Today I am honoured to feature not only great travel bloggers and video bloggers but they have a weekly podcast too! Please enjoy this travel blogger interview with Evo and Sheila of The Opportunistic Travelers.
What is your name?
- We’re Evo Terra and Sheila Dee. Nice to meet you!
Which country do you come from/call home?
- We’re still citizens of the U.S. of A.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
- Long-term travelers probably fits us best, though there’s certainly an aspect of digital nomading thrown in as well.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
- Short answer: We sold a car. Seriously. We sold a car and the rest of our possessions to put a small nugget of cash (~$20K) in a bank account. We make it last by taking long-term housesitting gigs. And I (Evo) do a small amount of consulting from the road.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
- Evo: My family camped a lot when I was a kid. We’d take off for weekends here and there, and my birthday (June baby) was always spent at a place called Spring Creek in eastern Oklahoma. All of that started when I was about 7, I suppose.
- She: At 7, I flew cross-country – by myself – to see my grandparents in Florida.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
- We were really surprised at how un-different things have been during the six months we’ve been traveling. As sheltered Americans, we’re led to believe that most other cultures have completely different lives. So far, that’s not been true. Because we stay in the homes of people who live in these countries, we can attest to the same-ness that surrounds us. Sure, the food is a lot different, and they speak a different language. But everyone has a flat screen and at least one piece of furniture from Ikea.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
- Nothing that hasn’t, in hindsight, been seen as a positive. For instance, health issues have led us to four different doctors – and we didn’t have insurance – while we’ve been abroad. But with one exception, they were all excellent. And the exception? About what we’d have happen to us back in the States with a disaffected medical professional. So… probably not!
Do you have any funny travel stories?
- At least once a week! Several involve less-than-voluntary rides in various motor vehicles, some of which are driven by police officers. And at least one monkey tried to steal our podcasting equipment. We share those funny stories on our show each week.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
- Bearing in mind that we’ve not really had anything terrible happen, our least-favorite place has been Milan, Italy. We lost a laptop to the canals there, and the World Expo was disappointing. So on balance, I’m not sure that qualifies as “worst”.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
- If we had to pick a place right now, it’d be Spain. Specifically either Costa Brava or Mallorca. Then again, we’re enjoying Thailand! And Copenhagen was pretty nice. And…
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
- Not really. Things – including what we want – change pretty quickly in the world. If we had a list, we’d be busy revising it every other day. So it’s not worth it. Instead, we take the opportunities that come to us and make sure we actually DO the things we want, rather than say “someday”.
Can you imagine life without travel?
- Not now! This has been an incredible experience, and we want to keep it going for as long as we can!
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
- Planning for retirement, which we’d probably never get to. Might as well live that way now, right?
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
The Opportunistic Travelers – http://TheOpportunisticTravelers.com
When did you begin your website?
- December 2014, just before we left. Things started getting good in January.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
- We’re both deeply social people, so sharing our experience is sort of required. We’re part of the original podcasting wave, and Evo is a published author, with a couple of “for Dummies” titles under his belt. We’ve started producing content for some other media outlets, which helps with the funds. But even if we weren’t getting paid, we’d still be producing content along the journey.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
- Our emphasis is on storytelling, which we do in a variety of ways. Our weekly podcast is highly-produced and short, making it a treat to listen to. Our videos stay on point, and our writing is laced with photography to – we hope – really bring our readers into the articles we create. We’re much more about quality than content, and we never want to waste anyone’s time.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
- Besides his freelance writing, Evo provides digital strategy services for a select set of brands/organizations/people he likes working with. When he was consulting back in The States, he was terribly expensive.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
- Oh, that assumes we’re tracking stats, which we’re not worried about all that much. But Evo’s post about getting a tattoo in Thailand is getting a lot of attention. Hopefully he doesn’t get Hepatitis C.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
- Recounting the story of the monkey that tried to steal Evo’s audio recorder wins hands down.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
- Trains, without question. Well, in Europe. Where we grew up in the western part of The States, only hobos and cattle traveled by train. But we fell in love in Europe. Speed, comfort, and convenience. We love travel by train!
Six months of near-constant companionship… and you aren’t ready to kill each other?
- Hard to believe, right? Even though we’ve been together for 28 years, we’ve never had this much interaction. Good news: We love it. Sure, we get on each others’ nerves from time to time, but that’s to be expected. But we could see how this would be a big challenge for a couple that weren’t completely comfortably with each other and in their own skins. Luckily for us, that’s not a problem.
So… what’s the secret?
- Other than a great sex life? A division of labor that plays on strengths and supports the weakness of the other. Evo, for example, hates travel planning. Sure, he’s capable of booking a flight, but he just won’t give it the attention Sheila will. And she’ll save us money. Conversely, Sheila’s not the best at inner-city travel. No, she won’t get lost on the way home, but she’s too detail oriented to quickly figure out which train is the right one to hop on. Evo’s great at “triaging” snap decisions, so they’re not stuck waiting on the next train.
Why did you wait until your mid-40s to travel? Most people do what you’re doing with they get out of college!
- There’s not such thing as “the perfect time” to travel. At least not one that’s universal. For us, we had other priorities when we were 20. We led very rich (monetarily and otherwise) lives, raised a kid, left our marks… all of that. And then we decided to go see the world. That worked for us. It may not work for everyone. There’s no way we’d have the same sort of experience had we done it earlier, and we can’t imagine doing it any other way. Hopefully, the stories we tell prove that out.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
- Only that it doesn’t have to be expensive. Seriously. It doesn’t. We’re living proof. No, our style doesn’t work for people who only have 2 weeks of vacation a year. But if you’ve got more than that, or you can take a leave of absence for a while… do it. It’s going to cost you far less than you think. And what you’ll get out of it is immeasurable. Go!
What has travel taught you?
- Two things: 1) Slow down. We no longer desire to see everything TODAY. We’ve got time. 2) There’s more to experience than on a Top 10 list. Those are fine to start with, but go off script. Try the street food. Make a left at that road that looks interesting. Stop and talk to that guy on the corner. There are untold stories all around you. Find ‘em.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Aeroflot! They get a bad rap that’s completely undeserved. Elegance even in coach!
Favourite country? Spain. Catalunya and The Balearic Islands, if you want autonomous regions.
Favourite city? Copenhagen. It’s super friendly!
Favourite beach? San Onofre in San Diego!
Favourite food? Evo loves anything he can eat on the street. Sheila, the vegetarian, favors sushi. Or maybe pizza.
Favourite language? Jive.
Please provide the following:-
Facebook page? TheOpportunisticTravelers
Google+ profile/page? +ShEvoWTFIndeed