We have something special today – a chat with two of the best bloggers in the blogosphere. They have been traveling on their own for years, and as a couple for over a year, amassing fun stories, captivating photo-essays and exciting videos from around the world. We couldn’t wait to find out more about their traveling style, their adventures, and what they have in store for all us travel enthusiasts.
Hi Audrey and Sam 🙂 Tell us a bit about yourselves and your blogs, That Backpacker and Nomadic Samuel !
Sam – Greetings from Hong Kong International Airport! I’m Samuel from Gold River, Vancouver Island, Canada. I’ve been living a nomadic lifestyle for eight consecutive years alternating between teaching overseas and backpacking around the world. I blog over at NomadicSamuel.com
Audrey – And I’m the girl! Sam is the one who roped me into doing this very long round-the-world trip soon after we met. I blog over at ThatBackpacker.com and I’m a big foodie so I love sampling new foods in the street markets.
How did the two of you meet?
Audrey – Sam and I met while we were both working as teachers in Korea in 2012. We already knew about each other through our blogs, so when we found out that we were both living just outside of Seoul, Sam offered to show me (the newbie) around town. On our first ‘unofficial date’, Sam proceeded to be the worst tour guide ever by taking me to restaurants that had closed down, bookshops that had relocated, and walking around in circles around this one neighbourhood as he tried to find his bearings. I guess he wasn’t such bad company because I spent the rest of the day wandering around town with him. We just started hanging out every weekend from then onwards. 🙂
Audrey, we thoroughly enjoyed your posts on South Korea and feel like you got so much out of living there for a while. What, according to you, is the best part about long-term travel?
Audrey – I think living in a place for a year really gives you a chance to understand a country so much better. Had I not been living in Korea for a year, I doubt I would have gotten to visit the tea plantations in Boseong, wander through the fish markets in Busan, and drink tea in a little traditional tea house in Insadong. When you’re just passing through a place you tend to stick to the main attractions, but when you stay longer, you can get under its skin.
Living in Korea for a year also taught me that I enjoy slow travel. Ever since Sam and I strapped on our backpacks last spring, we’ve been trying to spend a month in every country we visit. We still can’t see it all in a month, but it’s enough time to uncover a city’s quirks and become a ‘regular’ at a few favourite restaurants.
Tell us a bit more about BackpackingTravelTV, the Youtube channel run by both of you. Have there ever been any conflicts of interest about what to cover on that channel, or has it all been plain sailing?
Sam – Backpacking Travel TV is a travel YouTube channel we created to share our adventures and misadventures on the road. We focus keenly on food, culture and transportation videos. Sometimes one of us is tired and doesn’t feel like filming. In other instances, we don’t agree on whether a video is worth filming or not; however, those instances are rare. Most of the time we’re on the same page.
A number of your videos focus on street-food from South East Asia. We know you’ve filmed everything from the weird to wonderful, but do you have any favourites?
Sam – Recently, I’ve been scarfing down egg tarts in both Macau and Hong Kong. With a sweet creme brulee like consistency, these tarts are something I ought to be avoiding considering I’m on a blogger diet.
Audrey – My favourite is mango sticky rice! I think I may have a slight addiction to it. I don’t even like rice, but there is something about that coconut milk with palm sugar, those succulent chunks of ripe mango, and a few sesame seeds sprinkled overtop – I tell you, it’s magic!
On a recent trip to Finland, you both tried Reindeer meat. Having adored Santa all your lives, how did that experience feel? 🙂
Sam – It was bittersweet. It reminded me of a Simpson’s episode where Homer eats his pet lobster – regretting every bite but continuing on given the delicious taste. In all seriousness, it was a rich flavourful game meat with a bit of a sour aftertaste. We especially enjoyed it prepared as a cold cut as opposed to meatballs.
The two of us really enjoy travelling as a couple. Having someone to share experiences with makes the whole process of discovering new places less intimidating and way more exciting. What is your favourite thing about travelling as a couple?
Audrey – Travelling with Sam has been a big change because in the past I was the master planner who would orchestrate the trips and take care of the logistics. However, because most of our travels over the past few months have centred around Asia (a place that Sam has spent far too much time in!), I’ve kind of handed the reigns over to him. I still help out with the planning, but I let him lead the way. Of course that dynamic is going to change once we make it over to Europe – that’s my turf! But back to the question, my favourite thing about travelling with Sam is that we are both major foodies! We will hunt a restaurant down just for a specific crispy pork dumpling. That’s commitment.
Sam – I’m thrilled to be sharing my travel experiences with someone. In the past I had done a lot of solo travel whereas Audrey has often traveled with her sisters, family and/or friends. Being able to share our experiences together as we eat, explore and absorb as much culture – as we possibly can in far off corners of the world – is something that has enriched the way I experience travel.
Sam – We always look forward to your photo essays because they seem to capture the essence of each destination. Do you decide the topic of your photo essays in advance or is it a retrospective compilation of your best shots from a destination? What has been your best compilation?
Sam – I’ve always just selected photos after traveling to a destination. I typically don’t have a subject or theme in mind. Often, I reflect on my entire body of work in a particular country or city before making a decision on what direction I’d like to go. One of my favorite photo essays in recent times, was a compilation of shots I took while visiting Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India.
Both of you have been travelling for a while now. How has your travel style evolved over the years?
Audrey – Well, we both started out as ‘backpackers’, and while we do still carry backpacks, our travel style has changed from that of our early twenties. When I was in university I was willing to cut down costs any way I could – 3 connecting flights to reach a destination, a hostel in a questionable part of town, picnic lunches – but now I prefer more comfort and I’m more likely to splurge on unique experiences.
Sam – I travel much slower now than in the past. I also used to really feel pressure to see all of the major attractions in a given country and/or city. These days, I’m happy to skip many of those and instead explore down a back-alley or local market.
Thanks Savi & Vid for the chance to take part in this interview! Hopefully we’ll bump into you two somewhere along the way.