In this travel blogger interview we meet Lance and Laura Longwell who are the Travel Addicts. A couple who have been blogging for more than 8 years and are not afraid to go to post revolutionary places.
What are your names?
Lance and Laura Longwell
Which country do you come from/call home?
We’re from Philadelphia, USA.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
We write at the intersection of business travel and leisure. We’re working professionals and try to squeeze as much travel into our lives as possible.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
We work full time (50+ hour week corporate jobs).
How do you balance working full time and travel?
Working a corporate desk job with only three weeks of vacation per year doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. Our approach to work-life balance is to work hard and play hard, but we’ve learned how to play the vacation game. Our core strategy is to piggyback vacations onto business travel. If you do this, your employer pays your airfare (typically your largest expense), but the rest of the trip is on you. It’s usually easiest to just spend a few extra days in your destination after your business is done.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Lance grew up traveling around the United States with his parents. His family had a goal of visiting all 50 of the United States before he finished school. His first overseas trip was to Japan and South Korea when he was 13. For Laura, her first overseas trip was to England when she was 17 and spent time studying one summer.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Iceland. The trip was the culmination of a 20-year dream for Lance. After seeing a movie many years ago, he decided he wanted to go. He really wanted that experience from the film, but it just didn’t exist. How often are movies reality? We left his disappointment behind and instead we focused on the natural beauty and enjoying the experience. Overall, it turned out to be a great trip once we got over the hump.
What is your proudest travel moment?
It would probably be our trip to Egypt right after the revolution. People told us to cancel and that it wasn’t safe. We didn’t listen to them. We spent the weeks leading up to the trip watching CNN and Al Jazeera for news and insights and checking various embassy websites. We were really on pins and needles about whether it would be possible to go and whether we would be safe. It was so rewarding to be there at such a transformational time in Egyptian history.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
We always try to make the best of any situation. In Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands we had a terrible guide. It was truly awful. He grabbed animals, he led us into poisonous plants and was a jerk to everyone on the boat. We tried to ignore him and focus on the animals and the amazing things we were seeing.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
On a recent solo trip to Europe, Laura stayed in her first rental apartment (something we’d never done before). It was a trip to Provence, so she thought what could be better than going to the local markets, buying food and cooking for herself? As it turns out, European kitchens can sometimes be a challenge to figure out. So, here she is in Provence trying to cook. She’s sending me text messages and photos back in the United States and both of us are trying to look up instructions on the Internet in two different languages. We always have a good laugh when we think of it.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Oh that’s tough. Naples, Italy wasn’t a treat. The sanitation workers had gone on strike and there was months-worth of garbage in the streets…more than usual for Naples.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
As frequent travelers, we get this question so frequently you’d think we’d have a stock answer for it. There are so many places that we’ve loved. For us, this question comes to the heart of where do we want to go back to. For us, the two places in the world we can return to time and again are Ireland and Rome, Italy. We never tire of them.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
We’re planners. So we’ve always go something on our list. Top items on the list are: scuba diving in the Maldives, skiing in Switzerland, enjoying a romantic sunset in Hawaii and eating street food in Vietnam.
If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
There’s no such thing as “tastes like chicken.” Seriously. Chicken tastes like chicken, but that’s it. We tend to be pretty adventurous eaters. We wished someone had told us how rewarding it would be to explore other cultures through their food. And that would be our advice to others, get away from the stupid idea that anything tastes like chicken, find the local cuisine and try it.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Absolutely not. Even when we’re not traveling to some far-flung destination, we’re taking weekend getaways close to home. Travel feeds our soul.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Laura would be tending her garden and Lance would be reading a good book.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Travel Addicts; www.traveladdicts.net
When did you begin your website Travel Addicts?
We published our first post on January 2, 2008 – so we celebrated our 8th anniversary earlier this year.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
The reason has changed over time. It started as a way to share our travel experiences with friends and family. Somewhere along the way, we realized there were thousands of people reading it every month. In 2015, Laura decided to quit her career in healthcare marketing and focus on the blog and building a consulting business.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
We really try to make attainable for the average person. It’s awesome that so many blogs are dedicated to backpacking through your gap year, but that’s not how most people travel. We show people how to do it and work a normal job.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Yes, but not directly through the blog. We’ve published our first book, The Essential Guide to Driving Abroad, and have other books in the works. We also have B2B travel consulting services.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Our most successful post in the last year or two has been: The Best of Germany’s Romantic Road. We’d heard about it for years, but recently headed the car to Wurzburg, Germany and set out explore the best of Germany’s small towns.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
For Lance, it was his post reflecting on studying abroad in Nepal in the early days of the civil war. It was an amazing experience at a very difficult time.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Certainly not plane travel! Can’t believe anyone would pick that one. For us, we love the car. We enjoying driving. We’ve done road trips on four continents and love the freedom it affords us.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
There’s no right way to travel. The “are you a traveler or are you a tourist” stuff is totally rubbish. If you’re out there seeing the world and you’re enjoying yourself, then you’re doing it the right way. Don’t be afraid to blaze your own path and do your own thing.
What has travel taught you?
How connected we all are in the world. Travel has made the world seem much, much smaller for us.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? American Airlines
Favourite country? Slovakia
Favourite city? New York City
Favourite beach? Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island
Favourite food? Anything Mexican
Favourite language? Profanity
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.traveladdicts.net
Twitter handle? http://twitter.com/TravelerAddicts
Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/TravelerAddicts
Google+ profile/page? http://plus.google.com/+TraveladdictsNet