T is for Travel – Mike and Anne of HoneyTrek.com
T is for Travel is a series of Guest posts and interviews with people from around the globe who share a passion for travels. To celebrate my new website going online, I am taking you on the most amazing of honeymoon with Mike and Anne, of HoneyTrek.com, who embarked on a 2 year round the world trip to celebrate their love.
Can you tell us a little about you?
I’m a California girl and Mike’s a Pennsylvania Mountain man and we met in New York playing doubles volleyball eight years ago. Our outlook on life, love, and adventure were a total a match and three years later marriage was on the horizon. When it came to planning our honeymoon, we knew ten-day vacation wasn’t nearly enough to celebrate our new life together. So with a little bit of savings, good health and no kids, we figured there was no better time to travel than now. So we quit our jobs in media, rented our apartment, and set out on a 675-day honeymoon around the world.
What do you like about travels?
The unknown. Each day you spend in new country and culture is a completely different adventure-even if it’s just going to the grocery store. We love the challenge of throwing ourselves into foreign places and trying to think and acting like the locals do. Stepping outside of your home and all the norms you’ve come to expect, makes you challenge your beliefs and open up to all the ways to live life and find happiness. We love how travel heightens our senses and keeps us on our toes.
What type of traveller are you?
We are truly a mix of every kind of traveller. We are mostly scrappy backpackers who know how to have fun on a budget and love the thrill of hitchhiking, couch surfing, and flying by the seat of our pants. But we are also Newlyweds at Large and journalists who have reviewed 70+ luxury hotels and experiences for Honeymoons.com. We’ve slept everywhere from a mud floor to a $2000 suite and thrive on that range of experience.
Can you tell us about your Honeymoon? What countries have you visited?
Our travel philosophy has always been to go places too far to visit while we have jobs and too rugged to tackle when we’re old. That meant skipping Central America and most of Europe and focusing on all the places we’d dreamed of visiting in South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Here is the country by country breakdown:
- South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Peru
- Africa: South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya
- Asia: Nepal, China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines and Indonesia
- Oceania: Australia and New Zealand
- Europe: Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England, Norway and Turkey
What were your favourite destinations? and why?
1. Turkey. Straddling two continents and spanning three thousand years of civilizations, Turkey has such a diverse and vibrant culture. 2. Kenya. We think everyone should visit east Africa and Kenya’s diversity makes it the best introduction to the area with Swahili coast, thriving tribes, colonial cities, not to mention big-game safari. 3. Nepal. It has a little bit of everything we love in travel—extreme nature, fascinating culture, lovely people, delicious food, and affordable prices! 4. Atacama Desert. This wild swath of land between San Pedro de Atacama Chile and the first Bolivian border guard in Uyuni is only accessible by 4×4, filled with volcanoes, red lakes, teal lakes, hot springs, bubbling mud pools, flamingos, salt flats, and a raw beauty that we’ll never shake. 5. Myanmar: We remain baffled by the sheer kindness of the Myanmar people, and when you combine that with the fascinating blend of influences of the Golden Triangle you have an unbeatable combination!
What was your most memorable experience abroad? What happened?
Worst: Dusk on the side of the road at a small junction in northern Mozambique, waiting for a hitchhike for four hours with zero cars in sight. Adding to the uneasiness, a drunken dude kept talking to us in Portuguese while a crazy person danced circles in the street. Just as the sun was setting, a pickup truck pulled up. The driver said he couldn’t take us as far as our intended destination but said that we could sleep on the floor of his cousin’s mud hut. This was looking like the bright side of the day until we attempted to sleep and the mice started running across the packed-dirt rafters, knocking mud chunks on us. If it weren’t for fits of delirious laughter, we would have never made it out of that day.
Best: We are ambassadors for the nonprofit Muskoka Foundation and were asked to scout an English language program in a tribal Red Tzao village outside of Sapa, Vietnam. To do this, we signed up as volunteer teachers for the week—and not just any week but five days leading up to the Tet celebration of the New Year. The students were so grateful to have English lessons they thanked us with countless invitations to pre-Tet dinners, sacrificial rituals, and a very exclusive New Year’s spirit cleansing ceremony. To be accepted into this tribal community during one of the most familial and celebrated times of year was definitely one of our greatest travel highs.
You now help other RTW travellers by sharing your tips and advice. What valuable lessons have your learnt during your travels?
The world is massive and it cannot be seen solely on ten-day vacations. You have to carve out the time to experience it, open your mind, and go. As for tips, there are so many things you need to know before you leave on a trip like this like…
- Have two separate credit and debit card accounts in case one set disappears.
- Pack the right technology it’s the hardest thing to replace on the road.
- Buy your flights as you go. The around-the-world plane ticket will cost way you more and severely limit your flexibility….
We have learned so much from our trip and are so passionate about the benefits of long-term travel, that we started Trip Coach, a one-on-one guide to world travel. If you’re wondering how you can mobilize your dreams of travel, reach out to us!
What are your next travel plans?
We are dreaming of honeymooning all 50 States of America as a year-long road trip…maybe as a TV show. Any networks or producers out there, interested? The honeymoon must go on!
Why the USA? What do you hope to experience there?
After honeymooning in 33 countries, we only feel it’s fair to try to see what our home country has to offer!
If you could be anywhere right now?
Do you think you could take the next step and move abroad one day?
We’ve thought about Brazil, Thailand, Cape Town and New Zealand but we’d probably choose the Philippines, if we were to move out of the States. We love the challenge of communicating in a foreign language but if we were going to make somewhere else our home, it would be nice if English was a main language. This is one of the reasons we loved the Philippines and felt like we could make deeper connections with the people we met. If we lived abroad we wouldn’t want to be relegated to an expat community, we’d want to integrate and we think you can do just that in the Philippines. Not to mention it has 7,000 islands, beautiful mountains, great food, super kind people, and the cost of living is incredibly low… there’s a lot to love!
One way or Return ticket?
We rarely buy return tickets – why be pinned down?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Prepping for HoneyTrek 2 with kids!
Finally T is for Travel
R is for …Reflection
A is for Adventure
V is for Volunteering
E is for Endless
L is for Love
Mike and Anne have now set up their own RTW training programme to help you see the world. For more info contact them: TripCoach@HoneyTrek.com, on their website or you can subscribe to their newsletter HERE.
Thank you again Mike and Anne for sharing your story on Diary of a Serial Expat and for those truly spectacular pictures. You’re welcome back here anytime