Anu and her husband Karthik have been documenting their travels on their blog Our Escapades for over 3 years. Anu has been kind enough to agree to an interview about their lives as travelers. Enjoy!PE: Some people see a week off as a time to relax and go on vacation. Others see it as a time to explore and be active and go on an adventure. You have a week off: are you going to go for an adventure or a vacation? Why?
Anu: Exploring is a vacation for me. The first things that come to my mind when I think of vacation are – new place, different culture, different history, new cuisine and of course new currency if traveling outside the US. Don’t get me wrong, I like relaxing vacations, but my love and passion to explore new and different experiences overtakes my desire for relaxing vacations.What made you start to write about your travels? Has it changed how you travel?
This is a no-brainer for sure. I’ve traveled to a lot of interesting places like St. Lucia (one of the Caribbean Islands), Alaska and had mind-blowing experiences. However, my first trip to Hawaii was really what made me start writing about my travels. It all started while planning to spend the 2011 Christmas and New Years holidays in Hawaii. With so many Hawaiian islands, I was so lost. Should I spend the entire 10 days on one island? Should I try to see all of them? Which islands do I really have to see? I’m a person who loves spending quality time in a place and don’t like to just jump from one place to another checking off a list from a book. But are there even enough things to do on just one island?
While I was pondering over these questions, one of my colleagues who spends half of a year working from her house in Oahu highly recommended spending the entire 10 days vacation in just one island. Since she knew the in and out of Oahu, she gave me two sheets of paper, with things to do, places to eat and helpful tips, in the south, east, west and the northern Oahu shores. Those two sheets of paper and the beauty of Oahu itself were my biggest motivation to document my travels.
We had such a wonderful time in Oahu that every evening after coming back to the hotel, no matter how exhausted or sleepy I was, I took the time to write down in a small piece of paper all the things that we did that day. The next thought came quite naturally: we should start a travel blog to share our experiences, motivate, and help others with their travel! And I think having a travel blog motivates us to travel even more!
Besides wanting to travel more, do you find that writing about your experiences for an audience also makes you remember more, ask more questions, or push you to try new things?
Yes, for blogging we try to remember as much as possible. We take mental notes all day and my husband takes tons of pictures. This gives us almost all the material that I need to blog.
Blogging or not, we would have pushed ourselves to try new things and learn more by asking questions. Besides inspiring other potential travelers, the blog also serves as a great way for us to save our own personal memories.How do you choose where to go? What do you look for in a destination?
Different things actually! Sometimes it’s food, sometimes it’s nature, sometimes just a different experience altogether. Before we went to Costa Rica I was thinking about places to visit in December just for 10 days and my options were rather limited to be honest. Northern parts of the American continent and Europe were completely off the list because of the winters (I am not too fond of them). I literally looked at the world map and put down my fingers on Costa Rica and booked the tickets right away. For sure, I’ve heard from several folks that Costa Rica is a beautiful place to visit because of its rich wildlife, active volcanoes, good food, friendly people and gorgeous beaches, so it was an easy and quick choice.
What type of research do you do before going to a place? What resources do you rely on or avoid?
Safety, weather and things to do are usually my research themes before traveling. When it comes to researching, Google is my best friend and I’m sure a lot of people share the same sentiments. I read a lot of online reviews, travel websites, travel blogs and sometimes buy travel guides. Sometimes I rely on Anthony Bourdain's shows to find eat-out places.What’s the first thing you do when you get to a new country?
Find a good place to eat!
A big part of why we travel is experiencing new things, and sometimes those new things can be scary. Have there been any scary moments for you? Also, traveling can be a little bit anxiety inducing. How do you typically handle or approach unique experiences? Do you get nervous before tackling a new country?
Visiting new places is for sure intimidating. I have a hard time trying to fall asleep the day before the trip, mostly because of my nervousness.
When I'm on the way to airport, my anxiety increases even more and I try to distract myself by stopping somewhere to get an ice cream fix, grabbing a small bite or even stopping by a store for a little shopping.
I also try to reduce the anxiety by planning the trip well in advance and writing down all the things need to be packed for the trip. This also helps with traveling light.What’s the next trip? What are other places you’re hoping to visit?
New Zealand and Cancun! And terribly looking forward to it! I don’t have a checklist to check off. My motto is very simple - “to live is to travel”. Traveling is my passion. I’d love to get the opportunity to travel around the world! I’m also looking forward to starting my new project - a travel scrapbook after my recent fabulous trip to Banff and Jasper in Canada.For more, check out Anu and Karthik's blog at ourescapades.com.Source for title photo.