We’re continuing with our Travel Talk blog series by featuring not one, but two amazing travelers who are still going strong after visiting over 75 countries in the past six years. Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott are the husband-and-wife storytelling and photography team behind Uncornered Market.
Dan and Audrey left their secure jobs and quiet lifestyles in 2006 for what was planned to be a 12-18 month traveling adventure. It’s been six years since they began, and they see no end in sight. Together they explore the world, photograph the people and places they see, and blog about their experiences. They’ve visited over 75 countries, and have many more on their list.
We reached out to Dan and Audrey because we wanted to know what they’ve learned from their travels, what they have most enjoyed, and what’s next on their agenda.
1) What sparked your decision to leave your jobs and lifestyle in 2006 to travel the world? Was it a difficult decision to make?
We were both working in traditional desk jobs and had reached a point where we weren’t learning anymore and wanted more creativity in our lives. We had always dreamed about traveling around the world and decided to combine travel with learning new creative skills to try and get into a different type of work. Was it a difficult decision? YES!! Everyone thought we were crazy leaving all the security and stability behind. But it was worth it.
2) You mention on Twitter that you recently visited in New Zealand. How long were you there, and what did you do?
We spent one month in New Zealand on both the North and South Islands. For the first three weeks, we were on the G Adventures New Zealand Encompassed Tour which was a lot of fun – so many great places and adrenaline activities. For the last week we rented a car to explore the northern part of the South Island and focused more on food and wine.
3) Tell us about how the idea of the “Uncornered Market” came about, and in turn, came to life. Do you find that blogging about your travels has changed the way you see the world?
Uncornered Market originally started as a sort of portfolio of writing and photography work that we thought we could use for freelance work. Over time, the blog became more popular and we began working with companies, sponsors, destinations, etc. Blogging has made us be more observant since we’re always trying to keep our eyes open to all that’s happening and trying to figure out ways to share these experiences.
4) What is it like being able to see the world with your spouse? Has it brought you closer?
While it is difficult to spend 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year with someone, it is also really wonderful to be able to share and process experiences together. Yes, it has definitely brought us closer.
5) You mention on your blog that you make traveling financially possible from specialized projects, among other things. Can you tell us about these projects?
These projects seem to change by the year. At the beginning, we did more traditional freelance writing/photography work. But then the rates for these projects went down so we looked to website design and photography projects. When the blog became more popular, we started working with advertisers, sponsors, and other travel companies. Today, we also take on social media consulting work and do training/workshops.
6) You recently celebrated your six-year anniversary of traveling the world. What has been your most difficult adjustment to living on the road, and what is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourselves during this experience?
Most difficult adjustment to living on the road is that you have to have EVERYTHING with you at all times – winter gear, summer gear, everything. But even more than that, it’s the idea that you never know where you’re going to be. We recently made a change and created a base in Berlin so we’ll be semi-nomadic. What we’ve learned during our nomadic years? We really don’t need very much stuff to live a good life.
7) Can you pinpoint some of the most interesting destination(s) you’ve explored? Why do they stand out?
We had really great experiences in places like the Republic of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Nepal, India, Burma/Myanmar, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, Iran, New Zealand, and so many other places. They all stand out because of their people.
8) You’ve been dubbed ‘perception busters’ in the past. What countries do you believe people have a skewed perception of?
There are so many countries that fit into this category. Many Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries often have the reputation of being “dangerous” or “anti-American,” but our experiences have been anything but. Same goes for places like Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar, or Bangladesh. These are often countries that people only learn about when there’s a political or natural disaster.
9) Photography is certainly something you enjoy. Do you have a favorite place you’ve captured on film? Do you have an all-time favorite image you’d like to share with us?
For landscapes, probably New Zealand. As for people, India and Burma were wonderful – people were so outgoing and friendly. As for an all-time favorite image, here’s one of them:
10) Where is still left on your bucket list of places to visit?
Australia, South Africa, PNG, Bhutan, and many places in Africa.
11) Have you ever been surprised, either pleasantly or disappointingly, about a destination you’ve visited?
Bolivia surprised us by its physical beauty – from its mountains to its lakes to the salt flats. Iran surprised us by how friendly and warm its people were towards us as Americans. Georgia (Republic of) was similar with its crazy hospitality.
12) What is the most inspiring experience you’ve had while traveling?
There are too many to just list one! See the answer to #7!
13) What’s the best travel or photography tip you’d like to offer to our readers?
When photographing people, be sure to treat them as a human first and a subject next. Sounds simple, but so many people don’t do it. Develop a relationship and trust, and then ask permission to take the photo. Here are more photography tips.
12) Where in the world are you headed next?
Our next destination is Warsaw where we’ll speak at TedX. After that, we’ll return to Berlin and be still for a few weeks.
Thanks for joining us on our blog, Dan and Audrey!