David and Di are a retired couple from Australia traveling the world overland, indefinitely and slowly while sharing their journeys on The Meandering Wanderers. They love the challenge of staying within their budget, while exploring countries without sacrificing personal comforts. They don’t consider themselves tourists, but rather travelers visiting places that are not on the tourist trail.
David and Di were kind enough to answer our questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
David and Di: We have both been travelling as singles since 1975, and then as a couple we started back in 1987, so a very long time. Our latest stint was over 1000 days of full time travel. This commenced just after our retirement, we left Australia in February 2016 and have just returned to Australia in November 2018. We are now having a rest before continuing on to our next lot of adventures in March 2019 — we needed a holiday from travel!!!
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
David and Di: We definitely love to travel slowly and try to use all modes of transport rather than flying. We get to see much more by not flying. For example we cruised from Australia to Bali to commence our journey, we caught a two day train from Shanghai to Tibet, train from Beijing to Moscow, ferry from China to Japan, then ferry to South Korea, it certainly makes for an adventure this way.
TA: What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
David and Di: Not a vacation as we have been travelling full time, but definitely Iceland. We hired a camper van and travelled the ring road around the country to see the most spectacular scenery we have ever seen. This made us feel like we were back in our early twenties and hitting the open road. The camper van idea was also cost effective in a country that is so expensive.
TA: What’s one place you’ve always wanted to visit?
Di: French Polynesia
David: Estonia was always a country I wanted to visit and we went there September 2017, so a place I would like to go to that I have not been to is — Jordan.
TA: What’s one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Di: Trusty iPhone with powerbank
David: Kindle: I love reading and buying a book is no longer an issue whilst in non English speaking countries.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
David and Di: Just do it and get outside your comfort zone. You need to plan and research your destinations but do not overbook and commit to a schedule as spontaneity is an adventure in itself. For example we went to Croatia, loved it, but did an unscheduled two week side trip to Bosnia in the middle of our time in Croatia — which was great.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
David and Di: There are loads but I found the Facebook pages concerning the Camino pilgrimage from Saint John Pied de Port in France, to Santiago in Spain were very helpful in preparing, motivating and meeting people before before and during hiking. I have since tried to give back to those groups by answering questions of those planning the hike.
TA: Where was the most unusual place you’ve ever stayed?
David and Di: In a Ger with a nomadic family in Mongolia. The toilet was a hole in the ground, some 150 metres away from the Ger, and the nightly wee became a minefield of dodging the horse dung!
TA: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten overseas?
David and Di: This is definitely a David answer — a bat! In Myanmar I ate a bat, the whole bat and yes it tasted like stringy chicken — I did live to tell the tale.
TA: What was the most romantic place you ever visited with a partner?
David: Di and I planned a last minute renewal of vows in Kao Lak, Thailand in April 2016. We had been traveling for two months and 26 friends from Australia visited us thinking they were coming to celebrate our birthdays. The resort was simply beautiful and we had the ceremony waist deep in a spa overlooking the entire resort — it was stunning. Then the reception on the beach at sunset — simply awesome!!
TA: Have you ever taken a class while visiting a foreign city? If so, can you tell us a bit about the experience? And would you recommend people take that class?
David: Di has taken a few cooking classes while living in Bangkok, and also in Vietnam.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
David and Di: Borneo for the wildlife endemic to Borneo, the orangutans in the wild, the turtle sanctuary, the jungle river cruising, the people.
TA: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to travelers your age?
David and Di: Don’t be afraid of your age, there are so many of us in our fifties and sixties travelling and enjoying life at the same time.