How I Choose Where To Travel Next
Since we run an outdoor adventure blog and our big squeezes are sports like kiteboarding, surfing, SUPing, and hiking, we tend to pick our next destination based on weather patterns and seasonal conditions.
The Northern Hemisphere’s winter months constitute windy season in Southeast Asia, so we’d usually head for somewhere like Vietnam for kiting and exploring Thailand’s wakeboarding parks. Although this winter we chose to stay Europe side and spent a few weeks exploring France’s Serre Chevalier ski resort. Such incredible snowboarding, hiking, paragliding, rock climbing, and mountain biking conditions.
When it’s summertime, to me there really is nowhere like my home spot in West Cork, Ireland. Ireland’s hiking potential is second to none and you really can’t beat the live music scene, road trip opportunities, slow food farmer’s markets, and craic in the pub.
The Usual Length Of My Trip
This question makes me laugh - in sort of an eye-rolly painful way! I recently had a right ol’ job trying to explain to my car insurance company that I was “engaged in some extended travel for the past 5 years” which apparently technically means I wasn’t officially living here - or anywhere, for that matter - since 2014 and therefore my premium should be, well, outrageous.
So yeah, we tend to travel for long periods of time, creating a home-away-from-home in our chosen spot. Our last adventure was Thailand where we stayed for about 18 months.
Scariest Travel Moment
Oof, there’s been a few. Close calls on dangerous roads are more common than I care to think about. We’ve encountered friends who have fallen critically ill abroad and even some who haven’t made it.
There have been times where we’ve had to really stop, turn around, and go back home to heal. During one of those most serious incidents, I arrived home only to find I felt far less comforted and understood than I did by my ‘nomad family’ on the other side of the world - so I left shortly after once again.
I suppose what that’s taught me is that home is something that exists inside yourself and amongst the people who matter to you the most; it’s not necessarily a place or a building with four walls. As for the incidents themselves, well, every day is a school day. Every dodgy encounter, close call, or painful loss has shaped who we are and how we view the world. We probably take more precautions in certain situations now because of our learned experiences.
Top Tips For Sustainable Travel
Travel slowly! Opt for overlanding where it’s an option to skip the flight. Travel light. Consume lighter. Be sensitive to the integrity of the local environment you’re visiting. We used to really look forward to participating in local beach clean ups where we lived in both Thailand and Vietnam; as part of the watersports community regularly using the beach, we felt it was a profoundly important thing to do - and a special way to honour the place.
Biggest Travel Challenges
I mean, what stops anyone doing anything really? Money and time! Although to be fair to us, we’ve always found a way of making more of both if it’s a trip we really felt we needed to make. I suppose one of the biggest logistical challenges for us is our pets; we rescued a street dog and a stray cat in Thailand and brought them - at great expense and a pile of paperwork - across the world to settle in Ireland. They’ll come on any future big trips for sure, but going through the bureaucracy of each country for a cat and a dog - nevermind ourselves - is definitely an added layer of complexity!
Like most everyone, we’ve cancelled our plans and trips for 2020. We’re based at home now, which is definitely a strange phenomenon for both of us as we haven’t lived at home in years. But it is affording us the unexpected opportunity to connect with our homes in a way we never really did before - and that means discovering a bunch of amazing new spots to do the things we love the most.
My Advice For New Travelers
Wear sunscreen, rucksacks on sunburn is really REALLY not cool (neither is skin cancer). Coconut oil fixes almost everything. Drinking all that rice wine is probably not a good idea. If you can afford to pay the old lady weaving friendship bracelets on the side of the road the price she’s asking, pay her - you don’t have to haggle everything. Recognise your privilege, be compassionate, and if you can’t be humble at least be quiet. Smile at everyone you meet, make eye contact, and go to the effort of remembering people’s names. Stay vigilant and also stay open; the world ain’t as scary as they’d like to have you believe. Drink as many fresh coconuts as you can.