We’ve all experienced a sliding door moment, that slightly insignificant experience that separates what could have been and what is. For some, it is turning down a job, saying yes to that date or deciding not to eat that second piece of cake. Whatever it may be, we are almost always unaware of where these simple life decisions may lead us.
For this particular couple, making the decision to travel South East asia was their sliding door moment, deciding to extend that trip was their second and giving life to a simple idea was their third. These decisions have lead them on some of the most exciting journeys that I have had the privilege of reading about, and it is only just the beginning of their adventure!
Meet the Couple behind American Wanderlove
How long have you been blogging and what made you start your blog?
We have been blogging for about eight months. Our passion for sharing our adventures with the world began July 2017 during our first month traveling together through Southeast Asia. As Americans, we are encouraged to travel within the states, not so much beyond the country. Neither of us had ever traveled beyond the country’s boundaries. We decided to take a leap of faith to travel into the unknown world of Southeast Asia.
We were nervous, excited and ready to explore the world.
Two weeks into our three-month backpacking trip in Southeast Asia, while sitting on the beautiful secluded beach of Koh Rong Island in Cambodia, we were filled with inspiration for an idea. The idea was to extend our travels an additional three months and create a business, American Wanderlove. This was an out of the ordinary idea and seemed crazy. Despite how crazy it seemed, we took action on our dream of traveling the world. We moved our return flights three months further and notified our loved one’s that we would be back late November 2017.
Throughout our six-month journey exploring SE Asia, we backpacked through six countries, explored 25 islands, drove a motorbike 4,000 km across the country of Vietnam, received our open water and advanced open water certifications in scuba diving where we dove various places in two different countries, snorkeled with turtles, trekked overnight up to the crater of two volcanoes, hitchhiked through Cambodia and Indonesia, canyoneering in Vietnam, slept on benches and hammocks and finally, somehow, someway, we managed to make it back safely to the comforts of America.
We became addicted to the travel and adventurous lifestyle. We loved the uncertainty and the unknown of everyday life. We captured and filmed all of our adventures in every country. We became inspired and passionate to grow our business, American Wanderlove, into an international adventure business to empower and inspire people – beginning with Americans – all over the world to live a life of adventure.
As we prepare for our Grand Adventure –travelling two years to Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, Philippines, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papa New Guinea and wherever else our journey leads us – we will use Australia and New Zealand as home bases doing our working holiday’s for one year each in each country to explore Asia and the surrounding countries.
What blogging platform do you use? What platform do you recommend ?
We are using Hostgator’s platform to share our travel adventures, locally and internationally. Always use what works best for you and what you are trying to accomplish. Hostgator’s website builder is user friendly so we would recommend it for anyone. We are also taking advantage of the huge opportunity through social media such as facebook and instagram , where there are tons of networking opportunities.
Three tips for someone just starting out as a travel blogger?
1.Do it because you love it. No matter what attention you get, do it because you are passionate about sharing your unique and one of a kind life. Ignore the critics and the people who don’t believe in what you are out to do for this world.
2. Be consistent with what you are out to do in this world. Every week, create a game plan for what you want to accomplish and review it on a monthly basis. Create short- term goals to accomplish a long-term vision.
3. Dream big. Become curious and learn everything you must do to live your passions of sharing your adventures. Whether it’s through videos or words, you can do whatever you desire around travel blogging.
Where in the world are you?
Currently, we are in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. This is our home base for another six-months as we prepare and plan for our Grand Adventure. First stop will be Australia around my birthday, January 5 th 2018. We will do a holiday working visa for one year where we will intermittently travel to nearby countries in Asia before moving onto New Zealand for a holiday working visa. Right now, we are focused on growing and expanding our business, American Wanderlove, through local sponsors. We travel a lot going on local adventures in our state, and bordering states, like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Havasupai, Sedona, Zion National Park and so many more local spots to explore.
When did you first get the “travel bug?” Was there a defining moment?
As much as American Wanderlove lives to inspire others to get out and live an adventurous life. We are always getting ourselves into the next adventure. One of the most addicting parts of traveling for us is connecting with the locals in each country and really engulfing ourselves into the lifestyle that they live. Speaking to locals and connecting with individuals all over the world has been the greatest education we have ever received.
We attracted the travel bug during our two-month journey through Vietnam.This is when we really were infected with the bite of the travel bug.
During our first week in Saigon, Vietnam, we met a local Vietnamese young man, Dean (who we call our Vietnamese best friend). Dean showed up all around the city via motorbikes and also traveled with us over the next few weeks while making our way North towards Hanoi, Vietnam. While we were in Hue, Dean was staying at his grandparents. He invited us over to have dinner at their house. When we arrived, we were blown way at the experience we got ourselves into. This was the first time any foreigner’s have ever stepped foot into Dean’s grandparents home. Uncles, aunts and cousins were sitting around the dinner table with a skinned chicken and some pig intestines placed on the table as dishes.
They couldn’t speak a word of English. Yet, we all laughed, shared stories through Dean’s translation and enjoyed authentic Vietnamese food together. We sat there in a state of gratitude for this true local travel experience that we will never forget. This is the travel bug that has fueled us with its lethal venom to explore and discover people all around the world.
Can you share a few travel hacks that you have learnt along the way?
First tip, stuff doesn’t matter.
When preparing for long-term travel, it doesn’t require much more than a backpack, a couple pairs of clothes and technology that allows you to share your travels. Leading up to our six- month adventure, we had prepared over and over making sure we had everything and more. We made an itinerary of the places to see, towns and countries to visit. Once we landed, we didn’t refer to the itinerary one time. Oh and we ended up losing half the stuff we brought only to buy more along the way for half the cost.
Second tip, SLOW DOWN.
There is no need to rush off to get to the next place or see the next wonder of the world. Enjoy the journey it takes to get to these destinations. Appreciate the beauty of the moment in the people and environment around you. Third tip, make local connections. Traveling to experience culture is all about making connections with the locals. The locals know the best, cheapest routes, spots and places to go. They are always more than happy to be your friend and show you around.
Last tip, be open to whatever comes your way.
Have common sense and street smarts, but if the universe places a person in your path or an event, take the opportunity to find out where this path leads, even if it is off course. We can’t tell you how many times we ran into people and went with the flow to discover amazing hidden rivers, waterfalls, street food, local’s houses and food markets.
Lastly, how did you save money, while on the road?
We utilized helpx and workaway to find volunteer opportunities to save $ and travel longer. We worked at a bar on the beach for free accommodation and food for a week in Cambodia which was such a fun experience and while in Vietnam we taught English for a month which every single day our students completely changed our lives and the way we view this world.
We received such a local experience from that. Having our students take us out to try the local foods and go to the night markets. Discussing their politics, culture, issues within Vietnam. Especially being Americans it was so eye opening to get their perspective and if we were never open to volunteering and finding “other” ways to save $ while traveling we would have missed out on those experiences altogether