There isn’t much we’re more passionate about than traveling. Besides our dogs. And close family and friends. And music… okay, we’re passionate about at least a few things. But nothing enriches the soul like world travel!
Our Travel Background
Between us we’ve been to 6 of the 7 continents. Which sounds like we’re just one tick away from some form of completion. Make no mistake, we do have Antarctica very high on our list, but that seventh tick is far from our final goal. In reality, we’ve only just begun. The world is obviously a very big place and we’re curious to explore as much of it as humanly possible.
Aside from vacations, Andie has lived overseas and studied abroad, while Stephen has traveled to other countries as a touring musician. So we’re willing to exploit every reason possible to go someplace new. It also means we have friends and acquaintances all over the world.
How We Plan Our International Travels
We get so much of our info and inspiration from YouTube and our favorite travel vloggers’ channels. YouTube has been an immensely useful resource for us to learn more about places on our list. It also gives us inspo for places we hadn’t yet considered. We get to learn about destinations, how to best travel to and within them, local cultures, foods, what to expect, what to see and what not to see while visiting, and so much more.
Be sure to check out our list of travel vloggers to watch – these are the best we’ve found on YouTube, and they provide endless inspiration. It’s also fun to watch new vloggers as they find their way in their travels and filming journey. These are our favorite up-and-comers in 2021.. They may even inspire you to start making videos of your own travels!
For more information on planning your next trip, including our top tips and resources, check out How To Plan A Trip: A Guide To Travel Planning.
OUR WORLD TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS
Below are some of our favorite places, foods and experiences from our world travels thus far:
Our 48 Hours In London
We’re not hating on things like the London Eye, but we’re more likely to check it out from up on the Westminster Bridge, without paying the hefty admission fee to actually ride it (with what we’re sure is a breathtaking view aside). Instead, we opted for views with drinks in Sky Garden, which is free (entrance is free. drinks were priced for tourists), then grabbing some fish and chips at a 17th century pub like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. We got to cover a lot of ground by booking ourselves a private Rock n Roll walking tour of London, where we spent spent a few hours exploring the music history of Soho, and rode the tube up to St. John’s Wood, as gawking at and crossing Abbey Road was high on our must-do list (Stephen’s a MASSIVE Beatles fan). We also found time to see Buckingham Palace and grab lunch at Camden Market. We have a separate post you should see on this: Our Perfect 48 Hours In London.
Hiking To A Waterfall In A Cloud Forest In Ecuador
This is one of of our favorite world travel experiences so far. We took a guided birdwatching hike way up in the cloud forest to a waterfall in Mindo, Ecuador. The smells, the sounds, the lush colors… it was truly like being in another world. We also tried zip lining for the first time, across the canopy, which was literally breathtaking and worth every white-knuckled moment! Neither of us are big dare devils or extreme thrill seekers, but this was one of those instances where we knew if we were ever to zip line, this was the time.
The Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms In Japan
Cherry blossom season in Japan is one of the most stunning experiences and an opportunity not to be missed. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting between mid-March through mid-April, try some of these most popular places to admire Sakura, the Japanese Cherry Blossom tree. A few of the most popular are Yoyogi Park, Takato Castle Ruins Park, Hirosaki Castle, Yoshinoyama, or Shinjuku Gyoen. The canal in Nakameguro in Tokyo becomes a magical waterway with the reflections of the blossoms and the illuminated lanterns shimmering like something from a fairy tale.
Do Locals Really Celebrate Oktoberfest In Munich?
Good question! And the answer is “Ja!” While the celebration has been adopted and commercialized worldwide over the years, it’s still a serious celebration in its region of origin. Andie lived in Munich for a few years and can confirm that it’s indeed a favorite event. Surprisingly, and despite Oktoberfest being a magnet for tourists, the majority of those in attendance is still purportedly Bavarian. Here are a few tips to appear less like a tourist: it’s a very social environment and you’ll likely be sharing a table with 6-10 celebratory strangers. Be sure to look your neighbors in the eye so as to not be perceived as rude, clink your bier stein with theirs before taking a drink – and clink at the bottom of the glasses not the top, to avoid spillage and cracking. Let out a hearty “Prost!” and drink up. When ordering your next bier, ask for a “mass,” which is German for “measure.” You might score a few bonus points for that one.
WORLD TRAVEL – DO IT FOR THE FOOD
The Best Pizza In Naples
On our trip to Italy, we set out to determine once and for all what the best pizza in Naples is. We tried quite a few spots, and they all were completely delightful. We concluded that our top 3 are: 1.) Sorbillo, 2.) L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, and on a last-minute whim on our last day in Naples, we decided to walk far out of our way to squeeze in one more pizzeria from our list, and we were so glad we did: 3.) Pizzeria Starita came along and brazenly stole our 3rd place slot from El Presidente. In Naples, there are such strict and specific standards and measurements of ingredients that must be met to be called Neapolitan pizza, that it’s hard to believe there could be any difference in flavor from one to the he next. But somehow there is, and we tasted it in these three. For the rest of our list of the best pizzerias in Naples, look here!
And now that we’re talking about food, here are a few of our fave dishes from our travels.
The Best Ceviche We’ve Ever Had
Ecuador had a wide array of foods from all over the world, with a surprisingly shorter list of local/regional foods than we expected. Our favorites were simple, yet incredible. Adventurous as we are, we passed on trying the guinea pig dish known as cuy, but we did check out some other street food called Chanco Hornado (roasted pig, whole), while exploring one of the local open markets. Llapingachos – potato patties stuffed with cheese – were outstanding. But the highlight for us was the ceviche, which is still to this day the best we’ve had anywhere. We can only attribute it to some kind of magic fairy dust being sprinkled over the top. Or maybe it was the popcorn and plantains they served with it.
The Best Japanese Cuisine
Japan has no shortage of mind blowing food. Obviously sushi comes to mind, and just about any seafood in any of Japan’s prefectures is to die for. Other fave dishes include: katsudon, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and beef bowls – preferably certified Kobe beef, while in Kobe. And let the record reflect that the Yoshinoya fast food chain in Japan is far superior to Yoshinoya in the states. But we digress. If we had to mention one dish we don’t dig, shiokara gets a hard pass in our book (lol!). It is worth trying once or twice, especially if you can do so in different prefectures to really get a deeper sense of whether or not you like it. Shiokara in Tokyo was very unpleasant to me (Stephen), but in Sapporo, not bad at all! And while Japan is known for often putting their own funky spins on non-Japanese cuisine, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that we’ve also had legit Italian, Indian, and – though we keep it at the bottom of our food options list while in other countries – American food there. For more Japanese food check out 11 Must-Try Foods In Japan (That Are’t Sushi).
Favorite Foods In Germany
Sauerbraten, rouladen, and of course, bratwurst are at the top of the list for our faves in Germany. Wait, how was wiener schnitzel not the first to fly from my fingers onto the keyboard??? But it’s not just meat. In keeping more aligned with our current mostly-vegetarian diet, we LOVE the spaetzle, red cabbage, and potato salad. And of course there are the pretzels. Don’t sleep on ‘em. They’re not “just pretzels,” – they’re as a pretzel should be. Wash them down with a stein of bier and now you’re eating like a German!
Travel (Like A) Local
We talk of traveling abroad, but we should add that this isn’t the only way to do “world travel.” It doesn’t have to be international at all!
If you’re not able to grab your passport and book a flight, scratch your world travel itch locally! The biggest part of the travel experience is experiencing new things. Even if you’re staying local, you can still spend time checking out things that you always put off. For us that was Joshua Tree and Sequoia National Forest! Carve out that time! Indulge yourself and let yourself explore. You might be surprised at how many interesting hidden hometown gems have been right under your nose all along.
So are you ready to venture out and find your own travel style? Get more inspiration and ideas, check out a spot you’re considering visiting, and more via our list of 20 Travel Instagram Accounts To Inspire Wanderlust, and be sure to tag us in your own posts so we can follow your world travel journeys!