TWIPPER OF THE WEEK
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jonny Duncan from Backpacking Man!
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 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!
Hasse (Chris) Wiersma from Chris Travel Blog!
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.
Sharon and Steve from Midlife Nomads.
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!
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.
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 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’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’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’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 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.
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’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’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.
Current city: Grenada
Age: Dariece is 32 and Nick is 32.
Total countries visited: 57 for Dariece and 56 for Nick.
What makes you interesting: Everything! We are full time travellers who have been living and moving around the world since 2008. Travel has become our main passion and we’ve found ways to make money on the road so that we don’t have to go back home to work at a “normal” job.
What motivates you to travel: Learning about new cultures and meeting new people is the main reason we travel. Getting out there and seeing the way other people live and broadening our horizons is what it’s all about. If more people were to venture beyond their own borders, the world could be a less ignorant and judgemental place.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling:Wine and cheese!
What is your most favorite travel memory: There are a few actually, but one that comes to mind is when we travelled to Mongolia. We decided that we wanted to do some independent trekking. We looked at Google Maps and plotted a route that would follow a river, eventually arriving at a lake with tourist facilities (hopefully). We trekked by ourselves for 8 days, over 145 kilometers and with nothing more than our tents, sleeping bags and fishing rod. We had some back-up food of course, but Nick actually caught some fish for dinner!
Describe the last time you tried something new: Practically every day we are able to learn something new, try something new or eat something new. Recently, we learned about a celebration called Epiphany, which is a Christian festival. We witnessed this during our time at Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, while sampling local delicacies and homemade booze (rakia) with locals.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: We both really want to explore Madagascar, Papua, New Guinea and Japan!
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: We’d both be Plovdiv, Bulgaria, because we’re super chilled out (which the locals call being “Aylak”) and we’re fun people! Plovdiv offers travellers a lot of fun nights out, a lot of cool drinking spots and live music entertainment.
Next travel destination: Not entirely sure. Either Anguilla or Colombia. That’s the great thing about being digital nomads, our plans can be spontaneous!
James Kelley from Escaping Abroad.
Current city: Bangkok
Total countries visited: 21
What makes you interesting: I’m just an average guy following his dreams.
Describe what YOU bring to the table on a group trip: A positive attitude, an adventurous spirit, and I love sharing and socializing about new experiences with like-minded people.
Describe the last time you tried something new: Although I’m a picky eater, I find myself trying new dishes every week as I live in Bangkok. I don’t like a lot of them, but I have found some new favorite foods.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I haven’t been anywhere cold in a long, long time. I’d probably head off to hike in Patagonia!
What does “Travel” mean to you: It means many things, but most of all travel is to live. Traveling brings out so many emotions and unexpected experiences that you rarely, if ever, have in your normal, everyday life.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: On my first trip outside of the country to Belize. The way of life and the attitude of the people was very different from anything I’d experienced before. After the first couple countries, there wasn’t really a culture ‘shock’ anymore, as I never assume I know what to expect from a new place.
What was your best and worst travel experience: I’ve had so many wonderful and amazing experiences over the last 4 years that choosing only one is incredibly hard. Swimming with whale sharks in Belize was definitely one of the best! The worst experience was rushing to the toilet to vomit every 10 minutes after consuming large amounts of lobster at the Belize Lobsterfest; while staying in a very hot and humid, moldy shack on the beach with no A/C. That’s one night I’d like to take back!
Next travel destination: No idea!
Carol Perehudoff from Wandering Carol.
Current City: I live in Toronto but right now am in France.
Age: Not a chance.
Total countries visited: I’ve lost count.
What makes you interesting: I always say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing and go the wrong way, but I do this with enthusiasm. I’m also passionate about good hotels, flat cycling trails in beautiful regions and thermal water spas.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling:5-star hotels, but I always search frantically for the best price.
What are your travel rituals: Regretting the things I didn’t pack, reading all tourism and hotel literature I can find as soon as I arrive somewhere and walking.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: As much as I can stuff in. I’ve had way too much luggage go astray, so I like to have a change of clothes, a beach bag with flip flops and bathing suit, my computer, a book and as much skincare and makeup as I can stuff into the plastic airline bag for liquids.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: Truthfully I don’t use many, but I’m obsessed with Instagram.
Is there anywhere you will not travel to: I won’t travel anywhere if it’s at the end of a bungee cord.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: It certainly has made me realize that my home is not the universe, and that I should be grateful for what I have and for being able to travel when so many people the world over aren’t able to.
Next travel destination: A hotel barge cruise on called Athos. We’ll be cruising on the Canal du Midi in France!
Benjamin from Benjamin J Travel.
Current city: Dallas, Texas
Total countries visited: As of this writing, 18 countries
What makes you interesting: I’m travel geek but a knowledge sponge. And travel is no exception. My family teases me about this sometimes based on the quirky things I remember or memorize. I spend a lot of my spare time doing a lot of travel research: maps, languages, reviews, and airline rules. I think this knowledge becomes invaluable when I travel and I love sharing my knowledge with my readers.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: I’m very good with directions, it’s hard for me to get lost. I rely on body language, hand gestures, my iPhone, and a bit of Google Translate. I always advise my friends to download the offline versions of TripAdvisor and Google Maps in case they don’t have mobile service.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has become more accessible today. Flights are cheaper. Information is everywhere online. The world is more global. The world might seem scary if you watch the news but once you actually get out there any meet people and see the world first hand, you learn how much everyone on this planet has in common!
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Probably one of our tour guides in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was one of the most genuine, quirky, and knowledgeable guides I’ve ever met. He wore a kilt and drove a van shaped like a cow!
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: Baby wipes! I like to have clean hands 🙂 Tied with my iPhone of course!
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: There’s no “cure” for jet lag. I like to have a glass of red wine on red-eye flights to maximize sleep to be rested for arrival. Do your best to avoid naps and if all else fails, grab a cup of coffee!
Best travel advice: Don’t be intimidated by travel. Whether it’s a foreign language, an unfamiliar city, or weird food, you have to take on a sense of adventure. Don’t let the small stuff stress you out. Flight delays or a missed train may seem like a huge deal at the moment but you’ll quickly learn they are part of your story. Chat with strangers, try new foods, make yourself wake up early to watch the sunrise and take lots of photos. The memories are invaluable.
Next travel destination: London
Alyson Long and family from the World Travel Family.
Current city: We no longer have a fixed home, but London and Port Douglas Australia are our main bases.
Age: I’m 49, my husband 39, and the children are 12 and 10.
Total countries visited: Over 50. I’d have to write them all down to count!
What makes you interesting: We’ve been traveling full time with the children for the last three years. This year we took them to Everest, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Greece, London and Romania. It’s all about their education and these days, they tell us where they want to go!
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: We never break the bank. We’re smart with our money and finding great deals, but I always say, don’t scrimp! Spend as much as you need to fully enjoy your trip. We will spend more on expensive admissions, good food or a few drinks. Things we don’t really care about, like accommodation, we save money on.
What is the best part about having travel partners: I’ve got my three best friends with me all the time. It’s great when we meet up with other families for the kids or when I find a kindred spirit to chat to.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: It hasn’t changed me, I’ve always been the same, fascinated by the world and cultures and ready to try anything. I’ve been traveling all my life, but the last three years are just a little more unusual. Travel certainly helps to narrow down what a person really wants out of life.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: I’ve only experienced culture shock as an expat in Australia. As a tourist or traveler we don’t feel it. It’s only when you settle and try to fit in that you notice the deep differences.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Standing at Tengboche Monastery, Nepal, looking at Mount Everest on a cloudless day with my 11 year old son. It was magic. We both felt we could take on anything after nailing that climb. That was just few months ago, but I have many other “favorites.”
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Public bus or train. I like to meet locals and fellow travelers, and public transport throws everyone together for a while. I’m over budget airlines these days though, I miss the days of full-service carriers.
Next travel destination: Not sure right now, possibly London, Africa or USA and Central America.
Sharon Mendelaoui from Dream Travel Magazine.
Current city: Toronto
Total countries visited: I have to count these?
What makes you interesting: I guess I’m a goofy girl at heart. I love life and want to focus on the fun and good in life. Definitely a glass half full girl!
What’s your Travanality: I would say I am a culturist. When I visit a place I like to take it all in. The food, the art, history, music, the people – I just want to try it all!
What are your travel pet peeves: On Airplanes I don’t like people who don’t follow the carry-on restrictions, people who wear perfume (it’s stinky, especially on a plane), people who bring smelly food on the plane, and loud talkers. Travel in general I can’t deal with people who don’t respect the culture or people they meet during their vacations. Sometimes I shake my head at tourists who think they are entitled when they visit another country. They are ignorant to the laws, cultural practices and just have a general disregard for the place they are visiting. Respect!
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: I used to love that feeling on the plane when you take off. Lately I dread airline travel. They have just made it so complicated with luggage restrictions, overbooking flights and all their rules about carry-on luggage. Now I love road trips in the car. Turning up the tunes and just driving and stopping when you see something interesting just because you can. There is less of a strict timeline with road trip travel.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel has changed my life. When I started Dream Travel Magazine, I was just a girl sitting in front of her computer dreaming about all the places I wanted to go. When I took a trip I would share my photos and do some writing and my friends would read it. But then things started to change. I was asked to go on my first press trip and I had a moment on a tree-top trekking experience where I couldn’t complete the activity. I was very overweight and it was just too strenuous. It was a humbling, humiliating and invigorating experience all at once. I realized as I was being repelled down a tree that this was what I was meant to be doing. I had a unique story about getting rescued out of a tree! On one side I was devastated but on the other I was never happier than in that very moment!
In the month’s after this trip I realized I didn’t want to be restricted by my weight again. I dedicated myself to building Dream Travel Magazine into a site that inspired women to get out there and travel and I started a more clean and healthy lifestyle. I find ways to travel all the time. Travel is not just big vacations! It’s getting on the subway and walking around in Downtown Toronto, or getting in a car with a bunch of girlfriends and driving to a dot on a map for a day. For me Travel is discovering cultures, art, food, music well it’s all around us.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: That would have to be staying at the Tent Hostel in Munich when I did my Backpacking through Europe university trip. It was a huge circus tent in the middle of nowhere and we were all given a foam pad and a blanket and just told to find a spot under the tent. I remember the hard floor, the line up the shower and hearing people screech in different languages while in line. Then when it was finally my turn – the water was ice cold but that is not what people were screeching about, there were frogs in the shower! The amazing thing about it was they had a campfire at night just outside the tent and I remember all these people from all over the world that spoke different languages suddenly start to sing beatles songs around the campfire. Music was one language and I never felt more connected to a group of people I couldn’t communicate with than in that moment.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Australia. It has been on my dream list since I was in my 20s I’ve wanted to go on school exchange programs and I’m always dreaming up ways to get there. It’s only a matter of time before I make this trip happen.
Next travel destination: Currently I’m planning a trip to Croatia. Also always driving around the province of Ontario and have some plans to head out to Quebec before year’s end too.
Elaine Masters from Trip Wellness.
Current city: San Diego, California
Total countries visited: 20+
What makes you interesting: I’d like to think it’s my life experience and my endless curiosity. I’ve had several careers: Graphic designer, Radio Drama Producer, Actress, podcast host, Author, Yoga teacher and have always written, privately and publicly. I’ve called 13 cities my home along the U.S. west coast, from SE Alaska to San Diego, California!
What brands do you love: I’m not really brand oriented but experience aligned.
What’s your Travanality: Imaginavo matches the best.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Good, local food or drinks and a decent night’s sleep.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Extra underwear, shirt, socks and all my tech & chargers for easy access, camera, any meds or herbs that I don’t want to travel without, makeup minimals, hand oil, my travel pillow and a big shawl as blanket or accessory.
Describe your unique or funniest travel experience: Funniest experience was the time we flew out to Tenakee Hot Springs on the last weekend flight with only a room reserved on the remote island, Pier Hotel. All the restaurants and stores were closed for the holiday weekend. We had no food supplies and the airplane wasn’t returning for three days! I was bereft and left my boyfriend to go soak during the ladies bath house hours. Two girls, who I had only met in passing back in Juneau, were bemoaning that their friends wouldn’t be coming for the weekend and they didn’t know what to do with all the food. Couldn’t help but speak up about our predicament and we all spent the next few days at their beautiful cabin with music, parties and bonfires on the beach. A serendipitous turn around!
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: I’m endlessly curious about the world and people. As I’ve traveled whenever possible throughout my life, I’ve learned to drop my long self-conscious, shy ways and connect with others simply as I am. This has led to some wonderful connections and experiences. I’m a visual person as well and constantly trying to find interesting details to study and photograph.
Next travel destination: I’m passionate about our underwater world, diving and the health of the oceans. I’m going diving around Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines with my underwater photographer boyfriend.
Johnny Ward from One Step 4Ward.
Current city: Bangkok, Thailand
Total countries visited: 194
What makes you interesting: I’m about to become the youngest person ever to officially visit every country in the world.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: I live my life in foreign countries and I’m constantly on the move, so this is normal for me! We always find a way, usually with me making a fool of myself and then some basic hand gestures.
What motivates you to travel: The freedom to live my life when, where and how I want. It makes me feel like I’m not just ‘existing.’
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: I love trains. You can cover huge distances, but you are not trapped in a seat like a bus or plane. I took the TransSiberian train once and since then I’ve been hooked! Oh, and interrailing throughout Europe? Amazing!
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: North Pole, South Pole or Everest!
What is your most favorite travel memory: I’ve been traveling full time for nearly 10 years so it’s a tough one! Maybe celebrating my 100th country in a water bungalow in the Maldives. That was amazing.
Best travel advice: There’s never a perfect time, you’ll never have enough money and you’ll always be better prepared in the future – ignore it all, go now.
Next travel destination: Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia or Yemen – visas depending!
Annika from The Midnight Blue Elephant.
Current city: Hamburg, Germany
Total countries visited: I don’t count countries.
What makes you interesting: Who said I was interesting? You would have to ask my lovely friends and family who like to hang out with me, but apparently I am funny for a German.
What’s your Travanality: Equal parts Epicurean, Purist, Soulager and Urbanite.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: A tarantula leg in Cambodia. I only ate it because the ‘princess’ of our group wanted to try it and I didn’t want to be left out.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Food and diving excursions.
What are your travel rituals: I used to eat McDonald’s before every flight from New York to Germany when I lived there. Luckily there is no McDonald’s at my current airport so I quit that ritual. Now I’d say always trying to get to the airport super early but managing to run late, aisle seat, face spritz and a really nice hotel for my first night in a new destination.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Probably Lapland. I couldn’t believe there was actual reindeer running around in front of me and there could be so much snow in one place.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Following the travels of Margaret Mead in the South Pacific.
Next travel destination: Sri Lanka!
Stefan and Sebastien from Nomadic Boys.
Current city: Stefan is in London and Sebastien is in Lyon.
Age: Stefan is 33 and Sebastien is 34.
Total countries visited: Stefan has visited 66 and Seb has visited 47.
What makes you interesting: We are a gay couple and have been traveling the world together since 2014 after leaving our lives in London. We created our blog as a platform to record our romantic adventures, write about the different gay scenes and of course, our culinary discoveries. For every place we visit, we like to make local gay friends to experience the culture and gay scene from their perspective. We also try wherever possible to seek out and support local LGBT businesses, which is particularly important in countries with anti-gay laws in place. As a result, over the past two years, our blog gained a great deal of popularity, particularly in the gay community. We started to collaborate with hotel brands, tourism boards and speak at conferences to promote gay travel. Nomadic Boys has now evolved to become our full time job More than that, it has become our life: our baby!
What’s your favorite scenic destination: Our favourite scenic destination during our travels was Mongolia and Nepal. The Gobi Desert in Mongolia was truly remarkable. It was like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Trekking at altitudes over 5,000 metres (16,404 feet) in the Himalayas in Nepal is an experience that will test you to your limits and those views will just blow your mind. Another one has to be learning to swim like mermaids in Boracay in the Philippines.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: China. It’s a beautiful printed picture of the Great Wall in the background. This was also one of the most difficult passports we’ve ever had to get. The Chinese Government makes it hard for foreigners to visit, requiring evidence of a round trip (hard when you’re on a one way adventure, so you’re forced to make use of “fake” or refundable flight bookings) and wants you to produce a document showing what you’re doing every day and where you’re staying. A nightmare when you’re there for a few months, but definitely worth the hard work.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: We got into an excellent habit of working out almost every morning either by going for a run or doing a circuit of body weights. It’s the best way to start the day and allows you to keep in shape whilst on the road. It also justifies our excessive eating habits!
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: That moment we first came out of the train station in Delhi. Our first moment in the streets of India was a culture shock and huge assault to every sense. Our India trip was in November 2014 and like most travellers we had a strong love/hate relationship with the country. India will blow your mind with some of the best food and stunning temples, palaces you’ll ever encounter, but the extreme poverty will also affect you.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: There’s always a solution to every problem. Nothing is impossible. Also we’ve learnt more about each other and our different temperaments, which has made our relationship stronger and brought us closer together.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Traveling alone definitely has its advantages, least of all because of the sheer number of friends you will make along the way. We’ve done a lot of solo traveling before we met in 2009. Loneliness can hit when traveling alone and having that special someone to share those magical moments makes it more romantic and certainly more memorable.
Next travel destination: Latin America starting with Argentina in September and then leading our very own gay cruise to the Galapagos Islands!
Roel and Eugénie from Take Us Anywhere.
Current city: Groningen, Netherlands. This is where we have been living for the past 30 years.
Age: Eugénie just turned 47 and Roel is 50.
Total countries visited: About 76.
What makes you interesting: It’s not something we’ve ever given any thought to. We’re rather unpretentious people, so others should be the judge of that. What we hear from other people is that they’re amazed by how many countries we’ve visited despite having full time jobs. We try different styles of travel (we even went on a cruise) and are not solely sticking to the beaten path but always mix in some surprising, less visited places. We just started our own blog Take Us Anywhere in January to share our travel stories and pictures which many seem to enjoy.
What brands do you love: We choose what appeals to us, and what fits our needs and tastes which change over the years. The best purchases in the past year have been our Sony A7 camera, GoPro 4 silver and Samsung S6, all giving a boost to documenting our trips.
What’s your Travanality: The culturist probably describes us both most, but with many of the other Travanality types mixed in to certain degrees. We like our trips to be about seeing the incredible things human hands have created over many centuries, but also enjoy being amazed by wonders of nature, relax at tropical beaches, street art or visit a local sports venue. Roel definitely is somewhat of a victor and maverick too, much to the dismay of Eugénie sometimes.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed:
Eugénie: prescription sunglasses because without them I would not be able to see Roel and I would be squinting all the time because of the sun (we’re talking about a sunny island, right?).
Roel: sun block because I burn easily (I’m on the same sunny island as Eugénie, right?).
What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled: Furthest north would be Iceland, on a short stopover on the way to New York. We’re not really into colder climates. Furthest south is Santiago de Chile. Strangely enough in over 20 years of traveling together we only crossed the equator two times, in 2013 and last year. Furthest east is Japan. Southeast Asia is our favorite part of the world. Furthest west is Oahu, Hawaii. Furthest away from it all is Easter Island.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: To always have a like-minded person with you to share travel experiences and to be able to lean on each other when things aren’t going as planned (who takes care of you when you get sick, for example). This only gets better when this travel partner is a significant other. Being on the road you have the opportunity to grow even closer. We can’t imagine a life traveling without each other. On a more practical note, things get cheaper when you travel together.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: First and foremost we travel because our world is such an amazing and diverse place. We love to experience countries as a whole – cities, nature, people, food culture, music et cetera – and try to immerse ourselves as much as possible. For us this means traveling by public transport if we can (nothing beats the microcosmos of an Indian train), eating street food at road side diners, walking through local villages, staying at local guesthouses and watching people going about their daily lives.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: We’re not easily shocked. During our travels we’ve seen a lot of poverty and seen things that through western eyes may seem atrocious. We always travel with an open mind and try to see it through local eyes. What often surprises us is how much happier people in poorer countries often seem to be compared to our western world where consumerism is king. We’ve experienced most of what many people consider shocking: Filthy pit toilets, people spitting food on the floor in a train, lewd grabbing hands, livestock being butchered at markets, open air cremations, beggars covered in rags, following a blood trail to find treatment at a flyblown hospital and obscenely huge meals in the U.S., to name just a few. Our most absurd memory was the hotels in Tibet refusing to wash our socks and underwear.
Next travel destination: Berlin in July, Edinburgh in September and 4.5 weeks to South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho in October-November.
Emily Luxton from Emily Luxton Travels.
Current city: Weymouth, UK. I’m in between trips at the moment so I am taking a rare opportunity to visit family in my lovely seaside hometown of Weymouth!
Total countries visited: 22
What makes you interesting: I think being a full time travel blogger makes me pretty interesting! As a traveler, my passion and enthusiasm make me a fun and interesting person to be around. I’m also a cake enthusiast, have a photography degree, and have a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of Harry Potter trivia.
What brands do you love: I love Hotels.com because it has a great loyalty program that’s saved me a ton of money over the years!
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Colombia because it’s the most interesting and incredible country I’ve been to, really. It was also the first stop on my first backpacking trip, so it’s kind of the place where I fell in love with travel.
If you’re asking about the actual stamps in terms of design, the coolest one I have is an unofficial stamp from the floating islands on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. It has a map of the lake printed in the centre, and it’s just a cool stamp because it has nothing to do with border crossings!
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling:Actually, travel! In my early days of travel I used to take the cheapest journey possible, which was usually a horrible overnight bus ride. These days, I’ll always pay extra for a shorter or more comfortable journey if I can!
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: In Cartagena, I took a bath in a mud volcano. Essentially, it was a big hill made of mud and the inside was a sort of bath of wet clay. It was very bizarre! The mud was so thick you can’t sink in it, which meant that I also couldn’t control my body at all. Trying to get into an upright position from lying on my back was a particularly messy, slimy challenge. It’s definitely one of the unique things I’ve ever done!
What motivates you to travel: I just find that the thrill of doing new and especially scary activities is a drug and I can’t seem to go back to the “real world” anymore. What’s new and different seems so much more fascinating to me than the familiar. I love exploring the world, and trying to understand and get to know it better through it’s different people, cultures and food.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has changed me in more ways than I even realize. I used to be a shy, dependent person who was afraid of everything and who never did anything on her own. Travel has made me stronger, more confident, and generally more aware of myself and what I want. A few weeks ago, I went by myself to do a bungee jump in India. Just last year, there’s no way I’d have been able to do the jump, let alone without a friend there to hold my hand, but I did it last month and I was so proud of myself. Travel has given me such a huge gift, in that it’s allowed me to become the very best version of myself.
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: Drink lots of water and try to eat very healthily for the days around the flight. Staying hydrated really helps!
Next travel destination: Guatemala and Belize!
Megan Singleton from Blogger at Large.
Current city: At home in Auckland where I divide my time between our little cottage on Waiheke Island and our home in east Auckland.
Total countries visited: I’ve just done a Google search of all the world’s countries so I could count them: 38 (out of 197!)
What makes you interesting: I’m the funniest person I know (although my sister likes to claim that title), but what she can’t do is play the spoons like I can.
What brands do you love: I’ve been an Apple girl since the Mac Classic. I wouldn’t say I’m an early adopter, preferring the price to come down and the bugs ironed out and I’m wishing my iPhone 6 was smaller. I also love my home airline Air NZ and my new shoes from a New Zealand startup called All Birds.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: It always hurts to break the bank, but when it happens it tends to be an experience involving food and/or alcohol. The latest one was a frightfully expensive high tea at the Goring Hotel in London involving both vices.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: I’m often returning home with ridiculously impractical items, like the glass lantern from Istanbul and another one from Mexico. But leaving home, probably an umbrella. Why??! Just jump between rain drops.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: That the way I grew up and the worldview I have, consciously and unconsciously, is not the only way. Or even the best way, or the right way. The more I meet people when I travel, the more my own horizons are expanded and I like to think, more tolerance and understanding has made me into the person I am today.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: A family holiday to Sydney when I was 12. First time on a plane and I’ll never forget the feeling of the G-forces when we took off.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I’d choose Petra in Jordan. I’m always astounded by man-made architectural feats and this has been on my Bucket List ever since I heard about it.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: My husband volunteered Chicago: a little bit sophisticated and lots of fun. I like that.
Next travel destination: Houston and New Orleans to attend IPW then maybe a cruise in the Caribbean – if I can work out the timings.
Twippers of the Week: Toccara & Sam from Forget Someday.
Current City: We just spent a month in England housesitting and we’re now heading to Spain and Portugal for a few weeks of fun in the sun!
Age: We’re both 34.
Total countries visited (26): Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cambodia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, North America, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. Drove through: Luxembourg, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
What makes you interesting: First, my name: Toccara. There aren’t too many of us out there! I was named after an Avon perfume that was only made available for a year or two in the 80s. It’s didn’t smell so great, but the name is lovely! Second, we’ve actually known each other since pre-school (3 years old). I had a little crush on Sam in pre-school, but come elementary school we went to different schools, only to be reunited again in middle school. We’ve always been friends, but lived in other places, and dated other people, until life kept bringing us back together again! We started dating in our mid-twenties and after a short courtship and even shorter engagement; we were married on New Year’s Eve 2010.
What brands do you love: What we can say, we’re suckers for awesome camera gear! We love our GoPro, Nikon DSLR and lenses, and we’re hoping to get a drone here in the near future. We’re not honestly big on name brands, but rather what works for us and our budget!
Describe the last time you tried something new: With nonstop travel, I feel like we try something new every day! We’re in a new place, seeing new things, trying new foods. We really enjoy trying local cuisine as we travel to really get a taste for the culture and traditional eats!
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Two heads are better than one; we plan and figure stuff out together. We keep each other balanced. If one of us gets stressed out over something that isn’t going according to plan or we’re just having one of those rare bad days, the other is there to reassure that everything will be OK. Plus, it’s pretty awesome spending 24/7 with your best friend!
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I’ve never really been materialistic, but traveling full-time has taught me that I can be a minimalist!
Is there anywhere you will not travel to: There are countries we have no desire to visit – mostly those experiencing political unrest or war-torn. We want to be vigilant and travel to places where we feel safe. Though violence sadly can happen anywhere, we prefer to not purposely put ourselves in dangerous situations if we can avoid it. We also prefer to visit small towns and villages and only visit large cities on occasion.
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: Whenever visiting a new place, we really do our best to learn a few key phrases. We occasionally have a pocket-sized language book, and when all else fails our Google Translate App usually saves the day!
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: Even though we love sampling the local cuisine in a new place, we’re not super adventurous when it comes to trying bizarre foods. For example, we did NOT sample fermented shark while in Iceland and avoided eating bugs on a stick in Thailand. Though not necessarily ‘interesting’, we were recently in Ireland in a seaside town famous for its mussels. Neither of us had ever tried mussels, because to be honest we had never had the desire to, but the local tavern owner insisted we try them. Much to our surprise, we loved them! So, while we’re not keen on sampling outrageous food for the sake of adventure, we will try new foods in new places that may help us feel connected with the locals and their traditional eats.
Next travel destination: As mentioned, we’re going to Spain and Portugal for a few weeks, then to Sweden for a Travel Bloggers conference.
Jeremy Albelda from The World or Bust.
Current city: Bangkok, Thailand
Total countries visited: 46
What makes you interesting: I am completely location independent, i.e., happily homeless! I left the states in 2014 and have been slow traveling ever since running my travel blog, The World or Bust, and my Internet marketing business. I do a lot of motorcycle road trips and have done two large week long trips this past year to the mountainous northwest corner of Thailand, and a road trip in Mexico across some of the central states.
What brands do you love: I’m a big fan of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. I think they have done a great job of attracting millennials like myself with smaller city-friendly, hip bikes. Next time I hang up my hat for an extended period of time, I’m going to buy a new one. For clothing, my favorite brand is Penguin. I love their retro but modern-fit shirts.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: I meet lots of interesting people all the time. Being open and giving people the time of day lets you meet lots of people you never would normally come in contact with. I think everyone is unique and interesting in their own right, it’s when you take the time to talk to people that you can see that. I would have to say the most interesting person I’ve ever gotten to interview is Dwight Worker, who escaped prison in Mexico…dressed as a woman!
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: A few weeks ago I was in Bangkok and there was a lady selling barbecue scorpions, so, I had to try!
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: Protein powder.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: One of the things I get anxiety about most when I travel is not being in control, i.e., flying. So, when I hit the road, my favorite mode of transportation is definitely a motorcycle.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Breaking barriers.
Next travel destination: Manila, The Philippines.
Colleen Lanin from The Travel Mama.
Current city: Scottsdale, Arizona
Total countries visited: 30
What makes you interesting: I do a great impersonation of Stitch, from Disney’s “Lilo & Stitch.”
What brands do you love: Estancia chardonnay. Coca-Cola Life (it comes in green cans and is made with Stevia and cane sugar instead of corn syrup). I’m aSephora junkie. As a runner and hiker who lives in the hottest state in the U.S., I don’t know how I’d survive without my CamelBak water backpack.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: I don’t know what the passport stamp looks like, but I am so happy that I visited Finland because three of my grandparents were born in that country. It felt like going home, in a strange way, to see familiar Finnish names on buildings and to taste the sweet cardamom-flavored breads like my mom bakes. Finnish Americans don’t have the same sense of community in the U.S. as other groups of people do, and it was so exciting to see that I do belong to a history and heritage beyond America.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: One funny experience was the time that a friend and I took an overnight bus from London to Liverpool (never, ever do this, by the way). We arrived many hours before anything was open in the morning so to keep warm, we hung out inside a telephone booth (which tells you how long ago this was). Soon enough we realized two homeless people were having ahem relations in the booth across from us. Unfortunately, it’s something I’ll never forget!
Other unique travel experiences: Getting invited for a tour of the Oval Office at the White House, leading a pack of sled dogs through a wintry Québécois forest, and falling asleep to the haunting call of loons while camping in the remote wilderness in Northern Minnesota.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: I wish I could say Paris – sexy, interesting, confident and classy. I’m probably more like New York – loud, energetic and always very, very busy.
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: Get out in the sun!
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: Travel has made me more curious and understanding about different people, foods, cultures and religion. Pretty much everything!
Next travel destination: I’m headed to the Twin Cities in Minnesota to visit family and attend TBEX (the Travel Bloggers Exchange conference). Then I’m headed to New Orleans for the first time to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary with my husband. We’re also planning a big family trip to Oregon this summer.
Frank and Lissette from The Travels of BBQboy and Spanky.
Current city: Rovinj, Croatia
Total countries visited: 45
What makes you interesting: We don’t just travel full-time, we live in different places for extended periods of time. Earlier this year, for example, we were in South Africa for three months where we hiked Table Mountain, paraglided over Cape Town, and bungeed from the highest bridge jump in the world, Bloukrans Bridge. We met the friendliest people there and fell in love with the place. The opportunity to be somewhere for a longer period of time gives us insight on places that we would never have as tourists on a two week vacation. We’ve spent extended periods of time in Budapest, Prague, as well as in Brasov (Romania) and have become huge fans of Eastern Europe which I think is an area often misunderstood. We’re now in Croatia for three months, another of our favorite places. One of the things we started doing after our first year of travel was to join gyms everywhere we go. The idea was to get back in shape but it’s ended up being a great way to meet people and get to really know a place. It fits in perfectly with the way we travel.
What’s your Travanality? Frank is somewhere between a Maverick and a Purist: nature is what gives him the most peace and he feels happy hiking and being outdoors. Lissette is both an Urbanite and Soulager: she loves the vibe of a city (she’s originally from New York) but she’s also into yoga, meditation and is much more insightful on matters of the soul than Frank is. We’re also both Epicurean – we love good food and wine and believe both are a huge part of experiencing a different culture.
Describe your unique or funniest travel experience: There’s been a few. We hiked the rim of the crater of Lake Maninjau (in Sumatra) to arrive in a small village where some kind of party was going on. There were children with pellet guns and they started shooting at us, thinking it was damn funny. We got out of there pretty fast. Another time we took a bus from Santo Domingo to Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic and we got dropped off on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in the dark. Youths in motorcycles came up to us and I thought we were in trouble. No, they were just offering a ride across the mountains to our final destination. Another time we met a drunk German (a police officer from Stuttgart) on a train in Thailand who insisted on drinking with us while pulling out and displaying every souvenir he had collected from his travels through China and Vietnam. We also drank with ladyboys in Thailand and made friends with a pack of soldiers in Colombia. We seem to meet really interesting and/or crazy people everywhere we go.
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: We’re adventurous, fun and enjoy talking to people. In the end those are the ingredients that lead to interesting encounters.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: The biggest thing is having someone to share experiences with. We’re also different and because of that both of us are exposed to things we probably wouldn’t do traveling on our own like going on yoga retreats and taken cooking lessons (these are things Lissette likes). On the other hand, we’ve hiked and had more adventurous-type experiences because that’s what turns Frank craves.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Frank has had a few experiences with culture shock in his life. When he was 9 he moved from rural Quebec to Lusaka, Zambia where he lived a few years. He was one of the few Caucasian children in the class and he barely spoke English. That was a big culture shock. He went to Morocco in his teens and was shocked by the aggressive beggars, some with leprosy, others with bulging white eyes (some kind of disease). He was afraid to leave the hotel. It was like being in a bad zombie movie. As an adult, he experienced culture shock in Sumatra where people weren’t used to seeing Caucasian foreigners. Everyone wanted to take a photo or talk with him. He felt like it was very invasive. All cases of culture shock but each very different.
Best travel advice: Keep your mind open and allow yourself time. We love our way of travel (what people refer to as “slow travel”) because we integrate ourselves into our destinations. We’ll lived in the suburbs of Prague, in the middle of Romania, and in small-town Thailand. All very foreign places where very little English was spoken yet we ended up making each home for a few months. Each place holds memories we’ll never forget. So don’t rush a place. The other thing about slow travel is that it’s less expensive and sustainable. We’ve been traveling full-time now for two years and are saving money at the same time, it’s something I occasionally write about on the blog. We love the way we travel.
Next travel destination: We want to explore Spain, Portugal and Morocco after our three months in Croatia, followed by Japan in November. We’ve never been to Japan and look forward to it. That will be followed by some more travels in Asia (most likely Malaysia) and then our return to Africa in February where we hope to see Lesotho, Mozambique and Zambia.
Ashley from Hither and Thither.
Current city: Davis, California
Total countries visited: Haven’t been counting. Maybe around 15?
What makes you interesting: Hopefully lots of things, but probably the fact that I’m interested. I can find something to appreciate, something to learn, something of interest in everything. I sometimes attribute to practice: I spent a lot of years in school, on a path toward academia, before changing courses to publishing. Even though I do something very different, I still use that training as a researcher in all aspects of life. Today, I write a lifestyle blog called Hither & Thither and I really enjoy that this allows me to learn about, and write about, so many things.
What’s your Travanality: Culturist with a touch of Epicurean.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I hope and like to think that travel has helped me to be more interested—again, with practice. I like to think it makes me more open and tolerant. When you travel you see how many people live differently and yet just as well, just as happily (if not sometimes better, sometimes more). I also think travel can help one to know his or herself: to appreciate what’s most essential to them whether that would be the company of loved ones or a good book, and what’s unnecessary like a hair dryer that never gets unpacked or the tether to one’s inbox that works just fine when cut. Travel is such a gift.
Describe your unique or funniest travel experience: I always think of this time a confused old man wandered into the wrong room and tried to fall asleep on top of the bed that my husband (then-boyfriend) and I were in, in St. Malo. A more re-creatable experience might be renting a boat in Sardinia and pulling up into the most azure blue coves one can imagine.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: I have a little pair of gold “button” earrings from Dubrovnik, Croatia that I’ve worn virtually every day for the eight years since our trip. That’s probably the most use any single thing has ever gotten. The best thing is almost certainly a food or experience: first massage in Thailand on our honeymoon, so-fresh-it-was-still-warm ricotta in Italy, market tour in Mexico City, and the frothy stein at a beer garden in Germany.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: I’m not even sure where to begin. I can’t imagine taking any sort of major trip without my partner and husband, Aron. This may sound silly, but I almost feel like I have to do it again if he’s not there, just so we can really share it.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: By foot. I used to live in New York and I really miss all the walking. For me, it’s the best way to see and learn a place.
Next travel destination: We’re going on a weeklong road trip up the coast of California in May and a two-week visit to Scandinavia in June.
Matthew Kepnes from Nomadic Matt.
Current city: I’m writing this in Washington DC, but I’ll be moving to Austin.
Total countries visited: Travel is not about quantity, it’s about quality. In my 10 years backpacking the world, I’ve only been to about 80 or so countries. There are many people who have been to a lot more in a shorter amount of a time. Traveling slowly is a much better way to learn about the places you visit. I’ve lived in a few countries since I have been gone. I’ve spent extended time in different regions of the world. Anyone can visit a lot of countries but not everyone can actually see and learn about a lot of countries.
What makes you interesting: I think being a nomad is pretty cool. I have created a life that is location-independent and inspires, and teaches, others to achieve their travel dreams!
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to travel cheaper, turn your dream trip into a reality, save money or travel the world, that’s what my site does! Every month, over 1 million people visit this website to get inspiration and advice on planning their trip. Nomadic Matt will give you tested tips, advice, and suggestions so you can see more for less and make your dream trip a reality. It’s time to stop dreaming of travel, take that once in a lifetime trip, and start traveling cheaper, better and smarter.
What brands do you love:
- Travel insurance – I still am a loyal user of World Nomads. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2006, and I’ll continue to use them until I stop traveling.
- Tour company – My favorite company is Intrepid Travel. They offer good small group tours that use expert guides and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with Interpid Travel. They are my favorite multiday tour operator.
- Backpacks – When I went to Africa, South African Airlines lost my REI Mars backpack. It was my baby. After six years on the road with me, it functioned as good as the day I took it home from the store. I still miss that bag.
- Guidebooks — Everyone has their own guidebook preference; Lonely Planet is mine.
- Computer — I use a Macbook Pro. I find it easy to use, and it never breaks down. I love my Mac. Once you go Mac, you never go back.
- Travel apps — I don’t use many travel apps. I’ve never been a huge fan of them. Why would you be checking apps while on the road? But a few do come in handy: Google Maps (the handiest app of all), Skype and Currency cover my basic needs.
- Hotel booking sites — I like to use Hotwire, Hotels.com, Expedia, and Booking.com.
- Hostel booking sites — The best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface and availability is Hostelworld. I use them for all of my bookings!
- Airline booking sites — But when I am looking beyond AA, I use the following sites: Momondo, Skyscanner, Vayama, and ITA Matrix.
- Airline alliance – While I travel hack the world and use points to fly just about anywhere I can, when I am paying for my flights or have the miles, I am a Oneworld loyalist. While the Star Alliance has more airlines to choose from, American Airlines (the U.S. partner) is far better than United. I’m also a huge fan of Cathay Pacific and British Airways.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: Growing up in Boston, I was never a big traveler. I didn’t take my first trip overseas until I was 23. Outside a cruise and college trip to Montreal, I had no travel experience. After college, I got a job and the standard American two weeks a year vacation. I wanted to use that time to travel. After all, it was vacation time, right?
So for my first trip overseas, I went on a tour to Costa Rica. That trip changed my life. Costa Rica opened me up to the possibilities of the world. I was just a sheltered middle-class suburban kid before that trip. In Costa Rica, I experienced other cultures, got lost in a jungle, saw real poverty, conservation projects in action, and met people from around the world. From that moment on, I was hooked on travel.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: I don’t have just one. I love them all! I have filled up 2 passports fully since I started traveling!
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: Hand sanitizer. I hate germs!
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Wandering around the Fez medina, I could feel the stares. “Where are you going? Want to go to the tanneries? I’ll take you. No money. Don’t worry!” the medina’s faux guides said as they chased me down the street.
“No, I’m fine,” I’d reply, trying to dodge them at every turn. Turning down side streets, stopping to look at a map, or admiring a view caused them and any nearby vendor to pounce and badger me, inviting me into stores, restaurants and attractions.
There were moments when I would turn down streets only to have my spidey sense tell me to turn back. A few guys tried to corner me before I managed to slip into a store. Heck, even a little kid tried to pick my pocket. While other cities were not as intense as Fez, my visit to Morocco required a thick skin and a watchful eye.
After two weeks traversing the country, which is amazing (see this post, where I fawn all over it!), I could see why people say Morocco demands extra diligence. Touts, scammers and harassers abound and, while it wasn’t bad when I was with my group, it was intense when I was alone.
What does “Travel” mean to you: That’s easy: it means freedom! I remember growing up and always desiring to be “the captain of my ship.” You know, working because you like what you do, not because you need a paycheck, being able to jet off to some place you want when you want, having ultimate flexibility, time and freedom for anything. But then you graduate college with debt, you start working, the responsibilities pile on, you start planning out life, there are societal expectations put on you, and before you know it, you’re stuck. You’re part of that vicious rat race, and it seems like time is never your own.
Then one day you just think to yourself, “How did things get this way? I want out of this box.”
So I quit my job and went traveling. Though the leap was the hardest part, you realize everything else is easy, and it’s not traveling that draws you in, it’s the freedom and flexibility. It’s about waking up today and saying, “I’m going to Ukraine tomorrow.” Or you’re going to play golf. Or maybe take guitar lessons. Or start that bakery you always wanted to. Or move to Thailand to teach yoga.
I think that feeling is what causes so many people to turn to travel. Yes, it’s great to see the world, but most travelers I talk to are really drawn to the sense of freedom and adventure, and the endless possibility. While you’re traveling, the days seem to hold endless potential and opportunity. It’s also why I think long term travelers have a hard time adjusting back into “the real world.” After you’ve been out of the box, it’s hard to go back in.
As much as I travel to explore new places and learn about people, I live my life because when I wake up every day I know I can open the door to do anything I want. For now, that’s travel. Exploring my world. Maybe a few years from now it’ll be different.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Antarctica in a heartbeat!
Next travel destination: I’ll be settling into Austin for the time being. This summer I’ll spend a while in Europe (I can’t wait to get back to Sweden!) and I don’t plan far enough in advance to think past that. But then again, who knows! I may just hop on a flight to Argentina next week.
Patti Morrow from Luggage and Lipstick.
Current city: Greenville, South Carolina
Total countries visited: 50+ countries/islands
What makes you interesting: I was named by TripAdvisor as one of the “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.” My motto is “Above all, life should be fun” and I don’t take myself too seriously. I think the fact that I’m more adventurous than most women my age is intriguing to a lot of people and has resulted in most of my followers on social media. I travel approximately 50 percent of the time and except for Mexico, which I visit a couple of times a year, I seldom return to the same country twice. It’s a big world out there and there are just too many destinations still on my bucket list. I love to tell travel tales to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and experience all the exhilaration life has to offer!
What brands do you love: Nikon DLSR and GoPro cameras, Clarks walking sandals, Heys polycarbonate luggage, Neutrogena Dry Touch sunscreen, SantiNello Prosecco, TripAdvisor, Viator, and Great Escape Publishing.
What’s your Travanality: Maverick! I’m an adrenaline junkie and always looking for the next thing to add to my bucket list. I love airborne activities like skydiving, hang gliding, jet packing, zip lining and parasailing. I’m a certified scuba diver, and enjoy diving reefs and wrecks around the world. Some of my favorite water adventures have been snorkeling with sea creatures like whale sharks, sea lions, manatees, stingrays, nurse sharks, reef sharks, eels, barracuda, and all kinds of fish and marine life, as well as regatta boat racing, and cave tubing. I like dog sledding in the cold snow and I’ve never met a roller coaster I haven’t loved! My bucket list still includes running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, cage diving with Great White Sharks in New Zealand, diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey, and swimming with the pigs in Exuma, Bahamas.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Last year I met Ketut Liyer, the medicine man from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love. He is rumored to be somewhere around 100, but still has such an incredible presence and aura of kindness. His health has rendered him too frail to do readings, but he sat next to me while his son told me about my past, present and future. It was an incredible experience!
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: Roasted, chopped up cockroaches in La Paz, Mexico. It was served as an appetizer with freshly made guacamole and warm nacho chips. The cockroaches added some saltiness and crunch. It really was pretty good especially since you couldn’t discern the insect shape at all. Perhaps it was because it was my birthday and the free-flowing margaritas may or may not have influenced my judgment!
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: That is actually a double whammy for me because I’m also directionally-challenged. I can get lost just about anywhere, regardless of the language. I try as soon as possible to get a detailed, color-coded area map, particularly a city map where I will be doing a lot of walking. The visuals help my left and right brain function in tandem. I also try to learn the key phrases like “please and thank you,” “excuse me,” “I’m sorry, no speak (language),” “find,” “bathroom,” and that all-important, “coffee!” Engaging eye contact, hand gestures, and a genuine smile usually help as well. Speaking in a louder voice is never helpful, in any language.
What are your travel pet peeves: No Internet access at my hotel. I usually have work to do when I get back at night, whether it’s writing, research or social media. I’m not a backpacker nor do I stay in hostels. I love nothing more than a day filled with adventure, but I do want some creature comforts/amenities at night, preferably a small, somewhat quirky boutique hotel, which would also include a relatively soft bed.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: I really like my packing cubes. Since I frequently live out of my suitcase, spending just a night or two at each stop, it helps me to stay organize and find what I need quickly, so I can spend less time in my room and more time on adventures.
Next travel destination: I’m going to the Dominican Republic on Fathom’s Impact Cruise in May. We’ll stay docked for four days and, during that time I’ll be providing community services like teaching English to village children and helping local women who run a cacao farm. I’m really excited! I am so blessed to be living my dream as a travel writer and can’t wait to give something back.
Kate O’Malley and Mark Williams from Vagrants of the World.
Current city: Bucharest, Romania, and about to jump on a cruise to Budapest, Hungary. We have no base so we are somewhere different all the time.
Age: Kate is 44 and Mark is 53.
Total countries visited: We think somewhere in the region of 30+ countries.
What makes you interesting: We are the most boring people we know. The experiences and people we meet on our travels are interesting.
What brands do you love: Apple and Nikon. Our camera gear and tech stuff are pretty vital to us. Mark loves Sanuk shoes. Other than that, we have very little stuff so we don’t get attached to too much.
What’s your Travanality: I think we would be a mix of Culturist, Solager, Urbanite with heavy dashes of Purist and Epicurean. Every place brings something different out in you. That’s the beauty of travel.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: Our little stove top espresso maker. It might seem like a strange thing to travel with but it’s small and light. The quality of coffee varies too much around the world to take any chances with our morning brew.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: We consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to travel as much as we have. By 2050, we will be proud if we can remember the places we have been!
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: We have spent months living in countries where the language is very difficult, even just to learn a few words to get by. Cue in Mark, the incredibly bad mime guy. When mime doesn’t work, his theory is, speaking louder will make one of you bilingual.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: There are so many answers here. Obviously, having someone to share the experiences and memories with and having someone to talk to when you haven’t known the language for months on end. For Kate, it’s having someone to make her coffee each morning.
What was your worst travel experience: We don’t think we have had a “worst” experience. You have good days and you get your bad days when you travel. So far, touch wood, we haven’t had anything we can honestly remember as being all that bad.
Next travel destination: We are in the Balkans for a few weeks, then Belgium, then back to the Balkans, then Cyprus and Venice. We haven’t planned past there.
Christine Amorose from C’est Christine Blog.
Current city: Brooklyn, New York
Total countries visited: 33
What makes you interesting: I’m not afraid to take a risk. I’ve moved to new countries and cities without knowing a soul, traveled solo through many countries, skydived and bungee jumped, and gone canyoning. I think that my love of doing new things, especially when people say that it might be scary, has made for an interesting life so far.
What brands do you love: I gravitate toward brands with a simple aesthetic that focus on doing one or two things really well instead of trying to master everything like Everlane, Cuyana and In & Out Burger. In the travel space, I’m super dedicated to JetBlue.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Machu Picchu in Peru, the Greek islands, the pyramids in Egypt and hopefully all of the islands in the Caribbean!
What motivates you to travel: I love trying new foods and new activities, but honestly, I love taking photos of new places and I’m most inspired when I’m somewhere unfamiliar.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I can’t control everything and that’s okay. Traveling constantly reminds me to focus on what I can control, like my attitude, and let go of worrying about everything else.
What item will you never leave home without: I’ve recently become addicted to traveling with my Bose noise-canceling headphones. They are a total life-saver on long flights.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: No matter where I am, my favorite thing to do is take a long walk at sunrise.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: New York City! I always have a million things going on at once and I’m always looking forward to the next big thing.
Next travel destination: Quebec City!
Peter from Peter Moore.
Current city: London
Total countries visited: 102
What makes you interesting: The stories I have to tell and my diverse taste in music.
What brands do you love: I can’t say if there are any brands that I love unconditionally. I’m rather partial to my Apple stuff without being a disciple. My little Sony RX100 camera is always with me (It’s tiny, takes great photos and has freed me from having to lug around a big DLSR). I must also admit that I will buy any record released by the Analog Africa label the moment it comes out.
What’s your Travanality: I would say I am a bit of each, but seasoned with a healthy dose of not taking myself – or travel – too seriously.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by? I rely on a few badly-pronounced stock phrases, sign language and the patience of locals. I have found that in most places people really do want to help you.
What are your travel pet peeves: That travel has become more about getting the photos for Facebook, etc than the experience itself.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: That’s a tricky one. All my travels have been full of unique and funny experiences. Hanging out with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan was pretty surreal – especially when the leader insisted on posing for the type of photo that would see me locked up in Guantanamo Bay these days. Riding around Italy on my little old Vespa certainly opened up a whole new world to me there. Every day in Africa threw up some bizarre and amusing experience, whether it was getting asked to read a Land Rover manual to kids in the back blocks of Tanzania or watching my mate trying to escape from an African mama who had him pinned on the dance floor saying ‘I don’t want to f**k you, I just want to welcome you to Kenya!’, that’s the real joy of travel. Put yourself out there and who knows what will happen.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is more about the world in general rather than myself, and that is the default setting for humans is ‘Good.’ Despite all the horror stories you see on the news, it has been my experience that the majority of people want to help you rather than hurt you.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: The biggest culture shock, and the one that had the most influence on my travels, was on the first trip I ever did. I’d gone to Vanuatu with my dad to help out on a Mission project. He was a plumber and a Seventh Day Adventist and he was building a shower block for a school there. After it was finished, we were taken to the island of Malekula to meet the Big Nambas tribe. There are two tribes on Malekula – the Big Nambas and the Small Nambas. The men in both tribes get around naked except for a red cloth wrapped around their man parts, while the distinction being that the Big Nambas use a lot more red cloth. It blew my mind that something like this was only a couple of hours flight from my hometown of Sydney and made me realize there was a big, crazy world out there and I wanted to see as much of it as I could.
Next travel destination: I’m a father now so I’m trying to introduce my daughter to the joys of adventurous travel. At the moment she has a preferences for places with pools and buffet breakfasts, despite (or maybe because of) the adventures I’ve taken her on in Iceland and Morocco and to Arctic Sweden to see the Northern Lights. If it was up to me, we’d be wandering along the coast of West Africa somewhere. We’ll probably end up in Spain, Italy or France. Maybe Georgia, if I’m lucky!
Annette White from Bucket List Journey.
Current city: Petaluma, California
Age: Still a young 46.
Total countries visited: 41 and counting!
What makes you interesting: Most people are intrigued by me because my I have a huge bucket list (over 800 items) and I am actively checking off each item on it. I am a person who is constantly trying to step out of my comfort zone and have new experiences. Many years ago I vowed to never let fear make my decisions for me and I have been living up to that commitment ever since.
What’s your travanality: I’m mostly made up of Maverick since I like living for the experience instead of watching from the sidelines. There’s a little bit of Urbanite, Epicurean, Purist and Altruist mixed in too.
Most magical place on earth: The Galápagos Islands is pretty magical. It’s extraordinary being amongst species of animals that only exist in this tiny archipelago of the world. Even more enchanting because it’s a place where the human footprint is kept to a minimum by preserving the wildlife and nature.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: I’ve learned how to relax and roll with the punches. Everything is not going to go right; planes are delayed, events get canceled, you get lost, etc. My biggest lesson is to expect the unexpected and handle it with grace.
What people say when they travel with you: “Can I take a nap?” I tend to be on the go all the time when I travel, not wanting to miss out on anything. Sometimes it’s hard for my companions to keep up!
What is your most favorite travel memory: There are so many, but one that sticks out is visiting an orphanage in Africa where I brought twistable balloons as a gift. By the end of the afternoon all the children were either wearing one on their head or toting one shaped as an animal. It was priceless.
What item will you never leave home without: Absolutely my camera, I feel lost without it.
Next travel destination: I am heading to the Bahamas in a couple of weeks to swim with the pigs in Exuma!
Sankara from Be On The Road.
Current city: Bangalore, India
Total countries visited: I don’t count the number of countries or cities. I live for the moment.
What makes you interesting: I am living my dream of experiencing our beautiful planet, and I have made this my active money-making career.
What brands do you love: I am not particular about brands. Anything that helps me meet my purpose with a bit of oomph makes the cut for me.
Best travel advice: It’s a gorgeous world out there. Snap out of your dream and experience it in reality.
What does “Travel” mean to you: It defines who I am.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: I have learned that I have many hidden talents and I am stronger than I think I am. I found out I was a good teacher when I went on volunteering to schools across the world. I found out that I was tougher than I thought as I could easily overcome all the hardships I faced on my travels (accidents, surgeries, losing passport, being stuck in a war zone), etc.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: Stinky Tofu in Taiwan. I would definitely eat Stinky Tofu again. It is so stinky that people standing half a kilometer away have to close their noses, but if you somehow manage to eat it, you will realize that the taste is nothing like the smell. Rather, it tastes delicious. Something similar is the Durian fruit from Malaysia.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Stay with a local in a local district and try to live like them even if only for a couple of days.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Iceland because I love raw nature, volcanoes, stunning landscapes and insane amounts of remoteness.
Next travel destination: Tajikistan
The Guy Who Flies from Flights and Frustration.
Current city: I’m currently based just outside the city of Kristiansand in the southern part of Norway.
Total countries visited: Not sure exactly, but it’s definitely over 40 when I last counted.
What makes you interesting: Good question. I’m not really sure I’m interesting, but my travels might be. I’m currently travel the world flying most months of the year to six out of seven continents. I have over a million frequent flyer miles ready to redeem with SkyTeam at a time of my choosing. Oh, I also spent nearly a year and a half living and working in Saudi Arabia at the turn of the century.
What brands do you love: I must admit, generally I’m not big on brands. However as a traveller, the brands of Samsonite and Apple stand out. Samsonite because I quickly fell in love with my carry on bag even though it was an emergency purchase (my last one broke whilst I was going through airport security). My new carry on has a lot of storage space, plenty of pouches and built in TSA approved locks. It’s perfect for my needs. As for Apple, who can travel without an iPod or iPad these days? Plus, my Macbook Air is so neat and reliable I don’t think I ever want to have Windows as my personal computer again.
Best travel advice: Try to get a good mix of planning and flexibility. When I go somewhere I like to know where I’m staying and how I’m going to get there. Beyond that, time permitting, I like to explore and see what I’ll find rather than being tied to an itinerary. It’s when you explore “off the leash” that you get a real sense of a the location, native people and their culture.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel has become a way of life for me. I’ve been travelling for work most of my career and can’t imagine working any other way. If I’m not looking forward to my next trip away then I think I’d become bored and unstimulated by my long term surroundings. Travel is an adventure. I’ve covered the world many times over and so many cities that now feel like second homes. I’m lost without travel.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: To be self-sufficient. I’ve always been comfortable in my own company, but now I have it down to a fine art. In fact I find travelling with company a little strange since I feel like I’m responsible for others. This is probably when I become most self-conscious when I travel. I’ve learnt to cope with this on my own, no matter where I may be.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I’ve just tried cooking a food dish I bought in a local Norwegian supermarket in a self-contained apartment. All the instructions are in Norwegian (which I don’t understand) so the outcome could be quite interesting!
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: I’d like to be able to say I’ve visited all seven continents. Visiting Antarctica and seeing the penguins is my biggest travel ambition at the moment. When I do visit Antarctica, it will be my proudest travel moment of my life.
What is your best and worst travel memory: The worst memory is easy. I’ve had numerous bouts of food poisoning including a week of excruciatingly painful stomach cramps after eating in India. The best memory is a sport filled weekend in Melbourne in 2003. Over one long weekend I managed to attend an international rules match (Gaelic football meets Aussie rules) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, then I attend the Melbourne Derby race meeting. This was followed by an evening at the Telstra Dome to watch a rugby union World Cup match between Ireland and Australia. Then to round things off a few days later I attended the Melbourne Cup!
Next travel destination: I’m scheduled to head to Michigan and one of the Carolina’s.
Howard and Jerry from Backroad Planet.
Current city: We are not nomads, but we jump at every travel opportunity, especially road trips, fly-drives, and small ship cruises. Our home is Central Florida.
Age: Howard is 57 and Jerry is 54.
Total countries visited: Our combined country count is 26.
What makes you interesting: We are two very different types of travelers. Howard is an extensive researcher, planner, and itinerary-designer. Jerry is a capricious, spontaneous traveler. He loves to hop in the car and see where the road leads. The good news is that our travel styles complement each other, and we both appreciate the value of our alternate “Travanalities.” What we have in common is a love for scenic routes, historical sites, off-the-beaten path destinations, local flavor, and authentic experiences. Without question, our best travel experiences have been times when the planets aligned, synchronicity stepped in, and unexpected events left us forever changed. Fortunately, our readers are much like us, and we are most grateful that they have found us interesting.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Howard’s favorite passport stamp is Chile from his very first international trip in 1970 when he was eleven years old. Jerry’s favorite stamp is the UK because he is entertained by all things British.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: For Jerry, it would be a toothbrush, and for Howard it would be a Nike cap.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: We love meeting fun, friendly, people with great stories to tell. We both agree that one of the most interesting people we have met on our travels was a lady named Kathy who we met on the first night of a river cruise. It was after dark and we were enjoying the breeze on the sun deck. Kathy spotted us, walked over, and introduced herself with an off-putting question. Later we learned that she was a breast cancer survivor, a lover of chickens and cats, with a transparent honesty and great sense of humor that kept us entertained for the rest of the cruise.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: We live in rural Central Florida where everyone owns a car or truck. Jerry learned that he was wrong about public urban transportation. It is actually a great convenience, economical and quick! Howard has learned as much as he loves travel, it’s still nice to come home.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: The best part of having a travel partner is having someone with whom to share the journey, especially when things go wrong, like when Howard’s retina detached on the first day of a European river cruise.
What people say when they travel with you: We have no idea, but we hope it’s positive!
Next travel destination: Iceland
Cheryl Howard from Cherylhoward.com.
Current city: Berlin, Germany
Age: 30 something
Total countries visited: 32
What makes you interesting: After living the majority of my life in Toronto, Canada, I quit my job, sold everything I owned, and moved to Berlin, Germany in June 2011. I came alone, without employment, and any knowledge of the German language. During my 18 months in Berlin, I freelanced as a project manager and travel writer, as well as travelled all around the continent. For personal reasons, I moved back home to Canada for two years, where I spent all my free time eating sausage, learning German, and plotting my move back to Berlin. I returned in November 2014 and now work as an Agile Coach for a tech startup, run a popular travel and expat living blog at cherylhoward.com, host monthly expat meetups, and currently working on a book project about refugees in Berlin.
What brands do you love: I’m going to sound like a snob as their products are pretty high-end, but I love Tumi travel gear. I’ve a carry-on suitcase and a laptop bag from them which have lasted me for 5+ years now. While the laptop bag has seen better days, the carry-on still remains my favorite piece of travel gear.
What are the least appealing qualities in a travel companion: A few years back, I spent a weekend in Budapest with a guy I was dating. Budapest is my favorite city in the world (after Berlin), so I was pretty excited to be there with him. The trip turned out to be an absolute disaster. He wanted to sleep in, when I wanted to wake up early and explore. Hanging out at ruin bars was not his thing. He thought I walked too slowly and hated how I stopped to take so many pictures. He pretty much embodies all the things I don’t like in a travel companion. I need someone who wants to wake up early with me, explore as much as possible, hang out at unpretentious places, and is cool enough to let me do things on my own. Weirdly enough, we continued dating for a while, but we made an agreement to never travel together again.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: It’s difficult to answer such a huge question with only a handful of sentences. At the risk of sounding painfully cliché. I’d say that travel has changed me for the better as I’ve become more open minded and appreciative of what I have. It motivated me to make a concerted effort to help others and this is why I’m now working on project to document the stories of refugees in Berlin.
What are your travel rituals: A couple times, I almost missed flights due to my absent mindedness and related tardiness. Last year, I arrived for my flight to Bangkok 5 minutes before they closed the gate. As such, I now absolutely loathe being late and will get to the airport several hours earlier than needed, just so I can get through check-in, security, etc. without feeling any stress. I’ll usually buy a coffee and get some work done to pass time, before my flight’s departure.
Describe the last time you tried something new: I try new things all of the time, but the one that stands out the most for me was paragliding through the Italian Alps. I’m scared of heights, so that moment when we literally ran off the side of a mountain was terrifying. But suddenly, we were flying through the air, in this really picturesque setting. My feelings of fear were soon replaced with ones of joy and exhilaration.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: By far, the most interesting person I’ve ever met while travelling was Jorge Selarón in Rio de Janeiro. He’s an artist who transformed a dilapidated set of stairs into a beautiful work of art. The stairs are decorated with brightly colored tiles sent to him from fans all around the world. Before his death in 2013, he regularly used to change them. I was fortunate enough to meet Selarón in 2010. He asked me where I was from and showed me a tile for Canada and another for Toronto. I also bought one of his paintings, which he personally autographed. I still have this painting today and it sits on a bookshelf in my Berlin apartment.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: My first international trip happened at age 26, when I went to South America to cruise the Galapagos Islands and hike the Inca Trail.
Next travel destination: As I’m currently sorting out a new German work permit and in the process of renewing my Canadian passport, I have no plans to leave Germany over the next few months. That said, I think some weekends away to Hamburg and Munich are in order.
Current city: A two thousand year-old, small fishermen’s town by the Aegean Sea called Foca (Phocaea), Izmir, Turkey.
Total countries visited: 38 countries in 88 different trips. I did not sleep on my bed for 447 nights to be precise.
What makes you interesting: Photography is an important part of my travels. I always have my camera with me – no matter where I am. The world is a beautiful place and I want to see as much of it as possible and share the beauty of it with as many people as I can through my photographs.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Saint Augustine once said “The world is a book, and those who do not tavel read only one page.” One of the gratest lines I have ever heard. I learned not one but many lessons: Appreciate the simple things in your life… Around the world, most people are good… It’s the people you meet who make your travels worthwile… A smile and a wave makes a big difference anywhere in the world. The best part of travelling though, is coming home with great memories you made.
Most magical place on earth: Bagan, Burma (Myanmar). It is truly another world. Strolling through more than two thousand temples, watching the sunset on top of them and finally ballooning over them at sunrise. Words can not describe the experience. It’s an absolutely breathtaking place.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I had three childhood travel dreams. Number one was to see the Northern lights, number two was to visit Machu Picchu in Peru and number three was to see the Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. I was so lucky to see the Northern lights back in 2006 in the Finnish Lapland. I was in Machu Picchu on my birthday back in 2009. I was so close to go to Easter Island back in 2014, but my wife Ozlem gave birth to our beautiful daughter Yaz. So, I wouldn’t say no to a free trip to Easter Island.
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: I’m a good company, very easygoing, I have lots of funny/scary/amazing travel stories to tell: How we got in trouble on the Peruvian-Bolivian border with my wife, why you should wear a sticker in a Burmese airport, how I got the chance to take a photo with Tom Cruise and many more. Oh and I have thousands of travel photos to show you.
Is there anywhere you will not travel to: As long as I have good travel partner, I would go anywhere.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: Prague. I was 25 years old.
Next travel destination: Indoneisa for a nine-day photography tour with a friend of mine. Very excited about it!
Kris and Tom from Travel Past 50.
Current city: We’re currently in Budapest, Hungary.
Age: We’re both in our early sixties.
Total countries visited: 59
What makes you interesting: What makes us interesting? We travel a lot and we read a lot. We know lots of things.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: The most interesting person we’ve met is Dan Buettner. He’s the creator of Blue Zones, the story of the healthiest and happiest places on earth and what makes them that way.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: The best part about having a travel partner is just having an interesting person to talk to who has similar interests.
What is your most favorite travel memory: My favorite travel memory is completing the Camino de Santiago, seeing the Cathedral of Santiago from the opposite hill.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Seeing cheerleaders at a baseball game in Japan.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling:We don’t really do it often, but now and then a nice bed in a nice hotel is worth it. Maybe a massage before bed.
Next travel destination: We’re going on a music tour of the USA; New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville.
Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs.
Current city: Queenstown, New Zealand
Total countries visited: 30 or so?
What makes you interesting: Well, people say what makes me interesting is my unique photography technique that is somewhere between the dream of exploring and a waking sleep.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Antarctica… I got one at Scott Base on the main continent.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: That travel makes me more gentle and present.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: New Zealand!
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: I’m super chill. I don’t take myself too seriously by always joking around. I like exploring all the time with my camera, and often times with wine and chocolate.
What item will you never leave home without: Actually I designed my own camera bag, so I keep that with me all the time, full of goodies.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: If something kinda not-so-awesome happens, just let it go. Let it go immediately otherwise it will suck away much needed energy for present-awesomeness!
Next travel destination: A 5-country tour over 30 days with the whole family! Thailand, India, Oman, Qatar, then Italy!
Lina and David from Divergent Travelers.
Current city: South Range, Wisconsin.
Age: Lina is 32 and David is 31.
Total countries visited: 62 countries.
What makes you interesting: We love adventure and visiting exotic/crazy destinations. We also like to get off the beaten track and really explore.
What’s your Travanality: Lina is a Purist and David is a Maverick.
Most magical place on earth: Lina- Ireland is so magical. There are castles around every turn and the landscapes are a photographers dream. The contrast of colors really does it for me, combine that with the pub culture and adventure of a road trip along the coast and you have an almost perfect destination. David- New Zealand is an outdoorsman’s dream destination. There are endless hikes to take, cool city vibes and more nature and landscapes then your memory card can hold. Both islands offer diverse landscape and it’s a place you can visit for weeks on end and not see all it has to offer.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Papua New Guinea! We are both adventure junkies and one of our favorite things to do on our travels is get off the beaten path into places that haven’t been taken by commercial travel, yet. The tribes and dense jungle are what draw us to Papua New Guinea. It’s one of those places you see in the movies where you land at the international airport that has a grass runway and then you hop into a puddle jumper to be dropped in the middle of the jungle, where you hike to your hut.
What item will you never leave home without: Lina- My Canon Camera. It’s my eyes to the World and one of my favorite parts of travel is being able to share our experiences with other travel lovers. David- GoPro. This little device has allowed us to capture so many different aspects of our trip that we would have missed out on if we didn’t have it. We take it hiking, we take it underwater, we take it on our extreme adventures, like white water rafting on the Nile River or rock climbing. It gives us a whole new way to share our travels.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Both- camera equipment and laptops.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: We both have a worldlier perspective on life and the planet we live on. We’ve realized we are lucky to be able to travel and see the many different faces of the world.
Next travel destination: Either Europe or the Caribbean.
Kathy Marris from 50 Shades of Age.
Current city: Gold Coast, Queensland.
Age: In my 50s.
Total countries visited: I think I have visited just over 20 different countries, some of which are small islands.
What makes you interesting: Maybe you should ask my husband or friends this one! I guess the most interesting thing about me is that I started a lifestyle/travel blog in my 50s and I travel around a lot. Last year my husband and I circumnavigated Australia in a 4WD and caravan, covering over 25,000kms for 7 months.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Turkey was the most interesting travel destination that I have been to.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thanking God you packed: Toothbrush & toothpaste.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: If I’m still alive then, (which is unlikely) I would be proud to say that I have visited most of the European countries including Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa, Middle East, China, Japan, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Is there anywhere you will not travel to: I’m a little hesitant to visit the Middle East but I wouldn’t discount it. Also some parts of South America may not be safe to travel.
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: I am an experienced savvy traveler who likes to get off the beaten track and explore the ‘real’ places instead of the touristy places. Plus I am willing to try most things.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: Don’t take too much luggage and always check your flight details before the day of the flight.
Next travel destination: A cruise from Singapore travelling to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei and Cambodia.
Mike and Anne from HoneyTrek.
Current city: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Age: Anne: 33, Mike 38
Total countries visited: 57
What makes you interesting: We quit our New York City jobs in 2011 to embark on what turned out to be the World’s Longest Honeymoon and we’ve been traveling the world as digital nomads ever since. As we approach our four year anniversary on the road, HoneyTrek is firing on all cylinders, funding our continued exploration of this amazing world, and allowing us to share all our travel hacks and tips with our Trip Coach Courses: one-on-one workshops for affordable, safe, and epic long-term travel.
What brands do you love: SteriPEN water purifier for keeping us from consuming a single plastic water bottle in four years, Southwest Airlines for their incredible frequent flyer program and amazing employees and MovingWorlds.org “experteering” programs that allow more professionals to use their skills to make a difference around the world.
If you wash up on a deserted island with your luggage in hand, what’s the one thing you’re thankful you packed: Our Leatherman multi-tool (it is one thing with a dozen uses. Is that cheating?). To see everything we packed for our 675-day journey around the world visit RTW Packing List.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: Antarctica, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cuba, Micronesia and The Moon…and someplace local where no human foot has yet to step.
What motivates you to travel: The human connection that occurs when you travel slowly, keep an open mind and let new adventures unfold.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: Passing through the village of Achoma, we got pulled over. Not by a cop but a band of dancing elderly Peruvians. A cute old lady comes to our window and says, “Ven aqui. Vamos a bailar!” Essentially, get out and dance. Before you know it, Mike and I had a pint of homebrew in our hand and we are doing the South American Hava Nagila. For some reason they kept telling us to drink faster, just thinking they wanted to get us completely trashed but then we realized there was only one glass for the entire group (germaphobes, try not to think about it) and we were hogging our turn with our cautious sips. Down the hatch it went. Then the ancient shot master comes up to us, he insists on having corn liquor shooters with him. So within the hour we were properly tipsy, rocking out to this strange triangular harp-guitar with our 30 new amigos. Classic. Click to see a photo from this adventure.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: There are many ways to find success and be happy. That definition plays out very differently around the world and it never seems to correlate with how much money you have. Love, health, and a positive outlook seem to be the secret to the good life.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: We love rolling into to local hangouts and sparking up conversations. Like this lively corner store (aka the bar) in Harbour Island, Bahamas last month, we struck up some chatter with a group there, next thing you know we hung out for three hours, laughing, dancing, and hugging it out. They said they, “had never had tourists hang out like that.” We like to break the stereotype of tourist, connect with people and do as the locals do.
Next travel destination: Jordan, Portugal, Georgia, Costa Rica, Greenland, or Antarctica.
Lala Rebelo from Lala Rebelo Travel Blog.
Current city: Panama City
Total countries visited: 50
What makes you interesting: My capacity to bring to my readers only the positive side of the trips. I am usually told that my happiness and optimism are contagious to other people, and they feel the energy I put into every post and picture.
Describe the last time you tried something new: The last one I most remember is the Cambodian BBQ. I ate a dish that included more than ten kinds of meat, soup with noodles, and all of this was cooked on the same grill.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I believe that a world with more travelers would be better. The phrase may seem cliché but makes complete sense. Travelling amplifies the soul by making us see our surroundings with different eyes. Even a luxury trip always brings me out of our comfort zone and makes me more flexible and adaptable. The best part, travel leaves me with no opinion about everything. In the end, we figure out we are all the same.
It’s your first day arriving in a country with a language so foreign it might as well be gibberish, how do you plan to get by: I learned from my father, who has travelled the world speaking only Portuguese, the “FD Tactic”: Finger and Dollar! You try to communicate, but in the case it’s impossible, just point and pay!
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: The main reason is because I don’t like to be put in a “category” of traveler. I go on trips where I stay in luxury hotels, but I will also stay in a wooden hut on a deserted island. I go to obvious places, but also, take exotic trips such as my honeymoon in India or vacations in Cambodia or Egypt. I had dinner in a 3 Star Michelin restaurant in Paris but had an amazing experience by having a free lunch sitting on the street consisting of rice from monks in a Bangkok temple. For me, what’s most important is to live unique moments, enjoy a destination to the maximum and learn a lot from the experience.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: Our tripod! It’s perfect for a romantic trip so we can take pictures for both of us, without bothering our dinners.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: First is to learn from what is different. New cultures, history, people, food, places and everything that is not part of my knowledge attracts me more. Second is to take as many beautiful pictures as possible, so I can always travel back when I am at home.
Next travel destination: Costa Rica.
Rob and Nat from Love & Road.
Age: Rob is 35 and Nat is 32.
What makes you interesting: The fact that we are in our 30’s, (Rob in his mid 30’s) and we still party a lot. To have an idea, our honeymoon was a 14-day electronic music festival in Ukraine. We are a nomad couple that traded babies and a mortgage for exploring the world and having fun.
What is the best part about having a travel partner?: To have someone to blame when you take the wrong way. LOL! No, I’m joking, the best part about a travel partner is the opportunity to share unique moments in beautiful corners around the world. It also makes it easy to tackle planning and decide where we should head next
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Some toiletries, books, a set of clothes in case our checked luggage is delayed or disappears, and the most important item: our computers! If we have any spare time we work on articles or researching the next travel destination.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Our first morning in Marrakesh was quite a challenge. On the way to find our hostel we passed some alleys where elderly people were sleeping on the dirty floor and mums putting their babies in the middle of the street to beg. We are from Brazil and are used to dealing with poverty but the images of babies lying in the middle of the street were too strong. It took us a few days to get used with this kind of begging in Morocco.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Ibiza!!! We are party animals and between September and October the closing parties in Ibiza are epic. We visited the party island twice and Ibiza is included in our travel plans for 2016 next summer. Hope to see you there!
What motivates you to travel: The new. This is related to people, places, culture, food; We love to meet new people, learn about new cultures, discover new places and try new foods. The world is too wonderful to stay in only one place. We feel an urge to go and explore it!
What was your best and worst travel experience: Our best moment was when we started our travels. The feeling of following our dream was amazing. We discovered that when you do something with all your heart the universe conspires in your favor. The worst moment happened when we were in Milan on August 2014. Back home in Brazil our cat passed away. Some people might find it silly, but we loved our cat so much! Also this made us realize that we were far from home and our grandpa, grandma and parents are growing old.
Next travel destination: Langkawi, Malaysia.
Jonathan Look, Jr. from Life Part 2.
Current city: Vientiane, Laos PDR
Total countries visited: I don’t do a running tally, but I would estimate around fifty or so. I believe in immersive travel and prefer to measure travel in experiences more than with stamps in my passport.
What makes you interesting: Wow, that is a hard question! I know have met a lot of travelers and I think many of their stories are more interesting than mine. I guess the most interesting thing about me is that after 25 years on the typical consumerist treadmill I stepped off and started living life the way I wanted to; not the way most of us are trained to do. I broke away and started chasing my passions and dreams, and living life on my own terms, not by the usual societal standards.
Also, I think to qualify as interesting a person, someone needs to be intensely interested in things that are bigger than and beyond themselves. I guess if being fascinated by exploring new worlds, living life as an adventure and enjoying as much variety as possible makes you an interesting person, then maybe I qualify.
What brands do you love: As you may know I am not really a “brand” sort of person. Because I travel and move around so much, I greatly limit the number of my possessions. When I do own something I expect it to be of good quality, last a long time and perform well in a variety of situations.
I use Canon cameras because they are familiar to me, they make great photographs and, especially at the higher end, they are capable of taking a fair amount of abuse. For processing my photographs, I use Apple products because the phones, tablets and computers all perform in similar ways and there isn’t this huge learning curve when moving between products, or when there is an upgrade.When I travel I generally prefer to stay in smaller, locally owned, guest houses and hotels, but I do find it hard to resist ultra-luxury accommodation every now and then. For that, it is hard to beat the Ritz-Carlton or thePeninsula brand of hotels. Lately, I have had the opportunity to stay at severalOnyx Hospitality properties at different places in Asia and I find them to be very agreeable.
When I fly somewhere I usually choose by schedule or by price. I do find some airlines, in terms of service and comfort, to be superior to others, but I am still searching for one to fall in love with. I like Laotian coffee, French cheeses, Chilean wines and a great hamburger every now and then.
What’s your favorite passport stamp: Probably Bhutan, or Myanmar. Peru. France. China. Australia. Cambodia. I don’t know. I guess the closest answer would be the next one I don’t have yet. As I mentioned, I tend to measure travel more in adventures had, than in which borders you had to cross in order to have them.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: I will pay a lot of money to get off of the tourist trails in order to see something unique. That may mean buying permits or sometimes hiring guides or fixers. It may mean hiring unusual or non-standard modes of transport such as long-tail boats or private drivers. It just seems wrong to me to spend a lot of time and effort getting someplace spectacular or off the beaten trail and miss something because you wanted to stay on some arbitrary budget.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: You can’t stand on the ruins of Angkor Wat, knowing that it was by far once the most prosperous and populous place on the planet, and not KNOW that everything is temporary. You can’t spend days in the third world with the poorest of the poor and see that they are often the most generous of all people without it changing your priorities. The very act of leaving the comforts of home to see new places and have new experiences brings new confidence and perspective to my everyday life. Traveling beyond my comfort zones and outside of my old bubbles has forced me to realize that we are all one people, but we have all too often been divided by deliberate manipulation, ignorance, fear, and greed.
What motivates you to travel: I have this insatiable curiosity to see new horizons and meet people from different cultures. I want to know what is over that hill, behind that door, what that tastes like or what makes other people tick. I have a very low threshold for boredom and I know at the end of this wonderful ride we call life, I won’t be wishing I had stayed home in a comfortable chair, on the golf course or wishing I had bought more stuff.
What are the top reasons should someone travel with you: If you travel with me you will certainly have some new stories, maybe have a few new secrets and a lot of new memories. To get a true understanding of a place you sometimes need to put away the guide books and find your own way. Just wandering around and intentionally getting lost is a great way to discover things off of the tourist trails, and usually more wonderful because your experiences will be unique to you.
I like to fully embrace all aspects of travel. Like everyone I enjoy some comfort and pampering, but you can only have so many spa days, or sipping cocktails by the pool days, before they become just another routine. Let’s be honest — lazing by the pool at a luxury hotel in Paris really isn’t that much different that lazing by the pool at a luxury hotel in Phnom Penh. It is wonderful, but probably something you even could do in your home town.
I believe in variety and enjoy taking a journey without limitations. One day you may find me sleeping in a cheap hostel or guesthouse, the next may find me in the penthouse suite. With the right attitude, airplanes, oxcarts and everything in between are all fine modes of transportation. In order to get the most out of travel you need to experience — not just passively observe — different cultures, landscapes and cuisines. Try the food, hang out with locals, walk the trails, dive the oceans. I know the true magic of travel doesn’t really begin until you get, at least a little, outside of you comfort zones.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: I have really been wanting to go to Mongolia. Meet some of the locals and photograph their way of life and see the wide open spaces. Also, I hear so many conflicting stories about Iran, I would like to go and see things there and meet the people for myself. Cuba is also way up there. I want to spend some time there before the inevitable mass tourism takes over.
Next travel destination: I always have something open and two or three things working at a time. I am now in the process of trying to plan a mid-winter trip to somewhere in Scandinavia to see the Northern Lights. If I can’t get that together before the end of the season I think I will take my camera to Istanbul and rural Turkey for a few weeks. After that, I am planning a trip to explore around Taiwan and see if it would be a good place for us to base from a while and explore more of Asia. I have a charity spot reserved to run for ActionAid in the London Marathon at the end of April. In March, I want to travel someplace conducive to training (cool, clear and flat) before going to England to run the race. After the marathon, Sarah and I are planning to walk the Camino de Santiago from France through Spain to the Atlantic Ocean.
Mike and Luci from The Fighting Couple.
Total countries visited: 40
Current city: Boise, Idaho.
Age: Gen Xers
What is your Travanality: Luci is a Culturist and Mike is an Altruist.
What makes you interesting: We are the Fighting Couple! We encourage couples to leave the kids at grandma’s house and get out and see the world together. We are convinced that investing in time as a couple is essential to creating and maintaining a vibrant relationship. We share relationship ideas, travel destinations and the details of our many fights on our blog.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: That is a great question. We met an innkeeper in Swaziland that is simply incredible. She hires employees from the local area that are going through difficult times, pays them well and trains them in valuable skills. This kind woman made a difference in the lives of so many. Our time with her was short, but the impression she made on us was huge.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: The best part of traveling with someone that you love is sharing experiences. One of Mike’s favorite parts of traveling with Luci is watching her discover a new culture, food or vista. Travel is an investment that makes you a better person today, tomorrow and forever.
Next travel destination: Taiwan in December.
Nikki and Dusty from Two For The Road.
Current city: Austin.
Age: We’re both 42 years young.
Total countries visited: 6 continents (can’t wait to hit Australia!) 32 countries and counting.
What makes you interesting: We spend 24/7 with each other and we haven’t killed each other yet! Nik was the first traveler ever to make chicha with the ladies of the community in the Amazon. If you’re not familiar, it’s a process that involves a little bit of spit swapping. Yep! Spit swapping. You should check it out. Dusty has done the polar plunge in Antarctica, Alaska, and Lake Titicaca.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Wow, that’s a hard one. There isn’t one person in particular. There are people everywhere that stick out in our minds. One of the most interesting experiences was living with a Huaorani tribe in the Peruvian Amazon. Fascinating people!
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Sharing amazing adventures all over the world with your favorite person. Getting to experience it for yourself, but also see the joy in your partner’s eyes as well.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: Honestly this is a tough one for us, because we just can’t seem to think of one. We travel lightly anywhere we go – but still, our bags are absolutely jam-packed with camera gear, mics, cables, computers, hard drives, of course all our clothes and toiletries and all the standard travel-ly stuff. So we really can’t afford to spare the space to bring along something impractical. Not much fun we know, but unfortunately true.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: It really depends on where we are in the world, but we love all forms of transport. Particularly trains. There’s just something about kicking back in a seat, feeling the gentle motion as the cars roll down the track, and watching the world pass by outside the window. In fact we’re in China right now and just took our first trip on a bullet train, which was just too stinkin’ cool! Truth be told, whatever gets us from point A to point B safely and (relatively) on time is our favorite.
Best thing you have bought during your travels:
Nik; Bracelets. I love buying bracelets all over the world, almost always in local markets or from local artists. My wrists are full of bracelets and I have a story for each one. Good stuff!
Dusty: I’d have to say the blow dart gun I bought from a local family in a Huaorani village deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It’s just the coolest thing.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Okay. Not to get too deep here, but… travel is our love, our passion, our addiction. To us, travel represents real freedom. It means adventure. It means exploring new horizons. It means living life to its absolute fullest. Travel will open your eyes, your mind and your heart to new places, new cultures and new experiences. And it will force you to break free from everything you thought you knew about the world and make you start learning again from scratch. Without question travel has transformed us, the way we live, the way we think about life, the way we think about money, and the way we look at the world. And we hope through our videos, photos and blogs to share the gospel of travel with anyone and everyone.
Next travel destination: Southeast Asia.
Ron from Frog Traveler.
Current city: Barcelona, Spain.
Total countries visited: 49 so far.
What makes you interesting: My frog Gusi is always traveling with me. I like taking jumping pictures. I know all the flags and countries of the world. I have a keychain collection from all the cities I visit (more than 300). I bought wallpaper for my room (see picture below). I love languages, I can speak five fluently plus three more conversational. I love sunsets and deserts. I have worked in many different places as a trainer, teacher, agent, receptionist, manager, sales, waiter and driver because I prefer to have many experiences than being a nine-to-five robot. The same concept for everything but work. I have no religion because I like people and I believe in people. Meeting people from around the world and sharing different experiences with them is very exciting for me.
What brands do you love: I am not into brands especially when you find people who cannot have clothes. No watches, no wallet, or fancy stuff anymore. My trip to Brazil showed me that we don’t need much to live and be happy.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Probably food. I like to eat in restaurants or cook by myself. Please no street food, thank you. I do sometimes run out of the budget for thermal baths, massage and spas. I like pleasure more than goods.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you: I was living a wealthy life few years ago, having my own company with my partner. After certain time I was spending much money on things that I didn’t really need and I was starting to be greedy as was my partner. I wasn’t happy with that lifestyle and decided to quit my company and backpack through South East Asia. In Vietnam, and other countries in Myanmar, I met very interesting people who showed me where to find happiness; it was the best experience ever. After that, I can confirm I am absolutely happy, feeling lucky and having a wonderful life.
It’s 2050, list all the places you are most proud to have visited: I love this question! My wishing list of top places to visit before 2050 is Machu Pichu (Peru), Uyuni (Bolivia), Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Easter Island (Chile), Namibia, Egypt, China, Iceland, Mexico, Belize, New Zealand, Maldives, South Korea and Philippines.
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: Near 9 months. That was my trip in South East Asia.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Here is all I carry when I travel,
My frog Gusi, my 8 year old camera, toiletries and clothes. I use to carry a maximum of 8 kilos. If I stay long, I buy new clothes and gift the ‘old’ clothes to people who really need them.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: On my first ´big’ travel experience I went to Kiev, Ukraine. A Ukrainian friend I met in Barcelona invited me to visit for 15 days. I was on my second year of a Sports Science Degree, I was 21 years old.
Next travel destination: South Korea.
Oksana and Max from Drink Tea & Travel.
Current city: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Age: Oksana is 30 and Max is 29.
Total countries visited: Between the two of us we’ve stepped foot on all continents except Antarctica, visited 48 countries and have lived in 7 of them!
What makes you interesting: We come from very unique backgrounds and seem to be unable to sit still. Our passports say we are Canadian, but the truth is our upbringing was anything but typical. Max grew up in Costa Rica and Oksana in Ukraine. We have lived in many countries around the world, (Max in 4 and Oksana in 5) and we truly feel like world citizens. After leaving our last home base in Australia four months ago, we are now full time travelers and nomads, happy to call the globe our playground for the foreseeable future.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: While visiting Bucharest, Romania, we caught an Uber into town and discovered that our Uber driver, who was likely in his early 50’s, was a first-hand witness of the events of the Romanian Revolution in 1989.
Over the course of a 15-minute Uber ride to Old Town, he shared a play by play of the events that unfolded on that historic December evening, his personal involvement in the revolution and the ousting of Romania’s Communist President Nicolae Ceausescu. This was a surreal story you would expect from a historian and we were absolutely enthralled hearing it first-hand from our driver, Adrian. We actually took the long way into Old Town just to hear more of his stories. Fascinating individual!
What is the best part about having a travel partner: We love the fact when we travel as a couple. We’re always sharing our experiences with each other – good, bad or ugly. We think it’s always better to have someone to rely on in tough times and share the joys in those amazing, breathtaking moments.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: Nothing! Honestly, after many years of traveling around the world we have a very tight packing list that contains nothing but essential items. We travel with only 10-12kgs each. There simply is no room for impractical items in our bags.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: We love getting around on a scooter. It gives us the flexibility to see off the beaten path sights and attractions and is often one of the cheapest ways to get around.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: We love shopping abroad. A few years ago, Max bought a pair of fake Nike Free running shoes that have lasted him for more than three years. Oksana just can’t get enough of those super comfy Aladdin pants.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means immersion. For us, it’s all about being able to immerse ourselves into a new culture and learn about the customs and traditions. Travel is about learning and constant personal growth. This is why we love to travel.
Next travel destination: In the last three months we’ve taken the long way to get from Australia to North America, stopping in a few countries in S.E.A, a couple in Eastern and Western Europe, and Northern Africa. Next on our itinerary is Costa Rica where we will be spending the rest of this year!
Betsy and Pete From Passing Thru.
Current city: Bangkok
Ages: 61 and 59
Total countries visited: 22
What makes you interesting: As digital nomads go, we might be among the elders. Most people who travel full time at our age are retired. We actively work our online businesses, which provide multiple income streams to offset our expenses. As well, we work with destinations and accommodations partners to review, promote and inspire other travelers through our writing and photography.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Oh, we’ve met so many interesting people that it’s hard to choose just one. Our most meaningful encounters recently have been in remote villages halfway around the world from each other. One was Lukomir, in the mountains above Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There we met 90-year-old Nura, who lives on her own in the old ways with her neighbors, who are semi-nomadic herders and farmers. Another memorable stop was here in Thailand, among the Kui people. Their heritage is a mix of Thai, Laotian and Khmer, and they are known for silk production, weaving and dyeing. Sometimes it’s almost better when you can’t speak each other’s language. It is then that you revert to the universal languages of kindness and interest in each other.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Aside from the sense of security you have with someone, is companionship. There’s the flavor that you get from your partner’s interests, priorities and opinions. We each have our strengths and weaknesses and those are generally complementary, so the teamwork is an aspect. There are many experiences each of us might not have thought to have on our own, but the other person initiated them which created deeper memories.
What brands do you love: We’re Apple fans – we travel with our MacBooks(Pete has a Pro, Betsy has an Air), iPads and iPhones. We love Starwood Preferred Guest hotels – particularly the Westin brand and their Luxury Collection with whom we’ve enjoyed amazing stays. Wyndham, Choice andHilton hotel points programs have been great too. We have timeshare exchanges with Marriott and Interval International whose redemption options have allowed us to book free air travel and had us staying in off-the-beaten-path destinations.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: Pete would say ourApple TV box on his end, (although I got caught up on House of Cards in Australia using it). I would say tote bags are my downfall. We’ve always got too many because I tell myself we might need them. We never do.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: We’re partial to train travel. We just love it. You constantly glimpse daily life both on board and out the windows, as opposed to having to deal with airports, airplanes and air passengers.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: We don’t buy a lot of things because we’re nomadic. I got a full year’s wear out of a pair of slippas, (flip flops) which cost me $6 Fiji dollars, (about $3USD). They went all around the world and then back to Fiji. I tried to replace them with exact duplicates when we got back to Sigatoka, but the pair I thought was closest isn’t lasting me as well.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means opportunity and freedom: opportunity to vividly experience life in a variety of settings and meet a constantly fascinating array of individuals. We’re free to go where we want, when we want and stay however long we want. We think this is about as good as it gets.
Next travel destination: We’ll be in SE Asia (Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) and then China!
Gloria fromNomadic Chica.
Current city: Santiago, Chile
What makes you interesting: I’m the unicorn! I’m one of the very few Chilean travel bloggers. Growing up at the other side of the Andes gave me a very special way to see the world and how the world sees me as well. I usually carry a map to show people where Chile is located. I have a serious wanderlust I can’t stop and will keep traveling to show other woman that it’s possible to travel the world.
Total countries visited: I have traveled to 22 countries, still a lot more to explore!
What are your favorite travel brands? I love brands that help me while on the road, good quality gear and technology. I’m not really engaged with any brand as I move a lot and brands change all the time depending on destination.
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 mobile with perfect signal and unlimited Wi-Fi. I could keep taking pictures for my Instagram to keep everybody updated with the fun I will be having while waiting to be rescued.
What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling? I probably spend most of my money on food when traveling, and if in need I would pay if necessary for a health issue.
How has travel changed you or how do you hope it will change you? I have become more tolerant and positive. Knowing different realities makes me appreciate where I grew up and all I can have access because of traveling. After experiencing things on the road I am now more a problem solver than simply complaining about everything.
Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: Wow, that’s very hard to tell, as there have been so many adventures. Perhaps the most memorable until now has been in India. I was there the day before the Dalai Lama was giving an open talk and later he came to take pictures with every person in the temple! This was a very touching and emotional moment. I will keep this memory forever as a reminder that magic and synchronicity exists! http://www.nomadicchica.com/india-my-encounter-with-the-dalai-lama-in-dharamsala/
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age? My first international and solo trip was to Ecuador and Peru. I was 18 years old and was craving to go explore beyond the borders of Chile. Before starting my plan was to only visit Macchu Pichu, but when I was on the road I saw the map and couldn’t stop heading ‘a bit’ north, so I went to Ecuador too.
If your personality were a city or country, which one would it be? Hopefully Bangkok. It’s one of my favorite cities and can be a bit diplomatic but very funny. Bangkok is very diverse, colorful and shinny…and tasty!
Next travel destination: I will be in Chile for the next couple of months and then my next destination will be Central America and Mexico.
Ashray and Zara from Backpack Me.
Current city: Rome, Italy.
Age: Ashray 29 and Zara 33.
Total countries visited: Together we’ve been to 36 countries. Apart from those we’ve been to a bunch of others individually.
What makes you interesting: We’re from India (Ashray) and Portugal (Zara). Our travel blog offers a multicultural perspective on travel. We experience things differently because of our distinct backgrounds and the world sees us differently too. This reflects on the way we go around the world and share travel stories.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: It’s always hard to pick just one answer for this type of question. Andy, a British guy we met while road tripping in Patagonia, was indeed interesting. He started traveling around the world solo with his bike 7 years ago. We had been all over the place and had plenty of stories to tell. Funny enough, we kept on bumping into him each other at different petrol pumps as we were all road tripping around the same areas.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Years from now you’ll have someone to reminisce on your travels with you. Just like the quote from Into The Wild “Happiness is real only when shared”.
What brands do you love: When you travel you can’t be too particular about brands or products you may or may not be able to get where you are. A couple of brands we’re pretty loyal to, even though not travel related, would be Nintendo and Converse.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: A “travel towel”. We were naive to spend any money on such a thing over 4 years ago. Now we pack a regular towel. Keeping it light is key!
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Our feet! Not that we travel far on foot but once we are in a given place walking around is always the best method to soak up the local vibes!
Best thing you have bought during your travels: We don’t buy much stuff to carry around with us. So the best things we’ve bought during our travels are probably meals in certain countries. A few meals we’ve had in Mexico, India and Thailand have achieved legendary status in our lives.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means expanding our horizons and never stagnating.
Next travel destination: After a few weeks exploring the South of Italy, we’ll be heading to Jordan to visit Petra and do a road-trip around the country.
Current city: Charlestown, Nevis, West Indies.
Age: 28 and 34
What makes you interesting: We have been travelling the world and house sitting for the last four and a half years. During this time we have lived rent-free in 10 different countries.
Total countries visited: 18
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Having your best friend along for the ride means there’s always someone by your side with whom to enjoy the journey.
What is your favorite travel memory: Learning to scuba dive in Costa Rica. We spent three months in training and have enabled us to dive in locations all over the world.
Where and when were you the most travel shocked: When we checked in for our flight to Australia and were told that we needed a visa. New regulations had just been put in place and we looked like travel newbies because we had just assumed we didn’t need a visa and would be welcomed with open arms.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Headphones, laptops, camera, scuba regulators, diving watches, sleep mask, toothbrush, and lots of snacks.
Where did you go for your first travel experience: We rented an SUV in Las Vegas and spent three months road tripping across the west coast of the USA.
Next travel destination: For the first time in our lives we actually haven’t decided yet! Normally we plan three or four months in advance but at the moment we are just flying by the seat of our pants!
Eva Baczynska from Travelle.
Current city: New York City
Total countries visited: 42
What makes you interesting: I was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland, by Polish parents, yet I was raised as an expat. I went to American and British schools before moving to London, Boston and Oxford to continue my education abroad. Many of my friends and I speak English to each other and are currently sprinkled across the world.
What brands do you love: I love Hermes for the incredible quality of craftsmanship. Apple for the innovation and trend setting in how we relate to everyday devices we can’t imagine living without. Saint Laurent for the way they manage to merge elegance with edge.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: My Mophie Powerstation Mini. It charges every device I own and saves me during long days away from my hotel room.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: As simplistic as this sounds, Google Maps. This app helps me place myself in a new city, find a nearby coffee shop, and assess if my next meeting is walking distance or if I should order an Uber, my second favorite app.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Horseback riding in Urubamba, Peru with two Quechua-speaking guides and not a trace of humanity in sight. I spent over 9 hours exploring the area on a beautiful stallion called Principe whose temperament and speed added to the adventure.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: There simply isn’t anything like taking a train. You get to relax, read, enjoy the view out the window and the café car is a short stroll away if you get the sudden munchies.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Amsterdam. I would say I’m orderly quirky, tend to think in a strategic and organized way, but I surprise people with how odd my sense of humor is and how much of a romantic I am. I feel like Amsterdam manages to combine good city planning and functionality with character. And if you take a random turn, you may be in for an adventure you didn’t expect!
Most magical place on earth: Your mind can transport you anywhere, real or imaginary. I think if you can absorb whatever place you find yourself in or a location you’d love to visit, and appreciate its magic, you always carry that with you. See, the romance comes out again!
Next travel destination: My next big trip will be to Cape Town in South Africa. I’m in the process of planning a New Year’s getaway with a group of friends. We will be arriving from Poland, Mexico, Portugal and several cities in the U.S. Between now and then, I will be visiting Miami, LA, London and Warsaw for business and pleasure, or what we commonly refer to as “bleisure” these days!
Current city: Sydney, Australia
What makes you interesting: I’ve lived in three countries, (my native U.S., Spain, and Australia), and traveled to many more. I speak Spanish and a bit of Italian and studied French and Mandarin. I’d love to learn even more!
Total countries visited: About 45 depending on political definitions.
Describe yourself in three words: Curious, ambitious and eager.
Who is the most interesting person you met while traveling: How do I narrow it down to just one person? I’ve made fantastic groups of friends in all of the overseas cities I’ve lived and it’s those friends that really made the experiences what they were. Even if I’ve lost touch with some of them they are the core reason my time abroad has been so memorable.
What is the best thing you bought during your travels: My trajes de flamenca (flamenco dresses) that I bought for Seville’s Spring Festival, Feria. I felt like a local in the traditional outfits and they now make a fantastic souvenir.
Do you have any recommendations to battle jet lag: If you arrive in the morning no matter how tired you are make yourself stay awake until that night by staying active so you keep jet lag off your mind. You’ll be almost as good as new the next morning.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from traveling: Just go for it! A lot of people are scared to live abroad or travel and getting out of your comfort zone can be intimidating, but once you just do it you’ll wonder why you were ever worried in the first place.
Next travel destination: If all goes according to plan I’ll be going to Cuba later this year. I’m thrilled beyond belief.
Current city: St. Paul, Minnesota
What makes you interesting: Well I don’t know if this makes us interesting, but we are high school sweethearts and grew up in small town Minnesota. We currently have a travel website called Wander The Map, and in addition to the site, Micah is a commercial photographer and videographer. One of our favorite things to do when traveling is creating videos to tell stories of our adventures!
Total countries visited: 16
What does “travel” mean to you: To us travel means getting out and exploring the world. Whether it’s near or far, as long as you are experiencing something new or having an adventure, that’s travel.
Where were you the most travel shocked: Even though we were expecting to be shocked, we would have to say Japan. Everything was so bizarre, chaotic and fantastic. We loved the high paced energy, the flashy lights mixed with the history and culture, the crowded streets, the delicious food and themed cafes, and everything else we encountered.
What is the longest period of time you have been away from home: The longest we have been away on a continuous trip is 25 days, but this past year we have hardly been home for more than a few days at a time!
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: Travel has helped us realize what we want out of life and how we needed to make some changes in what we did on a day-to-day basis. Transitioning into running our own business has helped us create a life with intention which is much more fulfilling.
What is the most useful thing you have bought during a trip: We don’t typically buy anything when we travel with the exception of Christmas tree ornaments. They aren’t very useful, but they do remind us of our favorite trips every holiday season!
Next travel destination: We are taking a road trip to Florida!
Current City: Havana! I am loving Cuba and should be on the top of everyone’s travel list. When I am not on the road I call Denver, Colorado my home.
Total Countries Visited: 54
What makes you interesting: Growing up in California I spent as much time outdoors as possible. You would most likely find me in the mountains or at the beach seeking out an adventure. This love for the outdoors and adventure has influenced my approach to travel and has led to some great outdoor adventures such as climbing in the Indian Himalayas, skiing down an active volcano in Patagonia, diving in Honduras, exploring the backcountry of Denali, hiking the hill stations of Burma, surfing in Indonesia, mountain biking from the Andes down to the Amazon rainforest, backpacking in the desert canyons of Jordan, and kayaking down the Mekong River in Laos!
What brands do you love: Patagonia. I love the products and the values of the company. I am also a big fan of Lonely Planet. I am not much for planning ahead for my trips so reading through a Lonely Planet on the flight to the destination lets me hit the ground running!
If you were given a trip tomorrow, where would you go: Bhutan would be an amazing cultural experience because the country’s approach to tourism focuses on protecting their culture, traditions, and natural environment. I would love to do the Snow Leopard trek in the Bhutan Himalayas and hike to Paro Taktsang, the Cliffside Buddhist Monastery.
What item will you never leave home without: Well if I have my passport and my bankcard the main thing I would want would be my iPhone. It has made traveling so easy! So many impromptu roadtrips were planned out while on the road thanks to my iPhone.
What is your favorite travel memory: I had always dreamed of going on a safari one day, but this seems like a trip I would have to do when I retire. Fortunately, I was able to travel to South Africa the summer of 2013 and do a safari there. The experience was surreal! It was so amazing to see all of these huge wild animals. I was so happy and excited the whole time. The photo above I think depicts that quite well because even with a rhino charging me I could not wipe that smile off my face!
I enjoyed the safari experience so much that I have traveled back to Africa and have done more safaris in Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. These safari experiences were amazing especially the gorilla trek in Rwanda, but I do not think anything will surpass the joy I had with my first safari experience in South Africa. That’s why it’s my favorite travel memory!
Best travel advice: People overthink and overstress about the obstacles preventing them from traveling. Whether it be money, time off, or you are scared to travel alone. Don’t let these limitations or others stop you. You’ll discover traveling is easier, cheaper, and safer than you thought. The most difficult part is motivating yourself to get out there and do it!
Travel doesn’t have to be far away or exotic. You can even travel within your hometown. Just have a willingness, wherever you go, to explore new places and experiences. If you do, you’ll find beauty and adventure anywhere in the world!
Next travel destination: Morocco! I can’t wait to go on a camel safari in the Sahara desert, surf along the coast of the Taghazout region, and explore the bazaars of Marrakesh.
Josh & Liz from Peanuts or Pretzels.
Total countries visited: 30
Current city: Guangzhou, China
Age: Low to mid-thirties (both of us)
What makes you interesting: That’s a tough question, but our friends would say that it’s our personalities that make us interesting. We are naturally happy, smiling people, who are always up for fun. Plus, we are super curious. We enjoy meeting new people and learning new things. Whether its history, art, dance, music, food, landscapes, etc. — we just find everything so interesting.
Perhaps, we are more like a couple of big kids who have a lot of fun together! We are also geocachers, which is basically a scavenger-hunting game all around the world. We haven’t met many other geocaching travelers and we find that people seem to really be interested in learning more about this game. We enjoy geocaching while we travel because it opens up a whole new world of adventure and fun. It fits perfectly with our curious personalities and it allows us to experience destinations in a different way than most other travelers. So that’s really what sets us apart from other couples travel bloggers out there.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: While there is a lot to be said for traveling solo (and we have both traveled solo before), we do enjoy the company of a travel partner. Not only is it nice to have another person to share meals with and help navigate, but in difficult places, two heads can be better than one. We also feel like traveling with someone else gives you memories together, especially as a couple. Long after a trip, it’s difficult to reminisce with your friends & family who weren’t there. The two of us can laugh and talk about the good times we had during our travels when we are old. It’s nice to share the story with another person – they will get it. Plus when you are traveling long-term like we are, it is nice to have a support system — especially when things don’t go your way. For example, when Liz broke her foot here in China a couple months ago. It was nice to have someone there to help, especially during the recovery when she couldn’t leave the apartment easily.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Well, we typically carry-on all of our items rather than checking our main luggage. Occasionally we will check our backpacks. Beyond carrying on our valuable equipment such as cameras and computers (and accompanying cords), we always have our entertainment mobile devices – including the iPhones, iPad, and iPods. Sometimes we bring books, but rarely because they are heavy and we usually read on the tablet. Honestly, we prefer to travel light. For longer flights, we are both always sure to bring snacks and water, but Liz takes it further with the comfort items. She usually has hand wipes, ibuprofen, tissues, socks, an eye mask, neck pillow, and thick / fuzzy socks for long flights! These small comforts can really help to make the flight more enjoyable.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Definitely when we moved to China. Even though we had traveled many places before, and even lived in Southeast Asia for 4 months, nothing quite prepared us to what we found here in China. It’s just a shock. Some things we have gotten used to over time, while other things we will never understand…or get used to. We’ve been living and working here for 8 months now and plan to stay for another 8 – 10 months. It’s been a great experience overall!
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: For a free trip, we’d want to maximize the savings by going to one of the most expensive places on our travel bucket list — and I think that might have to be Antarctica. Not a cheap place to get to but we have a dream to step foot on all 7 continents. So, a free trip to Antarctica would definitely save us some cash & provide quite the adventure!
Next travel destination: Things change for us, but it looks like Taiwan in a few weeks.
John & Sarah from Lovers & Explorers .
Current city: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Age: John is 28 and Sarah is 26.
Total countries visited: 21 but many, many more to come!
What makes you interesting: We got married two years ago and decided that it would be the start of our adventure together. We aren’t in a position to quit our jobs and don’t want to at this point in our lives. We find ways to travel while staying employed and love to include our amateur marriage advice while we recount our adventures.
Best travel advice: Be prepared! Doing research ahead of time makes for a much more relaxing experience. We also recommend communicating and splitting up travel tasks with your partner. Each person has something unique to offer. Bonus: have each person plan a surprise. This offers a whole new experience you may not have chosen on your own.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Exploring brand new places, eating new food, experiencing the culture in the most authentic way possible, and getting to the highest point available. John loves trying to learn the language (or just attempting it) and Sarah likes riding horses in new countries.
What item will you never leave home without: Our Kindles! We love taking advantage of trains and airplanes to relax, and it makes it a lot easier if you don’t have a bag full of books. John always brings his noise-cancelling headphones because you just never know when those come in handy. Sarah always brings flip-flops. After a day of walking/hiking, it’s so nice to take off your shoes and let your feet breathe. They also come in handy when in sketchy showers.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Ireland! John bought Sarah a piece of land there for Christmas, and they’re desperate to go discover it. Plus, Sarah has a half sister there that she’s never met in person.
Most magical place on earth: Iceland. No words do it justice. We were constantly pulling over our rental car to take in a new landscape; waterfalls, mountains, icebergs, hot springs and trolls!
Next travel destination: In the US we will be visiting Southern California in September, Las Vegas in October, Denver in November and Austin in December. Internationally we will be traveling to Cozumel in December for some scuba diving and relaxation. We’re also planning a Southeast Asia trip for next year.
Rachel Jones from Hippie in Heels.
Current city: Goa, India
Total countries visited: 28
What makes you interesting: Ha! Well, I don’t know that I am! I have been living in India almost three years after leaving my job as a nurse. I met my British boyfriend while traveling and we live in Goa together.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: I still get culture shock in India, but rarely. I think it’s the most interesting place I’ve been to so far.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: I don’t go backpacking without a sleeping bag liner. They are lightweight but great when the bed you’re staying in isn’t that clean or for overnight trains/buses. When you get out of your sleeping bag, you are still fairly clean!
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: There is a small chance I ate dog once accidentally in Uganda. I have eaten scorpion in Thailand and fish heads in Malaysia.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: I’ve learned that travel can be a lifestyle rather than something you do for two weeks each year. I’ve learned how to make a living while still moving from place to place and that starting businesses can be fun. I became a writer, social media consultant, masseuse and candle-maker in the last couple years.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: India; totally unpredictable.
Next travel destination: Thailand and the UK.
Drew Goldberg from The Hungry Partier.
Current city: Currently I am traveling though Sofia, Bulgaria, but my home is out of my backpack.
What makes you interesting: When I finished college I rejected the idea to find a “corporate job” like 99% of my friends did and took a job as an English teacher in South Korea. I started my travel blog from day one. Two years later I now have 60K monthly visits to my site and over 100K combined social media followers.
Total countries visited: 64
What is your most favorite travel memory: Taking a private tour of the biggest slum in Asia called Dharavi in Mumbai, India. Witnessing 1 million people living inside of a 2 kilometer area was the single most eye-opening experience to date. I learned to really appreciate the things I have in life and to never complain about anything.
What is the most interesting food you have tried and where: I ate an entire live octopus in Seoul, Korea. There’s a video of me eating it on Youtube!
What is the most impractical item you have packed: An obnoxiously long selfie stick.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: I prefer to travel on trains because I love to look out the window at the countryside! Also, I am able to get a lot of work done (writing blog posts, etc).
What do people say when they travel with you: People say I’m like the Energizer Bunny. I’m always adventuring around nonstop!
Next travel destination: Cairo next week. Turkey the week after. Back to Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus) and then South East Asia until 2016.
Kelsey and Peter from Travelin’ Fools.
Curent city: Kihei, Maui
Age: 26 & 27
What makes you interesting: As a couple, we are very complimentary to the world of travel. I love to write just about anything – humorous pieces, lighthearted and informative travel blogs, poetry, you name it – and my boyfriend, Peter, is a talented photographer both in and out of the ocean. As two relatively broke and young people who enjoy visiting radical places of the world, it comes in very handy for sharing our experiences. We believe life’s far too short to live places that suck and want to show people how traveling can be done (and with a sense of humor) before they’re too old to enjoy it.
Total countries visited: 19
#1 thing you must do when traveling: As for me, I always find a way to dance with an old man in a dive bar. They’re always the best dancers, after all, and can teach me a thing or two about life over a frosty cold adult beverage. As for Peter, he seeks out water. He’s a total merman, and thrives when there’s water and any kind of activity that involves a board. He also brings drumsticks everywhere we go.
What does ‘travel’ mean to you: Experiencing something new that sticks with you, in whatever sense of the word that takes on. Whether it’s a skill, a piece of history, a conversation, a meal, a surf break, etc. Travel is all about challenging yourself in terms of new things and using those things to make you a better, perhaps more enlightened, human being.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Having someone to bring me beer while I’m blogging. Duh! I kid. In all semi-seriousness, it’s nice to have someone to laugh with and someone who still knows you in places where you don’t know anyone else. As empowering as it is to be able to recreate yourself in a new place, it’s equally as nice to spend quality time with someone who knows and appreciates you in a deeper capacity than where you’re from and how long you’re staying.
What item will you never leave home without: Carmex! I’ve been an addict since the 8th grade and I hoard it like it’s tiny bottles of liquid lip gold. Peter takes his DaFins everywhere… they’re compact, lightweight, and ensures his swimmin’ heart will be a happy one.
What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled: Northern is Amsterdam, Netherlands. Southern is Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Eastern is Seoul, South Korea and western is Kauai, Hawaii.
Next travel destination: We are moving to Bali, Indonesia, in October 2015!
Monica Ortega from Monica Goes.
Total countries visited: 9
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
What makes you interesting? I have been a professional host, singer, and actress for 14 years. I used to do stunt shows and ride a bull. I backpacked around Europe. I lived in Nashville to sing and write country music. I teach line dancing. I now host my own adventure show, Monica Goes. I love hiking, camping, traveling, and trying new adventures.
If your personality was a city or country, what would it be? Definitely America! I’m loud, ambitious, love road trips and national parks as well as dreaming big.
What item will you never leave home without? My phone because I record all of my shows on it.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels? I’m stronger and more capable than I imagined and don’t need to wait for people to go and that people are amazing everywhere.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go? Either Banff National Park in Canada, Alaska or Iceland. Basically anywhere with pretty snowy mountains and adventure.
What is your favorite travel memory? Probably making it to the top of Angels Landing because I have a huge fear of heights and that was quite the accomplishment.
Next travel destination: New Orleans to shoot a Halloween episode.
Total countries visited: 36
Current city: Denver, Colorado
What makes you interesting: I haven’t let motherhood slow me down and I work to inspire other Moms to continue pushing boundaries, even with kids. Travel is one of the most interesting and fun ways to push boundaries. Instead of sitting at an all inclusive, I believe families will have more fun, learn more and transform more by traveling deeply and independently.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Hand’s down my favorite travel memory was the month we all spent in Central America this summer. Too many adventures to pick just one.
What does “Travel” mean to you: Any time you leave home your traveling. When you get out of your daily routine your traveling. Pushing boundaries and getting out of your comfort zone is traveling. Returning home having learned something or seen something new is travel.
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: I’ve lived overseas for stretches of a few months, so I guess that’s my longest time on the road.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: It seems simple, but I only travel with facial cleansing cloths (never liquid face wash). This saves room, weight, you can check them, and they double as exfoliant and make up remover wipes.
Best travel advice: Just get out there and travel! Make it a priority. Traveling will enhance your life more than anything else in the world. This is especially hard for busy Moms, but just doing it, leaving home together is the first, and most often the most difficult, step.
Next travel destination: Italy
Francis Tapon from Wanderlearn with Francis Tapon.
Current city: Walvis Bay, Namibia
Total countries visited: 100
What makes you interesting: Most travel bloggers travel haphazardly around the world, without a theme and without continuity. A few focus on a theme, like food throughout the world. However, most are aimlessly running around with there only purpose is to visit all the countries in the world.
What makes me special is that I focus on a region for several years and then write a book about that region. For example, I walked across America four times and wrote Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America.Then I spent 3 years in 25 Eastern European countries, which I covered in The Hidden Europe. And now I’m spending 5 years in all 54 African countries to produce The Unseen Africa.
Best travel advice: Don’t be scared of “scary” countries.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Walking. I’ve walked across America 4 times and walked across Spain twice; I’m currently climbing to the tallest peak of every African country.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: I love crickets in Niger. They’re well spiced and crunchy. Delicious source of protein!
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: A Jacks ‘R Better sleeping bag. Combined with a tent and a pad, you can sleep anywhere.
What does “Travel” mean to you: It just means moving somewhere, but you probably want something less literal. So it’s ideally about getting out of your comfort zone.
Next travel destination: South Africa.
Amanda Williams from A Dangerous Business.
Current city: Cleveland, Ohio
Total countries visited: I believe I’m at 39 countries right now!
What makes you interesting: Well, I’m a woman and I tend to travel alone (which to some people makes me interesting). And I also am not a permanent traveler – I work full-time and fit travel into a more “normal” lifestyle (though, admittedly I work remotely and so can work from anywhere).
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Make new memories. And take lots of photos.
Most magical place on earth: New Zealand – it’s Middle-Earth, after all!
What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled: Furthest north: either Fairbanks, Alaska or Reykjavik, Iceland. Furthest south: Bluff, New Zealand. Furthest east: Rotorua, New Zealand (did you know that Gisborne, NZ is the first to see the sun each day?). Furthest west: I suppose Hawaii?
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: Walking. A lot. I love to wander around different neighborhoods and take photos. I’m also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so you can often find me doing some adventurous things, too.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: That the world is not as scary or dangerous as the media would like us to believe. Regardless of race or language or religion, most people all want more or less the same things out of life. If you travel with an open mind, you’ll realize what an incredible world we live in – you’ll learn so much both about other people and yourself.
Next travel destination: I’m headed to Iceland for some winter adventures in November!
Dave from Dave’s Travel Corner.
Total countries visited: I stopped counting after 100 – Currently, I am somewhere around 130 countries and territories. I plan to reach 150 in the next two to three years.
Current city: California
Next travel destination: Saskatoon, Canada
What makes you interesting: I have a rounded perspective on the globe based on extensive travels, and a diversity of interests and contacts in various industries. My interest is in sharing this information and contacts where it can benefit others.
I am also working on a unique and intense project in Napa Valley, California, called The Napa Wine Project. I have visited, tasted and written reviews of more than 800 Napa wineries and producers.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: I’ve always been drawn to Los Angeles for a number of reasons that mirror my own interests; the “can-do” attitude, inspiring creativity for passionate artists and housing cutting edge work of brilliant scientists and engineers. There is a unique cultural diversity where you often have a large population living away from their native countries. Los Angeles is classy, has a lot of character and the weather is generally mild year round.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: The freedom of being on the road, visiting new parts of the world and letting my travels develop as they happen in the moment (rather than planning all the details).
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I prefer traveling with someone to share experiences rather than traveling solo.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: “Road Warriors” who are well traveled and have the gritty stories to prove it. They are not tied down and live day-to-day with few material possessions.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Any memory that involves shared experiences with friends over the hardships and rewards of climbing tall and visually inspiring mountains. When you are fortunate enough to wake up and watch the sun rise over jagged peaks somewhere among the world’s greatest mountain ranges (the Himalayas or the Andes). There is a feeling of unique accomplishment combined with scenery unsurpassed by any other and these moments are fueled by adrenaline. There’s no other feeling like it.
Megan and Mike from Mapping Megan.
Current city: Canberra, Australia
Total countries visited: 38
What makes you interesting: We are full time adventure travelers who make a living online! This type of lifestyle is quickly catching on and those who give up their “normal” reality of 9-5 to travel and work from the road are called Digital Nomads.
Most magical place on earth: Iceland is by far one of the most unique locations in the world; one of the last untouched destinations left on earth. It’s exotic, naturally beautiful, and largely untouched by tourism which we absolutely love. Majestic glaciers grind their way through cracked lava fields, gushing geysers explode with a powerful force, glittering ice caps pierce the sky, and vibrant green fjords rise from the midst of geothermal lagoons. Iceland is very raw and very real – it’s truly the most naturally beautiful and unique location on earth! Visit Mapping Megan for tips on taking an epic Icelandic road trip!
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Car – we love the freedom and flexibility of a roadtrip; it’s hassle and stress free in terms of the process you have to deal with when flying (customs, immigration, flight delays etc), and you see and experience more of a destination than you do via any other means of transport, taking in the small towns and hidden local gems along the way to your destination. Related: How to Stay Entertained on a Road-Trip.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Advantages include your costs being split in two, safety in numbers, someone to take care of you, and shared bag space…which rocks! Also, some experiences are just better shared. There is absolutely nothing better or more rewarding than experiencing the world with your best friend. There is something truly special about sharing a moment with another person – and you’re not as lonely!
Traveling as a couple also generally means you see more. Two sets of eyes have proven to be better than one, and two different ways of interpreting the world has led to more enriching travel experiences.
Describe yourself in three words: Adventurous, curious, daring
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: HeyLets – it’s a social city guide powered by locals and built on positivity. There are no negative reviews to wade through, on HeyLets everything is a recommendation. Download here: http://hey.li/1GIVwQ4
Next travel destination Australia
Joel Harris from Exposured Photography.
Current city: I just moved back to the U.S. from Doha, Qatar. But currently I’m sitting in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Total countries visited: 39 and counting… given my trips tend to be of short duration (over holidays and weekends), I also tend to visit countries multiple times.
What makes you interesting: If it’s not the fact that I’m obsessive about travel (I once traveled to over two dozen countries in a year because a colleague said it wasn’t possible with only five weeks of vacation), it would probably be the fact that I have an extremely broad and spontaneous approach to travel. It’s not unlikely that you might find me flying international business class to arrive at a $5 a night hostel, or booking a reward flight an hour before a red eye departs to a country I’ve never visited, or spending my holiday with a tour guide I just met, or showing up to a train station with a few mates to play train roulette (buy a ticket to the destination with the next departure time).
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: That’s an interesting question. Maybe Singapore. When I think of Singapore, I think of the diversity – not only the cultural diversity but from a travel perspective too. Fast paced to easy going, high end to budget. Now if I could only speak the four official languages…
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: I recall feeling the most culture shock during and immediately following a 10-day trip to Peru back in 2006. It was the first time I’d visited a developing country and seen such poverty. I realized upon returning home the experience created for me a strong awareness of how happy people could be with almost nothing, living simply.
What do you put in your carry on luggage: As a general rule I never check luggage. So, I have to pack the essentials in two carry on bags. I also wind up with a lot of electronics – my camera gear and laptop. Of course, I always carry a koozie and cigars.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: Experiences. But I do have a couple of other items I am partial to… Tibetan bowls from Nepal, handmade stainless elephant bar glasses from Thailand, a $1 handmade traditional coffee pot from Ethiopia, and a fine set of chopsticks from Singapore.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: Fried buffalo skin with iced Beer Laos – where I was the only foreigner at a local bar in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Next travel destination: I’m currently beginning a six week trip to Southeast Asia – Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. When I get back, I think South America is likely.
Kristin Luna from Camels & Chocolate.
Current city: Nashville, Tennessee
Total countries visited: I’ve always been more focused on collecting experiences rather than passport stamps; however, I know the number is upward of 100 as I lived in Europe on two different occasions, making it easy to cover a lot of ground at once, and also have worked on the communications team for four different voyages with Semester at Sea, which was a great way to discover a lot of the world I wouldn’t necessarily see by land.
What makes you interesting? I’ve been working in the media for more than a decade, so I share a good amount of insight about the journalism/magazine world, but also write a lot about attainable travel. I’ve never been a permanent nomad—nor is that anything I want out of life, while it’s a great existence for many—so I like to show others that you can balance a career, a family and a home with steady travel, whether it’s weekend road trips from your own town or far-flung international vacations.
What does “Travel” mean to you? Travel isn’t about how far you go, but rather what you make—and get out—of that experience.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels? I mainly use my phone for photography and Instagram, so I’m a big fan of Snapseed and VSCO for post-processing images.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling? Part of my “day job” includes interviewing celebrities, which range from Tom Hanks to Steven Tyler to Taylor Swift, so I’ve met my share of colorful personalities, both on the road and at home. However, the ones that stick out in my mind are the relationships that have developed by chance occurrences, the most meaningful being Ellen, a Norwegian I met on a flight from Iceland to New York nearly a decade ago who has become one of my dearest friends despite an ocean separating us physically.
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip? Multiple cameras! As part of the flashpacker generation, I love to document everything I see, and you never know when technology might fail you. On any given trip, I likely have my iPhone, at least one GoPro model, my Canon DSLR and maybe even a smaller point and shoot.
What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled? West, I went to the Cook Islands several years ago, and it remains one of my favorite trips to date. East would be New Zealand, though I’ve also visited Australia and Tasmania on a couple different occasions. I still have yet to check Antarctica off the list, so South Africa and Brazil would be my southernmost jaunts. And I’m lucky enough to have traveled on an expedition boat up to the Arctic Circle, so I have gone as far north as the 80 degree parallel!
Next travel destination: I’m heading to one of my favorite U.S. cities, Charleston, for my sister’s engagement party, then off on a dive trip to Aruba and Bonaire with friends the following week.
John Taggart from Storytime With John.
Current city: Seoul, South Korea
Total countries visited: I don’t count…I don’t like the idea of counting, it’s more about the experiences for me rather than checking off numbers – that feels a little too Terminator for my liking.
Next travel destination: A surprise return to England for a few days actually, to visit one of my brothers, and my grandfather who have both just got out of hospital. (Shhhh, it’s a secret – so don’t ruin it!)
What makes you interesting: Hmm…well am I interesting? That’s more for other people to say I suppose. I think that always having a funny and/or awkward travel tale to tell is a bit of a plus, but I’m also always more than ready to hear other people’s stories – I love that we all have gems to share with one another if only we take the time to listen.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Take a leisurely stroll around the area straight after dropping your bags, don’t have a destination in mind…just know you will circle around eventually. Take in everything; the people, the interactions, the smells, the sounds – everything. Immerse yourself in the culture and atmosphere and remind yourself you will soon be back in your armchair at home, so you should treasure every second of this new experience…
Then look for the restaurant which is packed out with local people…that’s a good indication it is something you’ll want to try! Chow down, and get what they all seem to be enjoying! It’ll probably be a lot cheaper too – win win!
What was your worst travel experience: My worst travel experiences have only served to later become my funniest travel stories – so I don’t hold any grudges…but they’re have been some really, really awful moments along the way. Being attacked my blood sucking leeches in a Nepalese jungle wasn’t so fun, neither was witnessing public pooping in China, or getting frostbite in the Arctic Circle…but hey, you’ve got to take the good with the bad…and you can always laugh at these things later. I promise you that.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: The emphasis for me with travelling is always enriching yourself within other cultures so that hopefully you can come away with a broader and more diversified mind in the process – I know that travel has changed me as a person.
But I must give an honorable mention for that rather surreal (apologies for the greatly overused word) feeling of seeing something in person…you’ve watched documentaries, you’ve looked at photos, and scanned through books, and whatever else…and now here you are, staring up at this thing you have only been able to dream about in the past.
What item will you never leave home without: I hate that I’m going to say this, but it’s my smart phone…as a self confessed oaf I need its brains to help me in every walk of life, never mind when I’m travelling. But mind you it does comes in handy for travel playlists, looking up information, and my favourite tool of all GPS navigation…I enable this feature whenever I’m getting in a foreign taxi as it cuts out the chance of the driver taking a humongously long and unnecessary detour just so they can charge you more…seriously such a time and money saver. Expect some huffing and puffing though.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: You learn a lot about yourself, but also human beings in general – of which you are one (hopefully you knew that already, I shouldn’t have to teach you that!) I love that this is something you pick up whilst travelling as it really makes you feel like you have unity as universal people…so we like different foods, and wear different clothes, so what? We all want the same things at a basic level, and can share our cultures with one another so we can both be enriched by them! I mean come on, how beautiful is that?! Just open your eyes, and your heart to these things…learn not to say no so much.
Rachael Wilson from The Travel Thread.
Current city: Yokohama, Japan
Total countries visited: 30 and counting!
Next travel destination: British Columbia, Canada.
What makes you interesting: Every few years, the wanderlust hits. I sell everything I own, pack a few suitcases, close my eyes, and pick a place on the map. It’s usually without a job, a plan, or a place to live- but everything always works out in the end. I try to live each day as if it could be the last. As Eleanor said, “If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.”
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried, and where: Living in Japan for 2 years, I’ve eaten everything from raw horse sashimi to the tip of a shark’s fin floating in my sake. But probably the most interesting food I’ve ever tried was also the most deadly- fugu, the Japanese puffer fish. The intestines and liver contain a poison called tetrodotoxin, which is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide. If it’s not prepared correctly, a single fish contains enough toxin to kill 30 people. Although exciting, the taste itself is actually quite mild.
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: My hand-held sewing machine. My top two passions in life are travel and sewing. What can I say…some people bring books to the beach, I bring my portable sewing machine and a pair of pants to hem.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Train. It’s fast, efficient, and allows you to see a lot of different landscapes. I also love the train culture. You can learn a lot about a place and its people inside a coach car! One of my favorite memories is riding the bullet train to Kyoto.
Most magical place on Earth: I recently returned from a trip to New Zealand, which I swear is the land of rainbows. I have never driven through such beautiful landscape. Within hours, you can switch from lush, sprawling countryside to remote beaches followed by misty, magical mountains. It’s unreal.
Where and when were you most culture shocked: India takes the cake for culture shock. I thought I was prepared- I wasn’t. The first surprise came when first stepping into the streets of India – chaotic traffic, animals weaving throughout, piles of trash alongside the road and extreme, severe poverty. I was then shocked by how differently society is run, even in today’s modern world. But, I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the local customs and traditions. Turns out that eating different Indian foods using only your hand, no utensils, is actually really fun!
Megan and Henry from The Borderless Project.
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
Age: Megan is 23 and Henry is 27
Total countries visited: We’ve visited 26 countries, 9 of them together.
What makes you interesting: We have so many differences and such different backgrounds; it’s like traveling even when we aren’t. We’re always learning something new about each other’s culture and background, which definitely keeps it interesting for us and we hope for those who follow our blog as well.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Cuba in a heartbeat!
What is the best part about having a travel partner: Being able to experience a new destination through our very different perspectives. One of us is from Peru and the other is from the US, and with totally different life histories, we can see these destinations through a million different lenses. Sharing this is one of the coolest things of having any travel partner! And having a shoulder to sleep on when the bus rides get too long.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Eat. Find a local, ask them what their favorite dish is, and where they get it- then go! If we’re lucky, they’ll join us.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: Definitely our wedding present for Henry’s brother that we found in the Amazon. In the Peruvian Amazon you can find all of these herbal alcohols that have very bold claims as Aphrodisiacs (along with outrageous names). We went to the Belen market in Iquitos and we chose, “Siete Vezes Sin Sacarlo” (we’ll let you translate that). The woman selling this drink at the market cautioned us that it was very powerful, wrapped it in gold paper and we brought it back for their wedding gift. They’re a family with a great sense of humor and it was one of the few souvenirs you find that can’t be bought anywhere else!
What is your most favorite travel memory: We’ve been lucky to travel so many places over the last year together, it’s hard to choose, but we narrowed it down to two. 1) Visiting the Amazon. It was one of the most incredible places either of us have been, and nothing can compare to falling asleep in our hut with the Amazonian rain pounding on the roof after a day of holding wild animals, visiting our guide’s village and family in the middle of nowhere, and swimming at sunset alongside piranhas and pink dolphins. 2) Meeting at the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. It was a bucket list item for both of us, and without this there wouldn’t be The Borderless Project!
Next travel destination: Road tripping the West Coast of the US (trying to go from the Mexican border to Seattle, WA!) and then Southeast Asia!
Carey Carpenter from Carebear Abroad.
Current city: Prague, Czech Republic – my “homebase” where I reside as an english teacher when I am not traveling.
Total countries visited: 37 Countries! Leaving June 20th for a month of adventure, and will be adding 3 more to that list to make 40 total.
What makes you interesting: I believe that inspiration and motivation comes in all forms for different people. For me, when I travel I have this fuzzy feeling like I’m “home.” I aspire to inspire others trough my traveling to be vulnerable and help them understand that it’s ok to do things out of the ordinary. I don’t travel to impress people, only to impact people!
What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: If there are two words that just don’t go together its “heels” and “cobblestones.” The most impractical item I have ever packed was a pair of heels in Europe! I know as girls we try to be cute and get dolled up for a night out. BUT…heels, cobblestone streets, and Europe just don’t mix. Trust me. To add to that, they are usually heavy and take up a lot of room in your suitcase.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: What I enjoy the most is exploring by foot at my own pace with my camera. No specific tour, no plans, no expectations. Just seeing where that destination leads me. You could say a day of true “wanderlusting.”
Where did you go for your first travel experience, and what age: Growing up my family always took family vacations somewhere new every year. But it wasn’t until my first trip abroad without my parents where I truly was bitten by the travelbug. I was 20 years old, in college, and I studied abroad in Brazil, I loved it so much I did another study abroad the following year in Trinidad and Tobago.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: Right now I really like using the Triposo App for downloadable and offline maps. I also like Trip it because it helps to organize all the flights, trains, airbnbs, hotels, tickets etc all in one centralized place It’s the worst feeding through your email in a country where you cant pick up good wifi to find your confirmation number. It is just set in your calendar and ready to go!
When and where you the most culture shocked: Out of all the places I have been, the biggest culture shock would be Thailand. The lifestyle, the rich culture, the food, the crazy tuk tuk drivers, long tail boats, spearfishing. I mean you just don’t experience that every day!
Next travel destination: Turkey, Israel, and Egypt (Whoo Whoo insert my happy face!!).
Jeremy Foster from Travel Freak.
Current city: Jerusalem, Israel
What makes you interesting? I’ve been traveling the world for five years. I’m a blogger by day and a bartender by night!
Total countries visited Around 20 countries in total.
What does “travel” mean to you? To me, travel is growth. It’s learning about yourself and constantly creating and re-creating yourself as you explore the world around us. Travel means something different to everyone, but the lessons that one can walk away with are invaluable and can never be learned in any university.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels? It’s very easy to be a certain person when people are surrounding you. When you travel solo, however, you learn about the deepest parts of yourself, because you discover who you truly are when nobody else is watching and your behavior doesn’t matter to anyone except yourself. I have learned incredible amounts of independence, confidence, and patience during my five years of travel.
Best thing you have bought during your travels? Flights! To be honest, I don’t buy much. I travel very simply, with only my necessities–iPhone, MacBook, DSLR, tech accessories, and clothes. For a closer look at what I travel with, including my bags, camera gear, and more, check out my recommended travel gear.
What is the longest period of time you have been away from home? My first jaunt to Australia was only supposed to last six months, but it ended up lasting three and a half years! Sorry, mom.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels? I enjoy the simple things. Trying to see all the attractions of a city can become exhausting and, frankly, you don’t learn much about the local culture or people. I love sitting in cafes and restaurants, people watching, eating and drinking coffee, and chatting with locals. It’s much more relaxing, and you meet all kinds of interesting people. That being said, I also love adventure and extreme sports, so you can often find me jumping off of bridges (naked!) in New Zealand, hiking volcanoes in Ecuador, soaring through the air in Laos, or trekking through mountains in southwestern China.
Next travel destination: I just got back from Jordan, and my next stop is Egypt. Here I come!
Randy and Bethany from Beers and Beans.
Current city: Venice, Italy
Age: Randy 37; Bethany 39
What makes you interesting?: Randy: I like big, brown eyes and I cannot lie. Bethany: I used to have a pet rooster who had his own diaper.
Total countries visited: 21
Most magical place on Earth: Randy: Italy, she never disappoints. Bethany: Venice, Italy
What is the best part about having a travel partner? Randy: Beth is the founder and maker at Speakeasy Travel scarves, so I always have an awesome hidden-pocket scarf when we travel. Bethany: Always having someone to share travel experiences with…and figure out transportation—Randy’s specialty.
What Was your best and worst travel experience?: Randy: (Best) Watching the sunrise over a black sand beach in Iceland was pretty spectacular. We slept in our car at a campground, so we were up before dawn and by the time we got out to the rocky coastline, the sky was electric. (Worst) Seeing Beth so sick in Morocco. It broke my heart. Bethany: (Best) My most ecstatic travel moment was visiting Lacedonia, Italy, and finding long lost family members while we were there. We ended up spending three days in the tiny hill town and it was like a dream come true. (Worst) Being sick in Morocco was pretty painful and agonizing—that was definitely one of my worst travel memories.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go? Randy: Fiji. Bethany: Maldives
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling? Randy: When asking for directions or advice—say, for example, which bus to take—always ask two different people, preferably women. Bethany: Expect nothing. Enjoy everything.
Next travel destination? Lake Como to hang with George T. Clooney; though, he doesn’t know it yet.
Melissa Telan from Mel Likes To Travel.
Current city: Tokyo, Japan
What makes you interesting: I’ve lived in five different cities in four different countries (for work and or study) and had to learn the ways of living (including language) in those places. This fundamentally changed me in a way I never expected. It’s as if I’ve split my soul into four and I couldn’t help but return to those places to visit the piece of me I’ve left behind. Which is why I’m in Japan now, my home for three years, recapturing that moment in time when I used to live here. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Total countries visited: 31
Most magical place on Earth: British Columbia, Canada
What do you enjoy most during your travels: I enjoy interacting with people the most — fellow travelers and locals alike.
Tantalizing my senses with new sights, smells and sounds is great, and I’m always delighted to see new places, especially natural wonders. But the real reason why I’m addicted to travelling is because it allows me to meet people from all corners of the globe, and learn what they value, how they think, how we are different and how we are the same. Connecting with others is the best thing about travelling!
I just wish I knew more languages so I could connect with more people. At the moment I’m doing a homestay with a Japanese family in Tokyo, Japan, speaking just Japanese at home, so that I could improve my spoken Japanese and be able to connect on a deeper level with locals on my subsequent visits to this country.
Best thing you have bought during your travels: A small travel notebook, to scribble summaries of how the day went. This helps me remember the things I saw or prices of the goods I bought so I could write about them in my blog and personal diary.
Who is the most interesting person you met while traveling: A nun who became my travel buddy for an afternoon while traveling through Sagada in the Philippines. She was at least twenty years older than me but climbed mountains faster than me!
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: Grin and bear it during the first few days — try not to sleep though you feel sleepy and sleep only when it’s time to do so at your current city. Your body clock will adjust quicker. Also, drink lots of water!
Next destination: Pretoria, South Africa to attend the wedding of a friend whom I met while traveling through Europe two years ago (we’ve kept in touch since).
Adam Groffman from Travels of Adam.
Current city: Berlin—the best city in the world!
Age: 30 — and loving it!
What makes you interesting: In 2010 I quit my job as a graphic designer in Boston and went on a 15+ month trip around the world. The journey took me to places like North Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. Since 2011 I’ve been living in Berlin—Europe’s most hipster city. Now, I publish a series of hipster city guides to highlight the best things to see & do in some of the world’s most gay-friendly cities.
Total countries visited: Not enough
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I’ve learned a lot during my travels—some good things, some bad. I’ve learned to live a little bit recklessly, to never stop asking questions and to always eat the local food. The most important thing I’ve learned is to just be open to new experiences and see where life will take you.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: I once ate balut (fertilized duck embryo) in Vietnam. That was pretty special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l5JWckgfJE
What item will you never leave home without: A pen. I have this constant desire to write things down and it’s hard to do so without a pen.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: Twitter is definitely my favorite travel app – you can use it to share about the trip, but the Twitter search function is also great at finding nearby Twitter users and asking for tips.
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: India had a big impact on me during my round-the-world trip. It’s a tough place to describe—the culture is so different and the people so amazing and interesting. I spent three months there and I still can’t always find the words to describe it. The only one that works consistently is to say that India was “incredible.” And it really was.
Next travel destination: I’m going to Manchester, England for the first time next month. I’m excited to see somewhere in the UK other than London!
Audrey Bergner from That Backpacker.
Current city: Kingston, Canada
What makes you interesting: I’m incredibly curious about the world and the cultural diversity that exists on our planet. Combine that with my need to document it all and you’ve got yourself a camera-toting, videocamera-wielding travel blogger who perhaps carries a little too much technology wherever she goes.
Total countries visited: Somewhere around 40.
Most magical place on Earth: Wadi Rum. There’s something mesmerizing and incredibly serene about the Jordanian desert.
What does “travel” mean to you: Travel is an opportunity to understand people better.
The most useful thing you have brought on a trip: A good book to pass time. I like reading about other people’s journeys when I travel, so I really enjoy anything by Paul Theroux.
What is your favorite app to use during your travels: GoogleMaps. Pretty standard but I need it to find my way around.
Your most favorite travel memory: Coming around the bend and seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. It was shrouded in clouds, but there was enough of a break to reveal the Lost City below. It was pure magic!
Next travel destination: South Africa! I’m spending 3 weeks on a road trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
Nora Dunn from The Professional Hobo.
Current city: Pisac, Peru
What makes you interesting: In 2006, I sold everything I owned (including a busy financial planning practice) to embrace my dreams of traveling the world long-term, volunteering and working around the world, and embracing local cultures from the inside out. I’ve been on the road ever since, traveling full-time and making a living with my laptop and an internet connection. On my own website, I teach people how to travel full-time in a financially sustainable way.
Total countries visited: 50+
Most magical place on Earth: One thing I’ve learned in my years on the road is that although a specific destination is crucial in its own way, the “magic” moments we have on the road have more to do with who we’re with, what we’re doing, and our emotional state of being at the time. The most beautiful sunset on earth could be a tragic sight if you’ve just had your heart broken. Likewise a little beach town could be a sleepy bore if you’re stuck with just tourist sights, or an out-all-night never-to-be-forgotten experience if you’re invited to a local wedding. Having said that, I haven’t actually answered the question. Four such places where I’ve found magic and have returned to (or plan to return to) are New Zealand, Corsica, Nepal, and Peru (where I’m currently living).
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: One of my favorite pieces of travel gear is the Hoboroll, which organizes and compresses most of my miscellaneous stuff. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to travel full-time with carry-on luggage only.
What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Everything! After years of schlepping checked bags around, I narrowed down my travel entourage to just what fits in a carry-on bag. I love the ease and convenience of it, and I don’t miss for much. Here are some of my tips on how to travel ultralight with carry-on luggage only.
What is your most favorite mode of transportation when you travel: I’m a complete evangelist for train travel. As such, I’ve done some epic train journeys; for example in Australia, I covered 16,000kms of train tracks, 11,000kms of which I did in 11 days (straight) – all to see if it’s possible to get bored on a train. I didn’t get bored; in fact those train trips, along with a mammoth journey I took from Lisbon to Saigon in 30 days (25,000kms, all by train) form the basis of my book Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Maybe New Zealand. It offers a little bit of everything, and is a very friendly place. As with me: I have a little bit of everything in me as well (including a large and random collection of life experiences like bungee jumping and skydiving – both big in New Zealand) – and I’m pretty friendly too!
Next travel destination: I’m going to spend a month in the jungles of Peru at the end of May.
Current city: Portland, Oregon
What makes you interesting: Usually when I have an idea for a travel story or video, I hear “that’s not travel.” That’s why I ended up using Billy Joel lyrics as a guidebook to Long Island, trained with the Mounties in Saskatchewan, counting moustaches across Russia, and threw the 100th birthday for the Manhattan Bridge in New York.
Total countries visited: I don’t know. A few dozen? I really am to the point of being destination-agnostic, so I don’t keep track. Where there’s people, there’s a way to like it loads — and probably get some fudge.
Most magical place on Earth: Home after a long trip. You see it anew. Like a traveler. I think, in the end, that’s the ultimate point of it all: understanding where you’re from better.
Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: I really have a hard time answering this. Last year I met a Wyoming geologist with triumphant sideburns who sputtered out more off-the-cuff travel creeds than you could get in a book of inspirational quotes. Like “if you don’t like where you are, look at your feet.” He taught me so much about the dips in landscapes, the pebbles we pass. Plus he made me a tuna sandwich.
What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: A Stalinist Yakut woman in Siberia handed me a goblet of horse milk and a skewer of cold horse meat at a sun festival. Then she bear-hugged me. The horse meat didn’t taste good. I didn’t say that, nor did I confess that I’m not a Stalinist.
Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag: I got to fly with Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, to Iceland once. And I asked him this question. He said, “ignore it.” Just ignore it.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: It’s an adult’s last chance at “playing.” Like we did when we were kids? Playing? Just creating our own fun? So I think I try to tap into the things I dreamed of at age 10 or 12, and let trips make them real. It’s built-in wonder, personalized wonder. Like hanging with Civil War reenactors, playing hockey with kids in Gretzky’s old town Edmonton, trying out as a Mountie, using a Monopoly board as a guidebook to seeing its namesakes around Atlantic City. That’s how travel can patch our punctured dreams.
Next travel destination: St Lucia. And I’m packing a clarinet. I’ll try to get clarinet lessons in the hopes I can better understand how local life goes there. And maybe learn some scales.
Jess Piet from Jessundressed.
Current city: Chicago, IL
What makes you interesting: I want to know how the people who live and work where I visit are doing. What’s their story? How do their endeavors today play into their daily lives? I talk to people but most importantly, listen . This gives more insight into the reality of the lives of those actually living in the place I’m visiting. I end up with priceless experience and inspiring stories.
Total countries visited: 9
Most magical place on Earth: Santa Monica Twilight Series Pier Concert. People come together in the thousands to celebrate music and life itself. The beach is packed with people dancing, twirling hoola-hoops and having (seriously decked-out) picnics. It’s a sight right out of a movie with social energy that is the essence of life. Not to mention- it’s free!
What does “travel” mean to you: My opportunity to learn. Bring on the weird!
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I’ve got an insatiable appetite for learning how history is reflected in my destination’s present culture, checking out region-specific wildlife and getting stuck in a little wild weather – watching Mother Nature do her thing!
What is the longest period of time that you have been away from home: A year and a half Beach-bound in Santa Monica.
Best thing you bought during your travels: Surfing lessons.
Next travel destination: New York City
Sora from A New Yorker’s Point of View.
Current city: I live in New York City.
Total number of countries visited: I surprised myself when I added up the number and it came to 30.
What was the most magical place on earth that you visited: I don’t know that I can think of a magical place that I’ve visited but rather I can think of two places where I had very magical experiences. That would be when I traveled to Kenya and to Kruger Park (in South Africa) to go on safari. Getting up early, getting on the jeep and roaming the parks and seeing lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes and many more wild animals in their own habitat is just magical. It’s really an experience that everyone should give themselves at some point in their lives!
What makes you interesting: My gosh, this question took me by surprise because I don’t get up in the morning and think to myself, Sora, “You’re an interesting person!” So all I can say about me and the word interesting is that having visited 30 countries and having met people from all of those cultures, I’m sure that it has spread some pixie dust on parts of me, which travel adventure will do to anyone which will automatically make them more “pixie dusted” as well!
What is your most favorite travel memory: My most favorite travel memory is when I was in Johannesburg on the last day of my trip in South Africa. I had a late evening flight and so I booked a morning and early afternoon tour called Walking with the Lions. So when we arrived at this amazing African farm (www.horsebackafrica.com), we were greeted by Colin and his lovely wife Theony who immediately took our lunch order before our walk with the lions… Then Colin briefed on how to let the lions (who were 6 months old) know that we were in charge and not them! Then we walked with the lions and it was an incredible experience. Of course I was a bit anxious but I knew that we were in good hands. Then we actually got to feed the baby lions who were not more than two or three months old and that was also so amazing! When they’re that little you just think that they’re a cat-not a cat that’s going to become a big lion! So if you find yourself in Johannesburg, definitely check out Horse Back Africa. It’s an amazing experience!
Where did you go on your first travel experience: My first travel experience was over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday and I went to Cancun, Mexico.
What is the most interesting food that you have ever tried and where: Well, that’s a toughie because I’ve tried so many different foods in so many different countries. But I’d have to say that what makes a food interesting to me when I have it in another country and I love it, I ask myself, “will I be able to find it in New York or online?” So having said that, I’d have to say that the most interesting food that I discovered which I can find in New York is the samosa. Now I found the samosa in New Dehli, India and fell in love with it! A samosa is a fried or baked pastry which can be filled with spiced potatoes, onions, peas and lentils as well as as lamb, beef or chicken. But in the case of the Indian samosa, it’s usually vegetarian and it’s a very popular Indian entrée, appetizer or snack. So, I continue to enjoy having samosas to this day and that’s a great thing!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: I think that the biggest lesson that I have learned from traveling is to stay patient when things are frustrating and not as you’d like them to be. That you need to remain flexible and open minded to the new possibilities that don’t look like the ones you had planned. So I guess traveling has developed in many ways a very Laissez-Faire attitude and an acceptance of what is “is” and to roll with the very important “is” part!!
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is a trip to Australia and New Zealand. I’ve been on 5 continents and after my recent to Patagonia and Iceland-I’m kind of putting Antartica on hold. So I’d love to go to Australia and New Zealand because I’ve never been that way. But I definitely wouldn’t say no to a trip to Hawaii as well!
Next travel destination: Well, I just booked a fun Memorial Day weekend to Newport, Rhode Island and Block Island. It should be great!
Beth from Travels in Translation.
Current city: Chicago, IL
What makes you interesting: After getting my degree in East Asian Language and Culture, I moved to Asia. I’ve now been living abroad a total of three years trying to immerse myself even further and I’m loving every day of it! If you need recommendations regarding Asia, hit me up!
Total countries visited: 29
Most magical place on Earth: Isn’t that Disneyland? Honestly, while I do find anywhere Disney-related pretty magical, I must say Japan is actually deserving of that title! There’s just something so unique and alluring about Japan that keeps me going back. It’s truly a country unlike any other.
What does “travel” mean to you: To me travel is about understanding and accepting. I focus on assimilating with the local culture as much as I can when traveling in order to better understand their customs and traditions.
If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: This is a tough one! I think I’d head back to the Maldives. I could certainly use a trip to paradise right now!
What has been the most useful thing you have brought on a trip: I feel like I should have some crazy useful answer about something I brought on a trip that I Macgyvered into something useful, but unfortunately I don’t! I’m usually the one who forgets to pack crucial items like my toothbrush and extra socks.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I’ve honestly learned so much about myself when traveling. Most important I’ve learned to listen to my body and its needs (don’t let me go hungry or with little sleep!), but I’ve also learned how to be more patient and self-reliant.
Next travel destination: At the end of March I’ll be heading to Europe to explore Spain, Romania and Luxembourg before heading back to the US to explore three cities. It’ll be a crazy 4 weeks of non-stop travel, so make sure to follow along!
Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad.
Current city: San Diego, California
What makes you interesting: Well that’s debatable. I have my black belt in Taekwondo, and I’m allergic to figs. I guess that at least makes me unique 🙂
Total countries visited: 43
Most magical place on Earth: Iceland
What does “travel” mean to you: Travel is an opportunity to be full self-expressed and free of insecurity and doubt. It’s empowering.
What is your favorite mode of transportation: Do flippers count? I love to scuba dive!
What people say when they travel with you: “Can we sleep?” I have a tendency to seize the day and stay out all night when I’m traveling.
What is the furthest northern, eastern, western, and southern point you have traveled: Northern is Iceland. Eastern is North Island, New Zealand. Western is Canada and Southern is South Island, New Zealand.
Next travel destination: Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico!
Chris from Amateur Traveler.
Current city: San Jose, CA, USA
What makes you interesting: The podcast I do, Amateur Traveler, is used to teach English at Oxford University and to test for English comprehension in the Germany and Canadian schools systems as well as by the Thailand Foreign Ministry.
Total countries visited: 44 with 2 more planned for this week
Most magical place on Earth: Isn’t that Disneyland? Probably one of the most memorable trips for me was to Egypt. Not that Egypt, even then, didn’t have challenges, but the depth of history in that place is amazing.
What have you learned about yourself during your travels: I have learned to be more comfortable with being unfamiliar or even uncomfortable with different situations or different cultures. I have yet to find a place so remote or so foreign that I could not find something familiar.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Silicon Valley, where I live, not only fits my personality but perhaps describes it. Casual, hard working and not a little bit nerdy.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: I learned to travel with my parents. We would take long road trips pulling a small trailer around much of western USA and Canada. I watched the men first walk on the moon from a travel trailer park in Victoria, British Columbia.
What item will you never leave home without: My iPhone. It has my podcasts, contacts, passwords, internet, and social networks.
Next travel destination: I leave for Thailand Thursday on a press trip.
Yvonne from Just Travelous.
Current city: Berlin, Germany
What makes you interesting: I think the most interesting thing about me is that I am me. Like with every other person in this world there’s just one of my kind. I am a very open-minded person, I love to meet new people and hear the stories they have to tell. I love travelling solo without talking to anyone, just to immerge into nature and have time to talk to myself. I am extroverted and introverted at the same time. I love being an adventurer but in the same time I’m a chicken. I do things because my inner child wants me to do it, not because I’m super brave. Joss Whedon is my god and I absolutely eat dessert first.
Total countries visited: 40
Most magical place on Earth: My sofa. Just kidding, or am I? Besides my sofa in Berlin I’m a huge fan of Brandenburg, the state which surrounds Berlin. It’s a hidden gem and it’s one of the most beautiful places in Germany. Check out my blog post to see why I find Brandenburg the most magical place on earth! http://www.justtravelous.com/en/2014/07/brandenburg-germany/
What does “travel” mean to you: I think the most important thing in life is to find out what makes you happy and do this as often as you can. For me, it’s travelling by making people happy with my stories from the road and inspire them to do the same. Life needs to be lived and filled with things which makes you happy. In the end no one wants to say, “If I only…” but rather “Hell, yeah, what a ride!”
Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Can I say Munich? Urgh, I really don’t like this city.
What people say when they travel with you: “You must be kidding” is actually a sentence I hear often. I’m game for everything and nothing. That’s what my friends like about me, they know I’m totally into doing weird stuff and that they also can count on me when they just want to chill in our hotel room and watch TV shows.
What is the furthest northern, eastern, western, and southern point you have traveled: Northern is Norway. Eastern is Indonesia. Western is California and southern is South Africa.
Next travel destination: Thailand in March to go diving and enjoying some beach time.
Mark and Miranda from The Common Wanderer.
Current city: Melbourne, Australia
Age: Mark is 30 and Miranda is 27.
What makes you interesting: Hopefully many things! As a traveling couple, we started out as close friends for a few years before getting together… It’s definitely made the ups and downs of traveling together easier to handle! We both love adventures that take us off the beaten path which is where we find the most authentic experiences and as brand new bloggers we hope that this translates right through our site!
Total countries visited: 39
Most magical place on Earth: Given our plans for the future, we’d like to think we’re yet to discover this! At this point though, we’d have to say watching the sunset from above the clouds during our Kilimanjaro trek in Tanzania was pretty magical.
What does “travel” mean to you: Journeying somewhere totally foreign, exploring the unknown (and sometimes challenging) and embracing freedom.
Best travel advice: Allow yourself to get lost when you first arrive somewhere, it’s the best way to acquaint yourself with somewhere new.
Where and when were you most culture shocked: This has occurred many times, most recently in Uganda, Africa. The way of life is so vastly different, especially near the border of Rwanda/Congo. Subsistence farming is very different from inner city apartment living.
What is your favorite travel memory: There are so many, too many to list! However, if we had to pick from our travels together it would have to be Tanzania. We spent a month there in June last year climbing Kilimanjaro, going on Safari, and relaxing on Zanzibar. Three very unique experiences that all stood out in their own way!
Next travel destination: We’re still undecided! At this stage it looks like we’ll be heading back to Africa for a couple of months. South America is also very, very tempting!
Audrey from Uncornered Market.
Current city: Berlin, Germany
What makes you interesting: I took my first international trip at 5 weeks old (to India) and haven’t stopped traveling since!
Total countries visited: Around 85 countries.
Most magical place on Earth: Ooh, this is a tough one. We loved Nepal, Kyrgyzstan and Republic of Georgia.
What does “travel” mean to you: Travel to me is to be able to follow my curiosity to continually explore and learn.
Best travel advice: Follow your natural curiosity, don’t be afraid to engage with people and take it slow.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: To be able to share experiences with and talk about them at the end of the day over a glass of wine.
What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled: The furthest northern point is Tromso, Norway. The furthest southern point is Antarctica. Furthest eastern point is New Zealand, and the furthest western is California.
Next travel destination: Sri Lanka or Australia
Tammy from Tammy and Chris on the Move.
Current city: Arequipa, Peru
What makes you interesting: I guess what makes my life different from others is that I lived in five different countries on four different continents, have survived severe altitude sickness, eaten a tarantula, and drank a blended frog. I like adventures.
Total countries visited: 35
Most magical place on Earth: Machu Picchu, Peru
What does “travel” mean to you: Travel means exploring off the beaten track destinations, getting to know locals, and fully immersing yourself into the new culture.
Best and worst travel memory: My best memory was living with a local family in the Cambodian jungle, learning about their way of life, and exploring the jungle with them. There was no other tourists around. My worst travel memory was a scary attempted mugging in Rio during the World Cup. Nothing happened to me and the thieves didn’t get anything either, but it was scary nonetheless.
What is the best part about having a travel partner: It is nicer sharing a special travel moment with someone else I think, especially if you have both been dreaming about it for a while.
Best travel advice: Dare to do something new and travel off the beaten track. I have had some of my best travel experiences because I tried something new that not many other tourists have tried.
Next travel destination: I will be moving to Accra, Ghana. I am super excited to be able to explore more of Africa this year.
Kirsten Alana from Aviators and a Camera.
Current city: NYC
What makes you interesting: It’s hilarious that you asked this because I don’t think I am. When I told that to my friend Britt Reints, she told me “What makes you interesting to me is your obvious interest in the stories around you.” So let’s go with that. Thanks, Britt!
Total countries visited: I have no idea, I’ve never counted. It’s not about the numbers for me. It’s about the experiences. I do know though that I’ve been to every US state except Hawaii and Alaska.
Most magical place on Earth: Unfair question. For cities, I’d pick Paris. For landscapes I’d pick Scotland or Spain.
What does “travel” mean to you: I think of the literal definition first, the act of getting from place to place. The deeper meaning has something to do with an insatiable and unquenchable thirst for knowledge about the world outside my home and a constant need for experiences in places that are unfamiliar to me.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: I think I was 12, and my mother bought me my first passport so we could travel to England together. To this day I am still an Anglophile and a Francophile.
What is your most favorite travel memory: It is pretty hard to top my boyfriend flying over to join me in Paris for our fourth date. That was a dream come true.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I like simply wandering and trying local food only when I get hungry. Most of all taking lots and lots of photos of details at a location like cracked plaster, a bike resting against a wall, laundry hanging outside a home and the intricate details of a doorknob or iron railing.
Next travel destination: Scotland!
Rachel from Rachel Roams.
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
What makes you interesting: I love the world. That might not be particularly unique, as that’s why we’ve all connected via TWIP in the first place. But, that’s definitely a defining characteristic of my life, which is why I’ve spent the last 8 years telling the world’s stories on TV & online.
Total countries visited: Somewhere between 40 and 50, I think?
Most magical place on Earth: Iceland for the sensation that it’s Earth at its most dynamic. Patagonia for the vast expanses of space that include desert, mountain, glacier, and everything in between. Edinburgh for its history melding with present, plus the fact that lots of Scots actually believe in myth and magic!
What is your most favorite travel memory: Staying with Buddhist monks on a mountain in Japan. Watching the sun rise over a quiet corner of Tamil Nadu, India. Learning to ice climb in Colorado, paraglide in San Diego, and play softball with 600 kids in a village in Kenya. PLUS: Every time I’ve run into someone I know in a faraway land, from Thailand to Uruguay, the Cayman Islands to DC, it always reminds me just how interconnected our lives and planet really are.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: Get ready for exotic……. Michigan! Yep. Michigan. My family didn’t have the means to travel internationally when I was young, but we did always pack up the car and head from Ohio to Michigan during the summer, where I loved playing in the Lake, eating bear claw donuts, and trying to outrun my brothers.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Train! There’s nothing like sitting back, relaxing, and watching the world pass by just outside your window.
What was your worst travel experience: I’ve had some nerve-wracking travel experiences as a blonde woman, since I don’t blend in anywhere except maybe Germany and Sweden. As such, I immediately become recognized as a “foreigner,” usually deemed upon sight to have loose change and loose morals. Normally I take pains to keep myself out of unsafe scenarios (like walking alone at night, or displaying expensive camera and travel gear) however, that wasn’t enough to stop three punks from trying to mug me and a friend in broad daylight in Montevideo, Uruguay. Thankfully, there was a bare-chested, jort-wearing old fisherman nearby, who whipped out a Taser and zapped the dudes as they tried to mug us. Hooray for old fishermen!
Next travel destination: Tanzania and Zambia, January-February 2015!
Josie Claire from Gild Society.
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
What makes you interesting: I’ve lived in 3 different countries (on different continents), 3 states in the US, and 17 cities. I’m also finishing my Masters degree in Psychology so I have a pretty broad and unique perspective on travel, people and culture.
Total countries visited: 30 and counting
Most magical place on Earth: I think forests are so magical and ethereal, so I’d have to say Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park (Washington State) or Monteverde’s Cloud Forest in Costa Rica.
What does “travel” mean to you: I believe traveling is one of the most important things that helped me grow as a person. Traveling is our gateway to experiencing other ways of life, understanding different perspectives, and connecting with people we otherwise never would have known existed.
Where did you go for your first travel experience ad at what age: I’ve been a traveler since before I can remember! My first international trip was when I was 20 months old to the Philippines.
What is your most favorite travel memory: An impossible question to answer. It might be a tie between climbing to the top of Wayna Picchu to see the ruins of Machu Picchu hundreds of feet below, zip lining through the cloud forest in Costa Rica, and backpacking through Europe with my best friends. I really can’t decide!
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: I’d have to say France because it’s a good combination of history, culture, and gorgeous scenery. I’m all about that cafe lifestyle.
Next travel destination: The Yucatan Peninsula and Belize to dive the gorgeous cenotes and the Great Blue Hole! Can’t wait!
Brendan van Son from Brendan’s Adventures.
Current city: Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
What makes you interesting: Well, I travel a lot. I’ve been to about 80 countries and have done some crazy things like driving a scooter down the west coast of Africa from Bamako to Cape Town, solo. I’m also a professional travel photographer.
Total countries visited: About 80
Most magical place on Earth: Antartica is unreal. No question there.
What does “travel” mean to you: It means growth and learning something new everyday. It means finding a way out of your comfort zone to expand your mind, skills, or vision.
What was your best and worst travel experience: My best travel experience was driving my scooter down the west coast of Africa, which turned out to be a life changing in so many ways. My worst experience was being robbed of all my camera gear in Ecuador when I was already broke. That wasn’t fun at all.
When and where were you the most culture shocked: Honestly, it was when I went from Haiti to Ireland. For some reason Ireland messed with my mind by seeing cars driving on the wrong side of the road, the cost of food and drinks, the cold wind, the speed of people walking on the streets, and the crowds. Ireland was the only place in the world where I literally had to pull myself off the street and go sit a quiet park to get my wits back. Crazy, I know! China also was a culture shock, but it was to be expected.
What is the furthest northern, eastern, western, and southern point you have traveled: I’ve been to Antarctica which would be the farthest south. Iceland would be the farthest north. I traveled to Japan when I was 13, so that would be the farthest east. The farthest west would be Haida Gwaii in British Columbia.
Next travel destination: America, baby! I’m going on a big 2 month road trip in the southern states. I’m stoked about it! I love traveling the US.
Current city: I was born and I still live in the town of Pelhřimov, Czech Republic.
Age: 19 years
What makes you interesting: My followers on my social media sights enjoy my sense of finding the best place and the best moment for my breathtaking shots.
Total countries visited: About 19 countries but several of those I have visited multiple times.
Most magical place on Earth: Lofoten Islands and Senja Island are the most magical and beautiful places I have seen thus far. Another spectacular place is definitely Trolltunga in Norway.
What does “travel” mean to you: To me, traveling is just going somewhere, anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s the next town over, a new country or a continent on the other side of the world. The main purpose is to experience the fulfillment of happiness, adventure and knowledge of someplace new. Nature isn’t a place to visit. It’s our home. And I’d like to visit every corner of our home. I love to travel and the freedom that traveling provides by exploring, learning new things, and meeting new people.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: I prefer car transport. Then I like hiking and mountain biking.
What do people say when they travel with you: My close friends say, “You can´t find better person to travel with. He is full of ambition and the desire to explore new destinations. You can be sure that if you are with him, you will feel safe even in the most dangerous situations. It’s easy for him to find the right direction when traveling even if you are lost without a map and no wifi connection. He is very considerate, too, and that is what every woman appreciates. The most important thing is you will always have an unforgettable fun time with him! Every trip I went on with Tomas was the funniest and amazing experience of my young life. Now and in the next period of life we can reminisce on these experiences!”
What is your most favorite travel memory: That’s a very difficult question. I have many. The most powerful memories is when I sat on the edge of Trolltunga in Norway, a rock that’s situated 1100 meters above sea level, or when I balanced on the stone Kjerakbolten, also in Norway. These are experiences of a lifetime.
Next travel destination: I’m going to visit Spain and Andorra in January.
Mareen from Miss Everywhere.
Current city: Bangkok, Thailand
What makes you interesting: I quit my job in the corporate world to become a travel blogger and report about unique travel spots and concepts within the travel industry. I am very passionate about what I do and hope that gets reflected in my work.
Total countries visited: 30
Most magical place on Earth: There are too many beautiful places. One of the most magical is Cappadocia in Turkey with hundreds of balloons flying over this fairytale cave landscape every morning.
What does “travel” mean to you: Getting to know the world and life from new and different perspectives.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: My favorite mode of transportation is by plane. I love flying.
What people say when they travel with you: That having a travel blog is a lot more work then they thought.
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: Italy! A lifeloving mindset, delicious pasta, romantic cities and relaxing beaches.
Next travel destination: Koh Samui
Ryan Gargiulo from Pause The Moment.
Current city: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
What makes you interesting: I’m a full-time traveler who makes a living online and can travel/live anywhere in the world as long as it has a decent Internet connection.
Total countries visited: 30-something. 😉
Most magical place on Earth: I’d say the most magical place on Earth when it comes down to jaw dropping scenery is probably Lake Bled, Slovenia. Hot Air ballooning over the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey is a close second.
What does “travel” mean to you: I define traveling as exploring new destinations and more importantly, meeting new friends from around the world.
What is the furthest northern, eastern, western, and southern point you have traveled: I hate the cold so I rarely travel north. The most northern place I’ve been is Dublin, Ireland, eastern is Bali, western is California, and southern is Costa Rica
Next travel destination: U.S in March 2015 and cycling Europe summer 2015.
Rachel Morris from The Jetset Redhead.
Current city: San Antonio,Texas
What makes you interesting: I prefer intriguing…
Total countries visited: 18 and counting
Most magical place on Earth: Disneyworld
What does “travel” mean to you: Experiencing different cultures, sites, and cuisines that take you away from the norm.
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Walking because it’s the best way to see a city.
What was your worst travel experience: First time flying alone internationally there were massive weather delays and then my bags got lost.
What is your most favorite travel memory: Sitting on the hood of a range rover watching the sunset and drinking a gin & tonic after a wonderful day on Safari with my family.
Next travel destination: Technically Vegas but I want to do Australia or Thailand. I have yet to cross the Pacific.
Lauren from Lauren on Location.
Current city: Madrid, Spain
What makes you interesting: Well, this is a pretty subjective question! I guess just like any other Twipper, seeing the world is my great passion in life! It’s become such a part of me, and I don’t know if I’ll ever truly be happy without travel. I’m a new blogger, just starting out, and I’m not sure where it will take me, but for now I’m enjoying the ride!
Total countries visited: 21 and counting.
Most magical place on Earth: Oy, do I have to pick one?! How about 3?! Positano Italy, Sintra Portugal and my own backyard on Long Island, NY!
What does “travel” mean to you: For me travel is SO much! Travel allows me to open my eyes to diverse parts of the world and explore different places, cultures, peoples, foods, etc. I’ve learned to accept and understand parts of other cultures, as well as question parts of my own! Without a doubt, my travels have shaped me into who I am today!
What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Airplanes!! There is just something about looking down on our world from above that gives me an incredible high!
If your personality was a city or country, which one would it be: San Sebastian, Spain! It’s the perfect combination of everything I love: beautiful beach, incredible shopping, plenty of parks, friendly people and of course AMAZING FOOD!
What is your most favorite travel memory: Hmmm, it’s hard to pick just one! When I was younger I used to love to travel, especially by plane. I can still remember the feeling I used to get when I would throw together my tiny backpack before a trip. I would fill it with all kinds of activities (picture books, coloring books, journals) and of course snacks to keep myself busy while traveling! There was nothing like it.
Next travel destination: Galway, Ireland for my birthday! Than heading to the US for the holidays. After that Munich and Salzburg in January!
Travel Photographer Altug Galip.
Current city: Kyrenia, North Cyprus
What makes you interesting: I love colors and I think that it reflects happiness to people
Total countries visited: 18
Most magical place on Earth: I want to capture northern lights, North Pole… Bora Bora and Bahamas are also charming places for me.
What does “travel” mean to you: Happiness, excitement, and new adventures.
What people say when they travel with you: They say that I’m easy-going and punctual.
Best travel advice: Everyone should visit Paris and London.
What is your most favorite travel memory: When I was in Venice, by chance I took some photos of George Clooney after his wedding.
Next travel destination: Vienna, Hallstat and Bled(Slovenia).
Gary from Everything Everywhere.
Current city: Girona, Spain
What makes you interesting: I’ve been traveling non stop for almost 8 years.
Total countries visited: 105 UN member states, 170 Traveler’s Century Club Territories
Most magical place on Earth: South Georgia Island
What does “travel” mean to you: Freedom and independence
Where and when were you most culture shocked: The first time I left North America and arrived in Japan in 1999
What people say when they travel with you: I don’t know. I travel alone.
What is your best and worst travel experience: Best: Swimming with Jellyfish in Palau. Worst: Spending 16 hours on a motorbike to get to a temple in Cambodia.
Next travel destination: I don’t know. I’m in Spain for several months working.
Stephanie from Twenty-Somthing Travel.
Current city: Seattle, Washington
What makes you interesting: Hmm, I’m a full time travel blogger and freelance writer who has lived in half a dozen countries and is obsessed with Diet Coke.
Total countries visited: between 30-40 depending on how you’re counting.
Most magical place on Earth: Iceland
What does “travel” mean to you: Travel is an excuse to constantly learn and explore.
What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: I love to eat local food!
Where and when were you most culture shocked: Probably in China. China is so culturally different from the US, but still so interesting and amazing.
Where did you go for your first travel experience and at what age: I studied abroad in London when I was 21 and it totally changed my life. I fell head over heels in love with travel.
Next travel destination: Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. After that, who knows?
Samantha from Worth the Jet Lag.
Current city: Toronto, ON, Canada
Total countries visited: 14
What makes you interesting: I refuse to live vicariously through others. All I have to do is mention that I want to go somewhere or want to do something and my friends and family look at me like I’ve already booked a ticket. I know time passes too quickly and I willing to take any opportunity that crosses my path to try and see something new.
What does “travel” mean to you: Travel is a huge part of my life. I truly feel as though you become the person you are meant to be once you see how others live around the world. Travel is not a hobby, or something I like to do. It’s a necessity in my life and I plan to always have a next destination.
Most magical place on Earth: Cape Town, South Africa is the most magical and beautiful place I have seen thus far. I have quite the journey still in order to answer where the most magical place on earth is! Ask me in 10 years! lol
What is the furthest northern, eastern, western, and southern point you have traveled: Northern – O’ Canada, Eastern – Bali, Indonesia, Western – Hawaii, and Southern – South Africa
What was your worst travel experience: Every experience bad or good is one to learn from.
What is your most favorite travel memory: I think I’ve re-written this answer over half a dozen times. I have been to a number of countries and I can’t just pick one! From climbing Pyramids in Egypt, to dining at the worlds only 7 star hotel in Dubai, to bungy jumping off the tallest commercial bridge in South Africa, to back packing through Thailand and Bali… I just can’t pick one!
Next travel destination: When I’m asked where I want to go next I can never give one simple answer. I don’t even have a list anymore. Off the top of my head, next top three destinations: Israel, Croatia and Japan!
Laurence from Finding the Universe.
Current city: Right now I live in the middle of nowhere in rural France. My closest city is Bordeax, but close is a relative term.
What makes you interesting: What makes anyone interesting? And to whom? I guess my photography is the reason people tend to follow me. That, or my hilarious wit. Ok, it’s the photography.
Total countries visited: Somewhere between 40 and 50 I think.
Most magical place on Earth: New Zealand of course, they’ve got all those elves and hobbits and stuff.
Best travel advice: Don’t worry about tearing up the plan and going with the flow. Never listen to anyone who tells you you’re traveling wrong. Do what makes you happy.
What people say when they travel with you: Are you done taking photographs yet?
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Drink coffee.
Next travel destination: Athens, Greece for a large travel bloggers conference, followed by London for a large travel conference, then Sri Lanka for another conference. You may sense a theme.
Becki from Borders of Adventure.
Current city: Athens, Greece
What makes you interesting: I’m always up for a challenge and I love change. I thrive on it.
Total countries visited: 34
Most magical place on Earth: Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Best travel advice: Don’t hold back, take chances. Do today what you don’t think you will be able to do tomorrow. Splurge on an experience and save on something else down the line. And if your heart is telling you to go somewhere, go. You may never have the opportunity again (as I have experienced by not going to Syria when I wanted to)
What people say when they travel with you: That I’m a good tour guide and find out about off-beat and quirky things. I show them something different.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Meet and engage with local people. Always.
Next travel destination: London and then Sri Lanka
Ruby from Almanac of Style.
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
What makes you interesting: I’d like to think this isn’t the ONLY thing that makes me interesting, but one interesting fact is that I won a pageant and was crowned Miss Chinatown Houston when I was 18 years old. If you met me, you’d never guess I would even consider entering a pageant!
Total countries visited: Never actually counted, but my guess is somewhere around 20?
Most magical place on Earth: Hands-down Naoshima in Japan. It’s an island dedicated to contemporary art and architecture. You can bike around and visit some of the most incredible museums in the world, including Benesse House, which doubles as a hotel, meaning you can essentially stay overnight in a museum and enjoy all the artwork after hours. The island also houses the Art House Project, which transforms abandoned houses into art installations.
Best travel advice: Talk to people. I mean really talk to people, even if there’s a language barrier. The one question I’m always asked is how I find the amazing shops and designers that I do, and I always tell them I just talk to people. One person’s story always leads me to another and another. I’m always amazed at the sense of community that exists, and it’s how I get connected to interesting people and places no matter where I am.
What people say when they travel with you: “Do you really need another pair of vintage shoes?” Why, yes. Yes, I do.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Of course, dig up the best boutiques and vintage shops, duh. Oh, and hunt down the best gin cocktail! So many treasures to discover… even better if it’s on the other side of the world.
Next travel destination: Tough one. Either Marfa, TX or a second trip to Taiwan. Or maybe Greece… I know, I’m all over the map. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Kristen from Hopscotch The Globe.
Current city: Toronto
What makes you interesting: I’m a gal who loves makeup and dressing up but lives for adrenaline pumping adventure like climbing active volcanoes and sleeping in a rat infested cabins in the middle of the jungle.
What makes Hopscotch the Globe interesting: Hopscotch the Globe isn’t just your typical travel blog and YouTube channel. From tips and advice to destination guides and comedic skits to fashion and beauty to recipes and food adventures, Hopscotch the Globe is your one stop shop for everything “internationally inspired.”
Total countries visited: 35 and counting. Several of those have been visited multiple times.
Most magical place on Earth: India
Best travel advice: Feel the fear and do it anyway!
What people say when they travel with you: That I’m easy to travel with, carefree and up for anything!
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Explore the new place by foot and get lost!
Erin Bender and her family from Travel with Bender.
Current city: We’ve been in 8 countries in the last month and half so I’m going to say… Split, Croatia.
What makes you interesting: Everything about me is interesting, but I guess what most people find fascinating about me at the moment is that I currently travel the world nomadically with my husband (we started dating in 1997) and 2 children (aged 4 & 5). We have been on the road for more then 2 years, never staying more then a few months in one place. Oh, I also love Vegemite.
Total countries visited: The last time I counted it was 47.
Most magical place on Earth: There is more then one magical place on earth. I usually base this magic on the experiences I had. So in line with that I’d have to say Thailand is pretty magically, but not the most magical. The most magical? It’s a secret!
Best travel advice: Don’t leave home without your toothbrush or your dry shampoo.
What people say when they travel with you: I’m always on the go. I never rest… Unless you book a massage with me, then you might get an hour.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Eat. Eat the local food, visit the local supermarket and eat.
Net travel destination: After Croatia we plan on making our way via train to Greece, then who know’s? Perhaps Lapland?
Alana from Paper Planes.
Current city: At this very moment, Seattle.
What makes you interesting: I’ve been living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for the past three years…which makes me interesting to some, and crazy to others.
Total countries visited: 21 but soon to be 23! I’m heading to two new countries next month.
Most magical place on Earth: Depends on where you are and who you’re with at the time. Paris and the northern hills of Thailand are probably my favorite places in the world though…
Best travel advice: Be open and flexible, it will make any situation go much more smoothly.
What people say when they travel with you: I’m always the one with the map figuring out where to go.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Walk. Walk wherever you can and at different times of day. You never know what you’ll see, do or come across.
Next travel destination: I’ll be spending a month in Europe heading to cities in Spain, Croatia, Greece, England and France…it will be a big change for me after being in Southeast Asia for so long!
Taylor from Taylor Hearts Travel.
Current city: Northampton, England
What makes you interesting: I have seen A LOT and I want you to see some of it too! Actually, I want you to see all of it and maybe even more! I am always amazed at how many people say they would love to visit a particular country or city, see a wonder of the world, or take part in an adventure, and then end it with a full stop. Who wants to be the person that just dreams of doing those amazing things?!
I’m living proof that you can have a full-time job (not in the travel industry) and still see the world. Shortlisted for “Best Female” in the lowcostholidays Blogger Awards 2014, and featured in Company Magazine’s High-Street Edit as a favourite blogger, my blog, Taylor Hearts Travel, is a stylish travel blog to inspire amazing travel.
Total countries visited: Lost count at around thirty. It’s the experiences that are important, not the number of trips.
Most magical place on Earth: Reykjavik in Iceland mostly due to the Northern Lights. It’s an amazing destination that really does feel magical. Experiencing the Northern Lights is like watching a graceful, contemporary dance of the legendary imps and elves. The sky transforms into an emerald green and a burning orange and the colors jump pretty pirouettes around your face. I’d definitely call that magical.
Best travel advice: Be a do-er. Don’t dream about that destination or next experience. Just book it, get excited and enjoy it. If you can’t afford to book it just yet, start saving and make a plan to make it happen.
What people say when they travel with you: “You should be a travel agent,” “ I never thought I’d be able to afford do something like this,” and “How did you find this stylish hotel within my budget?!”
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Everything! Visit every landmark, wander the streets, try the food…absorb all experiences and make the most of every opportunity.
Next travel destination: San Francisco, USA. I cannot wait!
Current city: Kay lives in Marco Island, Florida but in her brain she still lives in Boston, MA. Anne lives in Sarver, PA about half of the year and in Marco Island in the winter and whenever else she can sneak away from her husband.
Age: Old enough to know better than to tell you! We’ll give you a clue; we’re both Baby Boomers
What makes you interesting: As far as we know we’re the only sister blogging duo! The fact that we’re sisters but for most of our adult lives lived such different lives gives us different perspectives on our travels. Kay is adamantly single, child free, lived an urban life until a year ago and was a VP of Marketing for several companies. Anne is married (to our mutual dismay), lives in a rural area, raised 4 boys, worked her ass off (she honestly doesn’t have an ass) at home for about 20 years then went back to teaching. Kay never knew what the word budget meant. Anne could take 6 people on a trip, do it at ridiculously low cost and see great places. For the last 12 years we’ve traveled together and blogged for a little over two years. We also think our style of humor in our writing makes us different.
Anne is interesting because she has a prodigious memory for vast amounts of information that she can spit out suddenly. Much of it is useful and some is just plain weird. She can “connect the dots” so well Kay thinks she should have been a detective or a diagnostician. She can walk into any kitchen anywhere and make a delicious dinner for 6 people without any recipes. Anne always knows the right way to turn – it is without fail the exact opposite of what she swears it should be. She refuses to accept that so still makes a lot of wrong turns.
Kay is interesting because of her sense of humor which people think is great or can’t stand. She’s fairly good at reinventing herself. She got an MBA at 40 and switched her career and after getting laid off at the height of the recession reinvented herself as a travel blogger. Next she plans to reinvent herself as George Clooney’s fiancee. Her talents include mishaps involving knives, unknowingly stealing her sister’s possessions on trips and sleeping in any circumstances and for extraordinarily long periods of time. Her main characteristic is being oblivious.
Total countries visited: 37 for Anne and 40 for Kay. 6 continents for each! (Only Antarctica is missing)
Most magical place on Earth: For Anne it’s Underwater snorkeling in healthy coral reefs. For Kay it’s Cappadocia, Turkey because it’s truly unique.
Best travel advice: Always have a Plan B. That means doing the research in advance to be sure your Plan B would be doable. Also keep your sense of humor.
What people say when they travel with you: “I can’t believe you’re sisters!” and “Your sisters, aren’t you? You look so much alike!”
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Swimming for Anne (or she’s insufferable). Drink good wine for Kay (and usually buy an extra suitcase because of too much shopping)
Next travel destination: Kay leaves for Peru on September 3 but Anne can’t go because of the effect that altitude has on her asthma. Our next joint trip is in mid-October to Budapest, Prague then Athens for the TBEX travel bloggers’ conference.
Anthony from The Travel Tart.
Current city: Brisbane, Australia
Age: 41, but strangely still feel like I’m 21. Emotionally anyway..
What makes you interesting: I’m unique just like everyone else… ;P Well, I’m remotely interesting because I like writing about the funny, offbeat and downright weird aspects of world travel today.
Total countries visited: 50 – nowhere near enough.
Most magical place on Earth: That one is harder to pick than a broken nose because I’ve liked everywhere I’ve been to, but I’d have to say anywhere that’s outside of the fluorescent prison called the office!
Best travel advice: If you want to travel for an extended period of time, just do it. Only plan the first place where you arrive, and where you will leave and whatever happens in between happens! You won’t regret it!
What people say when they travel with you: You look way different than your profile photo.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Eat whatever the locals eat. Even if it’s totally bizarre or even confronting.
Next travel destination: I have no idea. Wherever the world sends me!
Michael Hodson from GoSeeWrite.
Current city: Amberg, Germany
What makes you interesting: That is a damn good question. I like to think that I can hold a fairly reasonable conversation and possess a wide range of completely worthless trivia to enliven things. And I’ll occasionally buy strangers drinks.
Total countries visited: I think about 80 or so. I haven’t counted in a while.
Most magical place on Earth: Absolutely adore New Zealand. I am headed there in a few weeks for the first time since 2010 and I can’t wait to get back. In my mind, the best place on Earth.
Best travel advice: Don’t over plan. Too often, I run into people that have booked every flight, bus, and train. They have booked every hotel and scheduled almost every minute of every day. Leave yourself the flexibility of spontaneity. You won’t regret it.
What people say when they travel with you: I think people most often say that it is good how easily I go with the flow when I travel. Things inevitably go wrong on the road and you need to relax and just deal with it as it comes along, hopefully absent anger and frustration.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Check the sports scores for my various teams on a pretty much daily basis. I may have left the States, but I want to know how my teams are doing.
Next travel destination: Istanbul, then Dubai, then….. New Zealand!!
Ellis from Ellis Goes On Holiday.
Current city: Kent, United Kingdom
What makes you interesting: I like to do things that scare me. I hate heights but sky-diving and canyon swinging and some of the best things I have ever done.
Total countries visited: 22
Most magical place on Earth: Prague, Czech Republic. The architecture is just amazing.
Best travel advice: Be spontaneous but not too spontaneous. There is something to be said for winging it, getting lost and trying activities you never thought you would but you do want to make sure you make the most of your time and money and end up with a place to stay, so planning ahead can be handy too.
What people say when they travel with you: that I am adventurous, reliable and sociable- which is nice to hear!
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Eat! Food is as good a way as any to get an insight into a country’s culture, so it’s not an area to try and save money- at least not too much.
Next travel destination: Germany
Dave and Deb from The Planet D.
Current city: Woodstock, Canada
Age: 43 and 44
What makes you interesting: We’ve been together for 23 years. For the past 6 years we’ve been together every single day. We’ve travelled together to over 80 countries on 7 continents and we still love each other. Heck, we even like each other and enjoy being together!
Total countries visited: 80+
Most magical place on Earth: Antarctica. But we left our heart in Africa. Kenya to be exact.
Best travel advice: Shop and go local. When you hire a local guide, eat locally, visit local markets and stay in small guest houses run by locals, you will have an authentic and wonderful experience without breaking the bank.
What people say when they travel with you: Good question. I have no idea.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Try something new, step out of your comfort zone and scare yourself a little.
Next travel destination: Mexico, Ireland and Greece!
Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic.
Current city: Toronto
What makes you interesting: My unwavering love of pork.
Total countries visited: Probably over 20 and under 50. I never count as I’d rather spend a month in one place but that doesn’t make me less of a traveler.
Most magical place on Earth: Any kitchen.
Best travel advice: Use packing cubes.
What people say when they travel with you: Are we eating again?
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Eat street food.
Next travel destination: Portland, Oregon.
Erik Gauger from Notes From The Road.
Current city: Portland, Oregon
What makes you interesting: I was in a diving accident when I was fourteen years old. There was this huge current along a barrier reef and I was quickly sucked up and spit out on the reef. Something happened then; a minor case of the bends or something, but suddenly my synapses just started firing differently. I saw the world as it really was; I could tangle thoughts and alter them. It was just an accident, a twist of fate, but that’s how I became interesting.
Total countries visited: I don’t count, but I just tallied all the birds I have seen and I just reached 1,015, or about 10 percent of all the bird species in the world. This is a more colorful and honest way to get a sense of how much of the world you’ve covered than political boundaries.
Most magical place on Earth: The most magical place does not exist. What’s important in travel is that if you are in good spirits, and open to discomfort and discovery, there are magical places everywhere. A millionaire can jet off to Madagascar and stay in a fabulous jetsetter’s getaway, and in his misery may find no such magic among the Baobabs. Alternatively, a man in a power wheelchair may roll out the door of his apartment, get unexpectedly lost, and suddenly find magic in the people and character of a nearby neighborhood.
What people say when they travel with you: I’ve never really been able to get anybody to travel with me, but I expect they’d say, “Oh my God! This is what travel is supposed to be like! Those all-you-can-eat beach vacations, in retrospect, are really stressful. You’ve shown me how to wear flip-flops, travel light, find beautiful insects, sketch without natural talent, to talk with the locals, to try unusual food, to find joy in travel delays.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Shave. It’s important to keep up your personal hygiene and cleanliness while traveling. Sometimes, you have none of the comforts of home, and nobody to talk to. Keeping a clean shave is one of the habits that keeps my morale high.
Nyssa from The Cultureur.
Current city: Beverly Hills
What makes you interesting: I have a diplomacy, international development, and journalism background that I’ve now translated into entrepreneurship. I’ve lived in Paris, London, New Delhi, Berlin, San Diego, and Los Angeles before and will be moving to Seattle soon.
Total countries visited: 47 and still counting
Most magical place on Earth: Leh (Himalayas), India
Best travel advice: “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” -Clifton Fadiman
What people say when they travel with you: You always scope out the best places in town!
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Always research the destination and read up on cultural customs or quirks beforehand.
Next travel destination: Kauai, Hawaii
Monica from The Travel Hack.
Current city: Ljubljana in Slovenia
What makes you interesting: I’m a full time travel blogger. Yes, I travel and blog for a living!
Total countries visited: I have no idea. A lot.
Most magical place on Earth: Iceland. Geysers, the Northern Lights, waterfalls, hot springs and the blue lagoon. Everything about this country is incredible.
Best travel advice: Pack light. It’s liberating to travel without anything weighing you down. You’re also less likely to lose things and you save money on checked luggage.
What people say when they travel with you: I’m really chilled out. Years of travelling have taught me there’s no point stressing about anything. What will be will be and your credit card can get you out of virtually any situation.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Take hundreds and hundreds of photos. I want to look back on all of my crazy adventures when I’m an old lady and these photos will help me remember everything.
Next travel destination: Austria. I’ll be there this summer because I’m competing in an Ironman out there.
Leah Walker from Leah Travels.
Current city: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
What makes you interesting: I suppose most people are interested in my background and how it led to my life as a travel writer. I have an English degree and was a high school English teacher and basketball coach for a decade. From there, I worked for a professional basketball team, before becoming a software technical writer for an oil and gas company. I’ve always loved writing and travel, so it made sense to combine the two. A lot of hard work and a few fortunate breaks, and here I am…wherever that is. I certainly haven’t ‘made it’ in this industry, but I recognize that I’ve accomplished quite a bit in three years.
Total countries visited: Between 25-30
Most magical place on Earth: New Zealand is my first travel love. If I’d not seen the country with my own eyes, I’d think it was created by Hollywood’s finest cinematographers. For such a small country, New Zealand encompasses most every imaginable landscape, and each turn of the road yields a view more beautiful than the last. The vistas are enough to make even the most hardened heart shed a tear.
Best travel advice: Don’t wait to travel. I live by the motto, “Life’s too short to live with a someday mentality.” If you’re dreaming of visiting Paris, Cape Town, New York City or wherever, then create a plan and make it happen.
What people say when they travel with you: “Do you ever stop working and just enjoy?” Travel for most people equates to vacation. For me, it’s my profession. This idea can be difficult for those outside of my field to understand. I have work to do before I can even consider kicking back with a cocktail.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: No matter the country or city, I always try to organize some sort of culinary, wine, or spirit experience. It gives such insight into a region’s culture and is often more fun than perusing a museum.
Next travel destination: In July, I’ll head to the Alps where I’ll explore Chamonix Mont-Blanc and Zermatt in Switzerland and Megève in France. I’ll also get a bit of city time in Geneva and my beloved Paris.
Lindsey from Lost In Cheeseland.
Current city: Paris
Age: 28 (or 29 if you run this after June 28th!)
What makes you interesting: I don’t want to assume I’m interesting but perhaps my stories of integrating into France and becoming French (just obtained nationality!)
Total countries visited: 12
Most magical place on Earth: Wherever there’s good food and lovely locals.
Best travel advice: Chat up locals wherever you travel. Chances are they’ll introduce you to a place, activity or spot you wouldn’t have come across on your own and your trip will be richer for it.
What people say when they travel with you: ‘So you’ve organized where we’re eating on this trip, right?’
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Discover the local speciality, whether it’s a culinary tradition or craft.
Next travel destination: Menorca!
What makes you interesting: I’m a former architect-in-training now working for an adventure travel magazine. I love the ocean, the adrenalin of dragon boat racing, and am generally a pretty big risk-taker. One of my favorite trips was climbing Mt. Rinjani which is Indonesia’s second-highest volcano!
Total countries visited: 26
Most magical place on Earth: Luang Prabang, Laos
Best travel advice: Keep an open mind and never lose your cool. When things don’t go to plan remember that this is just part of the whole experience. Years later you’ll be laughing about it.
What people say when they travel with you: “James, you need to slow down. Stop walking so fast!”
#1 thing you must do when traveling: If you’re going overseas, learn a few phrases of the local language. A simple “good morning” and “thank you” can go a long way.
Next travel destination: Flores & Komodo, Indonesia
What makes you interesting: I don’t go for second best. If there a better option out there, I will find it.
Total countries visited: 65
Most magical place on Earth: Amanpulo, Pamalican Islands, Philippines.
Best travel advice: Never check luggage in.
What people say when they travel with you: “Sami always knows the right places to go, and the best times to be had, whether it’s be for eating, drinking to shopping- shame the budget goes out the window!”
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Make sure you have your AMEX.
Next travel destination: Athens, Greece.
Harinda Bama from What an Amazing World.
Current city: Jakarta, Indonesia
What makes you interesting: I have interests in so many things, from geography to history, language to art, food to adventure to good life. I often find myself engaged in any conversation with any kind of people.
Total countries visited: 22
Most magical place on Earth: Orchid Island, Taiwan
Best travel advice: Common sense, common sense and common sense. It will help you get through almost all situations despite language and cultural barriers. It’s important to open up your mind when traveling, but it’s also crucial to always use your common sense.
What people say when they travel with you: People say I eat a lot, and often.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Sampling local cuisine as food is often the reflection of local culture and wisdom. Why go halfway around the world just to eat pizza while you have the option to taste dishes you cannot find at home, and will not have again anytime soon?
Next travel destination: Flores & Komodo Islands, Indonesia
Katrin from Traveler’s Little Treasures.
Current city: Frankfurt, Germany
What makes you interesting: My job as a flight attendant perhaps. I have so many travel stories to tell and finally started a travel blog to write them all down. Check out www.travelerslittletreasures.com if you are interested.
Total countries visited: Hard one! I think about 25 countries so far.
Most magical place on Earth: Greenland. Went there as a junior journalist with Greenpeace and got to see icebergs.
Best travel advice: Go out there and don’t be afraid of new experiences, indulge, be curious! Use Couchsurfing, which is a great way to save money on accommodation and meet locals.
What people say when they travel with you: They say that I basically can make friends with everyone and that I never stop talking.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Write a journal.
Next travel destination: Mauritius