opener on how big the world is.
What is your most favorite travel memory:The former Star Wars set is set in the middle of nowhere, Tunisia. If you need that ‘desert-on-all-sides’ feeling, and that’s what you get. There are no roads on the way in, though you’ll take some on your way out, and it’s a over a half day trip. The site was abandoned in the desert after filming, but a local group has decided to save it.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means freedom. The freedom to live life on my terms, the freedom to choose where to go and the freedom to never feel stuck.
Next travel destination: The rest of Croatia, and later the rest of Eastern Europe.
Linda from Linda Goes East.
Current city: Cheongju, South Korea
Total countries visited: 25
What makes you interesting: Love for travel, especially Asia, and I have a passion for foreign languages. I currently speak six languages.
What brands do you love: I love Nikon, especially my D500 DLSR. I also love to stay healthy with Organic Burst superfoods, especially when traveling.
Most magical place on earth: It’s hard to name only one. My top three are Fenghuang, China, Chiang Mai, Thailand during Loy Krathong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: The first time I took an airplane was to visit my family in the US at 1 year old.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Traveling to me means testing limits, stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. It’s a a journey to find myself.
What item will you never leave home without: My cellphone so I can get travel alerts for the cheapest flight deals.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Most recently, a young monk in Chiang Mai who is leading the local meditation retreat. After he became an orphan at a young age he became a monk and is inspiring others to follow the Buddhist lifestyle. He welcomed any questions people had during our retreat and showed such compassion and understanding towards other cultures. He was amazing.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I tried my way through Bangkok’s street food culture at Bangkok’s Chinatown recently. It was an exciting adventure!
Next travel destination:Singapore, Bali and the Philippines!
John and Laurel from A Road To Travel!
Current city: Podgorica, Montenegro from Prizren, Kosovo
Age: John is 65 and Laurel is 66.
Total countries visited: 48 and counting!
What makes you interesting: We are in our third year of our non-stop travel journey and we’re going to keep going until our bodies say stop. We like to think we take fabulous photographs. We talk about the places we visit and what it takes to travel full time. We’re always trying to get others to get off the couch and do some traveling, even if it is near their home.
What brands do you love:Nikon
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: You got to be flexible and be able to go with the flow. You will definitely enjoy traveling and life-in-general that way.
What are your travel rituals: We find the best deals on flights with Skyscanner, kiwi.com or Rome2Rio. Check the weather, visa requirements, and any special customs requirements to help us get prepared.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: It’s having a travel partner. Someone to share the amazingly good times, the hysterically funny times, the quiet and beautiful moments, and the horrifically bad times. If you both have a sense of humor and are able to laugh at yourself, you are miles ahead of the game.
Describe the last time you tried something new: We went Paragliding in Nepal in 2016.
What is your most favorite travel memory: When arriving in Varanasi, India, the cab took us through the city on the way to our hotel. The surroundings were a shock to us; dirty, dusty, cows in the streets, and enormous crowds of people. As we drove, the areas became worse and worse until the driver stopped the cab and said we had to walk the rest of the way. We were taken down increasingly smaller and incredibly dirty alleyways where people and animals relieved themselves in the gutters. Just when we looked at each other with panic, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into, the driver banged on a large metal door. When opened, it revealed the most beautiful hotel with a garden, open spaces and smiling people. We both swear we heard a choir of angels singing.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Eating the local cuisines, and trying almost everything.
Next travel destination: From Montenegro, we head to Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.
Linda Dumpe from Have A Good Journey!
Current city: Riga, Latvia
Total countries visited: I haven’t counted before but approximately 25.
What makes you interesting: I’m a risk-taker and I’m not afraid to step out of my comfort zone. For example, when I just moved in to my apartment in India, I had to deal with ants who were climbing on me at night. I was paranoid for some time even after I got rid of them.
What brands do you love: I’m a true fan of Leica cameras.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: How brave I am, how well I can deal with different situations, and how diverse people and places are. My experiences have widened my horizons, made me a more open-minded person and not judgmental, and more self-confident. I’m very grateful I can live my life traveling.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: I always pack impractically and I just deal with it, I tend to pack more stuff than I need but it’s fine. The most impractical situation was not about what I packed, but where I packed everything. I went to Rishikesh in India with my suitcase and discovered what a bad idea it was when I had to climb up the streets, stairs and mountain to get to Lakshman Jhula. I guess I need a backpack sometimes.
Describe yourself in three words: Spontaneous, brave and emotional.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Imagine a cozy sofa or chair outside with a spectacular view in front of you, a coffee mug in your hands and a breakfast table near. You feel like the time has stopped, you are present in the moment. I love to try local food, interact with local people, go hiking or roam around the streets, sit at cafes.
What is your best and worst travel memory: The best travel memory was dancing through Sonoma and Napa Valley for the whole weekend while tasting wines from different vineyards. The wines were so good, the mood was brilliant, the weather was perfect. I was literally dancing and enjoying myself to the fullest!
The worse: I don’t keep bad memories. I always try to see and remember only positive. Probably the worst experience was when I was in Oslo in 2010. I woke up to go to the airport and heard the news that all the flights had been cancelled due to the eruption of volcano Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. That was a stressful day, a lot of planning on how to get to Riga by land.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: One evening in Dubi I had nothing to do so I went to the hotel’s rooftop bar to have a cocktail. I sat at the bar and there was an Arab gentleman sitting there drinking beer. We exchanged quick glances and continued to enjoy our solo evening. When he was done, he called the waiter, paid and went on his way. Few minutes after he was gone, a barman gave me another cocktail and said, “It’s from the gentleman who sat over there.” He sent the drink as a nice gesture. I was pleasantly surprised. Nowadays people of different cultures get stereotyped a lot for how they live and what they believe, and this gesture taught me how nice people can truly be.
The other culture shock was in India. I worked in the contemporary art gallery and had a business meeting in a fancy five star hotel. After the meeting I had to go to the village for my colleague’s son’s birthday. Right after spending time in such a place, I was thrown in a different reality. The house in a village had no windows or doors, many beds were in the garden as the family was so big and not everyone had their own space within the confines of the house . This was a very emotional day with many lasting impressions.
Next travel destination: Nothing’s arranged yet but definitely somewhere warm!
Geraldine DeRuiter from The Everywhereist!
Current city: Seattle. I’m actually home for a little bit, which means that I’ve become a recluse and spend most days in my pajamas. It’s wonderful!
Total countries visited: Unlike my age, this number is somewhere in the mid-20s.
What makes you interesting: My tendency to scream “I AM INTERESTING” in quiet public libraries. Also, the fact that I’ve been banned from a lot of public libraries. Just kidding! I’ve only been banned from two. Oh, and I had brain surgery a while back, which people seem to find interesting, but honestly just feels like weird little antidote. My husband proposed to me on TV and we met Oprah, but I don’t think that those things make *me* interesting. They’re just interesting things that happened in close proximity to me.
What brands do you love: Patagonia donated all of their Black Friday sales to grassroots organizations dedicated to saving the planet. So that’s pretty neat.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I’d like to think it’s made me a more empathetic, mindful, caring person who realizes that we as humans are all in this together. Also, I can pee anywhere now. The facilities do not need to be fancy. They barely need to be more than a hole in the ground. I have, in fact, peed in holes in the ground.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Cyborg Jeff Goldblum’s robot burlesque show. The Grumpy Cat Presidential Library. The recently-discovered 8th continent (est: 2046).
Best thing you have bought during your travels: Food! I particularly like heading to convenience stores and supermarkets, and buying all local iterations of junk food. When I was in Iceland I bought this awful candy bar that had puffed rice and chunks of black licorice in it. It was utterly terrible. I then bought four more and ate all of them in two days.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Snacks, my laptop, various reading materials, some medication, a toothbrush, and ALL of my travel anxiety! I also pack a few extra pairs of socks and underwear. In the event that my suitcase goes missing, I’ll have fresh underwear for days. I never actually check luggage, so this precaution is a rather unnecessary one.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Wandering a city and people watching. I like to find a nice little cafe (preferably one with a variety of fancy desserts) and just sit and try to get a feel for a city. I also spend an alarming amount of time in museums.
What do people say when they travel with you: “Seriously, how have you survived to adulthood?”
Next travel destination: I’m off to New York in a few days to meet with my publisher and discuss my book, All Over the Place, which will be out this May. I also have plans to head to Japan later this year, for the very first time. I’m very excited.
Jerry from Jetlag Jerry!
Current city: New York, NY
Total countries visited: 20
What makes you interesting: I’m incredibly particular! I do immense planning for even minor trips and always work to find quality items at low prices. It allows me to travel more because I not only save money, but I’m extremely efficient with my time. What I can see and do in one day, some people will in five days. My itineraries look professionally done but are also somewhat embarrassing. I try not to be to intense or exhaustive, but also stay open to changing plans. It’s something I’m always working on.
What brands do you love: I’m not a huge brand name guy. I do what’s comfortable, cost effective & efficient. However, the one travel item I’m obsessed with is the Cabeau Evolution Pillow. I bought it during a long layover in London and has really changed my flight experience. I also love my Apple products.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: For better or worse, I’m certainly a New Yorker. I’d like to be a “Spain” someday.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: My first time on a plane was to Florida on my way to Disney when I was 6. My first international travel was when I was 10 when I went to London and Paris.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: Google Maps hands down! Since they instituted the offline feature, it can’t be beat. The app really allows me to plan a day so perfectly and fit in as much as possible.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: Travelling alone turns you from a tourist to a traveller. I was always independent, but when I started travelling alone I realized I can do almost anything without needing someone else. I was terrified my first time going at it alone, but you learn to tackle all things that come your way. You have to commit to being yourself and through this experience I really met so many great people.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: I used to be a terrible packer! When I was little I would stuff my bag with stuffed animals, toys and five books for a one week stay. Now I can go away for a month and just bring a small carry on.
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: Shockingly, only a month. I always like to come back to my base for a little to cool down.
Next travel destination:Poland and Denmark in April!
Tausha from The Globe Getter!
Current city: New York, NY
Total countries visited: 34 and counting!
What makes you interesting: Besides having a silent ‘u’ in my name and my penchant for slipping into what I like to think of as a pretty spot on British accent, I’m someone who has combined my professional background with my personal passion. I’m a communicator who has worked in the media industry and higher education, and now I’ve navigated my career into the travel industry in addition to running my travel blog on the side. It’s nonstop travel, and I love it! I’m also very passionate about helping people travel the world while still working full-time and I’m always happy to share tips on how to do this.
What brands do you love: I’m in love and addicted to my iPhone and MacBook Air. I’m also a big fan of Canon and Sony cameras. When I’m on the road, I like having KIND Bars to take with me.
Best travel advice: It’s not so much advice as it is a saying – “If you’re a curious person, the world is always unfolding.” To me this means being curious and take time to notice the small things. There’s beauty in watching a bird soar into the sky or the way flowers bloom by the ocean. When you notice the small things, you realize how truly incredible the world can be.
Most magical place on earth: Besides Disney, I continue to be obsessed with South Africa. It’s an incredible, complicated, at times uncomfortable and absolutely stunning country. I first visited in 2014 spending time in Johannesburg, Kruger, Blyde River Canyon and Cape Town. I look forward to returning there one day soon.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: London. Busy but not hectic, reserved and with pockets of serenity -– just like me. Also, I’m often told how calm I am, particularly when things get crazy. I’m pretty good at the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ thing.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Capture the moment (but remember to also just enjoy the moment). Some things I know I’ll remember for years to come, but some things I need to document so I can look back on them later and reminisce.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Travel rarely goes as planned, but that’s part of the experience. Embrace it, handle it, enjoy it if you can and learn from it.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Does a round-the-world trip count? If not, I’m going to go with Chile and Argentina, two places that are very high on my bucket list.
Next travel destination: Still up in the air, but I’m looking to head to Cuba and Japan in the next few months. We shall see!
Rosemary and Claire from Authentic Food Quest!
Current city: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Age: The number is not important, what matters is the life and experiences that we are living.
Total countries visited: 33 countries and counting.
What makes you interesting: We are 2 women, 1 couple, who left our corporate careers to travel the world and experience authentic foods. We’re on a mission to inspire others to travel through authentic food. By traveling through food, we believe, people can have more meaningful and deeper connections to the local culture, people and place.
What brands do you love: We travel with Apple laptops and iPhones. Patagonia is a brand of clothing that we love. Not only for the great clothes, but their approach to sustainability. Our favorite retailer is REI. We love REI for the range of products carried, the friendly and personalized service and their great rewards program.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means connections. For us, travel is about connecting to the local people and culture through food. With food, you engage all the senses. You learn to open up to new taste and flavors. You learn to connect with the locals and you learn to connect with your inner self. Travel is a journey of self-discovery.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: Given that we travel through food, we’ve eaten many unique and interesting dishes. For us, the most important criteria is if “the dish is local and authentic to the region.” As a result, we don’t seek out interesting foods, just to say we’ve eaten unusual dishes. The interesting foods we’ve eaten also have some cultural significance to the region. That said, we’ve had guinea pig or cuy in Cusco, Peru, where it’s an important source of protein dating back to the Inca period. We’ve enjoyed llama meat in the north of Argentina, where llamas are used domestically for transportation and also appreciated for their lean meat. In the Philippines, we tried balut, a popular street food. Eating the developing duck embryo is one experience we are not eager to have again. We recently had ants and worms in Cambodia, which are a popular source of protein.
What’s your favorite beverage to start the day with while on vacation: The beverage to start a perfect day for Rosemary is a great cup of coffee. When traveling, it’s not always easy to find a good cup of coffee. So anytime Rosemary can find a delicious latte on her travels, she’s happy. Claire is not a coffee or tea drinker, so her perfect beverage to start the day is a full-glass of water. Ideally, this is followed by a cup of soy or almond milk.
What is your most favorite travel memory: We were in Da Nang, central Vietnam during the rainy season. One evening after a day of non-stop rain, we went out looking for a specific restaurant that had a local specialty, Thịt Nướng (Vietnamese grilled pork). It was humid and dark, and after walking down a couple of streets, we walked into the restaurant. We didn’t realize we were in the wrong place until we saw the pictures on the menu written in Vietnamese. When the server came over to take our order, we could not communicate. She spoke no English and we don’t speak Vietnamese. We pointed at a dish on the menu and asked what it was. She misinterpreted our questions, and thought we were ordering the dish. A few minutes later, she came back with a heaping plate of Vietnamese snails called Oc. We were in shock and very surprised. With nothing to lose, we decided to try them and we ended up enjoying the snails very much. Only later did we realize that snail eating was a popular pastime in Vietnam and we had actually stumbled into a quán ốc, or restaurant that specializes in snails. This was a fun discovery of things lost in translation.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Our recent trip to Cambodia really surprised us. When we crossed the border by bus from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Phnom Penh. We were immediately struck by the level of poverty. Driving on the road next to us to our air-conditioned bus was an open truck, jam-packed with people standing up, like cattle with no safety or protection. Another unexpected surprise in Cambodia was the use of the U.S. dollar alongside the local currency Cambodia Riel (KHR). With this, we found there to be 3 levels of pricing. One price for the locals in local currency. A middle price for expats and an inflated price for tourists in USD. For every purchase, we always had to “haggle” and negotiate. Cambodia was surprising on many levels.
Next travel destination: We are currently traveling through Southeast Asia on our quest for authentic food. After Chiang Mai, our next stop is Malaysia where will visit Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
Current City: I don’t live anywhere but I’m currently visiting Muscat in Oman.
Total countries visited: It’s around 80 to 85. I haven’t exactly counted for a while.
What makes you interesting: I’m a fun loving, adventurous kind of guy.
What brands do you love: I love the outdoors and enjoy using British outdoor brands such as Montane, Rab, Inov8, etc.
What motivates you to travel: It’s the feeling that there is always something new out there to see and something new to experience. I love getting off the beaten path especially. In this day and age where everything is connected it’s awesome to disappear for a while.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Maybe Japan. Japan is a mix of traditional embracing the super new along with being polite but also a little crazy under the surface. Kind of like me!
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: A big smile and a lot of sign language!
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Staying with remote tribes in the Central Papuan Highlands. It was only 70 years ago that these tribes were discovered ,and were still living in the stone age and head hunting. Meeting the elders in the tribes and hearing stories about eating other humans was definitely something I had not experienced before!
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: I grew up travelling due to my dads work so got the travel in at a young age. However I left at the age of 20 by myself to travel to Egypt and have been on the road ever since.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: If the only way to get to a remote area that I really want to see involves being on some kind of tour I will pay for it. I don’t normally like tours though.
Next travel destination: Not sure, it will be a last minute decision. Although the Congo is high on the list of ideas.
Casie Tennin from A Wandering Casiedilla!
Current city: Granada, Spain
Total countries visited: I’ve been to 21 countries and counting!
What makes you interesting: Well, here’s a few interesting fun facts about me. Despite my non-latina background, I have an irrational love for everything latin, from the food, the dancing, the language and the men! I have a fear of living in the same city for more than one year, I can eat a spoonful of wasabi without blinking an eye, and I have two different sized feet.
What brands do you love: I’m not a brands kind of girl. If it looks pretty and I have enough money in my wallet, I’ll take it! Although, I’m addicted to Skyscanner and check daily cheap flights everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: Before I started traveling, I had a fear of being alone. Eating in a restaurant alone, going to the movies alone, getting ice cream alone. Once I took that first leap and started traveling solo, I realized that I actually love being alone! There’s nothing like exploring a new city by yourself. When I’m wandering on my own, I absorb my surroundings more; from the architecture and storefronts, to the people, sounds and smells. Secondly, I’ve also realized I really prefer life without a smartphone! When I travel, I generally don’t get an international data plan. When there’s wifi, cool, but when there’s none, it’s just me, myself and the world. No Facebook notifications, no Whatsapp dings, and no “I should really be Snapchatting this” feelings. Just me and my surroundings!
What item will you never leave home without: Necklaces! I have a small compartment in my suitcase dedicated solely to my necklace collection. My secret to travel fashion: You can wear the same shirt 5 days in a row, but it’ll look completely different every day with a different necklace! That everyday black sweater just got a lot more exciting.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: I drank coffee in a cave with Senegalese cave men in Granada. Granada has a cave “barrio”, or neighborhood, where an entire community of Senegalese immigrants reside. I was hiking through the cave barrio, and started talking with one of the Senegalese men. He seemed really nice, and well, thanks to my spirit of adventure (sorry mom) I accepted his offer into his cave. It was me, an Estonian guy from my hostel, and 8 Senegalese cavemen drinking coffee made from a clay pot.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I’m currently writing to you from Germany. Today, I was cooked deer at a German friend’s house, and well, I had to eat it.
What are your travel rituals: Well, first thing I do when I arrive to a city is wander without a map. I like to see where the streets take me, what kind of people I observe, what kind of eateries I pass. The next morning, I like to do a free-walking tour to get a little deeper perspective on the city and see what neighborhoods I want to re-visit on my own. Once back on my own, I stop in as many little stores, restaurants and cafes to talk with the store owners and the locals. They always have the best insight into the city! And sometimes, they’ll even invite you around with them.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Food! Some might call me a “culinary tourist.” My way to get to know a city is by eating my way through it! While I generally stay in low budget hostels, search for the cheapest flight and always ride public transportation, I will never hesitate to splurge on a good meal. This doesn’t mean I seek out the “fancy” places. Rather, I like to find the most local, authentic, non-touristy places to get a real foodie “experience.”
Next travel destination: Paris!
Current city: Currently I’m in the Netherlands.
Total countries visited: 60; I’ll be adding at least 6 in 2017.
What makes you interesting: My experiences always prepare me to have a story to tell. I’m open to anything new and being able to get things done. I’m always fulfilling promises and not letting people down.
What brands do you love: I love shirts from Paul & Shark. When it comes to travel brands, I’m loyal to KLM Airlines from my home country and travel with them whenever I can. For hotels I prefer to stay in InterContinental hotels for business and leisure. My favorites are independent luxury hotels sometimes associated with SLH or LHW.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel doesn’t change people per se; you have to look for more than just sitting on a beach. I always try to get into contact with locals to learn about their culture, food, views on the world and more. With this I can form my own view on the world by taking the best of each different culture. This knowledge is a big plus if discussing with people who only know one vision. I hope to learn more cultures in the future and that I can develop myself more through knowledge.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: The one from Easter Island at the moment.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: I hope by that time to have visited each country, and I hope I’m right, that the countries I think will be my favorite experiences will be Antartica, Tahiti, Rwanda, base camp of Mount Everest and Myanmar. In actuality, I’m proud of any place new I visit even if it is small.
What are your travel pet peeves: People who don’t behave in business class flights and lounges. For example wearing no socks in the bathrooms & slippers in lounges. Please don’t! Hotel rooms that needed renovation ages ago but still sold at extremely high prices. You can’t expect luxury in a one star hotel but it has to be clean and up to date; the same for five star hotels where I have seen also strange things. People who take too many selfies or make vlogs with them being the highlight of the story and not the destination. That’s why I’m anonymous; it’s not about me! It’s about the destination!
Where are you the most authentic you: When I’m travelling and exploring new destinations, cultures and meeting new people.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Antartica! Top destination on my bucket-list. Or, if I can choose something away from earth: the moon. My ultimate goal in life to go there as a tourist which I think is possible in my lifetime.
Next travel destination: Berlin, Israel, Singapore, Manilla, Guam, Saipan, Rota, Yap, Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, Tokyo, Taiwan, Palau, Helsinki, Bucharest, Thailand, Argentina, Sao Paulo, and China are all destinations already confirmed for 2017, and I hope to add a few more.
Current city: We’re currently based in our home town of Perth, Western Australia.
Age: Steve is 52 and Sharon is 50
Total countries visited: Steve has traveled to 28 countries and Sharon has traveled to 27.
What makes you interesting: We’re not afraid to take some chances when we travel and quite often without a set plan, we end up in some amazing places. For example, we were in Mexico and wanted to visit The Copper Canyon, an area not really recommended by the official authorities as a “safe” region. We bumped into a seasoned traveler in a bar one night in La Paz and all he said to us as he departed was “You NEED to visit The Copper Canyon” and the glint in his eyes said it all. We researched how, when, who etc. and we ended up spending an amazing 2 weeks there being passed from family to family up and down the train line through the Canyon. An amazing experience.
What brands do you love:JBL – Our portable WIFI speaker has travelled the world with us and is still going strong. Victorinox Swiss Army Knife – A reliable tool of many uses. Fujifilm – Steve uses a XT-1 and in our opinion is the perfect traveling camera. Canon – I’ve been a Canon user forever, but I’m thinking about a switch to mirrorless in the future, just not sure if it will still be a Canon. I’m currently using a Canon 5D MKIII. Black Wolf Backpacks – 2.5 years continuous use and still in one piece although a little on the worn side. Under Armour – ColdGear® clothing is AWESOME!
Most magical place on earth:Austria and Switzerland. It would be hard to separate these two. The dramatic mountains that envelope you as you pass through be it by car, bus or train. Truly magical!
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Having someone to share life and travel experiences with. We have been together for 32 years and married for 28 of those, so I think we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses although we are still discovering new things about each other like my non-negotiable, mortal fear of Bats was something Steve discovered in a Cenote in Mexico.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Depends who you ask. Steve’s would be boat, he has a real love for the ocean. Mine however, would be our own vehicle, be it car, motorhome, motorbike. Why? Because of the freedom to stop for that amazing photo op whenever we want to.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel removes you from your daily routine, everything is new and exciting and you have new experiences all the time. Sometimes these experiences take you out of your comfort zone and you are suddenly on a steep learning curve. So if we could encompass all of this into one word we would probably say spiritual.
What is your best and worst travel memory:
Best: There are many, but cruising The Bahamas Islands aboard the schooner The Liberty Clipper for seven days with 22 strangers, would have to be a great memory. We are very grateful the 22 strangers are still friends.
Worst: Wrecking my ankle by falling down some stairs in the Castle Belltower in Cesky Krumlov just four days before attempting to surprise our daughter on Mt Titlis, Switzerland (who we hadn’t seen for 13 months) for her 23rd Birthday. I was pretty much useless so everything fell on Steve’s shoulders. We did it…..just! Very thankful for the Orthopaedic Doctors of Austria.
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: Don’t take long flights if you can help it. We have always tried to do short legs. If it’s unavoidable then drink plenty of water, not alcohol, before during and after your flight. Try and sleep as best you can, get some noise cancelling ear phones or ear plugs.
Next travel destination: We’d like to know that too. We’re in the throws of planning our next trip and whilst we have seen so much of the world already, choosing where has become more difficult as we realize how precious our vacations are and making them count. House of Prayer Bukit Rhema or more commonly known as The Chicken Church is pretty high on Steve’s list though. Now might be a good time for that solo trip, somewhere with beaches and cocktails sounds more like my style!
JaMeka from Got The Travel Bug Too.
Current city: Raleigh, North Carolina
Total countries visited: 4
What makes you interesting: I’m curious about the world, especially the way of life for each culture and the origin of things. For instance, we recently went to a Chinese lantern festival and while many were admiring the lanterns all I could think about was how did the tradition start and why?
What brands do you love: Apple! We are huge Apple users in our household. I love Erin Condren products for keeping my blogging organized and I cannot travel without my Vera Bradley bags, they’ve been so reliable. Also Canon – we have a Canon 60D my husband is obsessed with. I like it but I also like my Sony a6000 we bought this year. It’s perfect for me because I can’t handle carrying around a bulky camera all day.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Italy because it was my very first international trip.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has allowed me to open myself up to new experiences even here at home. I’m more likely now to order something completely off my character when I go out to eat, just to say I tried something new.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Paris. It is currently on the top of my list of places I’d like to visit soon hopefully. I even have a “wishlist” itinerary of what day trips we would take from Paris if we were to visit. Versailles is high on my list. I think I would spend all day there thanks to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette!
Describe yourself in three words: Quiet, creative and loyal.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I really enjoy learning about a location’s customs, traditions and its people. I haven’t traveled to many countries yet but I could probably tell you an encyclopedias worth of information I’ve researched!
What is your most favorite travel memory: That is a tough question. I have a lot of memories but one of my favorites is watching how excited our now 3 year old son was when we visited Cape Charles in Virginia. He absolutely loved playing in the water for the first time and would’ve stayed in it all day if we had let him do it.
Next travel destination: We don’t have any plans set yet but I’m excited to rely on the unknown for 2017. This year we went to the Dominican Republic as one of our trips and it was never on my bucket list. I am so glad we went there and now I am hooked on the Caribbean.
Wayne Seto from Tao West Adventures.
Current city: Bangkok, Thailand
Total countries visited: 15
What makes you interesting: I don’t really think that I’m all that interesting. I do have a willingness to share my experiences in an honest way that reveal not only the good moments but also the bad, embarrassing and not so pretty moments of my life. In that sense some people do find me interesting.
What brands do you love:Nike! I’m a sucker for their commercials.
What motivates you to travel: Being stagnant in one place for so long tends to force me to the other end of the spectrum where I want to see what’s outside of my own world.
Describe the last time you tried something new: On my year abroad last year, I tried to learn computer coding on my own. While effectively failing at it, I did manage to create 6 WordPress Websites for my own and friends’ projects. While not being a real computer programmer, I have to at least give myself a pat on the back for trying.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: Toilet paper. You don’t realize how valuable it is until you really need it.
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: Last year, I was traveling abroad for 13 months in Asia. I spent the majority of it in Thailand, but also included stretches in India, China and Malaysia. While not necessarily feeling home sick, I did go through periods of listlessness. While this may sound odd, I found it did take time to adjust to go from a structured life style of a punch clock job to complete days free of anything to do. The upside is that within a few weeks, I completely lost track of what day of the week it was
What item will you never leave home without: For practical reasons, my passport and my smartphone. Passport for obvious reasons and the smartphone acts like my Swiss Army knife for staying connected while on the road. On a sentimental note, I always pack this UV protective t-shirt that I bought for my first solo trip eight years ago. It’s like a comfortable old blanket you just don’t want to get rid of.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: I’m a very small cog in a much bigger wheel.
Next travel destination: Had plans for Myanmar and Vietnam last year but plans fell through. Would love to visit sooner than later.
Sally Elbassir from Passport and Plates.
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
Total countries visited: 26
What makes you interesting: I’m the only Arab-American Muslim solo female travel blogger out there! With my travels, I hope to help break stereotypes about my culture and religion, while simultaneously inspiring young Muslim women to get out there and explore.
What brands do you love: Apple for most electronics, Lush for all-natural skincare and Lonely Planet for travel books.
What motivates you to travel: When I was ten days old, my parents boarded a plane with me to attend my first wedding. I’ve been traveling (and attending weddings!) ever since. After spending 6 months traveling post college graduation in 2012, I remember stumbling upon this concept of “digital nomads.” I vowed that one day I’d figure out how to be location independent because I knew that I couldn’t miss out on all the places I wanted to visit due to having an office job. A couple of years later, my quarter-life crisis was in full swing and my lack of success in finding my dream job led me to create it. Now as a blogger and social media manager, I get to dictate how and where to live my life, which is amazing! I’ve always been intrigued by how drastically different life could be in other places and I’m addicted to learning more about other cultures.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: When I was traveling in Indonesia, a friend’s coworker offered to be in charge of booking some friends and I a weekend stay at one of the nearby Thousand Islands near Jakarta. Somehow, we ended up being transported on a cargo ship, stayed in an apartment with no running water, and had to share three people to a bed! Needless to say, our little island getaway wasn’t quite so relaxing, although we all laugh about it now.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: I’d have to say one of the worst “interesting” things I’ve eaten is balut (duck embryo), a popular street food in the Philippines that is served throughout Southeast Asia. I actually tried it in the Little Saigon neighborhood of Los Angeles. Once was more than enough.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: 10 days after I was born in Ireland, my parents took me to Egypt for my aunt’s wedding. One could say I was a traveler from the start! However, my first international experience that I actually remember was when I was 14. I spent the summer visiting my family in Cairo, Alexandria, and Sharm-el-Sheik and have been traveling consistently since then.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: I’d have to say Valencia, Spain. It’s a little off the beaten path and by no means a popular tourist destination, but once you dig deep and really explore, you’ll discover a tremendous variety of things to do, people to meet, and food to eat. I’m a bit of an introvert, but once you get to know me I’m vivacious, curious, sassy and always down for an adventure.
What’s your favorite beverage to start the day with while on vacation: I’m a self-proclaimed caffeine addict, so coffee is always my go-to! Unless of course, it’s instant coffee. In that case, tea is an excellent alternative.
Next travel destination: I’m traveling with my sister for the first time in ages! We’re headed to Italy mid-January before I make my way to Egypt.
Rob and Chris from 2 Travel Dads.
Current city: Seattle, Washington
Age: 34 and 38
Total countries visited: 15
What makes you interesting: What makes us interesting is the same thing that we don’t want to just be known for – We’re gay dads who travel to all kinds of places where we’re clearly out of place but we want to show our kids the world so we go anyway. Other two-dad or two-mom families send us messages all the time saying how brave we are for traveling with the kids, but it’s just how life has to be and we’re working to normalize families like ours out in the world.
What brands do you love: When it comes to travel, our preferred hotels are Kimpton Hotels (w/o kids) and Marriott (w/ kids). For flying, we prefer Alaska Airlines for our West Coast trips and love that they partner with Delta to get us everywhere else. When it comes to destinations, America’s National Parks are where we find ourselves most frequently. They’re such amazing, beautiful and unique places full of adventures for kids.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: If “be prepared” wasn’t so cliche we’d say that, but instead we’ll go with “Never give up on a place before you go there.” There have been so many towns and destinations that we’ve heard weren’t amazing and then we’ve made the trek to be absolutely wowed.
Most magical place on earth: The mountains of China – Never have mountains been so strange and amazing.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Driving into Yellowstone National Park for the first time with our kids – We’d been to Yellowstone plenty of times over the years, growing up, as adults, and going back for the first time as parents. Watching the kids’ reactions was priceless.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: No matter how much of a pain long travel days can be, we’re always going to feel that they’re worth it. The journey is really part of the experience and the trials you face to conquer a long day on the road only make us closer as a family.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Indonesia – From the beaches, waterfalls and temples to the orangutans of Borneo, there is so much that all four of us would love to see and experience.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: We were hiking in Glacier National Park and were faced with the decision to hike forward towards a big-horned ram, turn around and head towards two bull moose in the pond below us or stay in place while a mama grizzly and her two cubs came down the hill at us. We picked the two bull moose.
Next travel destination: A snowy escape to the Cascade Mountains of Washington State for some skiing, playing in the snow and great food!
Nathan Allen from I Dreamed Of This.
Current city: Singapore
Total countries visited: 14 and that’s probably not a lot for a “hardcore traveller” like me, but you need to consider that I usually stay in each country anywhere from 1 month to 1 year. Not “long-term travel”, but I like to think of it as “short-term living” (immersion) in other countries instead. I suppose I should speed things up if I want see the world.
What makes you interesting: Cliche these days, but I went on vacation, and never came back. Six years and counting! I also try hard to learn the local languages wherever I go.
What brands do you love: I don’t care much about brands, but with my limited income, the very few possessions I have need to be of exceptional quality and functionality. Apple products may be expensive and pretentious, but my Macbook Air is low maintenance, lightweight, and uber-reliable. For many years, it has survived bumpy plane/bus rides and plenty of muddy trails during tropical storms. It’s worth the price. I have recently been turned on to Pacsafe products as well. To be honest, at first I saw their anti-theft features as a gimmick (and an expensive one at that). However, my opinion has changed. Now I can leave my heavy pack locked up in my guest house and relieve 95% of worry about theft. Seems like a no-brainer, but I guess I just needed to apply it in real life to experience the “peace of mind” firsthand.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I used to be a bit of a germaphobe, but my enthusiasm for places like India and Cambodia forced me out of my comfort zone pretty quickly. Also cliche, but super true: Travel has also taught me to see things from other perspectives…to think well beyond my gender, age, race, and nationality. If you don’t remain open, you won’t last long out in the world.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: If it has to be a piece of gear I currently travel with, I’d say my ultralight nylon hammock. It has proven to be way more useful than I ever imagined it would be (using it to relax in is just one of many uses)! Otherwise, the sensible answer for a survival situation would be a device to turn salt water into drinking water, right?
What’s your Travanality: Wow, interesting. I’d say I’m a strong mixture of them, in this order: 1. Purist 2. Culturist 3. Maverick 4. Altruist 5. Urbanite
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: I would say a Swedish man in Moalboal, Philippines. His name is George Larsonn. What struck me about him was his openness and positive, youthful energy, especially considering that he might be 25 years older than me! He just got married in Vietnam, and his FB page is full of smiles and international adventures. He seems to have never lost that childlike sense of wonder, and I hope I never do, either.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: That the world is not such a scary place at all. The media makes a lot of money keeping our attention with toxic and negative headlines, and unfortunately leaves out most of the positive and uplifting things happening. This severely skews our perception of the world. Turning off the news and cleaning up our social media feeds can make a big difference…but so can simply going out into the world and seeing the good of humanity for ourselves.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Vietnamese villages in 2010. English doesn’t get you far there, and that was a challenge I was happy to accept.
Next travel destination: Japan (I hope!)
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates from Farsighted Fly Girl.
Current city: Chicago, Illnois
Age: Ha! Ageless.
Total countries visited: I don’t count countries, I like to focus on the experiences. I’ve filled two passports so I guess it’s quite a few!
What makes you interesting: I think my perspective as an African American writer and traveler makes me interesting. My heritage and profession informs most of what I do. I regularly experience so many enlightening things, from interviewing musical icons to wearing an abaya to enter a Dubai mosque. This makes my outlook on life broad and hopeful.
What brands do you love: I’m not into brands but I appreciate artisan products and try to support independent producers whenever I can.
Most magical place on earth: The most magical place that I’ve visited so far is Brazil. The beauty of the people, land and culture is stunningly rich. There’s no place like it.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: I was the most culture shocked probably in Macau. It’s such an unexpected blend of China and Portugal. On the one hand, you feel like you’re in China with masses of people and Chinese dialects, but then you walk down tiled Portuguese streets where they’re selling Portuguese tarts. It’s really quirky and threw me a little.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I enjoy meeting locals, and learning about their lives and traditions. There’s nothing like seeing a place from the perspective of someone who calls it home.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: The most useful thing I’ve brought on a trip was probably a Portuguese dictionary in Portugal. It really helped me speak with locals and they were impressed that I was trying.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: If I were given a free trip tomorrow I would go to Senegal. I love the food, music and fashion. I have been dying to go to see it in person.
Best travel advice: Best travel advice that I’ve received is to not be afraid to get lost. Instead of sticking to maps and itineraries, wandering can reveal some wonderful things that you’ll never see otherwise.
Next travel destination: For 2017, my travel plans so far include Nicaragua, Grenada, Vancouver and Cuba!
Travel Photographer Antoine Collas.
Current city: Paris, France
Total countries visited: Between 45 and 50.
What makes you interesting: I’m not sure if I’m especially interesting. I’m just a normal guy with a thirst for world travel.
What brands do you love: Apple, Nikon, RedBull, AirFrance, LowePro, BeautifulDestinations… too many I suppose.
What’s your Travanality: I wasn’t able to choose between defining myself as a Purist or an Urbanite, but I also have touches of Soulager and Epicurean.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: A scorpion and larva stick for lunch in China. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fill your stomach that much.
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: My only suggestion would be to have a rest when you’re tired. In my opinion, jet lag is just a part of traveling. So you have to deal with it.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: In India a few years ago! It’s culture is so far from the occidental one. The differences are huge and when you go there it’s a total loss of landmarks: eating, driving, consideration of women, weddings, spirituality… everything!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: It’s always a question of challenging yourself when you go out of your comfort zone. Then you can get to know yourself better, and discover some hidden parts of yourself while traveling. This is why I love it.
Best travel advice: Get out your comfort zone. You’ll get the best feedback.
Next travel destination: South Korea and Japan!
Simon and Erin from Never Ending Voyage.
Current city: Berlin, Germany
Total countries visited: 58
What makes you interesting: My partner Simon and I have been traveling full-time for six and a half years and have no plans to stop. We fund our travels with our travel blog, Never Ending Voyage, and our travel expense tracker app, Trail Wallet.
What brands do you love:Apple (we travel with Macs, iPhones, iPad, Apple Watch, and we make iPhone apps!), Tortuga and Osprey for backpacks, Bluffs for men’s travel trousers, and Lush for solid shampoo bars.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Food! We love searching out the best vegetarian food on our travels, whether it’s a cactus taco on the streets of Mexico or a gourmet vegan meal in San Francisco.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Having someone to experience magical moments with.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: We travel with just one carry-on backpack each so they contain almost everything we own. I travel with a MacBook Air, Olympus OMD-EM5 camera, iPhone, Kindle Paperwhite, about 10 items of clothing and two pairs of shoes. Simon carries our toiletries but we don’t take much—Lush shampoo bar, toothpaste, solid deodorant, and once-a-day suncream, all in bottles under 100 ml.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Train. Flying is always a cramped experience and I get travel sick on buses. Trains are usually comfortable, spacious, and take you right to the center of a city. Once we reach our destination, especially in Southeast Asia, we love renting a scooter to explore locally. It’s cheap, gives us lots of freedom, and is a great way to see the countryside.
What is your most favorite travel memory: One of our favorite places in the world is Greenpalms Homestay in the lush green backwaters of Kerala, India. Our host was a kind, gentle man called Thomas who each day would take us out to explore the village and meet the local people. One particularly magical moment came after a late night visit to a toddy shop to drink the local coconut sap brew. When we were returning to the homestay by canoe, Thomas and his friend sang us a capella Indian folk songs under the stars. It was the perfect moment in a beautiful place and brought tears to our eyes.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: India. We loved it there, but it is a challenging destination and completely different from anywhere else. We found the trick is to take it slowly and treat yourself to a nice hotel every now and then to give yourself a break.
Next travel destination: We’re visiting friends and family in England on a short visit, and then will be traveling around Europe by train to France, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.
Laura Berg from Travelful Life.
Current city: Toronto, ON
Total countries visited: 15
What makes you interesting: I think the one thing that makes me interesting is how I’ve managed to morph my career path into one of travel. I absolutely love what I do, and I love that it allows me to travel and share my experiences with others. I am also a doer and I love to try new things. I’ve gone shark diving in the Bahamas, cliff jumping in Australia, mountain climbing in Austria, sky diving in Canada, Caving in Cuba and more! I love experiencing adrenaline pumping fun!
What brands do you love: It’s hard to pick just one. I’ve worked with many great brands. I loved working with Cathay Pacific because I got to fly business class to Australia. I have two children so having that alone time in such a luxurious setting was a treat. They had lay flat beds in your own little pod. I got to watch movies (that I picked) and drink Champaign. It was glorious!
What’s your Travanality: I’m definitely a MAVERICK!
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Probably from Cuba. I love that I was able to visit this beautiful country the way it is now. Things will change greatly for Cuba in the next coming years.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Anything adventure. When it comes to things, like scuba diving, sky diving, cliff jumping, zip lining, etc., I’m willing to spend money on things that will stay with me forever.
What motivates you to travel: I never want to miss out on living life. When I am old and on my deathbed I want to look back on my life with no regrets. My life is filled with travel, which means it’s filled with cool experiences and memories. I am the happiest and most settled when I am traveling.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: When I am visiting a place I always try to find what is unique about that place and do it. When I visited the Bahamas I saw that you could scuba dive with sharks in the open ocean. I had only been scuba diving a handful of times but this was something I really wanted to do because when would I have the chance to dive with sharks again? I like to seize opportunities when they are in front of me. So I’d say anything that will be adventurous is what I look forward to most when I’m traveling.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: I’d say my personality would be Australia. In Australia you have an amazing amount of variety. From the ocean to the Outback there are so many cool things to see and experience. It’s rugged and outdoorsy and filled with adventure – just like me!
Next travel destination: We’re heading to Vegas soon and then off to the Mayan Riviera.
Travel Photographer Stephen Casey.
Current city: Sydney, Australia. I’ll always call Australia home, no matter where I live.
Total countries visited: 26, and itching for more!
What makes you interesting: My willingness to go anywhere and try anything. I love getting out of my comfort zone and off the beaten track! I currently work in feature films as an animator. I’m lucky that I not only consider it my day job, but my dream job. I like to reward myself after every project with a new destination to venture too!
What brands do you love: Any camera brand! I’m a Sony and Canon shooter, but anything that takes a photo. Sport/Travel Brands, clothing that makes it comfortable for me to travel.
What’s your Travanality: Maverick. I’d rather come home from traveling exhausted knowing I didn’t hold back or miss anything. I am full of energy when traveling. I’m up before the sun gets up and in bed well after it sets. I don’t want to miss anything.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling:Activities and Adventures! I think the experiences you have on travels outweigh the things you’ll see if you don’t make the most of it. I have a rule to always come home broke.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Anything that will get me there. Sometimes the best stories come from the journey there, so why not think of a crazy way to get somewhere!
What motivates you to travel: A desire to see and experience new things. After a long project, what better way to forget the stress than to travel somewhere. The more I travel, the more I get excited to travel again!
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Too many to name, but people with completely different cultures that I’m not used to. I could listen to them for hours. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of people I’ve met, I met the same people in different corners of the globe, and I’m blessed to be able to call people from so many different countries and cultures my friends.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Not being able to wipe the smile from my face. Knowing this is some place/person I’ve never seen before and I’ll have the memories (and photos) to last a lifetime, the stories I’ll be able tell, the experiences I’ve been able to experience. I’m smiling right now thinking about them!
Next travel destination: Fiji and New Zealand, just for starters. I have a long list of places I want to visit, but I try not to jump the gun too much. I limit myself to two trips ahead (no less). It makes me excited to continually add to the list!
Twipper of the Week: Victoria Philpott from Vicky Flipflop Travels.
Current city: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Total countries visited: 59
What makes you interesting: I’ve got some good stories to tell after two years on the road!
What brands do you love:Apple and Ray-Ban. I think that’s actually it!
What’s your Travanality: I’m a mixture between a Maverick and a Wayfarer. They sound cool.
What item will you never leave home without: My laptop, who I call Lappy and think of as my child. Also my phone, even though I’ve got painful RSI in my thumb from using it too much. Those iPhone 6’s are too wide!
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: I’ve spent most of the last two years traveling. Whenever I’ve come back to London I’m shocked at how busy it is, how crazy, how expensive, and how fashionable and cool everyone is. I’m always shocked that I lived there for six years. I still love it! The more I travel the more I think how London is so unique!
What are your travel pet peeves: I hate it when people get all anxious and mean in airports, as if getting on the plane is some kind of race or competition. I also really, really hate when the person in front of you on the plane puts their seat back. I don’t know why they make them with that functionality.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Moped. It’s absolutely my favorite thing about Asia.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: How resilient, adaptable, brave and totally impatient I can be. Not all good things!
Next travel destination: I’m off to Memphis and Nashville!
Current city: Somewhere in beautiful Tuscany, Italy.
Total countries visited: 46
What makes you interesting: We are identical twins who love to travel the world together. Whilst most people stop traveling with their siblings as soon as they are old enough to avoid family vacations, we’ve continued to travel together – choosing each other over our friends and even own boyfriends!
What brands do you love: We love Fossil – a brand dedicated to a sense of adventure! Their bags and accessories are perfect for travel. We also swear by our Eastpak backpacks and Canon cameras.
What item will you never leave home without: Our cameras, Canon G Shot andCanon 7D. Photography is a huge part of our travels and something we absolutely love to do whilst traveling.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Traveling with your twin sister is a little like traveling with yourself. We share the same likes, dislikes and both know when we need a nap or food break! It also means knowing that you have someone with you who will care for you whatever and put up with all your annoying habits.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel for us means the chance to be mindful. In everyday life, we are so busy with work and our general routine, that we don’t always have the opportunity to stop and take in our surroundings. When we travel, however, the new sights and sounds surrounding us mean that we are able to stop and appreciate everything around us. It’s our chance to really engage with life.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: Puffer fish in Japan. Both tasty and terrifying!
What is your most favorite travel memory: Exploring the magical ‘fairy’ waterfalls of the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The landscape there is breathtaking and we had the whole place to ourselves one Sunday afternoon. Alone in the spring sunshine!
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Slow down, be mindful and take the time to absorb the experience. No rushing!
Next travel destination: Bali, Indonesia!
Current city: Paris but not for long!
Total countries visited: I’ve been to 30 countries in my lifetime. For me, it’s not about the number of countries so much as it is about the experiences you have.
What makes you interesting: That’s a great question! l’ve worked in some of the best cocktail bars around the world in major cities like New York, Beijing, and Melbourne. I have a wealth of knowledge on the subject, and a passion for exciting nightlife, captivating company, and exquisite drinks. I live for the adventure of the daytime and the mystery of the nighttime. I’ve always been a nightcrawler—it’s when I do my best work.
What brands do you love: TWIP, of course! I also really love HostelWorld for hostels, TransferWise for sending money internationally and World Nomads for travel insurance. Those are my staples, but I’ve also put together a resource ofmore than 50 tools and brands I love and use when I’m traveling. If you’re researching or booking a trip in the near future, it might serve as a valuable resource.
What’s your Travanality: I really love this concept of Travanality. I can relate to almost all of them in some way, but through and through I am the Maverick. I live for the adventure, the adrenaline and the crazy stories. From skydiving to naked bungee jumping to hiking volcanoes. I never travel with a guidebook because I’m constantly writing my own.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: Body language! I love the challenge of communicating with people that you can’t understand. Finding new ways to get a message across is a bonding experience in itself and brings so much more to the experience of being in a new place. The fact is, we communicate in so many more ways than just words. Body language and expressions play a big role in communication—we just have to be persistent and maybe a bit intuitive. I’m pretty good with languages, and even if I don’t speak one, I can usually guess what’s going on just by the context of the conversation. In the end, the challenge of trying to communicate becomes a shared experience that both people can bond over—one that usually ends with big smiles and laughter.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has changed me in so many ways. Through travel, I have come to terms with some of the darkest parts of myself, and I have learned to accept them. I have developed a filter for what really matters in life, and I’ve learned to stop stressing about where I’m going to end up—there is so much more joy in the experience of now. It also helped me to learn responsibility, something I lacked much of before I took off.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: I bought a big fluffy hat on the border of Tibet. You can see me here, wearing it in Times Square.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: My foray into Asia began in China. I was seriously overwhelmed. Even more overwhelming, though, was coming home after 3.5 years abroad. Reverse culture shock is worse than regular culture shock!
Best travel advice: Skip your Lonely Planet—talk to bartenders and taxi drivers. Nobody knows a city quite like they do.
Next travel destination: Unknown at the moment but that’s just how I like it!
Jessica Festa from Jessie on a Journey.
Current city: Brooklyn, New York
Total countries visited: I don’t count them and here’s why.
What makes you interesting: I think what makes me interesting is despite societal and family pressures to get a “real” job and live a traditional life, I’ve paved my own path. I’ve created a life that allows me to travel and work on my own time for myself. It’s not easy, but it’s fulfilling and I’m happy.
What brands do you love: Some brands I love are Alicia San Marcos Accessories,3Sisters Adventure Trekking, Glooby, Project 7 and Warby Parker.
Where are you the most authentic you: In New York. My grandparents came from Italy through Ellis Island and settled in Corona, Queens. When the city got too dangerous they moved the family to Long Island, where I was born. I lived there all my life and went to university in Albany, NY. Afterward I moved to Brooklyn. I’ve been in Bushwick, Brooklyn now for over four years and love the palpable creativity in this neighborhood. I actually lead a photo walk here as a licensed sightseeing guide, as well. As someone with a non-traditional job it’s nice to meet others also working non-typical jobs.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: An e-reader or iPod. I’d have a lot of time to kill!
Describe the last time you tried something new: The last time I tried something new was downhill mountain biking in Winter Park, Colorado. I’m an urban cyclist, but this was something else. I was terrified bounding down the mountain over the rough terrain, but felt like a stronger person when I finished the almost 6-mile track.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: Foursquare. Funnily enough I never used it when it was really popular. Now I love it. It’s so simple and a fun way to find new things to do both at home and when traveling.
What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled: Some of the most extreme points I’ve been to have been the Namib Desert, touted as the world’s oldest desert and Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. I’ve also been to Ushuaia in Patagonia, often touted as “El Fin Del Mundo,” The End of the World. They even give you a passport stamp for the journey!
Best travel advice: My best travel advice is to travel as much as possible. You become a stronger, braver, more independent person, and you truly realize what you’re capable of. You have the chance to grow your relationship with yourself as well as enjoy ultimate freedom over your itinerary.
Next travel destination: I’ll be cycling down the east coast for a few weeks withThe Young Philanthropists doing service work and getting to know my own country better. My international travel is oddly much more widespread than my domestic travel, and I want to change that. I did a two-week bike trip through Kerala, India a couple years ago. This was such a rewarding experience, both because of the destination itself and because the bike allowed me to more easily feel the beat of the state and stop to chat with local people.
Evelien Langeveld from Eef Explores.
Current city: Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
Total countries visited: 26 and counting.
What makes you interesting: That’s a hard question to answer since I don’t really like to brag about myself. I think what makes me interesting is that I’m a very positive, honest person. I’ll always tell you how I feel and what I think. The glass is always half full and, I believe nearly everything is possible as long as you believe and you set your mind to it.
What brands do you love: I’m not a particular big brand lover, but if I have to pick a favorite it would definitely be Nike. I have a big collection of Nike sneakers at home and I do miss strolling around the canals of Amsterdam in them. But of course I brought my favorite pair to explore the world with me.
What item will you never leave home without: I would never leave home without my iPhone. This sounds very superficial, but everyday I try to capture all the beautiful things I see in pictures, and often my iPhone helps me find the way.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: There are actually three apps I use very often during my travels. The first one is Google Maps. I’m not good at directions and without Google Maps I would’ve gotten lost a hundred times. The second one is WhatsApp because it keeps me connected to my loved ones at home and my boyfriend. The third app would be Instagram because I absolutely love sharing pictures of my adventures to inspire my followers from all over the world.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: New York City! Busy, bustling and always something going on, but if you’re looking for something more relaxed you can go to the hipster Williamsburg or chill in a Central Park. I’m like that: busy, all over the place and very active, or calm, relaxed and enjoying some time by myself.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I have learned that being on my own at the other side of the world is easier than I thought. It’s so wonderful to meet people from all over the globe, share new experiences with them and even indulge in new friendships you know will last for a lifetime. I never thought I was the person to sleep in dorms and discover new places on my own, but I absolutely love it and I’m convinced everyone can do it!
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: I think I’m quite boring when it comes to this. Since I’ve been a vegetarian for my whole life I’ve never eaten meat, so trying something like fried cockroaches on Khao San Road is not something you’d see me do. I do love exploring new cultures by tasting their local delicacies, as long as it’s vegetarian.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Probably the first time I went to South East Asia in 2009, to Bali. Right now South East Asia is by far my favorite travel destination in the world because of its authenticity, but back then I was quite amazed by how different Asia was compared to the western world back home. Of course that only lasted for a few hours and then I fell in love with the culture and the people.
Next travel destination: Fiji and Samoa! The plan is to stay in Bondi for a few months to work and save some money. After that my boyfriend and I want to visit Fiji and Samoa. Then we’ll go back to Australia again to see some highlights of the east coast, explore Uluru and make sure we don’t miss out on the west coast. So excited!
Jessica and Garrett from The Bucket List Family.
Current city: We just spent the last few weeks pretending to live Oregon.
Age: Jessica is 30 and Garrett is “25.”
Total countries visited: As a family 16, but we’ve both been to a whole lot more than that. Garrett grew up traveling all over the world with his mom who is also a travel journalist.
What makes you interesting: A few years ago Garrett sold a company to Snapchat for a large sum of money but we decided to set it aside. We sold all of our belongings to fund an adventure around the world with our two kids, Dorothy & Manilla.
What brands do you love: We love Nike because we’re huge sport, health and fitness enthusiasts. Apple because we are techies, and Disney because it’s Disney.
What’s your Travanality: Victor / Purist
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: We bring a blender with us everywhere. One small suitcase is filled with proteins and supplements for daily, healthy smoothies. And of course a camera!
What is the best part about having travel partners: There is nothing better than exploring the world with those you love! Sure, it gets a little tough with such young kids, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are so grateful to be able to give our kids these experiences at such a young age. Even if they don’t remember it, our family has been strengthened by traveling together.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Tonga was one of our very first stops. We woke up very early in the morning and were just walking down the empty streets trying to find a grocery store. People there were beyond friendly, but I think because Tonga was just our first foreign stop, and we were not in a hotel, it was confusing to us.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: It’s not that interesting, but in Tonga we had dinner with a bunch of locals and they placed a roasted pig on the table. I sat there and ate pork as I looked into the eyes of this pig. It was intense.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: We’ve learned that although languages, religions and cultures are the different, we are all humans and desire the same things – family, love and happiness. I’ve learned that my greatest goal in life is to teach my children that despite any differences someone has, we are all God’s children and should help, serve and love one another.
Next travel destination: Next stops on the itinerary are Japan, Korea, Nepal, Bhutan, Czech Republic and Croatia!
Tatyana Ray from Curls Round The World.
Current city: Kona, Hawaiʻi
Total countries visited: For the sake of context, I’ve traveled to 5 continents solo and will reach my 6th in mid June of 2016. But, I stopped counting countries years ago because I’ve traveled to so many places (e.x. India, Morocco and Mexico) more than once. It didn’t really make sense to count countries individually because each time I’m in a new place it’s like I see it with a fresh perspective. As strange as it sounds, many of the places I visit are transforming at a rate equal to or greater than myself!
What makes you interesting: I’m an anthropologist by training, so my desire to travel isn’t rooted in seeing beautiful places, escaping the rat race, or visiting the most well known sites in a country. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy many popular UNESCO world heritage sites, globally renowned museums and I treasure any opportunity to explore the natural wonders of this world. But, I think my academic background and anthropological interests/inclinations push me to adventure in a unique way. I also should note that I’ve met many other wanders who try to remain conscious of the footprints we all leave behind.
What brands do you love: I’m not a big consumer and I don’t enjoy shopping very much. But, I do love quality brands that support local economies and farmers markets, as well as food cooperatives. When I’m traveling I prefer to stay at boutique hotels or home stays. I also tend to purchase fair trade goods when I do pick up necessities or souvenirs so the producers receive a living wage.
What’s your Travanality: Oh gosh, it’s so hard for me to select just one! I definitely think that I’m a Culturist and Altruist, but the way I express the various cultures that I experience comes out in an Imaginavo fashion (photography, videography, creative writing). I also love action sports and adrenaline packed adventures, so I’m definitely a little bit of a Purist and a Maverick too. It’s likely easiest to identify what I’m not which is an Urbanite! I’ll skip capital cities and busy environments to explore the natural landscapes of a destination. I’m also not very oriented towards the Epicurean or Victor Travanalities even though I love food and athleticism.
What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled: The farthest north I have traveled is Sweden, the farthest South is likely South Africa (I made it to the Cape of Good Hope but not Cape Agulhas). In terms of West and Eastern points I’m not entirely sure haha! I’ve traveled to India, Tanzania, Brazil and Hawaii. I think it all depends where you start from in order to determine the “most Eastern or most Western” destination one has traveled to. So, as I usually leave from my hometown in Northern California, the most West and East are likely mentioned somewhere above haha!
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: The greatest culture shock that I experienced was actually returning home from spending two months in Tanzania (primarily in the African bush and on the island of Zanzibar), followed by somewhere between two to three months in India (in the northern region where my Mother is from), and then a few months in Sweden. Returning to my native lands after three disparate experiences abroad left me flummoxed and uncertain about my future.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that I’m a strong, capable woman with much to offer the world. I think the self reliance that can come from solo travel is so important. It’s easy to become dependent upon other people or ideas of who we are and or who we “should” be, but traveling, living and working abroad has really shattered such misconceptions. I’ve also finally accepted that there is always more to learn! Sometimes the lessons I was taught in classrooms or in books weren’t fully comprehensible until I had experiences to support them. I also found it so frightening and fantastic when experiences abroad defied that which I had been told and taught to believe at home.
Best travel advice: If you can’t find anyone who has the money, time or interest to go with you… then go by yourself. Go solo! I promise it’s worth it to explore this earth. Going now and trusting yourself will be much less of a headache than deferring your dreams.
Next travel destination: Hawaii, then Australia, then Mexico! After that I may go visit with a friend and kindred spirit who just moved to Morocco.
Mike Shubic from Mike’s Road Trip.
Current city: Phoenix, Arizona
Total countries visited: 42
What makes you interesting: My vast archive of experiences, which has lead to an abundance of stories that I can share and use to connect with people.
What brands do you love: Keen, REI, Apple, GoPro, Whole Foods, NetFlix, Amazon, YouTube, and Maui Jim off the top of my head.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Looks wise, most are pretty much the same. Interesting, the Canadian stamp from Quebec is different from the other provinces and might be the best looking out of the others around the world. I’ll say the China’s stamp was the toughest to obtain.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has molded me into a well-rounded individual and has been my greatest educator. I have learned a great deal about cultures, geography, history, food and architecture. I’ve also enjoyed learning about America and Americans from an outsiders perspective. I find travel a great connector of people. As a fairly introverted person, but well traveled, I can just ask someone where they are from and there is a good chance I’ve been there, which helps get the conversational ball rolling.
What are your travel pet peeves: Delayed flights and the weight limit on luggage. I travel with a lot of camera gear and I’m almost always over the 50lb limit.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: To not sweat the little stuff; it’s all part of the overall experience. Travel delays can lead to some extraordinary experiences, if you let yourself be open to it, which end up making the best stories.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: iPad with lots of music, movies and books to entertain myself on those long overseas flights, snacks, neck pillow. The typical, boring stuff.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: My first real travel experience was not until I was an adult, around the age of 22. I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Next travel destination: Newfoundland and Labrador, which will be my sixth Canadian Province. I then head to Indonesia and the Philippines.
Nick and Dariece from Goats on the Road.