How We Met And What Inspired Us To Travel
We met in London in 2004, at
work. We were both meant to be in the UK for just a short while, to work in
between travels (Nick) and to learn English (Margherita). We ended up living in
the city for 5 years. Our mutual passion for travel is what brought us together
– and there are so many places we want to visit, I guess we’ll never stop!
Travel Frequency And What Activities We Enjoy
Before the pandemic, we used
to travel pretty much full-time, alternating personal journeys to work trips,
housesits or long stays in various places. In 2020 and 2021 we’ve taken shorter
trips – about 1 or 2 weeks – every month or so. We are planning to resume
‘longer’ journeys in winter 2022!
In terms of activities, we
both really love hiking so we try to do that whenever we can! Other activities
we really enjoy are diving, paddle boarding and cycling.
We are not into super crazy
stuff – I tried bungee jumping once and
enjoyed it, but I was so nervous about it I don’t think I’ll do it again!
Choose Travel Destinations And Prepare For It
Normally our decision on where
to go depends on practical reasons such as cheap flights, good weather that
time of year, or work trips we can extend. We also have some ‘dream
destinations’, some of which we’ve already visited, like Japan or South Africa,
and others we haven’t been to yet.
Now, ease of travel will also
be part of our decision-making process – we won’t travel to places requiring a
After deciding on a location,
we start researching things to see and do and start building a rough plan. We
usually book only the first week or so, and then plan as we go!
For Trips And The Must-Haves We Carry
We pack fairly light, mostly
because we don’t like carrying heavy luggage! A must for us is running shoes
as we both like running and we try to do that whenever we travel. It’s a good
way to get acquainted with a place and start your day with an energy boost. Our
favorite place to run is Venice Beach, just magical!
Memories Of Meeting New People
Oh, so many! We backpacked
across the Balkans, Turkey, and Georgia in 2011, couchsurfing the whole way. We
met a cool couple in Belgrade we’re still in touch with!
In Romania, we got
invited by our hosts to spend a day in the countryside with them, a really
More recently, we met another
cool couple in LA – Daniel and Shasta. We had the best time with them, they took
us all over the city and we got to try some really excellent Mexican food with
them. We are waiting for them to come to visit us in Italy once traveling becomes
Our Backpacking World Trip During
We both wanted to
travel for an extended, open-ended period of time, so we left with no return
date in mind. It was really a trip on a shoestring, and pretty much we finished
the trip when we were out of money! We started in South America, where we spent
6 months, then we had a month in Australia to visit Nick’s family, and a
further 9 months were spent between South East Asia and India.
experiences (both mountain-related!) were visiting Ladakh in India and hiking
the Inca Trail in Peru. After this journey, we both decided we wanted travel to
be part of our life!
The Apps And Website We Use While On The Go
We use Airbnb and
Booking.com for accommodation, and GetYourGuide to book tours. We also like
Komoot to plan bike trips and Viewranger for hikes.
The Reason Why We Started Travel Blog
We started The Crowded
Planet during our round-the-world trip to share stories from the road. We’ve
never been big social media personalities, so nowadays we share practical
articles helping readers do specific things, like finding out what to see, how
to book tickets, itineraries, how to get from A to B, and so on.
We also want to
promote traveling sustainably and closer to nature – something we tried to do
from the start of our traveling experience.
Managing Costs During Travel
As we get older, our
budget is not as tight as it used to be! We try to spend a least a week in each
place we visit, to save on accommodation. We also check if sights and
attractions have free or discounted access on specific days of the week and
We also monitor error
fare sites to get cheap flights – we managed to fly to Mexico and back for only
Number Of Countries Visited And Some Memorable Travel Experiences
About 80 countries. We
are not country-counters so I cannot give you an exact amount! I can tell you
that one of our favorite trips was to Japan, we spent one entire month and it
rained every day, but it was still amazing as it was one of our travel dreams.
We loved taking an izakaya tour with a Tokyo local and spending a night in a
minshuku, a traditional Japanese inn!
Biggest Challenges To Traveling
Now, the main
challenge is COVID and related travel restrictions. We are both fully
vaccinated and warmly recommend other travelers to do the same, but it will be
a while before traveling becomes easy again.
Meanwhile, we are exploring
places closer to home, in Italy and Europe for now, and we prioritize
traveling off-season. Seeing Venice with no tourists in October 2020 was
Advice To The Readers
Be flexible. Many
unexpected things may occur, especially in these uncertain times!
Lessons Learned Through Traveling
When we started
traveling, we thought being a budget backpacker was the best way to travel
responsibly. After all, we were traveling slowly and staying in locally-owned
accommodation, not the big international chains! This is true in a way, but I
believe the constant haggling you sometimes see in backpacker circles is really
bad. Those €10 you save by haggling maybe someone’s weekly food budget or a
new school book for someone’s kids. So please be respectful and bear this in
New to our blog? Here are some of our inspiring solo traveler's stories worth checking!
Other cool travel stories you might enjoy!