y Travel blog was one of the first travel blogs I ever read and to know they are Aussies is a real proud moment for me. These are big gun bloggers who love helping little gun bloggers. I admire them greatly. We may not have met them for real cocktails, (yet) but knowing Caz and myself I am sure if this had not been a virtual interview it would have definitely been over a cocktail, perhaps on a cruise ship somewhere.
If you could visit any country in the world for just 1 week, what would it be and why?
The Maldives has been at the top of my dream travel destination list since I first started dreaming of travel as a teenager. The Maldives is small so a week would be optimal.
The only thing I would want to do there is to be in awe of nature. Spend my days snorkelling, swimming and taking in paradise with cocktails at sunset. Of course I would be with my family.
Erin: Oooo I haven't been there, sounds heavenly, will add it to the travel list.
Who is the most interesting or strangest person you’ve met in your travels?
Kim from Sweden is one person who has always stood out for me. He was a rock climber and avid fan of playing life full out. He was crazy but had a lot of love for anyone who crossed his path.
I met him at a time when I was confused and lost. I was travelling with my best friend and we met Kim and his rock climbing friends in Railay Beach Thailand. They travelled the world rock climbing. We quickly formed a very close friendship and spent our days rock climbing, phosperance hunting in caves at night and partying.
Kim taught me to step into my fear, to be brave, embrace life and to start loving myself. I'll never forget him for that.
What city has the best value for money in your opinion?
We think Bangkok is a city that has great value for money. There's cheap accommodation to suit all types from low-budget guest houses to 5 star hotels--the service and price is outstanding compared to the Western world.
Their food is also what we consider to be the best in the world and if you immerse yourself in the street food culture then you can eat delicious meals for around $1-2
There are plenty of things to do in Bangkok, getting around is easy and cheap and there are lots of cultural experiences to be had.
And then one cannot go past the shopping. Arrive with empty bags and go crazy. I receive so many comments about how beautiful a couple of my dresses are and they are stunned when I tell them they only cost me $3 in Bangkok--oh yeah and the jewellery pieces that cost me $3 and the handbags that cost me $10.
Erin: Oh we love Bangkok too, one of our most favourite places in the world... and the food, yum!
What is your favourite method of transport while travelling and why?
I love travelling like the locals do, so riding on public transport, cycling or walking. It is the best way to get to know the area and the locals. We have had so many colourful exchanges and memorable experiences just by doing this.
Also with our toddler we do really appreciate a road trip as the preferred way of travelling at the moment. It's far easier to manage for everyone. I love the flexibility of it.
Erin: I hear you, we just finished a road trip in the US and it was one of our most favourite travels to date. No worry on if you have water in your bag or a butter knife for those last minute peanut butter sandwiches :)
What is the strangest food you’ve eaten while on holidays?
We don't really eat a lot of strange food, we are somewhat vegetarians, meaning we do not eat any farmed animals, only wild. That doesn't leave yourself open to a lot of strange foods.
One of the most unique foods I ate recently was turtle. I spent an afternoon with an Aboriginal man in Port Douglas spear fishing and mud crab hunting. He invited me back to his house to enjoy our catch. He had caught turtle the previous day and share some with me. Turtle is a highly sprititual animal for the Aboriginal people and they are the only people who are allowed to catch and eat turtle. It was an honour to be invited to share this meat. I found it tender, but quite meaty and really tasty.
Erin: Turtle? For real? Um, no thanks!
What place have you felt the biggest safety risk?
Suprisingly, I have never really felt unsafe on my travels and I spent 5 months backpacking through Africa, so you would think there would be some stories there about safety, but there were none.
I did have a scary incident when I first started travelling with two girlfriends in 97. We were in Sumatra and hired a few local guys to take us for a motorbike tour of Samosir Island. It turns out these guys were crazy and took us for a freaky ride. My driver made up a song just for me to the tune of I shot the Sheriff, "I killed the tourist and then I stole her passport." It was a horrifying experience and I still can't believe we made it home alive. They were obviously playing with us but I truly believed I was going to die.
So never hire locals to take you on motorbike rides!! or maybe not at Lake Toba which is an area notorious for magic mushrooms. I am convinced they were on them.
When did you start your blog and why? If you could start your blog from scratch, what would you do differently?
We started our blog in April 2010. I started the blog because, after 15 years of living and travelling the world, I felt we had so much to share. We really believe in the power of travel as a way to empower yourself to live your best life. It is also the best way for us to discover that everyone is more alike than different and so work for peace and understanding.
We really wanted to help people travel more so they can have more peace and happiness in their lives. It gives us immense joy to hear how people's lives have been changed by travel and that we somehow helped.
What is the most challenging part about working in the travel industry?
The most challenging part is that with blogging it involves so much work. Photos and videos are a big part of travel blogging to inspire people. This involves so much work for us, first in shooting the photos then editing them and then promoting them. We always have at least 12 photos in every post we write--that's a heavy workload.
And also travel means you lose a lot of hours in the office. You feel like you are continually chasing your tail.
What’s been the best freebie (incl. the hard work) you got from your blog?
As we are so passionate about what we do any of the travel we get as a reward gives us such gratitude and pleasure. We love what we do and we love to share it.
Most recently though, I have had a few experiences that have been on my bucket list for many years. I was able to fly over Kakadu to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, which is the ancestral lands to Aboriginal tribes and a highly sacred place. I also flew by sea plane over Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, one of the world's best beaches and rivalling that is Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays, Queensland which we visited last week. I am so in love with my country and so so grateful for these experiences. And I would have to say Whitehaven is the best beach in the world, that I have seen, followed very closely by Wineglass Bay.
What’s your favourite travel blogs to read?
I love to read Wandering Earl, I think he has some of the most amazing adventures and he really cares about his readers. I also love Time Travel Turtle. Michael is a brilliant writer and I learn so much from him. We've also met both of these guys in real life so of course reading their blogs is a bit more personal. I also love C'est Christine, I love hearing her thoughts on travel and how it has changed her life. I love watching how her life evolves because of travel. She's much younger than me too so it takes me back to my days travelling as a solo female. I've also met Christine in real life and she is lovely.
What is the funniest question you have been asked by your readers?
I can't think of any that stand out from a reader, but when we were living in America we were asked if we drove there from Australia.
I also had someone ask me if there was another name for Australia as they had not heard of the country before. When I told them "Down Under" they were still confused. Koalas and kangaroos didn't do much to help either.
Erin: Us, Aussies seem to get the weirdest questions - Did you ride a kangaroo to school? Do you know my friend in Melbourne (5 hour flight from Perth haha).
Caz Makepeace loves to use her expertise to help people travel more and create better memories. She (and her husband, Craig) share their travel lifestyle on their blog. You can watch a video series to learn their top 9 free travel tips. You can also connect with her on Google+ , Pinterest.
Reader Comments..."I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" - Josh Bender
Your story from Sumatra is very scary! Yikes!
Great interview, I enjoyed it!
Thank you. It was very scary at the time. I'm glad I can now look back on it and laugh-- it makes a good story at least
I read Caz's post about starting out in travel blogging way back 7 months ago, when I first started the blog. I'm doing pretty good now Caz, thanks!
Awesome Alyson! That is so great to hear
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