गुरुवार, १२ फेब्रुवारी, २०१५

Honeymoon Travels...

 Interview with Mike & Anne Howard

Mike & Anne Howard are two American newly weds who thought a ten-day honeymoon wasn't nearly enough to celebrate a new life together. With a little bit of savings, no kids, and good health, they figured there was no better time to travel than now. So they quit their jobs, rented their apartment, and set out on a 675-day honeymoon around the world. Using Anne’s background as a magazine editor and Mike’s as a digital media strategist and photographer, they started HoneyTrek.com to share their journey across 6 continents, 33 countries, and 302 places.

During the longest honeymoon in history, they were brought on as “Newlyweds at Large” for Honeymoons.com, scouting and reviewing the most romantic destinations on the globe. Their writing, photography, and story have been featured in acclaimed publications such as Condé Nast Traveler, Los Angeles Times, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, The Knot, CBS, NDTV, and dozens of other international publications.

Extremely passionate about long-term travel, they've decided to take everything they've learned from two straight years on the road and help more people mobilize their journey with HoneyTrek , one-on-one courses for independent travelers. From frequent-flyer mile hacking, to no-cost volunteering, to the things you should NOT pack, to $0 per night lodging options (sometimes even with lobster dinners and home-brew), to backing up a terrabyte of photos from a Vietnamese internet cafe…and everything in between. They have the essential advice for all aspects of trip planning and making your journey as smooth, safe, affordable, and epic as humanly possible. 

       How much did you spend along the way?
We did our entire trip around the world for $37 per person per day; that includes flights, food, lodging, activities, visas...the works. This is an average of the pricier countries like Japan, Australia, and Norway ($75+ per person per day/pppd) with the less expensive places like Bolivia and Cambodia (under $20 pppd). We learned all sorts of ways to save money with mileage hacking, home-stays, and other little tricks to to keep our budget low and fun levels high. You'd think only millionaires can travel like this, but traveling around the world turned out to be less expensive than the rent on our apartment.

What is your next destination?

We are pretty nomadic. We just completed a two-month house sitting gig in Mexico, and currently in a Vermont ski house, then will be in California for the next three weeks. We are also working on a book (we'll just say it's with a BIG publisher) about the most romantic and adventurous destinations for couples. We have our list of places fairly finalized but we have a bit more research to do. In then next year we'd like to visit the Maldives, Jordan, Egypt, Antarctica and experience more of the Caribbean, France, Italy, and India.

Most Memorable Moments?
1.Trekking the Amazon Jungle, Brazil. This was a very ambitious first stop after leaving our New York City lives. We hiked into the thick of the jungle armed with a machete, slept in hammocks strung between trees, and caught piranhas for dinner, and then showered in the same place we just caught those flesh-eating fish. It was a good way to wash the city kid right out of our system.
2.Teaching English in a tribal Red Tzao village outside of Sapa, Vietnam during the week of their New Year. The students thanked us with invitations to pre-Tet dinners, sacrificial rituals, and a very exclusive New Year's spirit cleansing ceremony. To be accepted into this tribal community during one of the most familial and celebrated times of year was unforgettable.

3. cheetah jump on top of our open-roof safari vehicle in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. The cheetah was scouting the grassland for food, but of course, we thought it was eyeing us up for lunch. Watch this video and tell us if your heart is in your throat when the Cheetah walks inches from Anne's head.

4.Working the wine harvest in Marlborough, New Zealand. Our family friends started a vineyard in 2000 and we've wanted to visit them ever since. We went behind the scenes of world-class wine making and joined the process—we even got to ride in the harvest tractor!

5. Watching the Northern Lights from the Arctic Circle in Norway. It was a romantic seven-day boat trip (made possible with the the help of our partner Honeymoons.com & Hurtigruten) that went from Bergen to the border of Russia. The views of the fjords were spectacular by day and the views of the neon sky kept us on deck all night.

How many countries you have visited?
52 countries across six continents.

Your Favorite country?
That is a very very tough question, since we have loved every country for different reasons, so here are our favorite countries for...Food (Thailand), Scuba diving (Indonesia), Temples (Cambodia), Wildlife (Zambia), Mountains (Nepal), Islands (Philippines), raw beauty (Bolivia), Parties (Brazil), Culture (Japan), and the sheer challenge of it all (China). Overall Favorite (if you forced us to pick one): Myanmar! We have never met friendlier people anywhere in the world— kids and grandmas alike blow you kisses as you pass by, strangers invite you over for tea, and proud locals offer to show you around their town in exchange for nothing but your company. Aside from the incredible warmth of the people, Myanmar's placement in the Golden Triangle and as a former British colony offers such an incredible blend of styles. The architecture in everything from the city hall to the temples is like nowhere else on the planet.

Which country would you like to visit again?

This answer largely comes down to the people. We’ve seen so many beautiful places but it’s the kindness and warmth of the people that keep us yearning to return. If we had to pick a few places where the sights and the people really struck us, it would be the Philippines, Brazil, Nepal, Turkey, and Myanmar.

What is plan about next tour?

Travel is in our DNA and we'll never stop exploring. The world is massive and it cannot solely be seen on 10-day vacations or even a two-year trip. We will continue to carve out time to experience other countries and cultures, because you simply can not wait until retirement. 

If you'd like to follow Anne & Mike's journey, visit their blog www.HoneyTrek.com