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Posts Tagged ‘Travel talk’

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. (more…)

Travel Talk: How one blogger explores the world by tasting it

“The best way to learn about a destination is through its flavors.” That’s the travel philosophy of Rachelle Lucas, founder and editor of and the next guest for our Travel Talk blog series.

So how does one become a travel and food blogger? In Rachelle’s case, quite by accident! When she felt she wasn’t living her life to the fullest, she left her marketing job in the banking industry to move to Florida and become an inn keeper. When the inn decided to start blogging, it chose Rachelle to lead the charge.

From there, Rachelle discovered her love for sharing recipes and travel stories through a blog. She is no longer an innkeeper, but continues to travel, blog, and try new food all over the world. We asked her to answer a few questions so we could learn more about the fabulous exotic cuisine she has tasted from every corner of the planet.

1) We’ve read that you quit your office job, opened an inn in Florida, and the rest is history. What sparked this decision, and was it a difficult one to make?

What sparked the decision is that I didn’t feel I was my true “authentic” self. Many of my friends were happy working downtown in an office environment, but I always looked out the window with a longing for something different. I was successful. I had a great job with a big desk and my own office. I just wasn’t happy. After staying at a bed-and-breakfast and mingling with the innkeepers all morning, I was hooked! Their 9-5 seemed more like my Saturday morning. After that, it wasn’t a hard decision to make. The most difficult part in any goal or dream is identifying what you want. Once you have that in mind, it’s just about enjoying the journey and the process.

2) Do you mostly travel domestically or internationally? (more…)

Travel Talk: There’s no stopping Uncornered Market’s world travelers

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. (more…)

Travel Talk: What The Art of Non-Conformity means to Chris Guillebeau

Life, work, and travel: Those are the three concentrations of The Art of Non-Conformity (AONC) project, founded by Chris Guillebeau. The Art of Non-Conformity project’s mission is to inspire people to live unconventional lives, make their own choices, and change the world. Chris started the project after volunteering and traveling inspired him to strive to achieve significant, personal goals and help others to do the same. He didn’t want to perform a desk job he wasn’t passionate about, but instead wanted to lead others to follow their dreams.

So far, Chris has accomplished some pretty impressive personal and professional goals: he’s visited 192 of 193 United Nation member states; contributed pieces to CNN, Business News, and Huffington Post, among other news outlets; published two books — The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Startup (a New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best seller)—as well as several manifestos; started the successful World Domination Summit to help connect like-minded individuals who share the values of community, adventure and service; and many others—and Chris is only 34 years old! We invited Chris to answer some questions for our blog audience as our latest post in the Travel Talk blog series. Read on for some of his thoughts on travel and inspiration in his own words.

1) You’ve been to 190 countries, and set a goal to visit all 193 United Nation member states by age 35. Your goal date of April 2013 is only a month away. How close are you to meeting this ambitious goal?
I’ve now been to 192 countries. I went to Guinea Bissau in December and Tuvalu in January. So I’m pretty sure I’m on track. 🙂

2) Tell us about The Art of Non Conformity (AONC) project you started. What sparked the creation of this project?
I had moved back to the U.S. after four years in West Africa. I was turning 30 and feeling dissatisfied with what I had done to that point — I felt like I lacked convergence. I decided to start AONC as a platform for my writing and a community for other unconventional people. Within a year, it had become a full-time career.

3) Do you typically travel alone? Does your wife ever travel with you?
I do typically travel alone, yes. Jolie recently accompanied me to India for a two-week book tour.

4) Since you’ve visited almost all of the countries you set out to visit by this year, do you still have any destinations on your bucket list to visit?
I don’t really have a bucket list, but there are certainly plenty of places I’d still love to visit. I haven’t yet been to Palestine, and I haven’t done Antarctica either. Both of those will be coming up at some point.

5) What has been the most interesting destination(s) you’ve explored, and why?
There are so many! I don’t have a single favorite or “most interesting.”

6) You’ve run at least 10 miles in over 25 countries. How do you decide which countries to run in? Have you faced any challenges running throughout the world? If so, what are they, and have any countries in particular been a challenge to run in?
I don’t usually decide in advance. Some of it depends on my current training — if I have a race coming up, I’ll run longer. How long I’m in a country also affects the decision. The biggest challenge in much of the world is the climate. It’s very hard to run 10 miles in Kuwait during the summer. On the other hand, I ran a half-marathon in Cuba recently and had a great experience. After the race, most foreign runners donate their shoes to Cuban runners, who sometimes run shoeless otherwise.

7) Have you ever been surprised, either pleasantly or disappointingly, about a destination you’ve visited?
I’m constantly surprised. Much of travel relates to how context shapes experiences. I didn’t expect to love the Solomon Islands, but it turned out to be a beautiful place. I was intimidated by Central Asia and the Russian-speaking world before I went, but then I relaxed once I saw how incredible it was.

8) What travel tips would you like to share with our readers?
I share a lot about “travel hacking” on my blog, or how to see the world for free using Frequent Flyer Miles. But I think the more important aspects of traveling will reveal themselves to you as you go. Don’t be afraid! Step out — the world is waiting. Also, never check luggage.

9) Where in the world are you headed next?
I recently resumed the on-going book tour for “The $100 Startup” by visiting 10 U.S. cities. This month I’m going to Korea for the launch of the local version there, and in April, I’ll be in Norway for the final country. Readers can always find out about tour dates by visiting Tickets for our big party in Norway are available at

Thanks Chris! Be sure to visit The Art of Non-Conformity website for all the latest on Chris’ next adventures.

Travel Talk: Following your travel dreams, no matter your age

If given the chance, would you quit your job, sell your house, and leave your friends and family behind to travel the world and see its wonders firsthand? This seems daunting, but there are days that I’d love to shelf my responsibilities and travel to my heart’s content. Gary Arndt, author of the travel blog Everything Everywhere, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 25 Blogs in the World in 2010, has done just that.

He sold his business in 1998 to a multinational corporation, and after a whirlwind tour of their overseas offices, he was struck by the travel bug. Gary sold his home in 2007 and began to travel the world, for what he thought was going to be a one or two year trip. Five years later, his journey continues.

At last count, Gary has visited all seven continents, over 116 countries and territories around the world, all 50 U.S. states, 9 of of 10 Canadian provinces, every Australian state and territory, over 125 U.S. National Park Service sites, and over 180 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We wanted to hear more about why Gary decided to start traveling, what he enjoys most about travel, the biggest lesson he’s learned, and where he’s heading next. Read on for these details and more.

1) What sparked your decision to sell your house in 2007 and start traveling? Was it a difficult decision to make?
I had reached a point in my life where I didn’t know what to do. I enjoyed traveling, so I decided to go travel. It was actually a very easy decision for me to make. I had nothing tying me down, so it wasn’t as big of a decision as it would be for most people. (more…)

Travel Talk: Pairing backpacking with lending a helping hand to those in need around the world

Do you dream of seeing the world and inspiring good along the way? That was the dream of Jessica Festa, the woman behind the travel blog Jessie on a Journey and the next guest we’ve invited to join us for our Travel Talk blog series.

Jessica has traveled all over the world to help people, including teaching English in Thailand and orphanage work in Ghana. She is also a backpacker by nature, and has backpacked through Europe and South America, studied abroad in Australia, and toured Southeast Asia and China.

She writes about her philanthropic travels on her blog to inspire others. We think Jessica is pretty inspiring herself! Read on for how she got started volunteering and traveling, misconceptions she often hears about solo women travelers, her best budget tip, and more.

1) When did your love of traveling begin?
I’ve been traveling my whole life, as my parents also are avid travelers, just with a different focus. When I was younger, we would do a road trip every summer driving to different amusement parks. Then as I got older, we started doing the whole cruise thing. It wasn’t until I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, that I realized I wanted to go abroad more. Now my travel style is a mix of volunteering abroad, international solo backpacking, and U.S. road trips.

2) What is the most memorable destination you’ve visited and why?
Probably Sydney. I was there for six months and had an apartment, gym membership, favorite cafe, designated grocery store, a part-time job, etc. These things made me feel as though I was truly a local, and helped me to get to know the place. Another very memorable place was Ghana, Africa. I lived with a family and worked at an orphanage for a month, and really fell in love with the culture.

3) What’s the biggest misconception people have about traveling solo, especially women who travel by themselves?

That you can’t do it. People still tell me “you can’t go to Bolivia by yourself” or “Quito is too dangerous for a solo woman traveler.” Well, I’ve done both and lived to tell the tale!

4) What is the best piece of advice you can offer to someone traveling solo to a country they’ve never been to before?

Don’t give up as soon as you start to feel lonely. There will inevitably be times you feel a bit more lonely than others, but there are also ways to combat it. My favorite thing to do is use the CouchSurfing forum, not for sleeping on couches, but to plan meet-ups and dinners. For example, if you’re going to Buenos Aires, search for the city group, join, post a note saying when you’ll be in the city, and ask if anyone would be interested in grabbing a drink, sightseeing, etc. It worked out very well for me.

5) What’s one travel item you can’t leave home without?

My LUSH Godiva shampoo bar. It’s moisturizing, compact, and takes up much less space than a shampoo and conditioner together.

6) What’s your best budget travel tip?

Go local! Skip the touristy restaurants and shops and opt for local eateries and markets.

7) You’ve written in the past about a travel philosophy. How would you define yours?

To me, your travel philosophy is about your beliefs on travel and travel goals. It’s all about experiencing local culture and getting to know new people and places with an open and welcoming mind.

8) Are there any stereotypes of places you’ve visited that you can disprove based on your travels, especially for women travelers?

One thing I’ll say that’s usually wrong is when people stereotype an entire country. For example, I heard over and over about how dangerous Brazil was. However, while Rio and Sao Paulo may have been a bit rough, the areas of Paraty and Ilha Grande felt very, very safe.

9) When you meet other women solo travelers, have you found that there are any common personal or cultural characteristics that you share?

I think women solo travelers seem to be easy-going and adventurous. I mean, you have to be to go against the warnings of your friends and family and do what’s best for yourself.

10) Where in the world are you headed next?

I’m going on an adventure-focused trip to Ohio this week, which I’m excited about, as well as a two-week road trip from Melbourne to the Outback in Australia. Then, I’ll be driving around Kentucky for two weeks exploring the hiking and bourbon offerings. I definitely have some exciting things coming up! 🙂

Thanks for sharing your amazing adventures with us Jessica! Be sure to check out Jessie on a Journey for the latest news on where she’s going next.

Travel Talk: What would you ask someone who’s been to almost every country in the world?

When you’ve visited almost every country in the world, there are probably few surprises left to be seen. But that’s not stopping Lee Abbamonte, who is on track to become the youngest American to visit every country in the world. At the age of 34, he’s visited 306 out of 321 countries and unique destinations in the world per the Travelers Century Club list.

With so much travel experience under his belt, Lee has a ton of advice for blog readers, and we thought he’d be the perfect interviewee for the blog series we’re kicking off today — Travel Talk. Our series will feature travel enthusiasts from around the globe who will share their knowledge and insight with you.

Read on for our interview with Lee about his amazing travel adventures and the record he’s trying to break. Right now, it’s held by Charles Veley, who visited all 321 countries in 37 years, 9 months, and 17 days. At 34 years old, Lee hopes to beat that record with room to spare!

1) When did your love of traveling begin?

I always loved discovering new places in the small town in Connecticut I grew up in, but never even thought about traveling the world until my junior year in college when I studied abroad in London. It changed my life and I fell in love with travel.

2) What is the most memorable destination you’ve visited, and why?


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