Moving to live in another country so you can be with your partner is a big step, especially when the country is very different to your own. Yet this is what happened for one of the 2 great bloggers behind Mytan Feet.
What are your names?
Yeison and Samantha.
Which country do you come from/call home?
Yeison is from Costa Rica, born, grew up and still lives there. Samantha was born and grew up in Washington State in the United States but is of Taiwanese descent. We both now live in Costa Rica.
Are you a backpackers/long term travellers/business travellers/live and work abroad?
We live and work in Costa Rica and travel whenever we get a chance.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Samantha: I remember my first trip was to Yellowstone with my parents. I remember it was really cold so my dad gave me his big yellow jacket as we watched a beautiful sunset. I was around 3 years old and I still have a picture of that moment that I look back on.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Samantha: Honestly, Central America. My first trip to C. America was to Nicaragua and Honduras and I wasn’t expecting a third world country or some country that didn’t have internet but the lifestyle of the people was something completely different than what I’ve experienced before. The atmosphere and the people themselves are more laid back than the people in the States, they’re not against PDA, people are very warm and friendly.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Just a couple due to medical emergencies. Yeison is deathly allergic to shrimp and once he accidentally had some and didn’t have an epi pen with him. That was not fun! Luckily we found a pharmacy right down the street from the restaurant where we were eating and got one in time before his throat completely closed up!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
We haven’t been anywhere that we hated. We’ve had good times at all the places we’ve been to but there was one hostel in Panama City that was terrible. Mold on the wall, dirty bathrooms, even one of the walls had a hole and all they did was they covered it with a rug. We cancelled the rest of our reservations and got out of there fast!
Where is your favourite place in the world?
We have a couple. Samantha loves Taiwan since that is where all her family is from but we both loved San Blas Islands in Panama. We’re not that worldly on islands but these were absolutely some of the most breath-taking islands we’ve ever seen. The water so insanely clear, tons of great snorkelling and just a relaxing atmosphere all around.
How did you end up in Costa Rica?
Samantha: I came here to be with Yeison. We met a few years ago in Central America but I went back to the States to finish college. After a couple years of long distance, we were very tired of being apart so I moved down here in Aug 2012 since Yeison has been having trouble getting a US visa (he’s been rejected for a tourist visa 3 times). I never expected to move here and I assure you that I wasn’t the only one who was surprised! But that’s the beauty of life; you never know what will happen and where you’ll end up.
What were the biggest cultural shocks for you from moving to Costa Rica?
The town we live in in Costa Rica is very small and I had just gotten out of going to college in a big city so that was very weird for me. Also going into town and realizing that it’s just one street and that I now live by the beach was so different. I’m not a huge city girl but I do love the hustle and bustle and city night life and the nightlife and atmosphere at the beach is completely different.
The language of course as I never learned or took any Spanish before so that one was a big shocker. There’s nothing more shocking than working in a new country where you have to answer phones but don’t speak the language. I guarantee you that it makes you learn fast!
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
We both want to get our scuba diving certification, visit every country in Asia, and live in as many different countries as we can. Samantha also wants to go snowboarding in France, bungee jump and rescue dogs in Taiwan. Yeison wants to go to beerfest, go sky diving, and learn to snowboard.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Absolutely not! Life would be boring! Not saying that you would be bored in the place you live in but not being able to see what’s outside of it or experience something different is like being given 10 free pieces of the best chocolate in the world but you only take a small bite out of one and throw the rest away.
The world is huge and being just one person, we are so small. Why not experience what life has to give us and see what’s out there?
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Working I guess. Don’t get us wrong, we love working and we are both hard workers. Work hard, play harder is our motto. But we don’t want to spend our whole life working, just to look back on it on our deathbed and regret that we didn’t enjoy and experience more of life.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
The name of our blog is Mytanfeet. URL is http://www.mytanfeet.com
Why did you choose that name for your blog?
Since we’re living at the beach in Costa Rica, your feet and whole body tend to get fairly tanned very often. One day we were coming back from a whole day at the beach and noticed our feet with a bunch of tan lines and thought, “That’s a good name for a blog about life in Costa Rica at the beach!”
When did you begin your website?
We bought the domain in February but didn’t start blogging until May.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
We first started writing as a way to show our family and friends what we were up to and people wanted to know what my life in Costa Rica was like. It was an easy way to document it and show everyone.
Then it turned into more as people were interested and we thought that since we had quite a bit of knowledge between the both of us, we could turn it into a resource for people like us who want to travel or live in Costa Rica or Central America.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
We don’t focus on just one topic. We write about traveling, living, adventures, personal essays, and now we even started a series of travel blogging tips so there’s something for everyone in there. We also provide city guides and we put a lot of information into our posts so that readers don’t need to be visiting 5 different sites to get one answer. We put all the information in one post and tell you what it’s really like to travel here.
If you’re looking for tips on renting a car and what the driving is like, we have two extensive posts about it. If you need a refresher on Spanish, we created a huge guide on the basic but most important Spanish words and phrases to know. The resources we have for traveling and living in Costa Rica are always up to date and provide the most details.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Samantha also does copywriting and transcribing. We both have contacts in the tourism company and have experience in planning itineraries so if you’re in need of help planning your vacation to Costa Rica, we offer our services to help you create the perfect itinerary.
Please tell us about the forum you are planning to launch?
Every day we get many emails from readers who have various questions about living or traveling in Costa Rica. Many of them are similar and many of them are questions that we know other people would be interested in reading about.
The forum will create an easy platform for all our readers to find the answers to their question in one place. They can post questions in the forum which we will personally answer every day so that way, everyone can have easy access to information and they don’t need to be emailing us constantly. It makes it easy for us and for our readers to get the information that they need.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Our most successful blog post is one Samantha wrote about meeting the president of Costa Rica. She talked about her experiences with the president of the United States and the president of Costa Rica, differences, perspectives and her thoughts about the Costa Rican people when it comes to politics.
Why were you tweeting the Costa Rican President?
We met her a little over a month ago and wrote a post about her. We wanted her to read it to show that despite what little approval rating she has, that Costa Rica is still a great and peaceful country and all from a foreigner’s perspective.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
That would have to be our post about common misconceptions about Costa Rica. We got to gather all of the funny questions and comments we got about Costa Rica and put them all in one post. It was pretty fun to go through and remember them all.
On your blog you explain some changes to your website which had a dramatic effect at improving your visitor numbers. Can you briefly explain what you did and the results from the change?
We did a couple. First we switched hosting to make our site faster but one of the biggest changes we made that had the most impact was changing our menu and side bar. We took out the main drop down menu and organized all our content into sections. We placed big colourful buttons for our sections on our sidebar so our readers could easily choose where they want to go.
Our bounce rate decreased from 75% to 7% in just a few days. People were staying on the site because it wasn’t messy, it was easy to find what you’re looking for and clean.
What is the travel accessory you can’t do without?
Hmm there is a bunch! Besides our cell phone, camera and laptop, we have to bring a power strip since we always need to be plugged in. Flashlight, iPod, and Kleenex.
Yeison, why do you want to fly an A320?
Good question! Since I was a kid I always wanted to be able to fly an A320, why a 320? It is my favorite airplane, very safe, you can find them everywhere and if I know how to fly one I will be able to fly all of them 😉
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Learn to be flexible! Travel is great and you can plan everything to the last desert you’re going to eat but things can always change, unexpected things can always happen. And many things are out of your control like delayed flights, flat tire or even car accidents. Be prepared and have an open mind. Sometimes unexpected events lead to the greatest memories!
What has travel taught you?
That it’s important to appreciate life and don’t take what you have for granted. We have seen people with a one bedroom house, no car, no iPhone but are the happiest people and the nicest. Then we have seen people who have BMWs, expensive purses, brand name clothing but still complain about everything and aren’t happy with what they have.
Once you travel and see more of the world, you’ll learn that everyone has their own story and that getting upset about something stupid means nothing when you look at the big picture.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? jetblue
Favourite country? Two – Costa Rica and Taiwan
Favourite city? Seattle! Go Seahawks!
Favourite beach? Playa Buena, Costa Rica
Favourite food? Samantha loves Korean food and sushi and Yeison loves, well he loves all food.
Favourite language? All of them! Samantha’s favourite language to listen to is French.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://mytanfeet.com
Twitter handle? https://twitter.com/Mytanfeet
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/Mytanfeetcom
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/103295254072708854373/dashboard/overview