I am very excited to have the opportunity to guest post on Postcards from Rachel and introduce our relatively new travel blog: Independent Travel Cats. We’re a twenty-something couple working full-time jobs in the San Francisco Bay area who love to escape from our offices and find some time to travel.
Since Rachel’s blog is all about pictures and short descriptions, I thought we’d describe ourselves and our blog with 10 short descriptions and a series of pictures. Enjoy!
1. Traveling as a Couple
While I have also done some solo travel and travel with friends and family, most of our travels have been together as a couple over the past 4 years. For us, traveling together as a couple has generally been a fun, bonding experience with a handful of those frustrating, I-can’t-believe-I-didn’t-kill-you moments. The worse parts for us usually involve driving and/or getting lost, such as the time we literally missed the boat in Paris. We believe that if our relationship can survive long-term travel (although so far we’ve not done anything over a month) it can survive almost anything, and we look forward to putting it to the test in the future.
2. Cat Lovers
Just as Rachel loves her pups, we love our kitties. Of course, it would would be weird if we didn’t own cats, right?? We have two kitties, an orange tabby named Dodger and a snowshoe Siamese and tabby mix named Dash. As far as traveling, while it is much easier to leave a pair of cats at home for someone to check in on while you are gone, they certainly are more difficult to travel with than dogs. Don’t worry we don’t scratch, and welcome you to our blog even if you happen to be in the dog loving camp!
3. Budget Travelers
I’ve been a graduate student and then a trainee for about as long as I can remember and only as of this month do I have a real job and salary! But even with a grown-up salary, Ethan and I happen to live and work in one of the most expensive areas of the country and being frugal is a necessity for us if we want to be able to travel without racking up debt. So we do a lot of things to budget such as setting up a travel savings account, attending free events (e.g., a free fashion show in Paris) and tours (e.g., Munich Greeter Tours), using airline miles to book flights, buying food from grocery stores and street vendors, saving money on souvenirs (e.g., 1 euro vintage clothing shopping in Paris), booking cheap accommodations (e.g., tips to using Airbnb), and using discount passes (e.g., Bavarian Castle Pass).
4. Tea Drinkers
We are both frequent tea drinkers and while coffee is our beverage of choice to wake up in the mornings, I prefer the milder taste of tea. One of our favorite souvenirs is a nice box of tea from a new place (cheaper and travels better than wine) and one of our favorite splurges is to enjoy afternoon tea in a new setting, such as the stunning Garden Court Palace Hotel in San Francisco. We are excited about upcoming potential visits to tea plantations in South Korea and Vietnam in the Spring.
5. Castle & Palace Lovers
Most people like visiting castles, palaces, and grand old homes on their travels, but I may be a bit obsessed. During our travels, we’ve visited the picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle, climbed around the crumbling castle ruins atop forgotten overgrown hills in Europe, stayed in a fun castle hotel in Germany, and visited the unique Hearst “Castle” in California, but I still haven’t gotten enough of them. Our record so far is 4 castles in one day in the Loire Valley of France and 3 castles in one day in Bavaria. While totally impractical (and about a million dollars beyond our budget), I dream of living in one of these places. One of our favorite castles so far was Burg Eltz in Germany. We look forward to exploring some of the palaces and temples in Asia on our upcoming Spring trip that will include South Korea, Vietnam, and Cambodia. If anyone has some suggestions for must-sees in these countries, we’d love to hear them!!
6. Adventurous and Independent
Initially, Ethan was pretty opposed to my initial longing to travel together and even weekend trips sounded unappealing to him when we first met. I had to almost make him fill out a passport application form. However, fast forward four years and he is up for almost anything and we are just getting started (hopefully!) on our travels together. We’re pretty open and non-fussy when we travel and love to meet new people, try new foods, and engage in unique and adventurous activities. Some of the more active things we’ve done so far together have included snorkeling, ziplining, and caving and we hope to keep adding to this list!
7. Detail and Fact Oriented
OK, so while I do sometimes post more “fun” posts such as this one about our French macaron taste-off in Paris, most of our post are a blend of practical information and our own personal experiences and travel tips like this on one on the Munich Greeter Program. I try to include all the relevant information someone would need to know to help them visit a destination along with relaying our own personal experiences to help other travelers plan their own trips. I am sort of obsessed with providing details and making sure I get my facts right—really can’t help it as it’s been programmed into me! One thing about our site is that we have decided to try to never talk about places we’ve never been so you won’t see a post about the “Top 10 Things to Do in Turkey” if we’ve never been to Turkey!!
8. Book, History, and Research Lovers
So I love to read and I am fascinated by research and history. Yes, boring I know (just in case the pictures of me reading and writing in locations around the world above didn’t convey how boring I can be, haha). I sporadically post about the outcomes of academic travel studies, such as this one on the controversial practice of slum tourism and this one on how travelers are less sedentary than nontravelers. I also love history and hope to start a series on travel-related history, you can check out this inspiring story of two Victorian era women’s race around the world in less than 80 days. If you are a fellow book lover (the real paper things, not the digital versions!), check out this article for tips on how to travel with books while still packing light.
9. Lovers of the Occasional Splurge
While we have to adhere to a budget most of the time, we love treating ourselves to a few splurges during our travels. I think these are necessary to fit in as eating street food and staying in budget accommodations every day can get a bit stale, so it’s nice to have the occasional dress-up splurge. Some of our favorites have including extravagant lunches (e.g., The French Laundry), afternoon teas, attending a nice performance at a historical venue (e.g., attending a ballet at the Palais Garnier in Paris), and taking a spa day.
10. Filled with Wanderlust
There is almost no place on earth we wouldn’t consider traveling to and while Ethan is more cautious (e.g., he recently lectured me on why now is not the time to visit Egypt despite my weak argument that it’d be cheaper and less crowded….) we both have a mile long list of places we’d love to visit. So far our travels have taken us throughout the United States (we’ve actually lived in Ohio, New Mexico, and California) as well as visits to Canada, Mexico, France (e.g., Paris holds a very special place for us as it was the first international destination outside North America for both of us), Monaco, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. We have only started to scratch the surface and this year we’ll continue to explore our own backyard with trips planned in California and Seattle and we hope to take our first trip to Asia (South Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam)! We can’t wait and hope you’ll follow us along on what is hopefully just the beginning of a very long journey!
So that’s us. If for some crazy reason, you still want to know more about us, you can read more on our About Us page. We hope you’ll pop over and check out our blog and if you like it, we hope you’ll follow along with us!!
Filed Under: Guest Post