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Travel Talk: How to be anything but an Ordinary Traveler

Life is too short to do anything that you don’t love. At least, that’s how Scott Calafiore and Christy Woodrow see it. The couple met in 2006, and began traveling the world together to pursue their love of photography and surfing. They started their travel and photography blog, Ordinary Traveler, in 2010 to chronicle their adventures for their friends and family. The blog has since taken off and become one of the top blogs in its genre.

We wanted to hear more about why Scott and Christy got started traveling, how they balance travel with their home life in San Diego, and what tips they have for other travel dreamers looking to get started. Read below for their answers, written by Christy.

1) What sparked your decision to begin chronicling your travels in the form of a blog?

We wanted to have not only a record of our travels, but also an online portfolio for our photography. The two-month trip we took in early 2010 gave us the motivation to actually build the blog and start writing stories. I realized how much I love writing and sharing travel tips with others, so it has been a large focus of our lives ever since that trip.

2) You mention on your blog that you love your home in San Diego too much to be permanent nomads. How have you learned to juggle living a “normal” life at home, traveling the world, and running several online businesses?

It’s been a learning process for sure. I originally thought I wanted to be a permanent nomad, but after our two-month trip, I realized how much I value our community of friends in San Diego and neither of us want to give that up. Sometimes I feel like I’m traveling too much and sometimes I get the itch to travel more, but for the most part, we are pretty content. We use all of our vacation time wisely and it’s surprising how many trips Scott can fit in even while working a full-time job. I relish the days when we are home because it gives us time to reflect on our travels, hang out with friends, and get some work done.

3) What has been the most difficult adjustment to traveling the world, and also keeping your roots in San Diego?

Sometimes it’s tough to find a good balance between the two, especially if we have a lot of trips planned in a short amount of time. We will come home from a trip and immediately play catch-up on work. It can feel a bit like burning the candle at both ends. My suitcase is always out, still packed from a previous trip (much to Scott’s dismay). I figure I’ll just be packing it again soon, so I never really unpack, besides doing laundry.

4) You describe yourselves as avid surfers. Where was the most unique place you’ve surfed, and why?

Scott took a surf trip to Peru (I’m dying to go) and surfed some of the best waves of his life. It’s rare to find uncrowded, world class waves — although, I’m not sure how uncrowded it is anymore.

5) Can you pinpoint some of the most interesting destination(s) you’ve explored? Why do they stand out?

Vietnam, Laos and Nepal because there is so much culture — and at the time we visited, they were still relatively off the beaten path for many travelers.

6) 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?

We spent five days in Yellowstone a few years ago and captured some of its breathtaking beauty with timelapse, in addition to photos.
Another one of our favorite picture-perfect destinations is Havasu Falls in Arizona.

7) Have you ever been surprised, either good or bad, about a destination you’ve visited?

Yes, many times, actually. We recently booked a weekend trip to Oxnard, California — merely because we wanted to visit the Channel Islands. Oxnard itself is never a place we would have thought to visit if it wasn’t for the close proximity to the islands, but we ended up enjoying our time in the town even more than the time we spent on Anacapa Island. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event on our boat back from Anacapa.

8) Where is still on your bucket list of places to visit?

So many islands!! Fiji, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Cuba, to name a few.

9) What’s the best travel tip you’d like to offer our readers?

There will almost always be unexpected events while traveling and it will make your trip much more enjoyable if you just expect things not to go as planned.

10) What’s the best photography tip you’d like to offer our readers?

Don’t just take the first shot. Look for different angles or an interesting foreground to create a more unique photo of a destination.

11) Where in the world are you headed next?

I just got back from a two-week trip to France and Scotland. In June, we are headed to Toronto and New Jersey. In August we will spend one week in Alaska! This year is packed full of new travel adventures.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Christy! Keep up with Christy’s and Scott’s adventures on Ordinary Traveler.

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