This week we would like to introduce Peter and Lindsay of Where is Your Toothbrush. Peter Korchnak and Lindsay Sauve, are a couple on a trip around the world. Peter is from Slovakia, and Lindsay from California, U.S.A. They met in the Netherlands—travel is really built into their relationship. Their one-year (or longer) trip is a culmination of a dream they had for almost the entire 8 years they lived in Portland, Oregon, working for local nonprofits. Now home is where their toothbrushes are: as they make themselves at home anywhere.
1. What inspires you to travel, and how would you define the word ‘traveler’?
Freedom and curiosity. We like being in charge of our time. Traveling, we get to decide what we do and when, where we go and for how long. The longer we travel, the more we appreciate that. In addition, while we enjoy an occasional museum, we want to know how people in different countries live: what they buy at the market, what they do on Sundays, how they get from one place to another. It’s all very fascinating.
We like GK Chesterton’s famous quote: “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
2. How do you afford your travels?
We saved for the big trip for years. We adhered to a tight budget, living in a cheap apartment, sharing an old car, not buying big-ticket goods other than those for the trip (computers, backpack, shoes). During our travels, we track our expenses to make sure we stick to the trip budget.
3. Where has been your favorite destination? Where has been your least favorite?
We loved Santorini, Greece, where we made a home for a month. It’s one of those places where the beauty never gets old and the summer never seems to end. We’ve found things to enjoy in every place we’ve visited, though we’re sometimes overwhelmed in big cities like Paris or Istanbul.
4. Have you ever had high hopes for a destination, tour, etc., only to be disappointed in the end? Or any travel mishaps?
We’ve learned to manage our expectations. We had really looked forward to Istanbul only to realize we needed to adjust our hopes for the city to match the circumstances (a shabby apartment, loud neighborhood, tons of people everywhere). We ended up discovering spots we loved and having plenty of enjoyable experiences.
Knock on wood, we’ve had no serious mishaps so far. On the return bus trip from Sarajevo to Belgrade we accidentally threw away the part of our return ticket that showed the expiration date. The cranky ticket officer wanted to charge us again for the return fare, but Peter talked our way out of it with his limited but adequate Serbian.
5. What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
In Serbia and Bosnia, people smoke everywhere (they have some of the highest smoking rates in the world). Coming from Oregon, where people can’t even smoke within 10 feet of many buildings, it’s a little bizarre to smell cigarette smoke in a shopping mall or bus station.
6. What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations?
We’re very committed to traveling light, so we work hard not to accumulate many souvenirs or keepsakes. Peter set out to continue his collections of international car code stickers and country coat-of-arms pins. But he hasn’t been able to find one in each country—a reason to return, perhaps. Lindsay occasionally buys unique earrings or other small jewelery that represent a memory of a place. We do have a nice collection of toiletries from various countries!
7. How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
As writers, we couldn’t travel without our computers. Earplugs have also proven to be a must. And, of course, toothbrushes.
8. Why did you begin blogging? And how did you come up with your blog name?
We’re both writers so the decision to document our trip came naturally. In planning the trip and thinking about the travel blog, we thought of what defines home. Because it’s such a complex concept we went with the tongue in cheek definition: home is where our toothbrush is. Which is also why we try to stay in a country for a month or so.
9. Who ends up doing most of the trip planning between the two of you?
Lindsay loves researching locations and lodging, as well as finding good deals. We began our trip planning quite far in advance but we’ve learned to loosen our plans and be more spontaneous. For example, we realized it doesn’t always work well to book accommodations for a month without seeing them first.
10. How has traveling as a couple impacted your relationship?
If before the trip we knew that we could do anything, now we’re one hundred percent sure. We are much more resilient, both individually and together, to whatever comes our way wherever we are. We’re also not afraid to do activities on our own. We really travel well together because we don’t do everything together.
11. What’s next?
On December 17 we are ending the European leg of our RTW trip and flying to Bangkok to begin a 3-month stay in SE Asia. This is the first time in that area of the world for both of us—we’re pretty excited.
Backpack or suitcase? Backpack.
Window or aisle? Peter window, Lindsay aisle.
Solo or group? Solo.
Tapas or sushi? Sushi.
Beach or mountains? Mountains.
Check out where their toothbrush will be next!