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Wednesday
Jan072015

Into the wild meets: Travel photographers Andrew & Emily 

Emily and Andrew decided to leave their rainy London life behind to grab their cameras and hit the road. Since then, they have been travelling, taking photos, and writing all about it on their website. City reviews, foodie blog, inspirational quotes, it is a treasure trove for anyone wanting to feed their wanderlust. We have asked them a few questions about their lifestyle and travels, and here is what they had to say.

Image courtesy of Andrew & Emily, AlongDustyRoads

What was the driving factor pushing you to leave everything behind to go travel?

Frustration at what life had become in London, and a sense of personal stagnation. We were both at the stage of our lives where we have no real ties to any particular country or lifestyle, so we could just get up and leave, and go and experience the world – and this was probably the last chance to do it.

And gin. Lots of gin.

How did your friends and family react?

Andrew worked for a year in Vietnam and studied for another year in France; Emily has spent almost half of the last 10 years outside of the UK, so our families are used to us being away from home and doing our own thing. 

How did you learn to manage such a small budget on your travels? Was it hard at first?

Looking back to the start of our trip, we hadn't really worked out how to make our money (£15/day each) stretch as far as it could.

But, out of eight months, we've actually only had one over-budget, so we've definitely got into a way-of-living on the cheap.

How do we do this? Documenting our expenditure on the website and religiously using a budget app keeps us honest and at the end of each month we look at where our money has gone and see where we could do better.

Our three best tips to travelling on a budget are: try and do all activities on your own, try to always stay somewhere with a kitchen (and work out 3-4 healthy cheap dishes) and avoid all tourist shuttle buses. 

Image courtesy of Andrew & Emily, AlongDustyRoads

Have you had any truly bad experiences that have made you question your choice of lifestyle?

Honestly, there are moments when you're in a crap noisy hostel not feeling very social, having a cheap meal for the fifth night in a row when all you want is pizza and you'd much rather be home in a nice cosy living room with comforts and a dog. However, those moments pass and are often superseded by something the next day which reminds you how lucky you are.

Do you have a plan for your destinations, or do you just go with the flow?

We do not have a rigid plan. In Latin America, we knew which country we were going to start in and a vague idea of where we'll finish. Everything in the middle is decided by chance, luck and avoiding the rain.

The best thing about long-term or slow-travel is that you don't have to rush through countries and, if you find somewhere you absolutely love, you can stay there for weeks.

Is there anywhere in particular that stands out in your mind amongst all the beautiful places you must have seen?

On this trip, we have seen some truly spectacular places. In Mexico we fell in love with the small beach towns of Zipolite and Maruata – the latter being so far off the tourist trail you will struggle to find another gringo. In Guatemala, the natural world is beautiful – sunrise from the highest peak in Central America and the crystal clear waters of Laguna Lachua are just a couple of our favourites. And then, just a few weeks ago we spent 31 hours on a cargo boat to reach the amazing Corn Islands. But hopefully the most beautiful and memorable place is ahead of us. 

How long have you been on the road? Do you have any plans on returning to a sedentary life?

We're approaching 9 months of this trip, with more than a year left to go. If somebody could wave a magic wand and give us the money to continue doing what we're doing – travelling, working on our website and taking photos – then who knows how long we'd keep it going.

What was the most surreal, out-of-the-ordinary moment you have experienced so far?

An unexpected encounter with a Mexican drug cartel.

Stranded in the middle of nowhere, in one of Mexico's more notorious states, we were peering into the distance waiting for a bus that may or may not turn up when we spotted a convoy of pick-up trucks careering around a corner. It was only when they got much closer that we realised each truck was replete with four or five heavily armed and masked men.

Bizarrely (and a tad out of character), they did give us a couple of waves, but when the other hand is holding a loaded M-16, it still doesn't seem very friendly!

We do have to say however, that this was an exception in Mexico – we experienced no other issues, even in gang hot-spots. In fact, the most dangerous aspect of Mexican culture was the unfortunate gastrointestinal side-effects of excess chipotles. 

Image courtesy of Andrew & Emily, AlongDustyRoad

Many people decide to travel the world alone, but you decided to do it together. What are the advantages and disadvantages of travelling in a duo?

You definitely feel more secure and confident about walking into certain situations or using certain forms of transport. And a private room is often the same price or cheaper than a dorm, so we get that little luxury. It also removes a lot of issues on decisions about the route, where to stay, where should we eat which you can get travelling with people you don't know.

It can mean however that sometimes you can become a little insular. You've already got your own ready-made travelling team, and are less likely to buddy up with others.

We were used to having our own lives back in the UK, but in the last eight months we've spent very little time apart – as a couple this can cause its own problems! For example, trying to keep the romance going when the only thing dividing you from the toilet time of the other is a thin shower curtain masquerading as a door.

Do you have an all-time favourite shot from your travels?

Thankfully, we have a really similar eye and shooting style when it comes to our photography, so on a lot of our photos could have been taken by either one of us. We've loved improving our street photography in some beautiful and chaotic environments – it's a fantastic free activity which really helps you to understand a place.

Image courtesy of Andrew & Emily, AlongDustyRoads

Andrew (The Fireman's Shoes) – Taken in Antigua, Guatemala. "The decaying wall, the shoe-shiner's smile, the fireman's uniform and obscured face: all the elements came together just how I wanted."

Image courtesy of Andrew & Emily, AlongTheDustyRoads 

Emily (Laundry Day) – "I took this photo in Hopkins, Belize. Every time I see it, I love it a little bit more."

 

Follow Andrew & Emily here:

http://www.alongdustyroads.com/

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http://www.pinterest.com/alongdustyroads/

https://www.facebook.com/alongdustyroads?ref=hl

https://plus.google.com/+Alongdustyroads2014/posts

http://instagram.com/alongdustyroads

 

Has this inspired you to embark on your own journey abroad? Join an adventure trail and enjoy travelling as a part of a group.. A good way to get used to the big world out there. Who knows? Maybe you decide to go solo after that. 

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