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Our next gracious guest in our Inspired Traveler series is a husband/wife team who run a blog dedicated to promoting the fiscally sound way of traveling, Budget Your Trip.
1) What is it about traveling that makes you smile?
The thing that makes me smile the most is when I meet someone authentic and proud of their home country. Sometimes these people don’t have very much, and unfortunately live close to poverty, but they are still happy, welcoming, and friendly. These are the great people of the world and the reason why I keep traveling.
2) What is your favorite place in the world?
That’s a tough question to answer because I have a lot of favorite places. Cambodia was amazing and beautiful, with beaches, jungles, ancient ruins, and smiling children. Syria is another country at the top of my favorites list because of the friendly and welcoming culture, great food, amazing history, and vibrant cities. Ethiopia is another country that is often overlooked, but a true gem. Finally, Istanbul is probably the most amazing city in the world, and I always recommend it to everyone.
3) What place would have to pay you to come back and even then you’d have to think about it?
A town in Bulgaria known as Plovdiv. The historical sites did not live up to the hype and the town itself was lacking interest. Also, we nearly starved to death because all of the restaurants were actually bars that didn’t want to serve us food. We were forced to eat at McDonald’s – the ultimate traveler’s shame!
4) What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given about traveling?
The best advice is to not have a set plan but to be flexible. You never know when good opportunities will arise. Also, keep your towel dry at all times.
5) How has traveling changed you as a person?
My wife and I have discussed this a great deal. I think traveling humbles you and makes you realize that you are not God’s gift to everyone around you. It also helps you understand other people’s situations, so you’re less inclined to be racist or elitist. Traveling also helps you understand your own limits and capabilities. Traveling independently for long periods of time gave us the confidence to start our own business and take control of our own lives.
6) Have you ever volunteered during your travels? If so, what did you do? If not, will you ever?
Not directly, but we run a non-profit that promotes social change and humanitarian causes through photography (Collective Lens). We’ve visited multiple organizations that need help to raise awareness for their cause. I would love to volunteer on a trip one day, I just haven’t gotten around to it, really.
7) What is the best piece of advice that you can give our readers?
They say that you only regret the things that you don’t attempt. So, go for it! Dive into your next big challenge, and don’t sit around and wait for it to come to you. This relates not just to traveling, but everything in life.
8 ) Since this is a budget travel blog, what is your best budget tip, bar none?
Our best budget tip would be to lower your standards and test your limits. Try to stay at the crummiest hotel possible and eat the cheapest food, just to see how you handle it. If you can’t, that’s fine (it means you’re normal), but you’ll soon learn how low you can go. Once you find that perfect mix of cheapness and comfort, you’ll never waste your money on huge hotel chains again, and you’ll travel farther and longer.
9) Where do you plan to travel this year?
Our next big trip will be to Mongolia and China. We’ve been to many other countries in Asia and love it, but we’ve never been to Mongolia. I’ve always been fascinated with their nomadic lifestyle. We visited southern China on a previous trip, but it’s a big country and we always vowed to return one day.
10) What are the three things that you could never do without during your travels?
I could never do without my camera. I become obsessed with photography while traveling. (I try not to let it take over the experience, though.) I also find that a good pocket knife comes in handy when you really need some food but options are limited. It peels fruit from the market and opens cans, too. Finally, shoes are very important. A good pair of hiking shoes and some cheap but waterproof sandals are very important.
Thank you, Bryan and Laurie, for speaking with us! You are a couple who definitely speaks my language when it comes to your travel philosophy and the obvious joy that it brings to both of you.
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Blog: Budget Your Trip
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