My latest world travellers are Paula and Gordon who love escaping “mainstream travel” which is why I’m totally delighted to have them on board on Don’t Stop Living.
Who are you?
Paula and Gordon. We are the mature (sic) travellers who are spending your inheritance. We are fit, free and financial. Seriously we just like to travel our way. To do what we want to do. We prefer things to be a little more unorthodox than our peers and to help people shake off the shackles of mainstream travel…. If they want to.
Where are you from?
“The Gong”. Wollongong, NSW, Australia. We are about an hour south of Sydney situated on the beach with the escarpment running along side us. Stunning. (Ed – you can read about my own trip to Wollongong here)
Where have you been?
Quite a few places. Japan, a lot of Asia, any of the South Pacific Islands like Vanuatu, Fiji, Bora Bora. Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Borneo. We have been exploring Europe on various trips also like The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Turkey and a lot more.
Where are you now?
We are now just back home from being in Japan, Austria, and Switzerland – all snow destinations, then to Domodossola in Italy and Bangkok where we seem to have been to a lot.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
Too hard but these are pretty constant.
– Amsterdam – loved the liberalism. We had a fantastic little houseboat on the canal. The people and the food were just excellent.
– Nozawa Onsen, Japan – it is like coming home to this traditional village as we go there annually for the culture, the powder and the people. Not to forget the very hot but fantastic onsens. There is also a seriously interesting fire festival in January that is a not to be missed experience.
– Italy or Thailand. Tough call. Love Chiang Mai particularly, and love Florence, Rome, Sorrento and other villages in Italy.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
Seriously love them all for various reasons. The Cappadocia’s was very intriguing. No, I know – the total eclipse of the sun in Turkey is right up there. So different and so unexpected.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
Battambang – a 3 hour trip became a 12 hour nightmare. Then, when we finally arrived and a car smashed into another right next to Gordon. They were the gangsters of Battambang. The locals hid. Good story waaaaay after the event though.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
Faulty Towers in Antalya. This was an old Ottoman House run by Basil and Manuel themselves. They kept double crossing the customers with rooming and with everything really. It was annoying at first but then Gordon said its just serendipity so we sat back and enjoyed the antics. We enjoyed it even more after we had left.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
Paula – possibly having machine guns pointed at me in Sri Lanka while Gordon slept peacefully next to me. Or leeches stuck in the wrong places when in the Jungle in Sri Lanka. Is there a theme going on here?
Actually it is very hard to scare us, maybe we scare others!
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
We haven’t worked other than for tourism boards on our travels. Though I would work in a lodge in the snow somewhere. I can cook and Gordon could instruct. Otherwise I could teach, as I was a teacher for a long time. Nah … a bar in Bangkok would be fun.
How do you fund your travels?
We divert money into designated ‘travel’ accounts that are not touched other than for the purpose of travel. We have always done that. It grows very quickly.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
- Serendipity. Things happen, go with the flow. They make a great story later if at first it doesn’t seem like it. They make an even better story when you find something wonderful that you didn’t expect.
- Talk to the local people. This is critically important to getting to know more about our similarities and differences. People are great and willing to chat even if you need to use sign language. Eat and drink with the locals – that is always an ice breaker.
- Don’t try to do too much. Get to know a few places, rather than race through countries for the sake of saying that you have been to them
What are your future travel plans?
England and France in August and September. In January 2015 we will go to Japan and head somewhere after that. We are still deciding. Chile is looking good for sometime in 2015.
Contented Traveller likes the shabby chic houseboat in Amsterdam, the tatami mat in a ryokan in Japan, the cave house in Goreme. We do on occasion do the 5 star like an over water bungalow in Vanuatu or Bora Bora. We like to ski, to have backstreet massages in Chiang Mai and to have a beer with locals in Ghent. That is who we are. We organise our own travels. That is what we do and we are pretty good at it.
We are Gordon and Paula who met 11 years ago, fell in love and have travelled together since. Gordon left the ‘s’ of Contented Traveller. Makes you wonder ….
And then we organise it – our way.
Thanks to Paula and Gordon for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured (there’s a HUGE waiting list at present), either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!