Every Thursday, A Dangerous Business will be shining the spotlight on a world nomad, travel blogger, armchair adventurer, or just someone really cool in the travel world. This week, the travelers are Dani and Jess of GlobetrotterGirls. The GlobetrotterGirls are German-American couple Dani and Jess, who decided after years of slaving away in the office that a few weeks’ vacation per year would not be enough to satisfy their travel addiction. So they exchanged their cubicles for life on the road in April 2010. Since then, they have traveled extensively through Europe, Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Central America and have just started to explore South East Asia while working as ‘digital nomads’ — as often as possible from a hammock.
A traveler is someone who seeks to understand the local experience of each destination, rather than just escape their own experiences for a while. We consider ourselves travelers because we gave up our home to travel the world and experience how others live around the globe.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
That is a difficult question! Living four weeks by the beach at the Mexican Riviera Maya, road-tripping through the Southwestern U.S. (the South/east, too), eating the best Italian pizza in Tuscany, volcano-boarding in Nicaragua, making friends with the shoeshine kids in Chichicastenango, Guatemala… the list really goes on and on here.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
Conquering the ATM cave tour in Belize – this was an extreme caving experience hiking through the jungle, swimming into and through a cave with neck-high water, scrambling/rock-climbing and avoiding some very scary insects in the dark like the ones called scorpion-spiders, and then hiking our way back out. We never thought we could do something so legitimately adventurous and were proud to have been so far outside of our comfort zones.
We’re still a bit mum on the embarrassing details, but after 19 months on the road, we cannot believe we fell for a typical Bangkok tourist scam. It cost us a chunk of cash and at the time it really affected how we saw the city. However, had we done a bit of reading about taking care in Bangkok, we would have known to avoid the situation. Somehow we thought our travel experience had made us invincible to scams. Not the case at all. We will definitely go back, but we will stay as far from the backpacker ghetto as possible for a more authentic Bangkok experience. Otherwise, we have been very lucky to have avoided major travel mishaps since setting off in April 2010.
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
A predictable answer – our laptops. We work entirely online, so we need our computers to continue to work and travel. Dani is a passionate photographer and I can’t even imagine her anymore without her Canon glued to her hands.
Paranoia / fear of getting robbed. We need the laptops and the camera, and have other travel tech, and so we are constantly vigilant to protect these belongings. When we meet travelers with none of these things, we are sometimes jealous at how free they must feel as they travel. But we couldn’t earn a living without them.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
In short – more money, more problems. It is simplistic and naïve to pretend that the less people have, the happier they are — there are shocking hardships, especially health-related, that come along with subsistence living. However, the longer we travel, the more we see that in countries where consumption has overtaken the traditional culture, the more people are stressed and depressed in the race to acquire more. We are not opposed to increasing our wealth by any means, but we have learned that no matter how much money we have, a simple life might just be the happiest.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
That’s the question we set off to answer when we started on our travels. The problem is, the more we experience, the more we know we have yet to experience, so it seems we won’t stop traveling anytime soon. So far though, we think we can safely say that at the end of all of this, we would most likely settle somewhere in Europe but escape winters in Mexico.
Dani wants to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu before she dies – she’s hoping to tackle that hike next year. I (Jess) would like to take my time on the Trans-Siberian Railway and learn about places that still seem so foreign.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
How cheap travel actually is… people often ask us how we travel long-term – are you rich, they ask. People tend to associate travel costs with their annual vacation splurge, but we could most likely live two or three months on what a family spends during a two-week holiday, especially because we do not have to pay any bills or rent back home. There are plenty of inexpensive sparkling clean, comfortable guest houses out there, with more personality than most four-star hotels. When you travel long term, you don’t want to eat in a restaurant all the time, so shopping in the supermarket cuts costs there as well. Travel is actually an economical way of life and way easier to do than most people think.
Are you a travel blogger who has something to say on these topics? Do you know of somebody really interesting in the travel universe that you’d like to see interviewed? Speak up! The Thursday Traveler needs some interview subjects.