We continue our interview series with this great couple from Philadelphia – Larissa and Michael from Changes In Longitude.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog? How did you start traveling and blogging?
We’d been married for 24 years before hitting the road. Due to a set of difficult family circumstances that kept piling up, we realized that we needed a serious break from our lives. We sold our house, quit our jobs and gave away most of our possessions with the goal of traveling around the world for a year. We hoped that during our year off we’d figure out what direction the next phase of our lives would take.
We set up a blog called “Changes In Longitude” to keep friends and family updated on our adventure. Eventually it grew into something bigger where people we didn’t even know seemed interested in reading about our story. Before our departure date we contacted the travel editor of our hometown newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, about our journey and she was intrigued enough to set up a feature series called “A Year and a World” to publish our stories from around the globe.
What are the 3 best things in traveling together as a couple? Are there things that you don’t like, or would like to change?
Hmmm, potentially dangerous question there. The best thing about traveling as a couple is the companionship. There’s never a worry about who to eat dinner with or finding someone to chat with. The flip side is that couples traveling together can become insulated from the world around them if they only talk to each other. We made a conscious effort to avoid this by engaging with people wherever we went.
One downside of couples travel is that at some point you can sort of get sick of each other. We’d make sure to have days where we did different things based on our personal interests and then meet up at dinner to share our experiences. We enjoyed some of our most thought-provoking days when we were apart.
What are some of your interests outside of traveling?
Larissa: I love to cook which is why I’ve taken cooking classes in about a dozen countries. Learning how to make Thai curry in Thailand or pasta in Italy gives me a better appreciation for the foods of those cultures.
Michael: I love to eat so I always encourage Larissa’s cooking classes. I learned early on that she usually comes home with tasty leftovers. I enjoy music and listening to street musicians all over the world. I also have a donut fetish but we don’t need to get into that right now.
Can you name your 3 favorite places in the world so far?
Wow that’s hard to narrow down. We’d say the places where we had some of the most memorable experiences were Vietnam, Namibia and Australia. Much of it was based not so much on geography or specific sights in those countries, but with people we met along the way. For example, the nuns we met at a Buddhist convent in Saigon who took us in and fed us one night during the Tet holiday.
What country for your opinion has the best cuisine?
As much as we love Vietnamese and Thai food it’s really hard to compete with Italy. Michael is half-Sicilian so he may be a bit biased. But when it comes to dessert, we’ll always have Paris.
What destination are you looking forward to the most on your next trip?
Well we are still travelling so we’ll see what comes next. Japan is high on both our lists.
From your blog we can learn that you started to travel 2 years ago and don’t want to stop. If you would choose to settle down, what country or city would you chose after you’ve seen 30 of them.
We’ve been to 30 countries on this trip but over 60 overall so there’s a lot to choose from. How about some-place with lots of urban amenities, where you can drink the water, there’s no snow in the winter, but not sweltering in the summer, and it’s cheap. If you know what place fits the bill please let us know.
Where did the idea of taking pictures with statue of boxer Rocky Balboa around the world come from?
Yo, we’re from Philadelphia, home of the Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa. The Rocky Steps in Philly are a popular tourist destination. Practically 24/7 visitors run up them emulating their cinematic hero. Since Rocky is famous all over the world we thought it would be fun to bring a miniature Rocky Statue along and take his picture everywhere. The enthusiastic response we’ve gotten from people has been remarkable. He even posed with actor Danny DeVito and former president Jimmy Carter. The only place he wasn’t recognized was North Korea.
We know that you will soon publish your own book about your adventures. Can you share 3 important tips for a good travel-blogger and writer?
Write as often as possible about what you see and don’t be afraid to edit, edit, edit. (Maybe we should have edited out a few of those.) Be observant, you are the eyes, ears, nose and taste buds of the reader as you report back on what you experience. Be honest. Not every place is wonderful. We’ve written about a few countries we didn’t like and readers appreciate that frankness. And strike “amazing” from your vocabulary, you can do better than that overused description.
Can you give some advice to our readers, especially to couples, who want to start travelling like you?
For couples, make sure you get along with each other and that traveling is a dream you both share. That seems obvious but is not always the case. Don’t be intimidated by the task of shutting down your current life to take off in search of adventure. We have yet to meet a global traveler who has said, “Gee, I really wish I had stayed home instead of doing this.” The tagline on our blog is “Just Go Already!” That’s our basic piece of advice to you.
Larissa and Michael Milne chucked it all to travel around the world seeking the quirky, tasty and legendary. They’ve been living a nomadic lifestyle for two years. You can follow their adventures at: Changes In Longitude.
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We are Gadi and Tun - the midlife runaways. We regard our selves as a “world citizens” and currently we live and explore in China. We've decided to start this blog to share our awe and adventures with friends, family and all the people who love to travel. Feel free to comment and to join. And most important, don’t forget the state of “Being in Awe” with the world.
Hi there! We are a couple, and we like to travel. We regard our selves as a “world citizens” and currently we live and explore in China. We’ve decided to start this blog to share our awe and adventures with friends, family and all the people who love to travel. Feel free to comment and to join. And most important, don’t forget the state of “Being in Awe”.