This interview series feature interviews with travel bloggers and writers. If you are a travel blogger and a writer, and have something to share with your readers, please get in touch with me at [email protected] I look forward to hearing from you!
In this interview, let us meet Carrie and Albert from Backpacking with the Bonds. Carrie and Albert have lived in five countries and served in the Peace Corps in Jordan. They have been backpacking through over 70 countries and focus on exploring the role of tourism and development during their travels. Check out their travels on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Welcome Albert and Carrie! Tell me about yourselves, your blog and your coming adventure.
Hi, we are Albert and Carrie of Backpacking with the Bonds. While we have been traveling the world together since 2007, we only started blogging in 2015 after an amazing trip to Corsica and Sardinia. When we met each other at our pre-departure training for the Peace Corps in 2007, it was our mutual love of travel that sparked a connection.
We started Backpacking with the Bonds to help travelers think about how they spend their money while they’re traveling, and help them intentionally design their trips to contribute to the sustainable and equitable development of the places they visit.
Our next planned adventure is to the Caribbean, most notably the island of Saba! It’s one of the lesser traveled to islands, which is just what we look for – off the beaten path, but where tourism plays a vibrant and important role in the economy – perfect for an impactful trip”
Sounds exciting! How do you balance full-time work and travel blogging?
This is a constant challenge. We both have demanding full-time jobs in the field of humanitarian response and a professional medical society. We spend a large portion of our time before and after work and at the weekends working on social media, writing and constantly improving the look and feel of our website.
What was your routine when you were in the Peace Corps?
Carrie taught English as a Foreign Language in a public school for girls so she had classes from 7:30-1:00/1:30 Sunday-Thursday. After school she conducted study sessions with students and visited with students, friends, and families in their homes.
Albert worked at a boys youth center where he designed and managed community development projects focused on engaging the youth in the regional tourism industry. In addition to this he taught English to boys and girls, separately.
Since we lived so far apart, well far in Jordan terms (2.5 hours) and didn’t have a lot of money we didn’t see each other very often. We tried to meet up at least once a month in Amman or other cities throughout the country. These monthly getaways allowed us to see quite a bit of the country.
As revealed in your blog that you both lived in Jordan, what is one of your favorite places there?
Albert – Mine would have to be the city of Aqaba. It’s located in the very south of Jordan along the Gulf of Aqaba, bordering Saudi Arabia and Israel. Because of its geographic location it’s warm year-round and was always a popular place for us to spend a long weekend. It’s a popular destination for Jordanians and should be on a “must see” list for all those traveling to Jordan. The Gulf of Aqaba has some great diving sites.
Carrie -I have to say, my favorite place in Jordan is, al-Farthakh, the village where I served in the Peace Corps. During my service I would likely have said something very different but now when I go back it’s the place I enjoy the most. It’s so peaceful and, of course, I get to see my friends and people I consider family as well as my former students, many of whom are grown and have children of their own. The village is located just outside the southern city of Ma’an and in between two of Jordan’s major tourist attractions, Petra and Wadi Rum.
What is the biggest pet peeve of yours?
Albert – People jumping line. This is annoying when you’re waiting to board a bus or a flight and all of a sudden people jump the line. It’s more of an issue for me on my day-to-day commute into work on a city bus in Washington DC.
Carrie – I hate when people put their feet up on public seats. Who knows what they’ve walked in and then left on the seat for others to sit in. So not cool.
One of your travel tips to offer to fellow travelers.
Plan ahead and do your research. Travelers should always arrive at their destination somewhat informed of the best place to stay (well-ideally you would’ve booked this in advance), where to eat and drink, or at the very least cultural do’s and dont’s. Why? You work hard all year and save your pennies to take that one or those two precious trips. A little research will help make your trip great. If you don’t have time we offer a personal travel planning service to help you!
If you would live anywhere in this world now, aside from the USA and Jordan, where would you choose to live?
Beirut, Lebanon – We had longed to visit Beirut and finally got the chance last year. Beirut is such a cool city. It has a vibrant nightlife, world famous cuisine, world class wines, and is on the Mediterranean Sea. What more could someone want in a city? If you aren’t convinced check out our guide to Beirut.
One of your best travel moments?
This is not an easy question to answer. We could provide several best travel moments but if we’re to narrow it down to one it would be the time we crossed from Ukraine into Transnistria enroute to Chisinau, Moldova.
We had read ahead that we’d likely have to “tip” the border officials as U.S. passport holders so we pulled out extra Ukrainian Hryvnia before boarding the bus. At the first crossing from Ukraine into Transnistria, which was a small, bare wooden building off the side of the road, we were last in line. When we approached the desk it was immediately clear we didn’t speak a common language. They looked at our passports and then looked at us and back at our passports again-said some things in Russian, which we obviously didn’t understand while we wondered aloud how exactly we should go about giving them the money. Finally, they wrote $ on a piece of paper and showed it to us. We’d been living in Jordan for a year so we shook our heads “no”. Then the EURO sign-again “no”. Then the POUND sign-again “no”. We then show them our Ukrainian money to which they responded with a head shaking “no”. Then what about Jordanian Dinar? An emphatic NO. After this point they went through the major currency again and at some point the driver stuck his head in and asked what was going on. For a brief moment we thought, well this might be our new home and how do we tell the Peace Corps since we weren’t supposed to be here in the first place? But alas, after the second round they ultimately accepted our Ukrainian Hryvnia and we were on our way. Luckily our driver spoke English and insisted he do our “tipping” from then on so he could maintain his schedule.
What travel blogger you would like to meet in person and have a drink and a meal with?
David of Travelswhere! I’ve been following his travels for about a year now and he covers lots of lesser traveled to destinations mainly within Eastern Europe, which for us are the perfect places for impactful travel. He’s been to some really cool destinations and I’m sure he’s got lots of stories to share that he hasn’t had a chance to write about.
Would you like to share a useful Arabic phrase and explain its meaning?
Sahtayn – صحتين – meaning bon appetit. The response when someone says this to you is ‘ala albak.
Thanks Carrie and Albert for a wonderful interview. Enjoy your coming adventure in Saba!
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