Interview with Jeremy and Angie Jones of Living The Dream
Jeremy and Angie, please give my readers a background about yourselves. What made you want to start livingthedreamrtw.com?
I started Living the Dream as a means to chronicle my time abroad for a long-term trip I was planning. When Angie came along shortly thereafter my trip plans changed, but she still let me go have fun abroad for a long, but slightly shorter period of time of about 5 months (by myself). The journey ended up being Japan to Singapore and everything in between and was quite an experience. The last two weeks of the trip Angie came out and visited me where we traveled around Singapore and Thailand before coming home.
Now the site is more comprehensive on all things travel, especially long-term, and I share stories and advice from the 34 countries I've been to while we are working to save up for our next great adventure.
What has been the most exciting destination you both traveled to?
Together we have been on a cruise in the Caribbean, Las Vegas, Singapore, a few of the islands in Thailand, and a good number of road trips in the last 2 1/2 years we've been together. I would have to say our most exciting together would be Koh Phi Phi, Thailand where I proposed to Angie at night on the beach. I can't really top that one at all.
On my own I've traveled to about 25 additional countries and have been to a number of exciting destinations. In terms of adventure, Ko Tao, Thailand was the best for scuba diving; Switzerland as a whole was amazing for scenery, and the karst mountains of Yangshuo, China are just something pictures do not do justice. My absolute favorite is tough, but I'll give it to Petra, Jordan in this case for the sheer size of the complex being much larger than I ever anticipated.
Angie has not been out of the country without me aside from a business trip to Canada, but her most exciting spot she's been to aside from our trips together was New York City over Christmas time.
What has been the least exciting destination you both traveled to?
This is a tough question, mostly because we try and only pick the most awesome destinations to visit. Together we were a bit disappointed in Philadelphia (one of our road trips) mostly because we went for Fourth of July and the fireworks were a bit lackluster. Add in a mediocre cheese steak and you just removed the two things I wanted to go there for.
In the rest of my travels, I really just did not find Berlin to be all that exciting at all. I'm not into the late night club scene and other than a few destinations of historical significance, I didn't see much to the city to my liking. I'd say the food was a saving grace, however I enjoyed Munich a lot better in that respect!
Where are you both travelling to next?
I am doing a lot of traveling for business in the next few months to random cities in the western United States and northern Canada, but together we are planning our honeymoon for next May. It has been one of the most difficult decisions we've ever had to make as we are trying to cram everything in just over 2 weeks of vacation, all the time we have. We first started with Norway, but it was too expensive. Then we've moved on to thinking maybe Iceland or Sicily, but also rather expensive. For a number of reasons we have now started thinking about Spain, and are only a week or two away from buying a plane ticket. We hope to hit Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Seville, Valencia, Granada, Barcelona, and Montserrat; most of those day trips.
What's on your short list of places to go? where you haven't been.
Oh boy, you had to go and ask that question. Can we just answer with everywhere?
Angie has never been to Europe, so she really wants to go there. Outside of Spain she will pick any country in Western Europe and I will balance it out in Eastern Europe. Turkey and Greece are pretty high on our list as well.
Since I cut out a big chunk of my itinerary to come home, I still have a lot of places I'd love to go to. India, Nepal, Brazil, and Peru are definitely high on my list. I'd say Galapagos, New Zealand, and Bhutan are on the list after that, but I know that Bhutan is way to expensive for me to ever afford. I'll go anywhere that doesn't have an active war zone, and probably should leave it at that.
Did you both develop your love of traveling when you were young or did you develop your love of traveling as you both became adults?
I took my first trip overseas in 2008 when I did a 3 1/2 week tour of Europe. My passion definitely started there. Before that I had only been on a few cruises with my family and only to Canada. Angie was the same way in that she never left the country until dating me, and I've been bringing her addiction up slowly with taking to her to all these amazing places. I wouldn't call her addicted yet, but she's getting there.
What impact has livingthedreamrtw.com had on your life?
When I first started the website I only pictured it as being a way to let family and friends read about my adventures. It kind of ballooned out from there and random travelers from all over the world have started commenting and asking questions. I've now become friends with many of them as a lot are fellow bloggers and have had the please of meeting up with them on the road. You'd be surprised but I found many of the best destinations just from other people commenting on posts and requests for help, rather than the other way around.
On a more personal note the site has given me a lot of experience with website development and other skills that I can use in my line of work. I'm also taking my overall experience and putting it together in a long-term travel related book to help others do what I have done and will continue to do in my life. So I guess it has come full circle in being able to help not only myself but others as well.
What do your friends and family think about your world traveling adventures?
The best way I can describe this their responses to each of my trips in the last 3 years.
The first was my first time abroad and was the 3 1/2 week trip to Europe I talked about earlier. Their response was mostly confusion on why I'd want to go, and shock that I'd want to go so long. After, when everything was okay, they were fine and not upset I left.
The second I went for 3 weeks to Egypt and Jordan. Their response was a lot more critical with fears for my personal safety, especially because Jordan borders Iraq. Once again, when I returned they were fine that I was okay and not too upset that I left.
The third I was planning for Asia, they knew I was going to be gone for a few months. They almost fainted when I told them it was going to be a year, but relieved when it only ended up being 5 months. By then they were so used to it they started calming other extended family members down who were still in the shock phase at my travel plans. I think they've gotten used to it.
Now when I talk about future trips, they just smile and nod and leave it at that.
If you could relive one traveling expierence, which expierence would the both of you chose?
Since I have been to more places than Angie has, I would pick pretty much all of those as a whole so she could get out there and see what I saw. If I had to choose one region in particular I would say Egypt & Jordan just because it is unique compared to just about anywhere else I've been.
What has been the most surprising destination you've been to? Meaning, you had a specific mindset about a certain destination but it was totally a different experience than you had imagined.
I think that China caught me off guard when I first got there. I had no idea what to expect, so when I got off the boat from Japan it felt like I was in a whole different world. Millions of people, crowded subways, food I didn't really enjoy, and "small cities" still having 5 Million plus. The hardest part was the language barrier since barely anyone spoke English. I survived, and it was a lot of fun (most of the time), but it definitely was not what I had anticipated in some respects.
If you had to decide which destination has been the most influential in your lives, which destination would you chose?
My most influential destination would probably be Switzerland. It was one of the first international destinations I've ever visited and I just fell in love with the beauty of the country and the food. It definitely helped inspire me to want to travel more out of any other place in Europe I went to. Angie's most influential spot is her family's summer vacation spot in Virginia near Shenandoah Nat'l Park as it helped bring out her love of nature and appreciating the world.
Jeremy, you could travel with any celebrity for one week, who would you chose?
Before I went traveling a lot, I would watch all of the shows on the Travel Channel. I would definitely say one of the hosts like Anthony Bourdain for sure. But if we are talking movie stars, well, give me any of them as long as they are paying.
Angie, you could travel with any celebrity for one week, who would you chose?
I'd choose Anthony Bourdain too because I think he would get us in to a lot of unusual adventures and take us to a lot of great places to eat at.
What advice would you give to a newbie traveler?
The world isn't scary. Get your passport, get a visa if you need to, and just go.
In 10 years, do you see yourself still traveling or slowing down?
I think we'll be doing a bit of both. We want to take one more big trip (> 1 year), but we both see us settling down with a house, steady careers, dogs (the most important in this list), and maybe a family. But just because we will slow down eventually doesn't mean we wont stop traveling. My personal dream is to be living in a foreign country for a few years to get that side of the travel experience, but Angie still needs won over on the thought. If we both can get jobs in our fields of expertise, it just might work.
Thank you Jeremy and Angie for the interview! Please visit their blog @ Living The Dream
Please also check our the Living the Dream Photography Photo WebSite