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Interview With Heidi and Alan from Wagoners Abroad

1. Can you start by giving us a little bit of background about yourself and your blog. How did you start traveling? When did you start blogging, and what did you expect readers to get out of it?

We met each other in Cozumel, Mexico the summer of 1996 and were married 6 months later. Shortly thereafter, we were relocated to London, England for almost 3 years with Alan’s job. Once we returned to the United States, we had the living internationally travel bug. In the Fall of 2011 we decided we wanted to live an expat life again, but knew we were going to have to do it on our own. It was time to take a “career break/sabbatical”. By August of 2012 we sold our home and most of our possessions, packed up the kids and moved to Southern Spain.

We started our blog just a couple of months prior to moving. Our original intent was to keep a journal for ourselves and keep family and friends up to date on our adventures. We also hoped to help inspire others to follow their dreams and not feel they had to follow the American Dream. A year has since passed and we haven’t looked back since.

2. Let’s talk experiences – what has been the best experience you’ve had on the road? The worst? The most dangerous?

The best experience we have on a regular basis is when we come home. I know it sounds hokey, but we do a lot of day/weekend trips, and coming home is always such a great feeling. There is a winding road that leads into our town, and once we get to a particular hill, there is a great view of our town. Not only are we home, but it reinforces the choice we made over a year ago that Almuñécar is the right place for us. We have also happened upon a running of the bulls in Castril, Spain and taken part in a few of the crazy festivals Spain has to offer, La Tomatina (tomato fight) and Lanjarón Fiesta del Agua (water fight).

Frigiliana Spain - Quad Bikes Wagoners Abroad

As for the worst, we’ve been extremely lucky. The worst experience was perhaps being lost and tired while driving. That’s not too bad though. For the most dangerous, I would guess it would be driving in the mountain roads in Italy. There were some very close calls. The kind of thing where a big semi-truck is coming around a tight corner, and is two feet in your lane. Whew!

3. What are some of the differences between living in Spain and the US? Any frustrations? Things you miss from home?

No matter where we travel, we are always struck by the similarities more than the differences. People work, play with their kids, and live in a manner that (hopefully) makes them happy. As far as differences are concerned, there is a more relaxed attitude here. We live in a small town that lies on the Mediterranean. Life is more low-key than where we used to live (North Carolina).

The frustrations are pretty minor. The cost of goods here can be a bit frustrating, and invariably, we comment, “This would be cheaper in the U.S.”, but at least we knew these sort cost-of-living issues before moving here.

Things we miss from home? Easy…Food! Red Vines, JIF peanut butter, Tootsie Rolls, and other goodies like that. Why did you ask that question?! Now we want some candy!

4. How have your children adapted to the travel lifestyle? Have you seen any differences in their behavior or personalities as you’ve been traveling and living abroad?

We are very pleased that they have adapted so well. Both kids are close to being fluent in Spanish which was one of our desires. It’s great to know that they have a broader range of experiences that will aid them later in life. They take the cultural differences in stride, and can compare them to how things were in the U.S. Those differences aren’t wrong, just different. We have also noticed that they have both blossomed with their creativity. I guess the Mediterranean air does a mind good.

5. What made you choose Spain for living abroad? Any other countries you are considering moving to in the future?

We really wanted to live in a Spanish-speaking culture, yet have diversity at our fingertips. Our other contenders were in Central and South America. Even though Europe was going to be more expensive, Spain won out due to climate and proximity to countries with very different cultures and languages. We are open to living in most countries at this point. I think we have our eyes on South East Asia next, and who knows from there.

Wagoners Abroad Christmas in Paris

6. How do you split up the blogging responsibilities? Is one of you mainly responsible for writing/photography etc?

We usually split up the interviews and guest posts. When it comes to writing up blog posts and photos, it is probably 70% Heidi and 30% Alan. Heidi is the social media and networking part of the partnership and Alan keeps the technical foundation strong.

7. What are some of your interests outside of traveling?

You mean there is more to life than travel? Heidi loves to create videos and photo slideshows and come up with more projects for Wagoners Abroad. Alan is the techno-geek in the family, so anything involving computers or technology generally makes him happy. We both love being outdoors and the water, and specifically scuba diving or snorkeling.

8. What are your upcoming plans, both travel and non travel?

Upcoming plans are currently in the works. We will likely take a few long weekend trips around Spain in the fall and then hope to make it to the UK for the winter holidays. Beyond that, we hope to make it to South East Asia next year for an unknown amount of time.

9. You just completed a European summer road trip, what were some of your impressions? Favorite places?

We had a fantastic time during our Summer Road Trip. The big take-away is that we want to go back to the countries we visited. Italy was awesome from a cultural perspective, not to mention the food! Austria and Switzerland were so beautiful and scenic. We consider ourselves sea/ocean people, but being in the picturesque Alps opened the door to the possibility that maybe we’re mountain people too.

Wagoners Abroad in Pisa Italy

10. Do you ever think about returning to the US? If so, any idea what you’ll do when you get back?

We are loving our life right now, so don’t have any solid plans to return. We are working on making an income remotely to keep our life of travel going. That said we know we will need to return one day, but we don’t really know where we would return to. We both have family all over the states and we would love to rent an RV to travel the U.S. for a year or so. Dreams can happen you know.

Alan and Heidi Wagoner from Wagoners Abroad

Bio: Alan and Heidi are authors of the Travel blog Wagoners Abroad. Having lived internationally in the past and working 20+ years in the corporate world, they decided to make their own dreams come true. In August of 2012, they sold most of their possessions, bought 4 one way tickets and settled in Southern Spain. With Spain as their home base, they are able to explore more of Europe as well. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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