- Travel Topics
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?
Tony and I were college sweethearts and shortly after Tony and I got married in 2010, we both discovered that we had a mutual passion for traveling.
We had saved a good amount of money up from our jobs in Commercial Banking (Tony) and Business Management Consulting (me) and started brainstorming our “life plan”.
Neither of us were ready to settle down, buy a home, or have kids, so we decided to leave our jobs and travel the world while we were young, healthy, and carefree.
We saved and planned for our RTW for 1.5 years and left for our trip in January 2012. When we were planning for our RTW trip, we also decided that we wanted to start the travel blog, LandingStanding, to chronicle our adventures around the world.
What we thought would just be a portal to share our travel stories with friends and family is now our passion project. We love having LandingStanding not only as an outlet to share our adventures with our readers, but to also interact with other travelers and share tips and tricks on how to successfully plan and handle a RTW trip.
We also are now trying to turn our year-long RTW trip into a lifelong adventure. As such, we are trying to start up our own business that will allow us to lead a location independent lifestyle. With this, we are also now using LandingStanding as an outlet to share both our successes and lessons learned about starting a business on the road.
2. Had you guys ever traveled together before? How have you been managing on the road thus far, and do you have any advice for couples traveling abroad?
Prior to our RTW, Tony and I loved going on road trips and camping trips together. I think from these, we really got a sense that we would make great travel partners. When you are road tripping or camping, you are testing your relationship more than by just going to a beach resort. You get to learn how to operate as a team, you get to see how you work together outside of your comfort zones, and you get to see how you handle each other’s stink after days of not showering!
As far as advice we have for other couples traveling abroad, our biggest advice is to understand that there will be some bad days mixed in with the good.
For example, Tony and I spent 15 miserable hours on a Bolivian bus with no food or water and it was my personal hell – poor Tony got to see a pretty cranky side of me that day! However, you just have to accept that those days happen…. And will pass. No matter what, it’s important to just go with the flow!
3. Let’s talk experiences – what has been the best experience you’ve had on the road? The worst?
We are 10 months into our trip and we have had so many wonderful experiences on the road that it is impossible to pick out the “best”. Some highlights on our trip have been hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, taking a cooking class together in Tuscany, learning to surf in Bali, Scuba diving together in the Gili Islands… The list goes on, but I will remember and cherish so many of these little experiences for the rest of my life!
Worst day definitely goes to the 15 hour Bolivian bus ride! We had taken longer bus rides before, but this was scheduled to only be 9 hours and due to floods on the main road, the bus had to be re-routed. It was 15 hours of pure bumpy off-roading, the seats didn’t recline, the windows were broken and blowing blistering cold air into the bus, and we had no food/water… It was my perfect storm!
4. What’s been your favorite country thus far, and which one are you looking forward to the most?
Once again, this is such a hard question to answer, just because we have loved so many places we have traveled to! How about I break it down by continent?!
In South America, our favorite country was Argentina – We loved the vibe of Buenos Aires and the wine of Mendoza.
In Europe, we fell in love with the beauty and charm of Croatia. It reminded us of the Italian coast, but for 1/3 of the price. The people were so friendly, the food was delicious, and the landscape was stunning.
In Asia, we were pretty blown away by Thailand. The food especially was just amazing, but we also had a great housesitting job there looking after two German Shepherds in a huge luxury villa on the island of Koh Samui that was a once in a lifetime experience.
Our next stop is Australia, which we are beyond pumped for. It is our last stop on our RTW before heading back to the states and we have heard so many wonderful things about Australia from other travelers!
5. What’s your advice for couples traveling together – i.e what’s the key to making it work?
In addition to going with the flow, traveling throws you some curveballs and sh*tty days, so it’s also important to understand each other’s habits and needs. If you are traveling with your partner, you are with each other 24/7. You have to meet each other halfway and sacrifice some of your own want/needs for the better of the relationship.
One funny example of this is that Tony is a freak of nature that can go 12 hours without eating any food… It’s actually quite remarkable.
But I on the other hand need to eat something every 4 or so hours. Shortly into our trip, Tony learned that (unlike him) I need to eat more frequently, otherwise I turn into a cranky toddler!
When traveling the world together, you learn a lot of little quirks about each other… And even though some of these quirks are extremely minuscule (such as my need for snacking), they can play a HUGE role in how you interact together on a daily basis!
6. How has your traveling mentality changed over time? Do you still approach travel the same way you did when you just started?
It has COMPLETELY changed! When we first started our trip in South America, we had the desire to see ALL the sites. We were constantly on our feet and hopping from one hostel to the next. By month 3, we were utterly exhausted.
We have since decided that we prefer to travel slow. We now love to rent apartments in a city/destination for a month or so at a time and enjoy doing our own thing and living like locals. We no longer feel the pressure (or desire) to see all the tourist sites of a particular destination. For us, it is far more enriching to travel on our own terms and not feel as though we need to follow the conventional path.
Traveling slow has also been a savior to our relationship. Constantly being on the go was sometimes stressful. Now that we are traveling slow, we can just relax and enjoy each other’s company!
7. How has your RTW trip exceeded (or fell short) of your expectations?
Our RTW trip has definitely exceeded our expectations and I think a large part of this is due to traveling slow.
When we first began our trip, I had high hopes of seeing all the great sights and tourist hotspots in every place we planned to travel to. But now that we are traveling slowly, I feel that we are experiencing SO much more. We now allow ourselves to live like locals and fully immerse ourselves into the culture and lifestyle of each place we travel to.
Not only that, but we no longer feel like we HAVE to visit each and every cathedral in Europe. If we want to spend our day playing cards or reading our books at a local café, then darn it, that’s what we are going to do!
8. What are some of your interests outside of traveling?
We like eating A LOT! I think that exploring cuisines around the world has been our favorite part of traveling.
When we aren’t completely stuffing ourselves silly and engaging in eating competitions with each other, we like being active and spending time outdoors with each other (hiking, surfing, scuba diving, etc.)… I know these two interests completely contradict each other, but that’s how we roll!
We also have a secret obsession with watching horrible (yet also wonderful!) TV shows together. On any typical evening, you can find us sharing a bottle of wine and watching countless episodes of Vampire Diaries together… Don’t judge!
9. I recently read a business plan of yours that you announced on your site, mind sharing the article and giving an elevator pitch?
Haha which business plan? We have about 10 of them!
From traveling the world, we have learned that we want to keep the location independent lifestyle going and be our own bosses. For the past 10 months, we have looked into ways we can generate some income on the side and pursue our entrepreneurial passions. We have tossed around many business ideas, some good and some just downright whacky.
One we are currently pursuing is called SooVees (our quirky nickname for “Souvenirs”). SooVees will make it easier, less risky, and more profitable for online content creators (i.e. bloggers) to sell customizable products by harnessing the power of group purchasing (similar to Groupon). A blogger will not have to invest in a product until a pre-defined minimum number of purchases has been achieved. The customer of the blogger will also get a discounted price on the product by being apart of a bulk order.
10. Do you ever think about calling the quits? If so, any idea what you’ll do when you “settle down”?
I don’t think we will ever stop traveling, but it would be nice for us to setup roots somewhere and have a place to call home when we aren’t on the road. When we do settle down, we will probably be doing the same thing we are now – working hard to start up our own business together so we don’t have to go back to our corporate jobs.
Author Bio: Meg Rulli writes with her husband, Tony, for the blog LandingStanding. “Carpe diem” is her favorite cliche and also her motto. Meg is a high-energy girl that loves being active (and the naps that follow), spending time outdoors, and eating (A LOT).
Meg and Tony left their jobs in January 2012 to go RTW and try out this location independent thing. They are aspiring entrepreneurs & digital nomads that blog about travel, food, and all things ridiculous. You can follow their adventures on Facebook and Twitter.