TraveLinkSites would like to introduce our friends Jason & Aracely of 2Backpackers.com. These guys run their hugely successful website with some great tips for the travel community. Here they talk about how they met, travelling as a twosome and what works for them on the road.
1. Could you briefly introduce yourselves and your site?
In 2009 we were working professionals in New York City under the name of Aracely Santos and Jason Castellani. Triggered by a casual conversation, we decided to quit our jobs, sell our possessions and go travel for a year. Before our departure date and during our research we became inspired by a few travel blogs and decided to start our own. Our blog began as a chronicle of our personal stories, but has morphed into the travel brand of Jason And Aracely Travel.
We survived traveling together full-time for a year and now travel under the name of Jason and Aracely Castellani, following our marriage upon returning from our journeys. We continue to travel the world on shorter trips providing inspiration on Facebook and budget travel guides on the web. With our evolving travel style, we now publish couples vacations, weekend getaways and romantic escape tips… all for couples of course.
2. Tell us the story! How did you guys meet and what made you choose to write a travel blog?
We met at a birthday party of a mutual friend in Hoboken, NJ. We were both working for Mercedes-Benz for about 4 years, but had never met at the office. We even played in the company’s volleyball league and probably faced each other in a match, but don’t remember meeting personally until that birthday party in Hoboken in May of 2006.
Since the Summer of 2006, the adventures we have enjoyed together haven’t slowed. Our travel blog captures those journeys and shares them with hopes of inspiring others to see the world. We believe travel provides a greater understanding of the world and it’s different cultures, making you a better person overall.
3. Individually, what are the things you are best at when it comes to your blog?
Aracely is best at the big picture, goal setting, strategic thinking. Jason is best at the execution and operation of it all. Someone has to make the money, while the other spends their time blogging.
4. What has been your favourite place so far?
It’s hard to pick just one. We love different things about different places. We love how much Peru has to offer, Bolivia for its landscapes, Colombia for its big cities, Guatemala because it’s the first place we backpacked, Argentina for its wine and Chile for its unexplored Patagonia region. Aracely loves discovering Ecuador since she was born there and still has family we can visit to experience the real local culture.
5. Tell us about the best cultural experience you’ve had? And what’s been your worst moment?
Jason experienced New Year’s Eve in Ecuador with Aracely’s family. Ecuadorians celebrate New Year’s Eve in a very unique way. Let’s just say it’s full of partying and dancing. Would you expect anything less from Latinos? He was blown away by all the festivities.
Our worst moments was being lost in the Volcano Crater of Alegria, El Salvador. We had no water, no food and were in danger of being attacked by bandits in the mountain forest. That was extremely scary. Jason had a tremendous fear of something happening to Aracely, this is when you wished you weren’t traveling with the one you love.
6. How do you handle spending so much time together? Any secrets to share?
If we weren’t a couple, we would be great friends. That’s the best way to describe it. Honestly, we have always enjoyed each other’s company. We never had challenges at home and thankfully we have never had relationship challenges on the road.
Couple travel tips are difficult to offer because they are unique to each couple. I typically suggest to give each other space on the road, maybe explore a city alone one day, or take a 1 week excursion separately during your long-term travels. Honestly, we haven’t done that once. Believe it or not we spend every day together.
I think its most important that couples communicate their interests, desires and budgets if they are going to travel together long term. If one person likes to spend their money on expensive dinners and the other prefers cheap street food it will be a problem. If you don’t figure this out before you launch into a foreign country it could get nasty. Money can affect your relationship the most, just as it does at home. Make sure you both are okay with your accommodation styles, eating habits and adventure desires.
7. What are your biggest challenges with travel blogging?
Biggest challenge is balancing time. If you’re out exploring all day, it’s often difficult to have enough energy to come home and write about your experiences. It’s very easy to fall behind on content publishing, and unfortunately, staying current is extremely important to grow your audience and continue to gain new traffic.
8. This is the dangerous one… Is there anything you would change about your partner when it comes to your experiences travelling? (Now no fighting please, criticism is productive remember!)
I wish Jason was more forward and outgoing when it comes to asking people questions. Typical guy right? Never stopping to ask for directions or what something is. Being bilingual myself, I also wish he was better at learning new languages.
When I travel with Aracely, I feel like I’m tagging along on her trip, but that’s what I love about it. I would never do all the things that we have done together on my own. Everything that she brings to our travels is only a benefit to me. I can’t think of anything that I would change about it, but I am well aware that I am not the ideal travel partner!
9. It’s a sweeping statement in the travel world that ‘you’re not really travelling if you’re with a partner’. Seeing as so many people travel as a twosome, this seems a little odd to us. What do you have to say about this?
We think it’s absolutely untrue. Travel isn’t about not having ANYTHING familiar with you, it’s about seeing places, learning about history and cultures and experiencing live elsewhere. You can do that even if your whole family is with you. I’ve seen entire families traveling together. We would never discredit their experience and say they are not really traveling.
There are people in this world that will always try to better you, just ignore them and worry about your own life’s journeys.
10. What’s next on your agenda? Do you both have any travel goals for the year?
We don’t have trips currently booked. Jason has been traveling to Beijing, China and soon to Jaipur, India for a business project, and just like she did in China, Aracely plans to tag along. Hey, it’s a free hotel room!
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