Posts tagged: tips

Couple Of The Week: Dominique & Théo

By , May 5, 2011 2:30 am

Running alongside with us, as we are being chased by Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island in Indonesia, was the lovely couple, Dominique and Théo. We shared an unforgettable experience together and we are so happy to have met them.

In addition to being great people, what amazed us the most about this couple is that when they decided to take a break from law school to travel, they made the most out of their small budget and turned it into an 7-month tour of Southeast Asia. They are living proofs that amazing travels DO NOT require large budgets.

Dominique and Théo

Dominique and Théo

Relationship Status: | Dating.
How long have you been together? | 2 years.
How long have you been traveling? | 5 months.
How long is your total planned trip? | 7 months.

How do you organize world travel among the both of you?
Dominique & Théo: We did not really organize this trip before leaving Quebec. We often change our plans and I think it’s what made our trip more exciting, but sometimes it puts more stress on us and it’s difficult for a couple.

What did you learn about each other?
Dominique: Théo is more patient than me. He can tolerate more dirt than me. He is also a very calm person. I knew that before, but I just realized it more.
Théo: I was surprised to see how well she adapted herself to difficult situations.

Would you do it again? What would you change?
Dominique: Yes, more organization.
Théo: Yes. Next time I would like to concentrate my trip on specific activities, so there is a goal.

What did you like least?
Dominique: The smell in India and the harassment of people who work in tourism.
Théo: The people who work in tourism.

Do you have any tips for traveling with your partner?
Dominique & Théo: Try to have some time on your own and sometimes it is better not to speak with each other when you are tired to avoid shit talking.

What was your favorite country you visited? Why?
Dominique & Théo: We hope Nepal, but so far India. The landscapes in the north of India are amazing and it is so different than anything else we saw during the past 5 months.

Couple of The Week: Jerome & Maru

By , April 27, 2011 7:27 am

Say hello to our couple of the week, Jerome and Maru. After working two years in Chili, South America, they couldn’t get enough so took off to see the rest of the world. We enjoy reading the couple’s blog, especially how they hire tour guides for their sightseeing and excursions. It’s a fun and an educational way of traveling.

Jerome and Maru

Jerome and Maru

Relationship Status: | Married.
How long have you been together? | 10 years.
How long have you been traveling? | 1 year and 1 month.
How long is your total planned trip? | 1 year.

How do you organize world travel among the both of you?
Jerome: Maru does the planning; I carry the bags and eat a lot at the restaurants. 😉
Maru: Every time we arrive in a new country, I draft out a basic itinerary taking in consideration of the time we plan to stay. Then Jerome does his magic and finds out the most amazing places close to each area. I keep track of budgets, he takes care of maintaining the blog and preparing the platform so I can write the Spanish version. We figure out transport and lodging together.

What did you learn about each other?
Jerome: That we could spend 1 year being together 24/7 without killing each other, and in fact, without any problems.
Maru: The harmony of a couple traveling together comes with a small netbook and a digital camera EACH.

Would you do it again? What would you change?
Jerome: We will… maybe on a motorcycle, maybe with kids. I wouldn’t change much. I think the preparation we did helped us avoid many mistakes. Maybe spend more time by the beach. Oh and yes, investigate the visas before going into a country (like Indonesia where we could have stayed longer if we had gotten a visa before arriving).
Maru: Absolutely! I would add a couple of kids, and a bit more of beforehand preparation, mostly investigating the countries we want to visit. I think we did not visit one or two really awesome places because we did not know we could easily get to them.

What was your most recurrent disagreement?
Jerome: Apart from being in India, no disagreements really.
Maru: mmm…none.

Do you have any tips for traveling with your partner?
Jerome: Let go.
Maru: Talk, always talk. Never let the misunderstandings get bigger.

What was your favorite country you visited? Why?
Jerome: There is not one favorite country overall actually, different countries for different things. But the top 3 are: Colombia (atmosphere + friends we met there), Nepal (hiking), New Caledonia (friends, memories, and beautiful place).
Maru:I agree with Jerome. We really liked all places we visited for a specific reason … well not all places. I still have mixed feelings about India.

Traveling As A Couple: Aud & Tonio

By , April 20, 2011 7:00 am

Without my partner in crime, MeAndFrenchie would not be possible. For those thinking of taking the same plunge, here is the dirty truth about traveling as a couple.

We were told many times by friends that if we could last through this trip then he is the one. While that is partly true, it doesn’t mean it is a good idea to dive into a world trip to test your love. All relationships require work, honesty, communication, compromising without over compromising, and much more. While traveling, you both will continue doing those things, but constantly in new environments. The things you like and don’t like about each other usually take years to realize and accept, but traveling will force it upon you both at a faster rate.

Don’t be intimated by all this because those that work as a team, will find that their relationship will grow stronger and traveling will be one of the best things they did together. Seeing the world and sharing that experience with someone special is blissful.

We will be asking a few couples, who we met along our travels, about how it is to travel together.

Up this week are Aud and Tonio who took the plunge after dating only one month! We had the great pleasure of meeting them on the slow boat along the Mekong River and kept bumping into each other over and over again in Laos and Cambodia.

Aud and Tonio

Aud and Tonio

Relationship Status: | Dating for now.
How long have you been together? | 17 months. Too short.
How long have you been traveling? | We’re on a break with travel now. We’ve traveled 15 months.
How long is your total planned trip? | A lifetime!

How do you organize world travel among the both of you?
Aud: We’ve tried picking countries that none of us has visited before to enjoy discovering them together (or ones that we really loved) and then we just play it be ear and decide as we go. We’ve been reading the Lonely Planet guides too.
Tonio: Aud organizes everything; I am just the follower. Seriously, we discuss each travel plan and make decisions then.

What did you learn about each other?
Well, a lot of things as we were dating only for a month before we started our travels.

Would you do it again? What would you change?
Aud: Definitely do it again. And maybe try and read about the countries a bit more before so we know what we really want to do. It always seems like we could spend more time in each place.
Tonio: Of course. Maybe being a bit more organized and having a joint account from the beginning!

What was your most recurrent disagreement?
Aud: I’m not sure; I don’t think it had much to do with traveling.
Tonio: Huuuuuum no clue.

Do you have any tips for traveling with your partner?
Aud: Patience! And don’t just stay with the two of you. When you’re not travelling alone, you don’t go towards people as much but it’s well worth the effort.
Tonio: Being cool, patient, and meet other travelers to “entertain”.

What was your favorite country you visited? Why?
Aud: Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Bolivia, and Argentina. Amazing people, nature and plenty to do outdoors – love the beautiful landscapes and plenty of trekking to do.
Tonio: Japan, Laos, New Zealand, and Argentina. Respectively for its people, atmosphere, nature, and food.

From Saying I Do To Committing

By , March 16, 2011 5:00 am

We began talking about doing some long-term traveling about one year before our actual departure. While we didn’t need an entire year to plan, that was how things worked out for us. Here was our process:

1.  What Kind of Travel:
We met once a week at a coffee shop, which we called “date night”, and began discussing the kind of travels we both imagined. Different ideas came up which included working in another country and just taking off. Ultimately we knew we wanted to experience as much of the world as possible, but not be gone for too long. To maximize our experience, we decided it was best for us to leave our jobs.

2. Which Countries:
Deciding which countries to visit was the most difficult part the process since we wanted to see everything ever published in the National Geographic. After calculating how much time we would need to see the countries in our initial combined list, we realized we would need at least 5 years!

3.  Which Countries Realistically:
We further broke down our lists into three categories: must-see, would-like, and if-time. Just from the countries in our must-see lists, we estimated it would take two years. The idea of being away for two years sounded too long so we had to do some additional trimming. After a few more rounds of discussions, we came down with our final list of countries. It would take us one to one and a half years to complete, which we were comfortable with.

4.  Estimating Costs:
From information we found online and asking other travelers, we estimated how much it would cost us. We mainly factored in cost of living in each country, inflation, flights, gear, insurance, and some padding for emergencies.

5.  Saving:
We were both already saving well before we decided to travel, putting money aside for rainy days so we were very fortunate to be able to take off for at least one year without having to work. Regardless, having extra money is always good. This extra money could be used for money to return home to, the unexpected, or for splurges. We started monitoring our spending. Anytime we wanted to buy something, we would remember the bigger goal at hand and surprisingly, we didn’t need the item after all.

6.  Selling Our Stuff:
Boris knew right away he didn’t need any of the things he had accumulated and was willing to sell it all for $1 each. I, on the other hand, was not comfortable with this idea at all. How could he sell his cashmere sweater I got him as a gift for $1?

After looking at the cost of storage, I came to the conclusion that it was not worth it as most of my assets can be easily replaced for less. So I slowly began selling my stuff. Once I got the hang of it, it turned out I didn’t need 90% of my things. The rest of my belongings that I wanted to keep, I stored at my very generous family’s house. What I didn’t expect from this experience was how much burden was instantly lifted off my shoulders.

7.  Informing Our Families:
When we informed our families of this long trip we were taking, there were many different reactions. Boris’ family was super supportive of him and his decision. Mine on the other hand, were not. Regardless, I was prepared to help them understand my decision and why I was doing it, but at the end of the day, my plan was not going to change. Before I left, my family did come around and was supportive. I am very thankful for this as it did help ease my mind along our journey.

8.  Informing Our Jobs:
As much as I would rehearse how I was going to break the news to my boss, it never got easier. At the end, Boris left his job with an offer to return anytime. I, on the other hand, took a two-year leave of absence. Yes! I didn’t expect this but it is very comforting, especially to my family, that I have this option.

Tip:
Find out what options you have through HR or your work’s intranet. If you have a good relationship with your boss, talk to him/her and be honest. Plan for the worst case, which is to quit. At the end, you just don’t know what options will be presented to you.

9:  Booking Ticket(s):
There really is no better time to leave.  After completing most of the items on this list, we felt good and that we could book our tickets to our first destination. We researched flights and what luck, there was a special on flights from the US to Thailand!

And you? If you are thinking of taking some time off to travel, take it from us, this feeling is not going to go away, even with time. Before dismissing your options, research what they are.

Here are the options we considered:
a. Working in a different country for a few months then travelling until the money runs out.
b. Working remotely while traveling.
c. Getting corporate sponsorship. This requires more work, but it is possible with a plan.
d. Joining or volunteering with an organization that will help with boarding and food costs.
e. Saving and taking off. You will be surprised to learn how little it costs to live in another country.

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