I read a lot of stuff about the struggle of modern urban relationships with a nomadic lifestyle. In fact, I also get asked quite often how I manage my dating life if I’m on the road for long periods. While I admit it’s quite a challenge, and way beyond my level of expertise, presently, it isn’t improbable. In fact, I have always enjoyed reading about stories of ‘love found’ on the road. Deep down beneath the badass aura, Dusky’s a romanticist at heart, and the idea of fate bringing us what we want and need, when we least expect it, is a superb weak-spot for me. For December ’15, at Blogger of the Month, we have the story of one such super-nomad couple — Simone & Dan, of The Aussie Flashpacker.
Bio: Simone and Dan are a twenty something Australian girl & English boy. They met and fell in love whilst travelling in South America, and guess what — travelled the world together, ever after. I love, how all of our childhood stories began with “Once upon a time…” and ended with “…happily ever after” — these urged many of us to grow up as dreamers, to believe! A lot of us were reclaimed by life, but some of us remained dreamers. Simone and Dan did!
Both took their first overseas trip aged 12, and have never looked back since. Both have visited six continents and are continually ticking new destinations and experiences together, since that tryst with fate in South America.
The Aussie Flashpacker is their personal travel blog where they share a familiar love for travel and bring us the best in luxury & adventure travel, along with fascinating stories of their lives, travel tips & photography. They aim to inspire others to do what they did, and who knows, you might find love too? Ok then, now that they’re well introduced, warm and snug in their hot-seat, let the interrogation begin!
Dusky: A little something about how the two of you met, and how travel played a part in your life-story together?
Simone: In 2013 we were both travelling separately around South America, each with our best friends! We met in a hostel in Iguassu Falls in Brazil and hit it off immediately, and we met up numerous times over the next few months in Argentina, Bolivia, the Amazon and Peru (some planned and some by coincidence)! We became closer each time, and by the end he caught a 24 hour bus to meet up with me for a weekend before I flew home to Australia.
Dan and I fell in love in South America, but being from opposite sides of the world, we knew it was never going to be easy! We had a long distance relationship for six months whilst we worked, saved and I waited for my UK visa to be approved.
Fast forward almost two years and we have been happily living together in the UK and travelling every moment we get! A few months ago Dan proposed, and we are now making plans to hopefully return to Australia to settle next year. Sometimes we both have to pinch ourselves to realise just how lucky we are – what a crazy story it is and how perfectly things have worked out.
I do think that it was meant to be because they always say you’ll meet the love of your life when you are doing what you love. Dan and I love to travel and were at our happiest doing the thing we love to do most!
Dusky: The highest item on The Aussie Flashpacker bucket-list that you’re yet to tick off?
Simone: Our Bucket List is huge, never ending and includes places and experiences on every continent and I am sure we could find something in almost every country in the world that we want to do! After ticking off hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu whilst we were in South America, one of the highest items on our bucket list is now seeing the Northern Lights!
Dusky: For a couple that spends most of their time on the road, immersing within many different cultures, do you ever come across drastic culture shocks? If yes, what one instance stands out as the most dramatic of ones?
Simone: We always try and do a great deal of research on the culture and customs of places we are visiting before we arrive which I think helps us with any potential culture shock. I think one of the biggest instances of culture shock was when we visited Morocco during Ramadan.
We absolutely loved Morocco but I had a hard time dealing with the constant harassment from vendors and particularly from touts. We still had an amazing time and have since written about our experiences on our blog to help others who are planning on visiting Morocco by sharing a few tips of things we wish we had known before we visited!
Dusky: How do you guys manage to fund your escapades? How do you think travel has changed your work-life? What lessons from your journeys do you find, if any, have had a positive impact on your work?
Simone: We have both always worked full-time to fund our travels. Travel is our hobby and our passion and so we sacrifice things at home, including social events etc. to be able to travel. In order to fund bigger trips we will save hard for 6-12 months to be able to travel for 6+ months without working! It’s all a balance and we find that hard work and dedication allows us to travel.
Dusky: Describe one place you stumbled upon that is relatively off the tourist map and you deliberately didn’t speak about on your blog. You don’t have to name it, just describe the moment and the place!
Simone: On our recent trip to Switzerland, we visited some breathtakingly beautiful little villages in the Alps. Neither of us have ever fallen in love with a place as quickly as we did then! It was everything… the natural beauty, the clean, crisp air, the snow, the mountains, the way of life, the chocolate – everything! There was truly something magical about it and it is a memory we’ll never forget.
Dusky: If you could never travel again, but could be stuck for the rest of your life in a place of your choice – what place would that be?
Simone: This is a tough one because we have loved so many places that we’ve visited in our travels. As much as I love exploring and visiting new places I’d have to say I’d choose to be stuck in my home town in Australia, Port Macquarie. Port Macquarie is a beautiful coastal town on the East Coast of Australia and I may be biased, but I think it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world!
Dusky: This one’s particularly sacred to me and immensely personal. Describe one moment from your journeys that you’d point out as a moment of absolute clarity – one where you felt the most absolute of absolutions about anything.
Simone: It’s funny because it happened for both of us at the same time, despite being apart. I was hiking the Inca Trail in Peru and Dan was deep in the Amazon Jungle in Bolivia and neither of us had access to phones or internet during this time. We took this time to think and decide if we really wanted to take that big step of moving across the world to be together. For both of us these moments gave us the clarity we needed and we knew at that time that we were going to stay together and properly start our lives together! We haven’t looked back since and have had so many adventures, experiences and travels since then.
Dusky: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to people that aspire to a life of full-time travel? How do you suggest they start overcoming it?
Simone: I think one of the biggest obstacles is the desire to travel the world versus the desire to settle and put down roots. I think the hardest thing is working out what you want and once you have decided on that the rest is much easier. For us, travel will always be a huge part of our lives, but I know we won’t travel full time forever. For us, having a family, getting married and buying a house in Australia is also a big dream for us. The main thing is deciding what it is you want in life and then just doing everything you can to achieve it and make it happen.
Dusky: What is the one major myth-buster or stereotype that travel has helped overcome for you?
Simone: That you have to be rich to travel! This is such a myth and one that people are overcoming everyday! A lot of our friends often say how jealous they are of our travels, but they don’t often see the sacrifice behind it. We save every pound (or dollar) we can, we don’t often go out to the pub, restaurants or to the cinema because we would much rather save that money to spend travelling. We are certainly not rich and we haven’t had our travels handed to us, but is simply the thing we love and it is how we choose to spend our money!
That’s it for today, then, folks! Like I said, the long term dating lives of perennial nomads have become a bit of a hot topic in the nomad community. I won’t claim it’s easy, or that it doesn’t have REAL challenges, and I’ll also concede that it probably isn’t for everybody, but Dan & Simone are a great example of why it isn’t always an either-or situation. Love and travel can go hand in hand, in fact at times, they may even complement each other and enhance your experience as a whole. Hope you guys enjoyed reading the Aussie Flashpacker story — I’ll be back in the new year, with another wonderful life-story 🙂