Many people travel with conventional forms of transport. Yet how would you like to try cycling instead? Today’s interviewees bought a couple of bicycles and decided to cycle across India. Please meet Kaspars and Una of We Are From Latvia.
What is your name?
Kaspars and Una.
Which country do you come from/call home?
We are from Latvia.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
We are long term travelers. Traveling, working and living abroad for more than a year already. Half of this time we have spent in Europe, half in Asia.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
For more than half a year we lived only on our savings. Now we are volunteering in different places via Workaway.info, this way living in interesting for us countries and spending very little. Time after time we do some freelance jobs.
Why volunteering? Why via Workaway?
When we first started to think about trying out volunteering we knew about such a site helpx.net. But then, looking for similar sites, we found Workaway. Seeing that some part of the works available through these sites is the same on both, we decided to use the prettiest one – Workaway.
Currently we are on our 4th Workaway volunteer work. And so far we have found it to be a very good way to experience different cultures, meet amazing people and travel much cheaper. It also often gives you a chance to explore places off the beaten track.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Trip that we both remember the best was our first trip abroad. At that time Kaspars was 26 years old, but Una – 23. Before that for quite a long time traveling seemed like something not for us. It seemed like something for a very rich people. It wasn’t something people we knew were really talking about.
But we just bought plane tickets, booked accommodation and went to Portugal. Why to Portugal? Why not, ha. At that time everything for us was unknown, so we just chose one of the Ryanair’s destinations, one that sounded more interesting and that’s it.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
We have felt like this in most of the European cities which we have visited. They all just seem so much the same for us.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
While cycling across India for 5 months we got in few traffic accidents. Every time we tried to camp in India it turned out to be a bad idea. Either people where coming to us at night or it simply was very bad place for setting up the tent, for example, by the India’s busiest highway. But we had no better options then. In Malaysia Una fell from her bicycle while going very fast down the hill and fractured her finger. Kaspars was robbed in Malaysia.
But that’s something that could happen everywhere.
How did you decide to go to India and cycle across it?
It took about a year to decide, where and how we will travel. We were reading a lot about other peoples’ long term travel experiences. And then at one moment it was decided – we will go to India to cycle across it for some 5-6 months. Because it’s a country interesting to both of us, it’s big enough to explore for longer time and it’s cheap.
Why by bicycle?
We had seen quite a lot of travelers as cyclists in Spain while walking Camino de Santiago, and we had read about such kind of traveling online. It seemed like a very good way to explore some country. You go slowly enough to absorb much more than by any other kind of transportation.
What kind of bicycles you had? Did you buy them in India?
We had very simple mountain bikes from Latvia, the ones you can buy for some 100 – 150 euro. And we took them with us on a plane. We flew with Aeroflot and a bicycle with them is a part of your standard baggage allowance. It cost nothing for us.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
We were cycling somewhere in Rajasthan, India. In the middle of nowhere, in deserted area, police car passed by and stopped soon. Policemen went out of the car, and signalled for us to stop. Huh, what have we done?? They approached us and… asked to take a photo with them, haha.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Turin (Italy) is the one that comes to mind first. We arrived there in Christmas time. Everything was closed. And the city looked like it’s being under construction. We felt really frustrated. Is this the Capital of the Alps?
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Currently it’s Goa in India. We spent there one month and we absolutely loved this place. Because of tasty and cheap food, chilled atmosphere and nice beaches.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Susan Sontag said: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” We can say the same about ourselves. Currently we know, that we want to travel. To experience different cultures and live in different places around the world. But we don’t have any specific list of places we want to go or things we want to experience.
Can you imagine life without travel?
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
We Are From Latvia
When did you begin your website?
We Are From Latvia was started at the end of June 2014.
For longer time we had an idea about writing in English (we both have blogs in Latvian) and about blogging together. And so after 9 months being on the road we finally started it.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
To connect with like-minded people, to help and inspire others to travel, and to improve our English.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Our blog is the same and as unique as Latvia itself. Not everyday you meet someone from Latvia. There are only 2 millions of us. But on our blog you can read stories about adventurous and inspiring Latvians. We like to talk not only about our adventures, even more we write about other people we know, both from Latvia and from other countries. So, see you on We Are From Latvia!
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
We don’t really have a favorite one. If it’s possible we like more to travel by land with train, bus, car,…
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Don’t try to plan everything. For example, if you are going (would love to go) on a long term backpacking trip to Asia, don’t try to put complete list of places, where you want to go and when exactly you want to do it. Make a plan for the first weeks of the trip, and just go!
What has travel taught you?
More than a year of traveling, living and working in different countries in Asia and Europe, has taught us a lot. But one of the biggest learnings for us has been understanding, how little we people actually need to feel good.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? AirAsia
Favourite country? India
Favourite city? Barcelona
Favourite beach? Varca beach in Goa, India
Favourite food? Kaspars – Indian bread paratha and daal, Una – chicken fillet with sweet chilli sauce and fresh salad
Favourite language? Spanish
Please provide the following:-
Website url? www.WeAreFromLatvia.com
Twitter handle? www.twitter.com/kasparsmisins (Kaspars)
Facebook page? www.facebook.com/FromLatvia
Google+ profile/page? www.plus.google.com/+Wearefromlatviacom