- When did you first start travelling and which is your favourite travel memory?
After quitting our jobs, selling our house and giving away most of our stuff, we hit the road in 2011 and have been traveling ever since. At first we thought we’d just travel around the world for a year. But about halfway through the journey we were sitting on a beach in Perth, Australia watching the setting sun dip into the Indian Ocean and realized we weren’t going back to our prior lives. Instead of taking a break we were now making a break.
- How do you fund your travels?
Without any prior experience we have become full-time travel writers. Building on our blog at Changes in Longitude, we started writing feature stories for the Philadelphia Inquirer, AAA, Hemmings Motor News, American Airlines and other media outlets. We were also contacted by a publisher to write a travel guide to Philadelphia’s historic district. That book, Philadephia Liberty Trail: Trace the Path of America’s Heritage, won a book-of-the-year award from the Society of American Travel Writers. That said, travel writing pays very little so we focus on keeping our expenses low.
- What do you focus on while travelling to a new place – people, culture, attractions, food, adventure, or nature?
Our love of food helps to determine our destinations. Larissa has taken cooking classes around the world and Michael has consumed calories everywhere. So we’ve each played to our strengths in the food department.
- What is your advice to travellers who are just beginning their journey?
Travel slowly. It’s tempting to try to cram in too many destinations. During our first year we traveled too quickly because it’s easy to say, “Hey, I’m in Vietnam. Cambodia is just a short trip away. Then, hey, I’m in Cambodia, let’s go to Thailand.” Take it slow. You can always go back to someplace you missed.
- What is the longest you have travelled for? What advice would you give to travellers thinking of long‐term travel but are hesitant to go ahead?
We’ve been on the road for over 4 years. The #1 piece of advice is to be flexible and adapt to your surroundings. Many places you go will not offer the same standards of comfort that you’re used to. But after awhile it’s no big deal and the benefits of your new experiences will outweigh any short-live discomfort.
- What is that one destination in your list that you are dying to go to and why?
Due to a fascination with the culture, we’d really like to go to Japan. When we first started out Japan had just suffered the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami and it wasn’t a good time to visit. It’s definitely #1 on the list of places we want to experience.
- What was your favourite trip so far? Why was it memorable?
We really enjoyed Vietnam for the incredibly gracious people. (Also, we love Vietnamese food.) Namibia was also a wonderful destination where we went the self-drive safari route and saw the country and wild game on our own. This led to many memorable encounters free of crowds.
- Is there a place you’d never go to? Why?
We went to North Korea so we’re pretty flexible with destinations. Obviously an active war zone would be a no go.
- What is the craziest thing you’ve done during your travels?
Larissa flew an acrobatic plane in a loop and barrel roll over the Las Vegas desert. Michael was content to watch from the ground.
- What advice would you give to anyone who is considering travelling but is scared to take the leap of faith?
I’d first ask what your fears are and try to counteract them with examples of why you shouldn’t worry about them. Some people are afraid to travel due to terrorism but the odds are still greatly in your favor of being safe. We were in Kuala Lumpur when a bomb went off at a political rally but it was across town from where we were so we never felt threatened.
- Do you travel full time? Or do you take breaks in between?
We are always on the road. We have no home so taking a break for us is staying someplace for a month. Since we are writers we are always working but now that you mention it, I think we could use a little break. Thanks for the suggestion!
- Where do you see yourself in a year? In five years?
Wow. It’s hard to predict five months. Hopefully we’ll still be wandering the world.
- We know that travel affects our lives in many positive ways, but no one ever talks about the negative side of it (i.e. relationships can suffer, etc). Has travelling affected your life negatively in any way?
We’ve been married for 29 (!) years. Travel has only brought us closer. But you bring up a good point. Before committing to someone for life, it’s a good idea to travel together to see how your potential mate reacts under adverse conditions.
- Why did you decide to blog? Has it had any impact on the way you travel?
We started out blogging just as a way to chronicle our journey. But when our blog caught the attention of the travel editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer all of a sudden we were writing professionally. In 2013 when our blog at Changes in Longitude won a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Silver Award it caught the eye of the book publisher who approached us to write Philadelphia Liberty Trail. So the blog has really led to all we are doing and our travelling lifestyle.
Larissa and Michael Milne Changes in Longitude www.ChangesInLongitude.com