1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
Born and raised in the Philippines, I was a high school sophomore in the US and still adjusting to American life when I joined a school trip to the Soviet Union in 1990. After spending a day at a high school in Leningrad, we went home in pairs with Russian students to have dinner with their families. It gave us a glimpse of what life in communist Russia was like at the time. As warm as my Russian family was — and I could see it in the mother’s eyes how happy she was to have American students in her home — I remember the experience feeling very cold and grey. It must have been the veil of communism. It was an eye-opening experience and showed me how different life was for other people in the world.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
Ren and I would love to travel the world and see (almost) every country, but to be more specific, I think we’d enjoy going on a luxury safari. At the rates elephants and rhinos are being poached today, it’s sad to think they could be gone within our lifetime. Luxury travel isn’t necessarily my thing, but going on a safari in style would be awesome.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I’m pretty adventurous so there are few things I wouldn’t do when traveling. “Experiences not things” is my motto. But ever since we started this travel food blog, I’ve been invited to do a couple of public speaking engagements which I’ve turned down. Public speaking is probably my greatest fear and I haven’t found the courage to overcome it yet.
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
Sygic Travel, formerly Tripomatic, is my go-to app when traveling. It allows me to create a detailed itinerary for every trip. I have an awful sense of direction but with Sygic Travel and GPS, I never get lost nor do I have to ask anyone for directions. It’s a lifesaver. Other than that, I use XE Currency to convert currencies and Trail Wallet to keep an account of expenses.
5.)What place do you wish more people had seen?
Mindanao in the Southern Philippines. A region of high conflict, it’s long been regarded as unsafe for travelers. Ren and I are both Filipinos but we’ve seen very little of it. It looks beautiful in pictures. Hopefully with Rodrigo Duterte winning these recent presidential elections, things will change.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
“Try everything once.” This wasn’t a piece of advice given to me directly. Instead, it’s something Ren’s grandfather used to tell them growing up. I love it and live by it.
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
On that same trip to Russia, my friends and I were so eager to eat at McDonald’s in Moscow that we hopped into a cab soon as we dropped our bags off at the hotel. Problem was, we didn’t know the name of our hotel. After getting our junk food fix, we spent the next few hours roaming around Moscow trying to find our way back to the hotel from memory. Exhausted, we walked into a random hotel and asked for the manager’s help. All we knew was that the name of our hotel started with the letter “S”. She then started calling every hotel in the book listed under “S”. After almost an hour, she finally found our hotel — Sevastopol. That act of kindness saved us and it scares me to think what would have happened to us had she not. I’ll never forget it.
Apart from spending many years in the US, neither Ren nor I have lived in another country nor have we made the leap to a nomadic lifestyle. At least not yet. It’s all about timing. We have responsibilities right now that keep us grounded but it’s something we would love to try for at least a couple of years. We talk about it often.
9.)I travel because….
…it’s the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. Material possessions, for the most part, have little meaning.
JB and Renee are the husband and wife team behind Will Fly of Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. When they aren’t “traveleating”, JB is a location-independent graphic/web designer while Ren is a full-time domestic engineer (aka housewife).
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