Twippers of the Week: 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 and Hilton 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 our Apple 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!