Since starting out on the digital road last June we’ve met tons of similar people who’re all making things happen online. One such couple that we’ve met up with and got to know quite well in Chiang Mai was Charlie and Brittany from The Trading Traveler.com. They decided to sell up all their stuff back home in Florida and jet out to Asia to pursue their dreams of a life away from the norm.
Read on to find out more about this weeks travel tales interview…………..
Tell us where you’re from, and a little about your blog?
We are Charlie and Brittany from a small little town in Florida. We started TheTradingTraveler.com when we embarked on our journey in Thailand 6 months ago. Our blog recounts our travel experiences along the way, hopefully inspiring others to follow their dreams. We also throw in some currency trading related stories as this was Charlie’s background and this is always something people ask about when first meeting us.
You’ve been travelling for quite some time now, where did you start your journey, and where are you currently?
We originally moved to Khon Kaen, Thailand which is located in the northeast. After staying there for 3 months, we made our way to Chiang Mai. Our plan is to stay put in Chiang Mai for 6 months, meanwhile visiting as many countries in SE Asia as possible.
You’ve stayed in some cool spots along your travels – which one stands out the most for you?
‘We both agree Nong Khiaw, Laos is definitely one of the coolest spots so far. It wasn’t in our itinerary – we just ended up there on a whim not knowing what to expect. We were completely overwhelmed by the spectacular views that welcomed us. It was definitely a moment that won’t be soon forgotten. Although we should add, the guest house we stayed in was probably one of the worst so far. We slept fully clothed and with one eye open. The views more than made up for it though!
What’s your country count at the moment?
Charlie’s count is 10 and Brittany is at 5.She has a lot of catching up to do. Together, we have travelled 3 countries.
Is there any country you’ve not yet visited that’s a must see destination for you?
Germany is definitely at the top of our list. We’ve both had a fascination with Germany for a long time – although it’s a big debate on whether we go for Oktoberfest or in December for the Christmas markets. I’m sure you can figure out who is in favour of each 😉
What first made you want to travel?
We’ve both always had a passion for travelling, especially for seeing what life is like outside of the US. We would spend our weekends on the couch reading countless travel blogs that showed us it is possible to live this lifestyle. There was no doubt in our minds that we would be doing the same thing one day.
If you had to choose your favourite destination so far, what would it be and why?
We both really loved our trip to Laos. While Nong Khiaw and Vang Vieng were probably the most beautiful, we really fell in love with Luang Prabang. It’s a place we could definitely stay long term. It has so much to offer. The people are very friendly and it’s easy to navigate. Plus the food was amazing!!
Name two personal items that you can’t live without while travelling?
For Charlie, it’s definitely gold bond and chapstick. He’s like an old man! For Brittany, her iPhone (that never leaves her hand) and her flat iron. Otherwise she gets Texas hair.
What’s your most epic travel story to date?
We decided not to listen to all of the people that told us not to take our motorbike into Laos and did it anyways. Getting the bike across the border from Thailand to Laos is a story all in itself. But driving through the hill tribes of northern Laos is probably the craziest and most eye-opening experiences of our lives. The roads were not exactly cut out for a motorbike. We were driving up and down steep, unpaved roads high up in the mountains in the damp and misty clouds. The roads had turned to mush and it took us so much longer than we had planned because we couldn’t go over 15 kph, otherwise we’d end up on our side in the mud. We started losing daylight and were preparing for the fact that we might have to sleep in a hill tribe village that night. We were pretty terrified to say the least. This, coupled with seeing how the people of Laos live in these villages was really an overwhelming and emotional experience. It reminded us of how lucky we are to be able to do the things we do. When we get frustrated with slow internet or not getting what we ordered at a restaurant, we often refer back to that experience and remind ourselves we have #firstworldproblems.
Is there one post on your blog that you prefer over all the rest? If so, then why?
For the New Year, we posted a recap of 2013 and our bucket list for this year. Writing this post reminded us of how lucky we are to be living our dream and for the amazing experiences we’ve had thus far. Even if it all ended tomorrow, we have done some pretty amazing things already and are so grateful for that.
Was there a specific moment when you realised that travel was a lifestyle you wanted to pursue?
We were both at a point in our lives where we were making decent money and driving nice cars and we were still not happy. Brittany just got a nice promotion at work with all of the benefits and perks one could hope for in a job, and it still wasn’t enough. We knew we were capable of so much more and that we wouldn’t truly be happy until we were doing what we loved. Lying in bed at night and dreading the next day of work just wasn’t a life we wanted to live.
What motivates you to keep travelling, and do you have days where you think a more settled life back home is more attractive?
What motivates us to keep travelling is the same thing that motivated us to start. We don’t want to go back to our mediocre lives working a job that we hate to pay bills for things we don’t need. We also have so many things to cross off our bucket list, and the list just keeps growing exponentially every day. We definitely want to settle somewhere down the road, but for now we are loving life on the road. Two weeks at home and we would be itching to leave again!
During your travels, what’s the best travel tip you’ve received?
“Just go!” This has become our motto and this is the best travel tip we can give to others as well. We can’t tell you how many times people have told us to not bother going somewhere/doing something because it will be disappointing or “not worth the hassle”. And every time we decided to go and see for ourselves, we were so glad we did. (i.e. Yi Peng in Chiang Mai, Naga Fireball Festival in Nong Khai, Vang Vieng in Laos). Don’t let someone else’s opinion hold you back from doing something you want to do. Always go and see for yourself.
Connecting with locals can be one of the most rewarding things about travel. Do you agree?
Absolutely. Connecting with locals is the best learning experience. The locals provide insight into how people of a particular country really live. They give the best tips for where to eat and what to see. You can learn more about a country/culture by talking to a local for 15 minutes than touring the city on your own for days.
Is there any one country that you’ve been to that you didn’t like, and would make you not want to return?
(Charlie) I would have to say Trinidad and Tobago. I had such high expectations, but from the moment I arrived I never really felt comfortable. I was only there three days, but that was enough. I was ready to get home.
In order to sustain a life of travel, you need to have some sort of income stream. How have you funded your travels?
Charlie trades currency which gives him the ability to work anywhere he can get internet on his iPhone. He also has recently developed a few mobile apps and will continue focusing on that market. Brittany is what we like to call a stay-at-home-girlfriend. All joking aside, Brittany works on the blog full time and usually takes over the planning portion of our trips.
What are your travel plans for the future?
Ahhh so many places to see still. As we mentioned before, we will be staying in Chiang Mai for the next 6 months. Our goal is to see as many SE Asia countries as possible during this time. When our lease is up in June, we plan to head to Australia and possibly New Zealand. We definitely want to do Europe and South America at some point, but only time will tell when that will happen.
Favourite travel quote?
“Get busy living or get busy dying” – A quote from Charlie’s favourite movie. It is not necessarily a travel quote, but for us living = travelling.
Charlie and Brittany traded the stereotypical “American dream” to live their own dream and travel the world. They sold all of their belongings and left the US in August 2013. Currently living in Chiang Mai, their goal is to travel S.E. Asia on their trusty Honda Forza. They share their travel stories and currency trading rants through TheTradingTraveler.com.
Website URL: http://thetradingtraveler.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tradingtraveler
Twitter name: @TradinTraveler