This week’s Travel Blog interview:
Jeremy & Angie from Living the Dream RTW
1. Who are you and where are you from? We are Jeremy and Angie from the travel blog Living the Dream. We’re currently traveling around the world for 1.5+ years, the second long-term trip we’ve covered on our site. We are from the United States and have lived in Pittsburgh, PA for the last few years.
2. Favorite thing about your hometown? Pittsburgh has a lot of things that we enjoy. When you think of the city you may think of the sports teams (Steelers and Penguins), but we enjoyed it purely because it was a great place to live. We always had a new restaurant to visit, a bike trail or museum to explore, and lived by one of the most scenic overviews of any city in the world, Mount Washington’s view of downtown Pittsburgh. We highly recommend that all travelers visit Pittsburgh for a few days, especially on cross-country road trips!
3. #1 Reason you travel? I don’t think we have any romantic notion of the world that drives us out to travel. Mostly we operate under the “because ‘it’ is there and we are not” mindset. We just really enjoy seeing new things and trying out a new food or experience, so we keep doing it!
4. Job you left behind? We are both chemical engineers and gave it all up to travel. I was working as a water engineer for 2 years before leaving to travel in June 2013. Angie had just finished her PhD in engineering and did not look for a job. It definitely made leaving easier as her research was ending regardless and I would likely have had to quit to relocate with her anyway.
5. What thing(s) did you give up to save money for travel? We’ve never had a smart phone, drove cars that were 9 and 14 years old, did not get a new TV and cable, and never went on shopping trips for years. Even if we weren’t saving money to travel, we never really felt the need to have them. It is funny how an extra $300+ per month works to your advantage over 2 1/2 years.
6. What kind of backpack do you carry and why? I carry a High Sierra duffel bag (95L) as I carry all the toiletries and want a lot of space for souvenirs. Angie carries a Guerilla Pack Voltij (55L) that we won in a contest which is a proper traveler’s backpack. My duffel bag is great because it has backpack straps and wheels for when I want to use either feature, and Angie’s bag is the ultimate backpacker bag with just about every feature you’d like for a backpack. We highly recommend it.
7. Funniest Travel/WTF moment? When I went to Jordan on a tour we had a 4×4 ride out in the desert near the Saudi border. It was a 4 hour or so ride where we blasted dunes, went and saw ancient rock paintings, and generally explored the vastness of Wadi Rum. To really paint the scene, you should really just think of two things: tons of sand and giant rocks sticking out of the ground. We were speeding along pretty fast and we went by a giant boulder and saw a truck sitting in its shade, much like cops do behind buildings in most other countries. Then the truck pulled out and chased us down. It was a cop. A bedouin security guard that protects the borders from smuggling. After seeing a bunch of Westerners driving around and having fun it was no big deal, but our driver didn’t have a license and they had to sort through that later. At least they didn’t truly believe we were smugglers.
8. Favorite ‘Off-the-beaten-Path’ place: I’m a big fan of Koh Lipe, Thailand. I don’t know if it should be considered off-the-beaten-path anymore though as it is being built up quite considerably in recent years. There is something to be said about an island that is so small you can walk it all in a half hour and has absolutely no cars. But since people like us keep writing about it, at some point it’ll be overpopulated.
9. Your MUST HAVE(s) while on the road: Clean socks. Nothing is worse than festering feet.
10. Laundry: Send it out or use the sink? Send it out, definitely. I know it costs a fair bit of money, but I’d rather someone else deal with the things I hate doing if it saves us time. Unless we’re in Europe or somewhere extremely expensive, that is, then we’ll do it ourselves until we get somewhere cheaper.
11. Favorite book: My favorite book is probably The Alchemist by Paul Coelho and Angie is a big fan of non-fiction stories that revolve around travel destinations (although too hard for her to pick a favorite).
12. Stay out late or get up early? We’re most definitely early people, but as so much as you can call 8-9 am early. We’re not partiers and typically only stay out til just a few hours after sunset if something is interesting. Although in some countries when it doesn’t get dark until 11 PM in the summer we may not even make it that far. Oops.
13. DSLR or Point & Shoot? What brand(s) and lenses do you carry? All of the above. I carry a Nikon D80 with an 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens set, although I hardly use the latter one. I also carry a Canon D20 dive-rated camera for rainy days, beach days, scuba diving. Angie uses a Sony HX20V point and shoot which, in all honesty, is better than my five year old SLR. It is that good.
14. Favorite kind of Pizza: Italian Margherita for sure. Why mess with the best?
15. What is your average daily budget? Our average daily budget changes based on the country we are visiting. We don’t look at savings as a magic number for all countries, but rather figure out our budget per country and try and stick to that. On average for our big trip we’re looking at around $175/day all included but our spending may range from $60/day to $350/day depending on the country we’re in. You cannot really compare the budget for Switzerland on the same page as the budget for India.
16. How many countries have you visited? I’ve been to 36 countries and island nations while Angie has been to 17. After this trip we’ll be more at around 70-80!