After six months of intensive traveling and working on the road, we’re now back at our home base in Granada, Spain, dizzy from the high of traveling and drained from juggling our crazy travel schedule and workload. It’s been quite a journey as we hopped from one country to the next, working with tourism boards and operators along the way, while keeping our business going (which happens to be this website and our magazine).
We swam with whale sharks in the Philippines, hiked through beautiful rice terraces in Sapa, celebrated Songkran in Bangkok, biked through the holy land of Bagan in Myanmar, traversed through China and even made a visit to the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea… We revisited places we love, discovered spots that truly resonates with us, met people whom we connect with, and learned so much more about other corners of the world.
But it wasn’t all beaches and cocktails. We have a business and profession to maintain – that means that in between hikes and temple visits, we were cramping in as many hours of work as we could. Yes, we are so fortunate to get to write and travel for a living. Believe me, we love it. But like those who travel for business and spends more time on airplanes with their families, it’s never as fun or glamorous as everyone else imagines it to be.
In Philippines, we lugged our laptops to the beach bar and worked like a bunch of geeks while other divers relaxed and played poker. In Bangkok, our old friends who came to visit us went out to party while we stayed back to work. During our last week in Beijing, we really wanted to have a farewell dinner with a friend – but we couldn’t, because we had work to do.
As we were working with several tourism boards, we were effectively on assignment most of the time. That again meant that we had to stick to a fixed travel schedule, attend casual meetings with our partners and churn out articles along the way. We couldn’t afford the luxury of taking a break even if we had wanted to. While we did take a few weeks off in Thailand and Philippines, we were just taking a break from traveling but not from work.
By the end of the six months, we were honestly burnt out from the hectic schedule and overwhelming workload. That’s when we decided to cut our trip short (we had initially planned to continue from Beijing on to Mongolia and Moscow by train) and return home to Spain for a much-needed rest.
That said, being able to work from anywhere in the world is truly a privilege. It’s a lifestyle I’ve always dreamt of. Having the flexibility and freedom to work for ourselves (with no one to report to) and a different office everyday has always been my lifetime goal. We clinched an advertising deal while working in a cafe in Krabi, we got a well-paid assignment with Readers Digest when the editor learned that we were on Sumilon Island, and we also did an interview with BBC during a train ride in Vietnam. Going on scooter rides in between work breaks, swimming in the sea every morning, typing away on my laptop to the sound of the waves: it’s a life many people dream of living.
What does the future hold for us?
We’re back in Spain only for a few weeks before heading to South Africa to speak at the Getaway Travel Blog Conference. It should be quite an exciting event, with many travel bloggers from around the region gathering to discuss ideas and exchange tips. We’ll then spend two weeks traveling with Cape Town Tourism as well as hopping over to Mozambique and Zambia.
In August, we’ll head over to Florida and spend a week exploring the state with Visit Florida, before flying to California for a family reunion. I’ll then hop over to Palau for a press trip with Visit Palau – the itinerary includes scuba-diving trips, sea kayaking and swimming with jellyfish. It should be quite an adventure! It’ll be another jam-packed month in the States, but we’ll be sure to take some time off to hang out with family while we’re there.
Right after, we’ll be back in Spain for TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference). This time it’ll be held in Costa Brava, and we’re looking forward to catch up with our travel blogger friends and industry folks.
So as you can see, we’ve just taken a short break from travel and it won’t be long before we get back on the road. It looks like the second half of the year will be equally busy but as always, you’ll be hearing from us whether we’re on the road or back in our home base.