How We Met & What Inspired Us To Start Traveling TogetherOurs is somewhat of a serendipitous “travel” love story. It was in 2009, when I (Deepa) living in Washington D.C at that time, traveled to Peru and was on a hike to Machu Picchu. You know the touristy thing that you do in Peru I met this German girl who I shared the day with and exchanged our contacts before we parted.
It turned out, Chakri who is from San Francisco Bay area also was in Peru at the same time and met the same German girl the following day. They spent the day together traveling. Chakri returned to San Francisco after his trip in Peru and I returned to D.C.
We never met in Peru. But, I friended this girl on Facebook and noticed that she also friended Chakri on Facebook. I remember meeting a bunch of Indian guys in Peru and having a brief interaction with them. I thought Chakri looked like one of them and I sent a friend request to him. Chakri being a gentleman, responded back saying that he doesn’t believe we know each other, and he wouldn’t be offended if I didn’t want to be friends with him on Facebook.
I thought, we had a traveling hobby in common and didn’t unfriend him. Years later in 2013, I wanted to take a 6-month sabbatical from work to travel the world. I posted on Facebook with my high-level itinerary and solicited friends to see if anyone is interested in joining any segment of it.
Chakri responded by saying that he is interested in doing a road trip across National Parks in the US if that’s something on my agenda. We started talking and I agreed to do the road trip with him. The plan was he was going to return to work after a one-month trip and I will move on with my travels.
But that’s not what happened. I convinced him to travel with me for the entire 6-months and we ended up eventually getting married in 2014.
How Often We TravelEver since we have been traveling together as a family. We try our best to cover at least 3-4 countries in a year. For our honeymoon, we did a backpacking trip on the Patagonia “O” circuit.
We both love mountains. Our travels tend to include some trekking or hiking aspects to it. Another activity that we absolutely enjoy is Scuba diving. Our recent trip to the Maldives where we did almost two weeks of Scuba diving couldn’t have been better.
We tend to not spend much time in the cities and seek experiences where we can tune in with nature.
How We Decide On Our Next DestinationWe have a running list of hikes or activities we want to do. And depending on our fitness level, and time off we can pull off from work, we chose from that list.
We recently discovered our family sweet spot is 9-11 days of the trip. Especially after having a kid, the trip dynamics have certainly changed.
Before the kid, we used to not plan much at all and visit a country or a place and decide things on the go. Now, we can’t afford to do that anymore. I have spent most of my travel money on Airbnbs in the last 4 years. My little being a picky eater needs home-cooked food.
One of Our Coolest Travel Experiences
In July 2013, we were on a National Parks Road trip
in the western part of the United States
. This time we were visiting Glacier National Park. Typically, the first thing we do when we visit a new National Park is to go to the visitor center and ask the rangers for good hikes to do. So, we walked into the visitor center at Glacier National Park.
After explaining all the hikes in the region, the ranger commented that some idiots were crazy to go into the glacier water and take a dip and advised us against that. We were looking at each other with a smile on our faces.
How did the ranger know, that we are one of those idiots! Earlier that day, we did the glacier lake hike and did that very idiotic act of taking a plunge into the ice-cold water.
Countries We Have Visited So Far
We lost count honestly. I am thinking in the range of 60s? To this date, the two months we spent together in Nepal
is probably the most remarkable and rewarding adventure. We did 26-day trekking around the Annapurna circuit and Annapurna Base camp
, followed by a 15-day trek to Everest Base Camp. It was an epic trip.
Bucket List – Oh yes, a long one. We have a crazy number of trekking on our wish list starting from the European alps to the Indian Himalayas. And when it doesn’t involve international travels, we do a lot of 3–4-day backpacking trips in the California mountains too. Trust me, California is a hiker’s paradise.
Why I Started Blogging
I started blogging in 2012 just to keep friends and family posted but now the blog has grown to inspire a lot of readers. I intend to keep the blog with the same mission of inspiring people to get out and experience nature, no matter what their life situation is. I started traveling as a solo traveler and then we traveled as a couple and now as a family with a little kid.
We had carried our little on several backpacking trips and he traveled to 8 countries before he turned 2. I want to continue to show that it is possible.
I recently did a 40-mile backpacking hike across Catalina Island in California called Trans Catalina Trails. It was not a trip that we could do as a family. I ended up going with my friends and in fact, my son got an opportunity to bond even closer with my husband.
If needed, we take turns and travel to continue to fuel our passion.
Our Favorite Memory Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Locals
I don’t think we can top our Peru experience and how we met through this German girl. But, yes, every trip to a new country certainly has an element of meeting new people
, especially locals
Lately, I have been booking Airbnbs where I can interact more with locals. One such trip was in Cuba. Before Airbnb time, Cuba had the concept of Casas. You would stay with people who are sharing a bedroom in their house, and they feed and take care of you. The one month we spent in Cuba we met and stayed with so many families. What made it more interesting was we didn’t speak any Spanish and the locals didn’t speak any English. We still had one of the most remarkable experiences in Cuba thanks to google translate.
Recently, in Bhutan where we stayed with a family for 10-days, we felt like we pretty much were integrated with this family. We used their kitchen, we sat for hours talking to them over the dinner table and shared our background, family stories, cultural similarities, and differences.
End of the day, besides the beauty of the mountains, what stays with us when we think about these places are the people we interacted with. The heart smiles at the thought of the people who made our trips special.
Our Plans For The Future
Trekking Manasarovar in China is on our top list. This is one of those trips that we can’t do as a family because the little one can’t go. We will take turns and it’s going to be fun.
Besides that, we have been spending a lot of time exploring our own backyard, literally and figuratively.
California offers amazing multi-day trekking options and what better weather do we need for backyard gardening.
How We Manage Our Work & Travel
We maximize our PTOs and sometimes don’t hesitate to go unpaid to make dream trips come true. Again, making travel a priority is something that has helped us along the way. If we had made career a priority maybe by now, we would have been in a higher position in our jobs. But, that doesn’t satisfy us.
We picked and continue to pick experiences and mountains over career goals.
Our Say About GAFFL
Our story is a perfect candidate for a GAFFL
experience. We met during our travels and got married. You never know who you are going to meet on your next travel experience. Go with an open mind, you might come back with a happy feeling that you made a friend or two.
Apps & Websites That We Use While Traveling
I love basic traveling and try not to let technology come in the way of my travels. At times, we do need google maps. Other than that, it’s usually no-screen time on the travels.
Things That Prevent Us From Traveling More
I personally don’t think I have any barriers to travel. Thankfully, I have a spouse with a travel bug and a great travel kid. We hit the road or the sky pretty regularly.
Things We Wish We’d Known When We First Started Traveling
I wish in my early travels I was courageous enough to stay with locals
and experience the local cultures more. I used to mostly stay at hostels
. Not to say that wasn’t a great experience. I met so many amazing people that way. But, most of them were like me, fellow travelers. I wish I spent more time with locals.
And as time went by, now I make it a point to book a place with locals to meet and hang out with them more.
Other cool travel stories you might enjoy!