Tag: travel gear


Twipper of the Week: 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.


Twipper of the Week: Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs. 


Current city: Queenstown, New Zealand

Age: 44.

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 brands do you love: Ritz-Carlton, DJI, and Google.

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!


Twippers of the Week: Nikki and Dusty from Two For The Road.

Nikky Dusty

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 brands do you love: Mountainsmith, Keen, Canon, and GoPro.

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.


Twippers of the Week: 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.


Twipper of the Week: Eric Lucchesi.

TwipperCurrent 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.

Age:  30

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.

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