Up next in our Big Blogger Interview series come Erica and Shaun, from Over Yonderlust. This lovely pair hail from Texas and have a colourful, quirky style (in person as well as on the blog). It’s time to pick their brains on all things Yonderlusty!
You guys are high school sweethearts and have been married for eight years now! Ten years ago did you ever imagine you would be big-time travel bloggers?
Honestly, if you told me I would be travelling at all I would have called you a liar. We were under the impression that it was too expensive and put that dream on the back burner. It was only when we started planning our honeymoon that we realised how attainable it was. Talk about eye opening!
I tend to giggle at what life has thrown our way. I went to film school because I hated writing. It is like life decided to play a huge joke on me!
In 2011, you embarked on a journey through Central and South America. What was the main thing you learnt about yourselves as a couple on the road?
How much we balance each other out. I (Erica) stress out all the time. I’m Type A, Shaun is Type B. I worry about the smallest things. While I did learn to be a little more laissez faire while out there, Shaun was the one that grounded me to tell me everything was going to be okay when things didn’t go our way (and it happened all the time). On the other hand, sometimes Shaun was so blasé about things that he would miss out on a lot of experiences. I hauled him around town to see things. We would have missed so many serendipitous moments!
Are there any off-the-beaten track ‘must-sees’ you could tell us about? Keep it to a whisper…
If you’re looking to appreciate the real rain forest of Costa Rica, we know a few people who live out in the middle of nowhere (Bataan, Costa Rica) and have a beautiful piece of land to hang out on. While this experience may be for a seasoned budget traveller who is not faint of heart, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time. Not only do they have three sloths on the property but the wildlife is just out of this world. Just be careful about pit vipers when you’re heading out to look at the creek!
The US Government isn’t too keen for you to visit Cuba. You, being law-abiding citizens, have never been. However, your friends Eric and Shauna have. How did they find the experience, and what would they say to anyone hoping to go?
Oh those two jokesters! From what Shauna was telling me, he she said it was her favourite country during their year long trip and that people should go before the embargo drops. It was life changing. The people, the music, and the beauty of the landscape all came together to create this amazing experience. From what we’ve heard, McDonalds already has a building lined up for when that day comes. Get there sooner than later!
As for advice, as long as you are okay with knowing that you are paying much more than the market value of things there, you should be okay. Knowing a bit of Spanish will help you get out of tight spots as well (and can often get you discounted rates on things! Just tell them you are studying at the university). Very few people know English.
You are pretty nifty at taking gorgeous travel snaps. Care to share a few?
Bossy the llama: This one took us by surprise. This lovely llama (we named him Bossy) broke out in a smile just in time for our perfect little picture of Machu Picchu.
Montezuma, Costa Rica: We traveled through rainy season for 10 months during our year-long trip. At some point you just start to ignore things and go out hiking anyway. This lovely HDR was taken from a hill overlooking some amazing beaches.
Black Rock City, Nevada (Burning Man) 2010: It was a perfect moment. The sandstorm cleared for just a moment to reveal this beauty. It gave me goosebumps!
If you could pick only one destination from your travels to return to, which would it be and why?
Colombia… or Japan… oh man, are you really making me choose between the two loves of our lives?
Colombia for the people. We met some of the most amazing people there and they really made our trip. We really got to know the culture inside and out. More than anything, it felt like home more than any other country we had visited.
Japan for the culture. Not only is it intriguing but the culture of extremes fascinates us; you can go from crazy, hectic Tokyo into a quiet, reverent temple.
You’ve been open about the fact that you struggled to adjust when you returned home. How are you dealing with your post-trip blues now?
We’ve got the hang of it now… I think. We’re still grappling with all the people that moved on with their lives without us. It is hard for both them and us to make room in our lives for each other. I do understand though. We can’t expect people to wait around for us to pop in and out of Austin.
You are both fans – and wearers – of tattoos, even collecting one or two on the road. Are there any styles of tattoo from another country or culture that you would like to have?
I think we’re both interested in having tattoos from Japan and Thailand – in the traditional manner of tapping the needle in. It is about the experience, and the art piece is there to remind you of it. How cool would that be?
You are working your way through a pretty long bucket list! How many do you reckon you’ll get to tick off by the end of 2013? What are your future plans?
We have a big year coming up! I think we’ll be able to check off at least another 20 or so by the end of 2013. Iceland, some more of Europe, and who knows – maybe some Mongol Rally or Asia? Only time will tell! (Or our bank account. More likely our bank account.)
A HUGE thanks to Erica and Shaun. Don’t forget to check out Overyonderlust.com and follow their travels!