Meet the Travel Bloggers: Backpacking Travel Blog

This week Meet the Travel Bloggers catches up with two solo travel bloggers, Samuel Jeffrey of Nomadic Samuel and Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. They have joined forces and are blogging together at Backpacking Travel Blog.

You each have your own blogs and now you’re begun blogging together. Tell us a bit about it.
We launched our site on July 1st of this year in tandem with Canada Day. Our niche is ‘backpacking adventures’ as we plan to travel indefinitely as backpackers around the world. On our site we plan to share many quirky stories, travel tips, photo essays and travel videos.

How did you get the name?
We decided on ‘Backpacking Travel Blog’ after discussing how we planned to travel together in 2013. What some of our readers may not realize is that we only met this year in Korea. Given our strong desire to travel indefinitely on a budget, Backpacking Travel Blog was a natural fit.

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Sam and Audrey at the Korean Folk Village Yongin, Korea, photo/courtesy Backpacking Travel Blog

How did you meet?
We both knew of each other through blogging, so when I moved to Korea, Sam offered to show me around Seoul. We met up in Itaewon (a popular foreign neighbourhood), where Sam proceeded to be the worst tour guide ever, taking me to places that either no longer existed or had changed locations. We spent our first ‘unofficial date’ talking about our travels for eight hours straight. Clearly he was charming enough that I agreed to see him again - every weekend after that.

You’ve been living in two different places. What adjustments do you think you’ll have to make as a traveling/blogging couple?
I think we’ll both have to get used to compromising more. We’re both quite independent types and we’re used to doing our own thing; however, travelling together as a couple we’ll have to both make some sacrifices at times to keep one another happy. I think though that as long as we’re both well fed (we do like to eat!) we’ll make out just fine

You both have your own blogs. Will you keep them up? If so, how do you juggle two blogs?

That’s a great question! We both plan to continue writing on our own personal travel blogs. We’ve been putting in exceptionally long hours this year working full time as teachers and then taking a second shift as bloggers. We feel that once we hit the road we can slow down the pace of our travels to allow us to keep on top of blogging tasks. It’s without a doubt going to be a challenge, but it’s something we’re ready to embrace.

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Audrey at the Laughing Cat Cafe, Hongdae Seou, Korea, photo/courtesy Backpacking Travel Blog

How are you going to divide up tasks on the blog?
I have to honestly admit, without bragging or boasting, that we make a great team. Since we started dating we’ve helped each other out immensely with our own individual sites and projects. For example, if I’m editing photos and videos Audrey may be writing a post on Backpacking Travel Blog or putting up content on one of our smaller sites.  We both have certain strengths and weaknesses and we try (as much as possible) to divide tasks based on those preferences.

Are you going to be traveling full time? How do you support yourselves on the road?
We’ve both been working as ESL teachers in Korea this year trying to save up as much as we can. When we do hit the road indefinitely next year we’ll try to cover our expenses by monetizing our travel blogs, doing freelance photojournalism assignments and trying to grow our YouTube channels. If that doesn’t work out we’d eventually consider teaching again.

What keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
We’re both equally passionate about travel and blogging. I think we both feel lucky we share the same enthusiastic views about traveling, writing stories, taking photos and creating videos. We’re most jazzed these days about finishing our teaching contracts and having the opportunity to travel indefinitely together.

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Sam at Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia, photo/courtesy Backpacking Travel Blog

What excites you the most about travel?
Sam:  The sense of freedom I experience on the road is something I can’t compare to any other situation I’ve experienced in my life. I love being constantly stimulated by new foods, cultures and destinations which allow me to grow more as a person. I honestly can’t imagine where my life would be at right now without travel experiences.

Audrey: Travel makes me feel alive. I love learning by hearing people’s stories, seeing faraway places for myself, and trying new foods. I enjoy the challenge of getting to a destination and having to find my way around. I also love the ability to meet likeminded people on the road and forge friendships over a cheap local beer.

As backpackers, do you tend toward bargain travel?
We both like a good bargain! We’re all about staying at small guesthouses and trying foods from street vendors. Of course we may splurge every once in a while if there is a really unique activity we want to try.

What are the most important things to you on a trip?
We’re definitely the type of travellers that like to explore without an itinerary. Considering how we’ve been travelling together in Korea, we often skip out on famous attractions and instead seek out local markets or mysterious back alleys. I think our primary focus is to avoid being tourists and try as much to experience a place like a local.

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Audrey at Hwaseong, Fort Suwon, Korea, photo/courtesy Backpacking Travel Blog

Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
I think we’re both always trying to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zones. I think comfort zones are important when it comes to staying safe and healthy; however, when it comes to things like trying new kinds of food, experiencing new cultures, travelling to countries that have been unfairly given a bad reputation, or getting off the beaten path, we’re constantly seeking these kinds of ‘new’ experiences.

What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever?
 My favourite trip to date was my first backpacking adventure in SE Asia back in 2008. I was constantly stimulated by my journeys and I tried as best to soak up every experience like it would be my last ever. Although I enjoy travel just as much as ever, I don’t necessarily feel the same adrenaline rush that I felt on my first trip.

Audrey: Setting foot in India for the first time. I had never travelled anywhere so culturally diverse before, and the chaos of Mumbai was an exciting introduction to the country. I was in awe of it all: the colourful sarees, the sunrises over the Arabian Sea, the British influence on the architecture, the language, and all the exotic new foods.

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Sam at Laughing Cat Cafe, Hongdae, Seoul, Korea, photo/courtesy Backpacking Travel Blog

What’s your favorite place on earth?
Sam:  It’s definitely India! I’ve never been to a country where I’ve experienced such a full on assault to my senses.  India is such a fascinating and diverse country that is unlike any nation I’ve ever visited before.

Audrey: I love Rio de Janeiro. The samba music, the dancing, the sea-side food stalls, the tropical weather, the beaches, and the street art juxtaposed against crumbling colonial architecture. Wherever you turn, your senses are stimulated by it all.

Where are you now?
We’re currently based in South Korea as ESL teachers.  We both live in the southern sections of Gyeonggi-Do province, which if you can imagine looks something like a large donut of territory surrounding Seoul.  Audrey teachers in a private academy in the city of Yongin and I’m working in Pyeongtaek at a public school.

What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
Sam:  I want to experience the thrill of an African safari! I think that would be the ultimate adventure I could experience in my life.

Audrey: Watching the sunrise over the temples of Bagan which are part of an ancient kingdom in Burma!

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you feel you’d like to share about your travels?
I think Audrey and I have a different sense of purpose travelling together this time around. We’re intent on trying to turn our passion for travel into a sustainable career. Additionally, we’re both committed to travelling together as a couple whereas in the past we’d done all our major trips solo.

Samuel Jeffery is the wizard pulling the strings behind the curtain of Nomadic Samuel. Audrey Bergner is the sassy globetrotter behind That Backpacker. Together they run Backpacking Travel Blog.

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