Welcome back to our series of interviews on Weekend Travel Inspiration, where we get together with the most inspiring and intrepid travelers. This week we are interviewing Geoff and Katie, a Canadian couple who’ve been on the road for some time. Together they run the travel blog Wandertooth where they regale us with plenty of weekend travel inspiration.
Tell us a little about yourself. Who travels with you? Where do you live now? Tell us a little about where you are from and if you recommend it to people as a travel destination.
We are both Canadian, although we’re from different cities. I (Katie) am from Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast, and my husband Geoff is from Calgary, which sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Both cities are absolutely worth making the trip to Canada for! Vancouver has both sea and mountains, and is nicknamed the “city of glass” for the way the glass buildings reflect the natural landscape. Calgary used to be fairly corporate, but has come into its own in recent years and is full of great restaurants and cultural attractions. It’s also the gateway to Banff and Lake Louise.
We left Canada at the end of 2013 to travel, and have been on the road for much of the time, calling Prague and Oaxaca, Mexico home for some of that time. At the beginning of 2017, we moved to Budapest. We live right in the city centre, in Budapest’s 7th district, which is known as the party district. It can get a little loud, but we love living in the city centre, and Budapest is a fantastic city.
What inspires you to travel? What types of places call to you? How often do you get to travel?
Geoff and I have been traveling together for as long as we’ve known each other, and actually met when we were both living abroad in Taiwan. Learning about different cultures and ways of living, and just being able to see as much of the world’s natural beauty as possible, is what keeps us buying plane and train tickets, over and over again!
We’re very lucky in that we can travel as much as we want, as we’re both self-employed through our travel blog and our three travel-themed adult coloring books. In 2017, we visited around 17 countries, although we’ll probably slow down a bit in 2018 so we can catch up on work! 2018 will include some flights, but we’d also like to do some train travel and road trips from Budapest, and explore this region as much as we can.
Describe your travel philosophy. What is your style? Are you more of a luxury traveler or is backpacking more your style?
Back when we started travelling together in 2005, we were firmly in the backpacker category – it was all we could afford. We backpacked a lot around Asia when we lived there, and then in 2009 took off on a big backpacking trip around South America. As we’ve gotten older, our travel style has changed. We still prefer to travel independently, planning our own itineraries and keeping things flexible, but now we look for boutique hotels and comfortable chains, rather than hostels. We’re also happy to spend a bit more to avoid 12-hour bus rides.
What types of things are you interested in while you are traveling? Is it adventure/adrenalin or history/culture? Do you want to relax on the beach or hike around ruins, etc?
We both love cities, so we often organize our trips around big cities, with stops in between or day trips from. We like to check out historical and cultural sites, and always are up for beautiful scenery and spotting unique wildlife. We’ll take beach occasions occasionally, but both of us get restless when we don’t have something to keep us busy.
What is one funny, embarrassing, cute, or even frustrating anecdote from your travels?
Our funniest travel screw-up happened in Argentina, when we were trying to get from Buenos Aires up to Iguazu to see the synonymous falls.
We had sleeper beds booked on an overnight bus with the company “Rio Uruguay,” and found a taxi on the street to take us from our hostel in BA to the bus station. The Spanish in Argentina is quite different from the rest of South America, and unfortunately, I don’t think our taxi driver totally understood us. Instead of taking us to the bus station, he took us to the ferry terminal, and we ended up missing our bus. Upon reflection, he must have understood us say “Rio Uruguay” (the name of the bus company) but not heard or understood us say bus station. To be fair, he did take us to the river to Uruguay!
Although we missed the bus, thanks to a chain of goodwill from strangers, we were able to catch up with it about an hour outside of Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, a bottle of red wine from the Mendoza wine region exploded on us (and our backpacks) during our panic to get to the bus station, and we spent the 20-hour bus ride covered in red wine.
That story gets told at least once a year, and we’re always dying laughing by the end!
What is your next destination and what are you looking forward to doing there?
We’re hoping to head to Malta or Cyprus, or take a road trip around Sicily (Italy) next month, but haven’t decided which one yet. I’m most excited about Sicily, as I remember thinking Mount Vesuvius sounded like the most exotic place when I first heard about it as a kid. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with the food in Italy!
What is one thing you take with you traveling, no matter what? What would you say is your favorite piece of travel gear that you take with you?
For longer trips, and anytime we know we’ll be staying somewhere with a kitchen, we travel with an Italian-style stovetop espresso maker, and a Nespresso milk frother. We love being able to have a café latte first thing in the morning, without having to venture out in search of a coffee shop. And both are small enough that we can stuff them in a lens case and carry-on.
How did you get started travel blogging, and what would be one piece of advice you can offer newbie bloggers?
We’ve had Wandertooth for over five years now, and before that we had a different blog. At first, we started both as a way to tell the stories of our travels to friends and family, but overtime Wandertooth has developed into a full-time business, which includes our blog and three travel-themed adult colouring books.
In terms of starting out, I’d recommend newbie bloggers make connections with other bloggers – both new ones, and established ones. There are loads of Facebook groups to join, courses like Travel Blog Success, and conferences like TBEX – they are all great ways to meet other bloggers. We’ve met some of our best friends through travel blogging, and love having a network of colleagues to rely on when we have a question, or want to learn something new.
Wow! Thanks Katie and Geoff. Don’t forget to check out Geoff and Katie’s webpage, and check out some of our other Rendezvous With Rovers interviews!
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