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.
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.