Meg and Mike are not short of an inspiration for couples that believe in fairytales. Mike is a photographer and has travelled the world extensively, which in turn led to him bumping into Meg. Since Meg is from Australia and Mike from the United States they get a lot of support and are eager to explore the world together, all the while documenting each and every detail to assist others in order to make their own trips much more memorable.
We managed to catch up with Megan for a brief interview. Lets get indulge in her travel experiences.
Q 1. If there is one thing that nobody can pretend to be or pretend to love, is travelling. Tell us what attracted you to globetrotting?
Answer. The adventure, adrenaline and excitement, and because there is nothing monotonous about travel! It didn’t take us long to realize that we wanted to see the world in living color as opposed to watching it on a television screen. We each wanted to actually feel, taste and experience the world instead of settling for the version we were reading in books.
I mean, it’s a completely different experience to journey to the Pyramids of Giza than to watch it on a History Channel documentary. It’s a completely different emotion to watch the sun set over the African Plains while on safari than it is to see someone else’s photo and think “wow!
Q 2. A lot of people wish to become travelers, but are not able to because of, to put it simply, life. Please tell us how you were able to make your wish come true?
Answer. Firstly, we stopped calling it a dream, and started calling it a plan! I truly believe that we often don’t achieve our dreams because we are held back by our own mindset. And secondly, we prioritized it!
We realized that working 9-5 was quite restrictive, and wasn’t allowing us to travel as much as we would like. So we put a lot of time and effort into setting up and monetizing our travel blog, and after a year of hard work we started to earn an income from it. We were able to quit out jobs and live off the money coming in from the blog, and have now been living a location independent lifestyle, or the “digital nomad life” if you will, for the past three years. The freedom is wonderful.
Anyone has the potential to chase their dreams and make their ideal lifestyle a reality. But it’s not the easy path. You have to think outside the box and be comfortable with breaking away from societal norms. You have to prioritize your goals above everything else, and put in a lot of effort to begin with which may not reap any immediate rewards.
Q 3. What, according to you, is it about travelling that makes it so exciting and worthwhile?
Answer. It’s largely around that feeling of something new. Everything is exciting when it’s new. Whether that’s a new experience, environment, or even a new food, travel is all about exploring the unexplored. As they say, adventure might hurt you, but monotony will kill you.
Q 4. Out of the countries that you have travelled so far, which is your favorite destination? And how often do you travel?
Answer. Iceland by far is one of our favorite places in the world, and I would love to live there if I could. It is one of the last untouched destinations left on earth. It’s exotic, so naturally beautiful, and largely untouched by tourism which we absolutely love. The scenery takes your breath away. Waterfalls, glaciers, dramatic fjords, there is inspiring scenery at every turn. Majestic glaciers grind their way through cracked lava fields, gushing geysers explode with a powerful force, glittering ice caps pierce the sky, and vibrant green fjords rise from the mist of geothermal lagoons. It’s a spectacular place.
We don’t have a set amount of time we spend in any one destination – it always varies, and can be anywhere from eight days to eight months. When we started traveling we were hitting a large number of destinations really quickly, in a very short period of time. Though that approach is very exhausting (especially when you’re trying to work at the same time), and you realize that it’s much more sustainable (and immersive) to engage in slow travel, and really get to know a destination.
If that means setting up a base and staying for a year, then stay for a year. There are no time constraints when you travel full time, so your itinerary can be whatever you want to make it. We have just signed an 18 month lease in Australia. We still travel, obviously, though it’s such a lovely change to have a permanent base, and a familiar pillow to return to after a lengthy trip.
Q 5. What are some of the major digital difficulties that you regularly encounter during your travels, assuming that you take your laptop/tablet/Smartphone with you?
Answer. Staying connected is a major difficulty when we travel, and obviously that’s pretty important when you work online! We have to balance the workload with visiting exotic and far flung destinations, because often the internet connectivity just isn’t there, and it’s impossible to get any work done.
Though I would actually rather no internet than slow internet! It’s quite infuriating when you’ve planned a day of work based off your accommodation having WiFi and then the signal is too slow!
Q 6. What is you general overview about the availability/accessibility of the internet when visiting new countries?
Answer. As internet connectivity is essential to our ability to earn an income, it’s always the top priority when we are deciding where to stay. If a hotel doesn’t have WiFi (complimentary is obviously preferred!), or online reviews suggest that it’s poor, we won’t book.
But we’ve found that it’s pretty easy to find an internet connection when visiting a new country. Most hotels do offer WiFi, as do many airports and cafes. Find an apple store, a starbucks, or McDonalds anywhere in the world and you can usually connect for free, and there are even portable roaming devices you can travel with too.
Q 7. How do you go about online banking or making financial transactions when you are in another country? What are the problems that you have faced while doing so?
Answer. We’ve been fortunate in that we haven’t experienced any issues with financial transactions or online banking while overseas, and I think that largely comes down to staying on top of when your repayments are due, and staying organized.
Q 8. Do you know about possible security risks of using public Wi-Fi hotspots while travelling? How do you tackle them?
Answer. This is a big concern, because obviously, you are consenting to your internet traffic (including passwords) being open for viewing over a public network.
What is increasingly worrisome is how clever and dangerous “fake hot-spots” have developed into. Designed to fool the connecting user into thinking they are accessing a free WiFi network at a high-traffic area (airports, hotels, restaurants) they siphon off personal data and sell it to identity thieves on the digital black market.
If we have to connect to a public hotspot, we take the extra time to ensure we’re connecting to a network which requires a password, as we figure the more private the better! And obviously, use of a VPN is one of the safest ways to combat these threats.
Q 9. What steps do you take to avert hacking attempts?
Answer. Complex passwords on everything, and once again, being very careful about which public networks we are connecting to.
Passwords might sound pretty basic, but it really is the first fundamental step in protecting your devices. Though to be any kind of use, you should take the extra time to create a fairly complex one. Typically, passwords that are all too common such as a 1111, 0000 or “first+last name, prove to be much easier to exploit. Use some combination of numbers, symbols and letters (upper and lower case) in order to better protect yourself.
Q 10. Any tips and tricks for your fellow travelers to benefit from while using Wi-Fi networks abroad?
Answer. Mainly, be aware of the “Open WiFi Network” as we discussed above. But also, do your research before you leave for overseas. Find out if the hotel offers free WiFi, and if not, if there is a business center where you can log in.
It’s also likely you’ll want to turn the roaming on your phone off, as data usage overseas can be ridiculously expensive. That said, your phone company may have a fabulous set of international data plans, so make sure you research so you know you options in advance.
Q 11. How has your experience been with PureVPN so far? Would you recommend it to other travelers? If so, why?
Answer. Absolutely – it’s one of the best ways to encrypt your data as you access the internet to protect you from eavesdroppers and other threats 🙂 .
Thank you very much Megan for your time which I know is very difficult to manage in busy travel routine. Keep enjoying your travels and keep inspiring us.
All photos are provided by Megan Jerrard @ Mapping Megan.