It is always a pleasure to interview our dear travel friends from all over the world. Especially when we have the same values and passion for our beautiful planet Earth! Derek and Carine more known as @wediditourway from Canada not just one of the other travel bloggers - these guys care more about giving rather than taking!
How did you get into traveling?
Carine had always traveled when she was younger but Derek was more of a ‘staycation’ kind of guy.
When we met, we tried to travel as much as possible but it ended up being one big trip and a few little getaways a year. It just wasn’t enough for us…
After going through a really tough year, both personally and professionally, we both realized that we wanted something different. We needed to find balance and happiness.
Carine randomly mentioned leaving to travel for a year on a random day, and the rest is history. For the next few months, we saved as much money as we could, we started planning our getaway. In September 2017, we left and traveled for what ended up being 15 months.
What are the first few things you always do when arriving in a new place?
The first thing we do is always to unpack a little. After long travels, it’s nice to feel at home.
Then, we take care of our main priority. We grab a bite to eat because usually, Carine is getting hungry at this point.
We walk around to get a sense of our surroundings, the vibe of the place and see what the locals are up to, and look for cool places to discover.
Photo credit: @wediditourway
What's a place you are dreaming of that you haven't yet been to? Why?
There’s so much of Africa we’re dreaming of seeing. We’ve heard such amazing things about scuba diving in Egypt. The safaris, the culture, there are so many unexplored places. Plus, we have friends and family in Mauritius, South Africa, and Mozambique. So there’s no better excuse to go see them.
But to be super honest, the whole world is on our list. Every country has something beautiful to discover and we want to live it all!
How has traveling as much as you have enriched you in character?
This long-term trip changed a lot in us. The main thing was allowing us to gain a different perspective on life. It made us realize how lucky we are to be able to do this and how we can’t take anything for granted. So many people have much bigger issues to deal with that we find we can no longer complain when a small thing doesn’t go as planned. We realized how different we are from one culture to the next but ultimately, we all crave the same basic human connections.
Our travels have shown us that we should prioritize what’s important to us. We stopped caring about all the standards society puts on us. All the things we’re supposed to be and do. Instead, we’ve chosen to focus on what makes us happy.
Finally, travel helped us broaden our horizons (and tastebuds for Derek). It opened our eyes to the diversity of the cultures, places, people around the world. It got us curious to experience more.
Photo credit: @wediditourway
Who is the most interesting person you've met so far?
We actually don’t see eye-to-eye on this question. Derek was super impressed by these 2 kids we met in Panama, Julien and his sister May. They were roughly 10 and 8 years old and had just moved here from Canada with their parents. They were being homeschooled. They were probably the smartest kids he’s ever met, which was evident when 8-year-old May started talking to us about why Monsanto was evil!
For Carine, there were 2 people who stood out. One was Paloma, a Spanish woman who we met while couchsurfing in Singapore. She had been traveling the world for over 4 years. She’s still traveling and shows no sign of stopping. The other was Maria, another Spanish woman who we met in Morocco. She was wise, funny and taught Carine so much about natural ways of living. Luckily for her, Carine speaks Spanish, so she always has a way of creating deeper connections with Spaniards.
What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
In Koh Tao, Thailand, we set out to complete our open water diving certification, something that Carine had been wanting to do for years! It was in between two dives, on our final day, We saw something that avid and experienced scuba divers normally only dreams of. We saw the largest fish in the sea, a whale shark! It was an incredible experience, swimming next to this gentle giant that must have been at least 3 meters long! People in Koh Tao talk of whale sharks in hushed voices, almost like a folk tale. They are known to swim the waters of the Gulf of Thailand, but are quite rare to see! So much so that many dive instructors who have dived hundreds of times, have yet to see one!
Photo credit: @wediditourway
What has surprised you most about traveling?
This is a tough one to answer, but there are 2 things that stand out. First, it’s how nice people are, all over the world. In so many places we’ve been, we’ve been warned not to go because it’s so dangerous, or not tourist-friendly, but we don’t listen to those people. Even in the most forgotten, ‘dangerous’ places, we’ve found the kindest souls who only want to talk and laugh with someone else. Locals are often quick to lend a helping hand and give you even more than they have.
Next, is how polluted some of our beautiful planet has become. In many countries, trash is thrown on the ground, on the beach, in the oceans, wherever. There is no infrastructure to clean these places, and there is no education to show locals the importance of taking care of our planet. That’s why we try to always promote conscious and eco-friendly traveling.
What do you do to travel in a more conscious and eco-friendly way?
One of the most important things we do is avoiding plastic altogether. We don’t buy plastic water bottles. Instead, we travel with a water purifying bottle that makes any water drinkable. We don’t use plastic bags, bringing our own bag instead. We also have our own cutlery so we can eat anywhere. We have also switched to shampoo and soap bars so we don’t have unnecessary plastic with us.
We also stay with local and eco-friendly hotels, avoiding big chains. We promote local businesses who have a mission to give back to their community so that there is a more positive impact being made. When you travel, you realize how important it is to support these smaller mom-and-pop shops so the local community can thrive!