This week we would like to introduce Sam and Zab of Indefinite Adventure. A British couple with insatiable wanderlust, in January 2013, after being together for seven and a half years they flew on one-way tickets to Buenos Aires and spent 10 months travelling in South America. They recently returned to Europe, but haven’t stopped: this is just the beginning of their indefinite adventure!
1. What inspires you to travel, and how would you define the word ‘traveler’?
Seeing how differently (and sometimes similarly) people live around the world, learning about what people believe and what values they uphold around the world and being grateful for what we have and what we take for granted. We also love to eat, so food is a big motivator!
Also, I (Sam) love learning languages, so I’m always interested in visiting somewhere I’m not likely to encounter other English speakers. In my eyes, a traveller is anyone who travels: I don’t tend to make a distinction with tourist and find the debate of traveller versus tourist rather tiresome.
2. How do you afford your travels?
Before our recent 10 months in South America, we saved up and were mostly travelling on our savings, but Zab was also earning some money doing freelance IT consultancy work as we travelled. We’ve started to earn a little through advertising on our blog, though that’s still very small scale. At the moment, while back in Europe, we’re both working on setting up things that can provide us with more work and sustainable location independent income as we travel in the future, namely building our blog, teaching English and maybe a property investment.
3. Where has been your favorite destination? Where has been your least favorite?
We both really loved Argentina, and Buenos Aires in particular. We weren’t so keen on Uruguay, but that was mostly our own fault; we went in March at the tail end of the summer season so all the beach related tourism had ended, which is what the country is known for. I personally wasn’t that enamoured with Moscow when I visited on my own in 2009, though after spending just three days there I’m not sure if I can really judge it. However, I’m unfortunately not inclined to go back now with the anti-gay laws in place in Russia.
4. Have you ever had high hopes for a destination, tour, etc., only to be disappointed in the end? Or any travel mishaps?
The worst thing that’s happened is probably Zab getting his shorts soaked while kayaking near Bariloche in southern Argentina and having to walk back to town in his skimpy swimwear. And we got dysentery in Lima, which wiped us out for more or less three of our six weeks there. People keep telling us that we’re lucky that’s all that happened in South America, but I think as long as you have common sense (and use it!) travel is generally very safe.
5. What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
6. What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations?
We both tend to prefer experiences over stuff, so we buy very few things on our travels. I do like to collect postcards though, to eventually have a collage on a wall in our future home.
7. How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
The obvious answer would be an iPhone. But that’s boring, so I’ll say earplugs. I really like my sleep and coming from Europe, we’re both used to being able to sleep without having to listen to other people’s insanely loud music at 4am: call us crazy!
8. Why did you begin blogging? And how did you come up with your name?
I wanted to have some kind of public accountability my writing, as it’s something I’ve wanted to practice for a long time. I also thought it’d be a nice way to chronicle our travels for family and friends, though it’s been interesting how much we’ve become involved in the travel blogging community without really intending to at first (that’s not a complaint; I love it!) and that our focus has shifted from just writing for people we know to creating a hopefully useful resource for people looking to travel or travel more.
To choose the name, we actually enlisted help from people we knew by asking on Facebook for suggestions and reactions to possible ideas: Chaps with Backpacks, Sam and Zab Take Over the World and No More Boring Days were deemed too silly, but somehow Indefinite Adventure stuck.
9. Whose idea was it to buy one-way tickets and begin your nomadic lifestyle?
I thought it was mine, though Zab says that if we weren’t together, it’s still something he would’ve tried to do by this point in his life.
10. How has traveling as a couple impacted your relationship? Do you have any advice for couples that want to travel?
It has made us a lot closer, and has opened up topics of conversation that previously had been sticky between us, especially issues around money. Travel as a couple, more than perhaps any other activity two people might engage in, requires a lot of communication, and it has improved our communicative skills immensely, meaning we are less likely to get into arguments because of misunderstandings or incorrect assumptions made about the other person.
That said, I would say that one thing we failed to do in our first 10 months was spent sufficient time alone, doing our own things, so that would be my advice: plan in time apart to your trip, perhaps an afternoon a week, a long weekend or even a couple of weeks.
11. Who is the more adventurous of the two of you?
Zab is certainly the more social adventurous one, meaning he’s always up for going out and meeting new people, whereas I often find that exhausting. I may be the more adventurous in terms of activities, though a lot of that is due to Zab’s fear of heights (which travel has helped him get over somewhat).
12. What’s next? (Any new trips or future travel plans?)
Most definitely! We’ll be spending most of 2014 in Europe, kicking off with two weeks in Budapest at the beginning of January, then with me working teaching English around Austria and perhaps a few of its neighbouring countries on short-term contracts. Zab will continue to work remotely from wherever I am, and together we’ll start building up the savings again!
We’ll then be attending ITB Berlin in March and while we’re in the city, we’ll also be flat hunting as we’re intending to set up a base there. In the summer, we’re planning to attend a yoga and holistic well being festival in Sweden and visit a few friends in Stockholm. After that, the plans are still quite fluid, though we’ll likely be flitting back and forth between Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, the UK and perhaps Italy and Portugal before heading towards Asia (maybe via the Middle East) by the end of the year.
Backpack or suitcase? Backpack, always.
Solo or group? Neither: couple. Since Zab and I have mostly been travelling as a couple since the beginning of our indefinite adventure, I’ve realised how nice it can be. I’ve done a lot of solo travel, though, and enjoy the freedom of that, but having a companion and someone to look out for you while travelling, without having to be surrounded by a large group (this introvert’s nightmare) is ideal.
Tapas or sushi? Tapas. I lived in Spain for 3 months in 2012 and learnt that the tapas culture suits me perfectly. Plus we’re both more or less vegetarian http://www.indefiniteadventure.com/tag/vegetarian/, so sushi’s not really an option.
Beach or mountains? I pick mountains for the views and the hiking possibilities. Zab likes beaches and can easily spend a lazy day falling in and out of sleep on a sunbed by the sea while I’d be bored out of my mind!
Want to follow along with Sam and Zab’s indefinite adventure?