Finding love whilst travelling always makes a great story. That is what happened to my guests today as I provide an interview with travel bloggers Jonathan and Kach of Two Monkeys Travel Group.
What are your names?
Jonathan Howe and Kach Medina
Which country do you come from/call home?
United Kingdom (Jonathan) and the Philippines (Kach)
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
We are long term travellers who have been living and working abroad for over 18 months.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
We have developed a number of skills and income streams while we’ve been traveling. We are both qualified TEFL teachers, Ayurveda massage therapists and yoga teachers. We have also started to earn a passive income from our website, after only 6 months.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Jonathan – My first travel memory is being in a Landrover in Malawi in the middle of the night because we were stuck in a mudhole on the way back from Mount Mulanji. My memories are hazy, but I remember the car, people outside with torches and an African guy with a rifle. I would have been 4 years old at the time, which is weird because I don’t have any other memories from that age!
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Thailand. I always expected it to be touristy, I thought I was realistic about that, but I wasn’t prepared for just how touristy it was. I still thought that some of the images of unspoiled beaches would be true to life, but practically everywhere was a Koh Phi Phi, or Koh Pha Ngan. Luckily we bought some motorbikes so we were able to get off the tourist trail and see something of the real Thailand, or as close as you can get as a foreigner.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
While we were riding from Cambodia to Thailand my friend’s bike broke down and we had to push it into the nearest town. We managed to find a local one-legged mechanic who seemed certain that he knew what the problem was. He then spent the next 4 hours ‘fixing’ everything on the bike, except for the thing that was actually causing the problem! He did enough to get it working (ish) though, by which time it was dark.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Africa. I have so many memories of different incredible places, people and experiences that I have to go back as an adult to see what it’s like to be there without the shelter of parents and an expat lifestyle. I know that returning is going to be a completely different experience and I may not like everything I see, but it’s something I want to do anyway.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Skydiving; Visit Antarctica; The Dakar Rally by motorbike.
Can you imagine life without travel?
No. I grew up traveling, which is probably why I can’t sit still now! I find that I quickly get accustomed and adjusted to new surroundings, which is a blessing as it makes me adaptable, but also a slight curse as new places become ‘normal’ too quickly sometimes.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I really don’t know. I don’t think I would still be doing my old architectural job, because the thought of that makes me die a little inside! Perhaps I would have started up a landscaping and renovations business with a friend of mine; we’d spoken about that a lot.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Two Monkeys Travel
When did you begin your website?
We started on Blogger about 6 months ago with about 3 articles, then we migrated the site to our self hosted WordPress site about 1 month ago. It’s going pretty well; we’ve been featured on a Filipino news site, have more and more readers and have more big features in the pipeline!
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
We would love it if the site starts to earn enough money for us to call it our income, but the primary goal is to enjoy what we’re doing and present it in a way that other people can enjoy and be inspired by as well. We think that if we do this with honesty and passion then it will show through in the results of our work and from that opportunities will come to us.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
We have an interesting readership spread over different parts of the world. It’s still not very common for Filipinos to go backpacking, despite them being one of the best travelled nations for working abroad. Also, people seem to like the fact that we met travelling and have been together ever since; the love-on-the-road story!
Do you have any products or services to offer?
We’re both yoga teachers and massage therapists as well as TEFL teachers. Recently we have started offering ‘travel coaching’ advice sessions to people who want one to one advice about their travel plans or how to change their life.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
I wrote an article called, ‘What I’ve learned dating a Filipino Woman,’ for the news and lifestyle website Rappler almost a month ago. The article went viral with 80,000 shares from the site in Facebook alone and the awesome response in the comments and personal messages is still carrying on now!
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
There have been a few that we’ve really enjoyed, but our favourite is still, ‘Female Backpackers Beware,’ which we wrote when we were having a lazy day in India. It’s just a tongue-in-cheek article that Kach came up with, about backpacking making girls gain weight. It’s our favourite because it was the first article we published that really took off with a lot of shares and views. Of course, a few people didn’t see the funny side, but you can’t please everyone!
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Definitely trains! You get the comfort of a coach, windows to watch the scenery change around you, a social atmosphere and best of all, no traffic jams. We tried practically every class of train in India from basic sleeper to 1st Class AC and everyone is exciting and entertaining for entirely different reasons!
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
It seems a bit too easy to say, ‘Get out there and just do it,’ because I still remember what it took for me to finally break away and travel at 28 years old. I think the best advice I can give is to take a step back, give yourself time and space to look at what you like about your life and what you want to change. Take one step at a time, give yourself targets to achieve, no matter how small and enjoy ticking them off as each one brings you closer to what you want from life.
What has travel taught you?
Travelling has taught me to be creative, devise solutions to creating the life I want and sustaining it. Neither of us wants to return to the cycle of travelling, then going home to save in order to travel again. It’s taught us both that everything we want is possible and with time and space to breathe you can achieve things that previously seemed impossible.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Qatar Airways
Favourite country? India & Philippines
Favourite city? Edinburgh, Scotland
Favourite beach? Maldives
Favourite food? Arabic Food
Favourite language? Spanish
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