Our Motivation To Start Traveling As A Couple
We started traveling together even before we got married. We’d take one or two short trips a year, first to destinations relatively close and for just a few days. We’d venture out further and further and for longer, and now we do it full time! We’re simple people who value experiences over things and for us, there’s no greater experience than traveling the world together.
The Length Of Our Trips
When we first started, we’d take maybe 2-3 trips a year for about 4-5 days each. Over time, our trips became more frequent and longer. We’d travel for 1 week, then 2 weeks, then a month. We’re currently in Mexico and will be here for at least 4 months.
How We Choose Our Next Destination
Food is the number one reason why we travel so if a destination is known for having great food, then chances are it’s on our bucket list. Once we decide upon a country, we figure out which cities to visit and then start finding all the local dishes we need to eat and where best to try them. In Mexico for example, I googled “best food cities in Mexico” to find out where we should go.
Our Favorite Recollections Of Meeting People Abroad
I went on a foraging trip in northern Thailand a few years ago that was pretty memorable. I stayed overnight in a local village and went foraging with the villagers. We gathered snails, frogs, fish from the river, different types of vegetables, roots, and tea. We even caught a jungle rat! Everything I ate on that trip foraged from the forest. I didn’t get to try the rat though because I think the village chief kept it for himself. Ha! I definitely would have tried it though.
Why We Started Our Blog
Like many full-time bloggers, our blog started off as a hobby. We would visit local restaurants in our city and post our thoughts. Over time, it transitioned into a food and recipe blog before evolving into the food travel blog that it is today.
We write detailed food and travel guides with the goal of helping others plan their trips and eat like locals. There’s nothing worse than mediocre, overpriced touristy food! Travel planning can be daunting for some people so we try to make it as easy and stress-free for them as possible.
Our Favorite Food
For me (JB), it’s sushi. I also love dim sum and tacos (in Mexico) for similar reasons. Aside from being incredibly tasty, they’re small in size so I can enjoy different varieties in one meal.
Ren loves Mediterranean food. We ask almost every person we meet what their hypothetical last meal would be and hers will always be lamb with truffles, pasta, and foie gras. And good wine. She loves wine. It’s hard to anoint anything as “the best” because they’re all memorable in some way. Sure, we have our preferences but every meal is interesting in its own right.
Japanese is my favorite cuisine in the world so dining experiences in Japan will always stand out for me. Soba in Matsumoto, hitsumabushi and miso katsu in Nagoya, jingisukan in Sapporo, and hakata ramen are just a few of the experiences that come to mind.
Exciting Travel Experiences We Can Share
Horseback riding and going on a hot air balloon ride over the moon-like landscape of Cappadocia was pretty special. Skiing and snowmobile riding in Sapporo were pretty awesome too, especially since Hokkaido is said to have the best powder in the world.
Countries We Have Traveled To So Far
We don’t actually keep count but it’s probably around 30-something by now. I know many travelers have the goal of visiting every country in the world but we don’t. We enjoy revisiting our favorite countries over and over again and a lot of that has to do with the food.
Probably the biggest thing on our bucket list right now is to spend three months eating our way through Italy. I say three months because that’s the maximum amount of time we can stay, but we’d happily stay longer if we could! We’ve never been to Italy. As food lovers, that’s at the very top of our bucket list.
How We Juggle The Demands Of Work And Travel
Working while traveling can be challenging, especially if you aren’t staying too long in one place. As a travel blogger, you’re trying to cover as much ground and gather as much content as possible so it can be difficult to find time to actually sit down and work. Getting a reliable internet connection can sometimes be a problem as well.
I usually go out during the day and do what I need to do before settling in at a reasonable time at night to get some work done. We don’t party anymore so that definitely helps. When choosing a place to stay, I always book one that has a dedicated workspace and reliable Wi-Fi. Those are essential.
How We Believe GAFFL Benefits Travelers
GAFFL would be extremely helpful for solo travelers, especially those traveling on a budget. It helps you link up with like-minded people who can share costs with you. Some destinations are less safe than others as well so having a travel companion gives you more security. Plus, it’s just nice to be able to share an experience with other people.
The Google Maps app is my number one favorite travel app. It makes it so much easier and faster to get around. City buses can often be daunting but you can easily navigate the local public transportation system with Google Maps. It’s accurate and reliable and an absolute must when traveling.
Forging A Life As Digital Nomads
Because of the pandemic, our travel plans were derailed so we’re only just beginning to live the digital nomad lifestyle now. Plus, I have a Philippine passport so I’m more limited in where I can go and how long I can stay. Travel isn’t exactly equitable but we’re grateful for what we can do.
We’re learning as we go along but sustainability has to be one of the biggest challenges for most digital nomads. Travel is expensive but it doesn’t always have to be. You need to learn to make sacrifices and sometimes forgo comfort and luxuries to make this work long-term. With the right mindset, you can do it.
Our Best Travel Tips
Try everything once and keep an open mind. Just because it isn’t “normal” where you’re from doesn’t mean you should shy away from it. You’d be robbing yourself of some pretty amazing experiences if you did. Whenever you’re faced with an unfamiliar dish, it helps to remember Anthony Bourdain’s “Grandma Rule”. In his words:
“You may not like grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey. It may be overcooked and dry – and her stuffing salty and studded with rubbery pellets of giblets you find unpalatable in the extreme. You may not even like turkey at all. But it is ‘grandma’s turkey’. And you are in grandma’s house. So shut the f%#k up and eat it. And afterwards say, ‘Thank you grandma, why yes. Yes of course I’d love seconds.’”
Things We Wish We Had Known When We First Started Traveling
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Sometimes, travel advisories can make a destination sound like the scariest place on earth but the situation on the ground can be very different. Being from the Philippines which is often portrayed as a war zone on western media, I know this for a fact.
Now I’m not saying that you should ignore those advisories completely. Just understand that sometimes, they can be exaggerated. Do your research and plan accordingly, and don't let one bad experience or review derail your trip. More often than not, the world isn’t as scary as it seems.
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