This week’s guest post comes from Two Nerds Travel. ‘Anna is the writer and photographer behind Two Nerds Travel. She has traveled extensively since 2008, when she took her first trip abroad to London, England. Anna full-heartedly believes that anyone can, and should, travel, and that those travel experiences can start at home! Benjamin (aka Ben) is Anna’s travel companion and husband. He is the humor and food critic behind Two Nerds Travel. Ben and Anna have been traveling together since 2013, when Ben was introduced to his first trip abroad to Norway and France’.
1.What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Anna, and my husband’s name is Ben. We’re from the United States and currently live in Minnesota.
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
As of right now, we are only part time travelers. We love travel and cannot get enough of the many experiences the world offers us, but unfortunately, we don’t currently have the means to quit our jobs and travel full time. It’s definitely a goal of ours, though. We’ve decided tentatively on 2018 to start traveling full time. Whether or not that will actually happen is up to life, but if it’s possible, we’ll make it work!
Even though we’re just part time travelers, we still try to get as much travel in as possible. In the United States, we’re given two weeks paid vacation. We try to plan our trips around the holidays to snag a few extra paid days, if possible. For example, in 2016 we went to the Dominican Republic for 5 days in February, are planning a 6 day hiking trip to Arizona in August, and will also take a 5-7 day trip over Christmas/New Years using the paid holiday vacation time we’re given. When we’re not traveling abroad, we still make it a priority to go camping and hiking on the weekends. There are a lot of great places to visit around the Midwest.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
We fund our trips by saving money from our jobs. In the future, we hope to fund long-term travel through freelancing. I’m a writer, and Ben is a computer engineer, so we have a few options we can explore.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
We absolutely loved Norway. Scandinavia is beautiful in so many different ways, and Norway is no exception. Its cities are clean and quiet, the people there are exceedingly kind and meditative, and the scenery is breathtaking. Pictures barely do it justice. We haven’t seen bluer skies or breathed in fresher air anywhere else. The way they embrace nature and sunshine is also a hiker’s dream. We just so felt comfortable and relaxed there… We hope to go back as soon as possible.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of New York City. We probably weren’t staying in the best area, but it definitely made a negative impression on me. I remember walking past heaps and heaps of garbage bags all laid out on the sidewalks. The subway was out-of-order when we tried to catch a ride across town, and the taxi drivers were very pushy and took advantage of us since we’d never been to New York City before. Everything just seemed dirty and loud, a huge contrast from the peaceful tranquility of Norway. But perhaps that’s just because we’re pretty quiet people ourselves!
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
We do have a bucket list! But instead of being a list of places, it’s a hodgepodge of experiences we’d like to try. No one experience really stands out above the rest for us, but here are three items from our list (in no particular order). We’re constantly adding new ideas to our bucket list as we think of them!
Experience a Japanese tea ceremony.
Take a road trip across the United States.
Go swimming in the Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
- My laptop. I refuse to travel without it. As my laptop is my livelihood, it’d be hard to leave it at home. I have a MacBook Air which I use to do some work on the road, write blog posts, read up on various locations, contact our family and friends, and for emergencies. So far, I haven’t had a problem keeping it with us on the road!
- A comfortable pair of hiking shoes. We learned early on that if you don’t have the right shoes, your trip is going to be a pain (literally). We originally tried packing several different shoes (flip flops, sneakers, hiking boots, etc), but it took up a lot of room in our luggage. So we went to the store and picked out one pair of shoes that we can dress up, dress down, wear in several different climates, hike in, that are waterproof and insulated … Now we travel with those and a pair of cheap flip flops, and we haven’t looked back!
- A tea infuser. This might be a weird item, but we love tea. Love love love it. We like buying loose leaf tea while on the road, and having a handy tea infuser (we own a little collapsable one that doesn’t take up much room) helps us brew the leaves. As long as we have hot water, which we generally can get from where ever we’re staying, we’re all set!
8. What makes you happy and why?
Aside from travel, it’s honestly the little pleasures in life that makes us happy. We love our downtime at home, we love cooking dinner together, we love snuggling with our two kittens, we love that first sip of brewed tea fresh from the pot, we love the crunch of snow under our feet… We honestly just love life, and being able to appreciate the little things makes us appreciate the bigger things.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
We started Two Nerds Travel in October 2015. I’ve had this desire to start a travel blog for years, but I was always too afraid to take the plunge. This past fall, I decided that enough was enough—if I wasn’t going to do it now, I’d never do it. So I sat down with my husband, and together we came up with the domain name, designed the blog, and created goals for where we wanted to go with it. It might never be big, but I’m still proud that we took the leap. Next year should be a good year! We have many exciting plans in the work for 2016 and are eagerly looking forward to them.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
I’m a storyteller. I love reading books (both fiction and non-fiction), and I love listening to other people’s stories. When I thought about creating a travel blog, I wanted to do something different from the other travel blogs out there. I wanted to veer away from the “Top 10” lists and record the stories and places of the people we’ve met during our travels. I want our blog posts to make people feel like they’re standing nearby, listening and watching and seeing our travels for themselves. It’s our hope that this will inspire others to take the leap and travel, too! Writing for the blog is a constant process, and I’m still honing my writing style. But my main goal is to tell real stories of real places and experiences, and I hope that shines through our blog for years to come.
From ESLT – thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Anna. Wow I love that you have plans to start travelling full time in 2018, I hope if it’s something you still want to do then you get to do it. I couldn’t agree more about Scandinavia, we have recently got back from Sweden and loved it so much we vowed to make a return trip as soon as possible and Norway is high on the list, you make it sound magical. Oh you are good for blogging on the road, I always have great intentions of it but never get round to it (*tut tut*) my MacBook Air as been to the other side of the world and back and never been opened 🙂 I need to take a productive leaf out of your book. I love that you took the leap in to blogging, we all do it for our own reasons and I hope you fulfil your goals. Safe travels!