Interview With Travel Bloggers Calli And Travis Of Have Blog Will Travel @TravisandCalli

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What is your name?

Calli Duncan and Travis Huyghebaert

Calli & Travis of Have Blog Will Travel

Calli & Travis of Have Blog Will Travel

Which country do you come from/call home?

We are from British Columbia, Canada

Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?

We have traveled primarily as backpackers, with trips averaging 4-6 months in length. However what our travel style really comes down to is a desire to see the world so if that involves business trips, short vacations, or moving abroad to work we are open to any form of travel.

How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?

All of our travel has been self-funded with savings earned prior to leaving home – we worked really hard for a few months/years and put everything we can into saving for the next big trip. Hopefully in the future we can explore some different travel funding options such as freelance writing from the road and generating some profits from our website.

What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?

Calli: My first trip was a family vacation with my parents and younger brother when I was about eight years old. We traveled to Puerto Vallarta Mexico and near the end of our stay my parents surprised us with news we were stopping over on our way home to spend a few days in Disneyland – I can still remember how crazy excited we got over the news.

Travis: I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that traveled fairly frequently. The first trip I vividly remember was a two week road trip through New Mexico. I loved exploring the ancient Pueblo ruins at Bandelier National Monument, getting lost in the maze of adobe houses in Santa Fe, and stuffing myself with every ounce of New Mexican food I could get a hold of.

Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?

We are pretty meticulous with our pre-trip planning and look to local expats and other travel bloggers to get a feel for what a city is truly like, not only to limit “surprises” but also to help figure out where to go. With that being said, we were completely blown away by both Poland and Romania last fall. Although we had anticipated that they would be beautiful, something like beauty is so subjective we really had to be there before it struck us just how stunning the old towns truly are in these countries!

Colourful town square in Sibiu Romania

Colourful town square in Sibiu Romania

Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?

Fortunately we’ve been pretty lucky while traveling, aside from a few minor mishaps like having our bag of “souvenir” change stolen out of our checked baggage at the Catania airport (the coins that accumulate from switching between currencies). However we did have one bigger scare while hiking in Cappadocia last December when Calli became stuck on a cliffside (http://haveblogwilltravel.org/cappadocia-almost-fell). We really thought for a moment that she might fall/die/get badly injured – so it was pretty frightening. Luckily, Calli made it out without a scratch, but the incident was made all the worse by the fact that we chose not to tell our parents and write about it instead. Always tell your parents big news – good or bad – in person or they will hold it over your head forever!

Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey one of our favorite travel memories

Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey one of our favorite travel memories

Do you have any funny travel stories?

Our favorite story from the last trip is one in which we ended up drinking with three German guys on the train from Nuremberg to Prague at five o’clock in the morning.

The day began innocently enough as we boarded the train and found an empty compartment to settle into. However when three clearly drunk strangers sat across from us and propped a crate full of beer bottles down on an empty seat everything changed. It turns out that the Germans had just left a bar after partying all night and decided it would be a good idea to go to Prague for the weekend. They offered us a beer, which we couldn’t refuse for obvious reasons, and then the situation spiraled into the weirdest train trip of our lives. Dodging calls from girlfriends they had failed to inform of their plan, drunken announcements of their love for each other (and us), something about combining the words tit and Hitler that we never really understood, and a moment where one of them locked himself in the bathroom, the trip was punctuated with one of the Germans lifting up a piece of the floor between train cars to show Travis the ground zipping past below (don’t worry, he works for the train company when not intoxicated). As our train pulled into Prague we bid the Germans goodbye and exited the train, hoping we’d be able to find our guest house while under the influence.

Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?

The Montmarte region of Paris is our least favorite neighbourhood in the world because of the touts at the base of the Basilica de Sacre-Coeur. Yelling at us and grabbing for our arms they tried to tie thread bracelets around our wrists, likely so they could then demand payment for the “gift”. Maybe we were just tired on this particular morning but their grabbing actions made us so mad Calli freaked out and started throwing elbows in an effort to fight them off. We also saw another tourist punch one of these men after they grabbed his girlfriend. Later, when making our way down from the Basilica we tried to time our walk to dodge the touts, like a bizarre game of British Bulldog. Unfortunately, because of this experience we will never visit this particular area again.

What is your biggest pet peeve in the travel industry?

For us, travel warnings are a huge frustration because they cause friends and family at home to worry when it isn’t necessary. With that being said, we are both very safety conscious and understand the value of these warnings, even if, at times, they seem politically or economically motivated.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Cheesy as it may sound our favorite place is just being together. We haven’t found that one city or country that has made us want to stop traveling so for now we just want to explore more of the world together.

Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?

Our Bucket List is an ever-evolving pile of experiences, places, and food items we want to try, but in the end what we really want to do before we kick the bucket is to make the most of the time we’re given. For us, that doesn’t include crossing items off a list but instead following our intuition. Therefore our bucket list is more of a junk drawer than a perfectly crafted list – every time we find a bit of travel inspiration we throw it in and then come back from time to time for inspiration.

Can you imagine life without travel?

We don’t even want to try.

If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?

Working to save up for travel. This was our life two years ago, prior to our first big trip, and it’s also our current situation as we don’t have any serious travel plans in the works. However, with so much of the world still to see we are both committed to travel and the travel lifestyle. Hopefully we can sort out our next trip sooner rather than later. Not having any travel plans is starting to drive us crazy!

What is the name of your travel blog and the url?

Our blog is called Have Blog Will Travel and you can find us anytime at http://haveblogwilltravel.org

Dluga Street, Gdansk Poland

Dluga Street, Gdansk Poland

When did you begin your website?

Our website began as a way to keep in touch with our friends and family during our initial trip to Europe in the fall of 2011. We really enjoyed recording our adventures and meeting new people through travel photography and writing so when we returned to Europe last fall we decided to keep publishing posts. Now the website has grown into an extension of us – we can’t imagine life without it.

Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?

We write because we enjoy it. Often times we feel like there are so many thoughts firing through our brains that getting them out of our heads and down on paper is very therapeutic. When it comes to our website, writing also provides the opportunity to create something tangible, a record of our travels, one we will no doubt read to our children and grandchildren.

What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?

While we like to think of ourselves as just two ordinary people with a desire to travel, when it comes to our travel style we couldn’t be more different than the pre-packaged, all-inclusive-touring travelers we see departing from North America on a regular basis, and our site is built around this off-beat travel style. Therefore, even for overly popular destinations like Florence or Rome, our site covers both the popular and different/unique attractions that you won’t necessarily find in guidebooks.

We are also extremely budget conscious – it’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to afford to travel – and this is clearly evident throughout our site. While we regularly include logistical information at the bottom of posts to save money, use public transportation etc… we also include budget-minded articles like Lake Bled on the Cheap (http://haveblogwilltravel.org/lake-bled-budget-conscious)that focus solely on seeing a site or attraction while spending less money.

Finally, one of the best aspects of our site is that at the end of the day we are just two average people behind the scenes – we love answering questions, catching up with readers, and offering advice as much as possible. While we know for a fact that many other travel bloggers are also like this, we still think it’s nice when readers and writers/bloggers can relate to one another.

What makes the other person such a good travel partner?

Calli: Travis has this wonderful desire to learn that I really admire. It also takes a lot of work out of travel planning because as soon as we choose a destination he’s already reading up on it. His memory is also incredibly helpful – numbers, dates, directions, and details all go into his head to be recalled at will, or whenever I need help writing a post. However I think his best trait is that he is always looking to try something new and as a result pushes me outside my comfort zone. I don’t think my travel experiences would be as colourful as they are without him.

Travis: If it wasn’t for Calli, our travels would only be a fleeting set of memories. She is the one that takes the stunning photos and writes the posts people rave about. She is also the rock of the relationship – the person that makes me happy when I’m sad and calms me down when I’m stressed. Her personality means that the people we meet on the road are immediately drawn to her, finding her easy to talk to and great company. Perhaps her greatest contribution, however, is her wit and sense of humour. I’m sure people that have traveled for long periods of time can attest to the value of having a good laugh!

Behind the scenes, how is the workload divided up or do you hold specific roles?

For the most part Calli takes the photos and Travis keeps the website running. We both write posts, update social media platforms, and do the necessary planning/pre-trip research. Travis also does the majority of bookings for transportation, accommodation, etc. While we think working together is an important trait for a traveling couple, having some separation of duties is essential to actually getting stuff done.

Is there anything you won’t write about?

We try to be as transparent as possible on our site because in the end we want to provide a realistic look at what it’s like to travel with your significant other on a strict budget. However with that being said, we also realize that what we like may not be the same for someone else so we try to refrain from telling people not to do something. A good example of this is Sicily, which Calli really didn’t like (http://haveblogwilltravel.org/sicily-thoughts-draft). When it came time to write about Sicily we intentionally took our time to rework the article from a rant of her raw emotions to a refined piece that hopefully helps other travelers.

What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?

Our post about Sarajevo’s Bobsled Track from the 1984 Olympic Games (http://haveblogwilltravel.org/lake-bled-budget-conscious) has been one of our most successful posts to date.

The abandoned bobsled track in Sarajevo

The abandoned bobsled track in Sarajevo

It’s funny because we really wanted to see the abandoned track so badly before arriving, but we couldn’t find any information about how to get there or where it was actually located. After asking around and finding some sketchy looking satellite shots of the bobsled track we simply set off one morning to find it. Our walk up the mountainside turned into a three hour grueling hike – we were sweaty and completely unprepared without much food or water, but in the end we found the bobsled track and it was an amazing experience!

Not only was finding the track rewarding but it’s a nice feeling when a popular article can come out of your personal passions.

What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?

Our favorite article to date is likely Finding Budapest’s Sweet Side, (http://haveblogwilltravel.org/finding-budapests-sweet-side-self-guided-tour) an article we wrote about the history of baking and pastries in Budapest as well as a self-guide to touring some of the city’s best bakeries.

During some of our rigorous pre-trip planning, Calli found a food tour in Budapest that focused solely on desserts and bakeries (aka right up her alley) – she immediately wanted to sign up. Unfortunately the tour was ridiculously expensive, especially when factoring in our daily travel budget, so joining the tour wasn’t feasible. Not one to be easily discouraged, she started doing her own research online and decided if we couldn’t join the tour we would just do our own. From that, the post was born and in completing her “research” we indulged in far too many sweet treats – the life of a travel writer can be so tough sometimes.

Enormous baked potatoes in Poland

Enormous baked potatoes in Poland

What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)

While train travel is one of our most preferred travel methods, we recently had some incredible bus journeys in Eastern Europe and Turkey that have us re-evaluating our approach to motor coaches. However, for us nothing will beat a good old fashioned road trip. Being able to stop the car when you want, veer off route at will, and sing to the stereo with the windows down is the best!

Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Whatever you want from life, whether it’s travel related or something else, you have to make it a main priority. Taking the first step is a big deal – we quit both our jobs and put our house up for rent. Because travel was our first priority this step was exciting, not scary, because it brought us that much closer to making travel a reality.

What has travel taught you?

Returning home we’ve both had some time to reflect on who we were before we left home and who we are now. Travel has made us less concerned about possessions and the idea of having to keep up with everyone else. Experiencing other cultures has taught us what’s really important in life – and it’s not money or things!

Travel has also brought us closer as a couple. After so much constant contact and some decent fights we’ve become better people both individually and as a couple. Even since returning home, we have found ourselves smiling more and arguing less.

Quick fire questions:-

Favourite airline? Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic

Favourite country? Turkey and Spain

Favourite city? Berlin

Favourite beach? Vík í Mýrdal, Iceland’s famous black sand beach

Favourite food? We love street food of all kinds

 

Please provide the following:-

Website url? http://haveblogwilltravel.org

Twitter handle? @TravisandCalli

Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/HaveBlogWillTravel

Pinterest? http://www.pinterest.com/thuyghe24/

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Comments

  1. Great story about zee Germans. Nothing like a 5am HugeParty with strangers from another side of the world!

    Ben

    • Thanks so much Ben, we weren’t exactly sure what we were getting ourselves into at the time but knew we had a story as soon as we walked off the train 🙂

  2. Yay it’s up! Thank-you so much again and again for interviewing us – we’ll be sure to spread the word around and send our parents’ here (they get all excited over this sort of thing)

  3. I enjoyed reading about the Greman’s! That must have been an awesome train ride! 🙂 I do feel bad for their girlfriends’ though, I can’t imagine waking up and my partner is not there, then calling them and having them tell me they’re going to another city for the weekend without me! Quit hogging all the fun!

    I have my own pet peve of travel warnings. I was in Bangkok recently when they had the blow-up over protests. The protests were not a big deal at all (asside from holding the city hostage with blocking off roads which annoyed most of the taxi drivers, bus drivers, etc.) it annoyed me that they were showing the worst things imaginable on TV back home and urging Australian’s to contact their friends’/family who were there to “make sure they’re safe!” the hysteria was unjustified and caused too much stress I think.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Stacey! You did a great job illustrating our pet peeve about travel warnings and the media. Not only does it get everyone at home panicking about a non-issue, it can be really damaging to the local economy as people decide to travel elsewhere. We struggled with this issue last winter when we thought about going to Egypt – is it fine? is it as bad as the media is reporting? We ended up not going and more protests erupted but I’ll never know if we would have been impacted.

      As for the girlfriends they were none too pleased – I think one of the three guys might just be single now. From what I could get out of the tones and broken pieces of English he was already on rocky ground with his girlfriend. Further proof that when it comes to relationships we are all struggling all around the world? haha

  4. Love this interview! I had a very similar experience at Sacre-Couer, but I was traveling solo. It has been my only uncomfortable solo travel experience, and I don’t have any plans to repeat it.

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