Archive by Author

Upcoming Busbud SkillCamp: How to turn customer service into a competitive advantage

16 Sep

Busbud Skill Camp

At Busbud, we pride ourselves on delivering a top notch service, be it to a loyal customer shuttling between New York and Washington DC or a first time Busbud user researching a complex bus journey across South America.

Experts from Facebook, Cirque du Soleil, Frank & Oak, Vidéotron

That’s why we’re excited to be leading a panel discussion with Facebook, Cirque du Soleil, Frank & Oak, and Vidéotron in which we’ll explore the key elements and trends of customer service, and how to gain a competitive advantage by building an outstanding customer experience.

This event, the second in the Busbud SkillCamp series, will take place on October 1st, from 6 to 8pm at Notman House, 51 Sherbrooke Street West, in Montreal. The panel discussion will be followed by networking, and food and drinks will be provided. Click here to sign up and purchase your ticket!

Busbud SkillCamp

 

La Tournée des Entrepreneurs – Promoting Entrepreneurship In Quebec

30 Jul

La Tournee des entrepreneurs group photo Charlevoix 2014

This past weekend, Busbud CEO LP Maurice embarked on the first of three roadtrips across the province of Quebec as part of La Tournée des entrepreneurs.

Watch the video recap of the weekend in Baie-St-Paul, Charlevoix.

 

Connecting with local entrepreneurs

The tour brought together entrepreneurs from different regions of the province in order to learn, share experiences and inspire. Topics discussed included prototyping, how to sell online, fundraising, web analytics, innovative business models and social entrepreneurship.

Montreal entrepreneurs participating at this first event: Caithrin Rintoul (Provender), Sophie Boulanger (BonLook), Christine Renaud (E-180), Francis Gosselin (f&co), Raff Paquin (AlveoLabs and formerly Frank & Oak) and Fabrice Vil (Pour 3 Points).

Next stops, Gaspé and Rouyn-Noranda!

tournee-des-entrepreneurs-bbq-charlevoix

tournee-des-entrepreneurs-cercle-de-discussion-charlevoix

Busbud Annual BBQ Picnic

22 Jun
At Busbud, we're reinventing bus travel, one picnic at a time!

At Busbud, we’re reinventing bus travel, one picnic at a time!

For our first annual BBQ picnic, we spent the day enjoying the sun at Parc Lafontaine and eating yummy homemade salads, tasty meats and treats. We later capped off the afternoon with an epic game of pétanque, aka lawn bowling. It was great to spend some quality time outside of the office with friends and family and celebrate our recent milestone successes.

Want to join an amazing team? We’re still hiring in a variety of roles!

Q&A with Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere on Photography and Bus Travel

16 Feb
Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere

Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Miro & Lainie from Raising Miro. Today, we’re happy to feature Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere.

Gary Arndt sold his house in 2007 and have been traveling around the world ever since. He’s visited all 7 continents, over 116 countries and territories around the world, all 50 US states, 9/10 Canadian provinces, every Australian state and territory, over 125 US National Park Service sites and over 180 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 2010, Time Magazine named Everything Everywhere one of the Top 25 Blogs in the World.

1. Where are you now, and what’s your next destination?

I am writing this in a bus station in Liberia, Costa Rica. I’ll be heading to San Jose in an hour and tomorrow I hope to visit my 192nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Talamanca mountain range.  Next week I’ll be heading to northern Canada to the Yukon.

2. You’ve traveled over 7 continents and visited over 116 countries. How do you keep travel interesting and exciting?

There is always something more to learn. You can spend your entire life traveling and never run out of new things to learn and experience. The Earth is much larger than any human lifetime.

3. You’ve got a great travel photography ebook that everyone should dowload. I was especially touched by the Red Shirt Protester in Bangkok, and the Kids in Canoe at Rennell Island. Can you share your photography process— do you set out to capture moments, or let them come to you spontaneously?

It all depends. Both of those images have interesting stories behind them.

Red Shirt protester in Bangkok

Red Shirt protester in Bangkok

The photo of the red shirt protester took place in Bangkok in 2010. There were huge political protests taking place in Bangkok while I was there. I went down to the main protest area several times to meet and photograph the protesters. One day they were going to hold a rally at the Prime Minister’s home which was only a block from where I was staying. I went down with my camera and was between about 10,000’s protesters and maybe 1,000 police in riot gear. It started to rain and all the other photographers took shelter. I had an umbrella with me, so I stood out in the middle of the street and took the photo of the single man standing in front of the police. It is one of my favorite images.

Kids in Canoe on Rennell Island

Kids in Canoe on Rennell Island

The photo I took on Rennell just happened. The Solomon Islands is a country which gets very few tourists. Rennell Island is off the main archipelago and gets maybe 100 tourists per year. East Rennell is a 20 mile drive from the airstrip (which is just grass) over coral. During that 20 mile trip we had 8 flat tires. At the end of the road is a large lake you then have to cross. I was told they get about 10 tourists a year in this part of the island. One day I visited one of the villages on the lake and the kids in the village had a blast following me around. When I left by boat, they hopped in a canoe to follow me, waving their arms the entire time. The photo I took was my parting shot of the kids as I left.

Great photos can happen at any time. Sometimes you can plan for it and sometimes they happen unexpectedly.

Underwater photography in the Great Barrier Reef

Underwater photography in the Great Barrier Reef

4. In yesterday’s blog post, you mentioned taking the bus in Costa Rica, and how confusing the bus system can be because there is no central bus depot. What do you think of Busbud’s mission, which is to gather the world’s bus travel information? Would this type of information help your readers in their travels?

Absolutely. In many countries such as Costa Rica and the Philippines, the bus system is very distributed. There are many different bus companies which run different routes from different places in each city. There isn’t necessarily a central bus station. There is also seldom any signage to tell you where to go.  The more information you have, the easier your life will be.

Bus in Queensland, Australia

Bus in Queensland, Australia

5. Can you share a memorable bus travel story with us?

I took a bus in Egypt from Luxor to Suez which went up along the Red Sea. The bus was so dilapidated that spent most of it sitting on a spare tire. I’ve never counted the number of countries I’ve traveled by bus in, but it is certainly a big number. Even in some countries with an extensive train system, I often end up taking a bus because it is cheaper and just as fast.

Hammock over water in Caye Caulker, Belize

Hammock over water in Caye Caulker, Belize

6. Finally, there are many random facts about you that people are surprised to discover, like the fact that you are a part owner of an NFL franchise, and you also have a huge collection of magazines and DVDS. For Busbud readers who hesitate to take on a long-term travel trip because they’d be leaving behind so much “stuff”, what advice would you give them?

Stuff can be replaced. The actual act of getting rid of much of your stuff is actually a rather therapeutic experience. Once you spend an extended amount of time living out of a bag, you realize just how little you need to actually get by. Most of what you need can be put into storage and it will be waiting for you when you get back.

Thanks Gary! You can get in touch with him on Twitter and Facebook.  Follow Gary Arndt’s adventures on Everything Everywhere.

Photos by Gary Arndt at Everything Everywhere

Q&A with Lainie from Raising Miro on Travel and the Road of Life

19 Jan
Miro and Lainie from Raising Miro

Miro and Lainie from Raising Miro

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Nicole and Cameron Wears from Traveling Canucks. Today, we’re happy to feature Miro & Lainie from Raising Miro.

Lainie and Miro are a mother and son team who have traveled to 12 countries and experienced many personal changes, living an inspired possession-free-lifestyle, volunteering and learning naturally. They are blessed to be accidental unschoolers and have become advocates for “life learning” at any age.

1) Where are you now? What are 3 reasons why you picked this place?

We are currently in Cusco, Peru. We have been in Peru for over a year already, and the last four of those months we’ve spent here, high in the Andes, deep in the Sacred Valley. There are several reasons that have initially drawn us here, and several more that have kept us here. Briefly, both Miro and I are taken aback with the powerful energy of this country. It’s a cultural, historical, mystical and harmonious place. The people, although culturally diverse, are kind and welcoming. But mostly the landscape, ruins, history and countless mysteries inviting us to participate deeper keep us here. Peru has provided a fertile ground for all kinds of investigation and natural learning for both Miro and myself.

Miro and Lainie in Tambapata

Tambapata, Peru

2) What has been your favourite place so far, and why?

Miro and I both have different answers as we both have different interests. For example, Miro’s very keen on some of the adventure aspects of our trip. Ica, Peru was one of his favourite spots because of the vast sand dunes (and the ever-so-fast dune-buggies that bounce up and down with speed ), the deep amazon jungle for the wild adventures, sounds and the first hand experiences of animal and plant life not found anywhere else on the planet, and finally the capital, for so many reasons that remind him of the comfort of home and it’s wonderful sushi eateries topping the list.

For me, I am enthralled with ancient cultures, archeology and mysticism. I love the southern coast of Peru, including Nasca and Paracas for stretching my imagination and allowing ‘other worldly’ ideas to become a part of my vocabulary (yes, I’m talking “Ancient Aliens”). I loved the jungle too, having spent days and nights acutely aware of my surroundings, being invited to be deeply planted in each passing moment of presence. But at the moment, my heart belongs in the Sacred Valley, near the ancient structures left behind by the Inca and the mysterious pre-Inca cultures, temping my imagination with each new star-gate, elongated skull, megalithic structure and petroglyth I personally experience.

Raising-Miro-Chan-Chan

Miro at Chan Chan

3) How do you decide on your next destination?

Two factors determine our ‘next destination’. First, depending on where we are geographically, we normally decide to go where is next (I know, very Zen.) Second, our destination depends on our budget. If we are inspired to go farther than where the next bus will take us, if we can afford to go, we will.

But how we decide is equally important to two other factors. First, Miro and I are partners in our journey. It’s based on a conversation between the both of us. If Miro feels strongly about one way or another, we talk about it. And vice-versa for me. Sometimes it’s about giving and taking, for example our 8 month stay in Lima was because Miro was very comfortable and wanted to be there. After a period of time, I was inspired to be closer to the archeological sites and that was my preference to move to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Yes, we are partners.

Next, we both are keenly in touch with our inspiration and our intuition. There had never been a case where Miro and I disagreed about a destination or moving on since our inspiration and intuition are finely tuned within ourselves and with each other. Being guided by inspiration is a blessing and we both listen.

On the way to the Ballestas Islands

On the way to the Ballestas Islands

4) I really enjoyed reading your perspective about unschooling and learning math, and I agree with you that ultimately, it’s up to the parents and their children to decide. But what about learning social iterations? I’m sure that by travelling together so much, you and Miro must meet a lot of people. What are some valuable social lessons that you’ve acquired and can’t be learned in a classroom environment

I’ve been told by many, the answer to this question should be the basis for a book. Maybe it will someday, since I’m certain I could fill many, many pages. But for now, would like to present a question to you, and your readers. When is there a point in our lives that we are NOT learning? It a matter of framing the experiences we are having as such.

You are right in assuming we meet people of all walks of life, all ages, all interests, all social and economical status. As humans we are social creatures and function within social structures. The difference between a child educated in the world, the world being his classroom, is that he / she interacts with a cross section that more represents life, because in fact, it is life! Children in traditional school systems are put in a classroom to socialize only with those of their same biological age. To me, that’s arbitrary and not conducive of learning social lessons. As for curriculum, math, other ‘educational’ topics, I invite you and your readers to visit our web site, as we talk a lot about learning, as in ‘natural learning’ which is also known as ‘unschooling‘.

In fact, you can read about my unschooling too.. (remember my question above about ‘when are we not learning?’ This also applies to me. )

5) What is a great anecdote you have about a bus ride you’ve taken in your travels?

Both Miro and I don’t mind bus rides, even like the long ones from time to time. We have been on two 40 hour bus rides at different times on our journey. And once in Guatemala, we were caught in a shuttle bus for 30 hours in a bad storm where the roads were literally washed out. In this case, Miro and I got to observe the best and the worst of ‘creating your own reality”. We were both patient, wide-eyed and accepting of what was happening. On the other hand, we were in the company of a couple of travellers who choose to experience the situation in a very negative manner. Both Miro and I were observers, and choose to learn in every experience, reflect and grow than making the choice to suffer, judge, or condemn what is happening. (Again, very Zen, right?) I wrote about that experience in detail here.

Miro with an Alpaca

Miro with an Alpaca

6) At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. Have you ever had difficulty going around to places due to language barrier? How do you manage communicate when you don’t speak a local language?

At this point, we’ve been traveling for the last 3 1/2 years in Latin America. My Spanish is embarrassing, but Miro’s is fluent. We’ve both learned what we’ve learned through listening. But there have been times and will continue to be times where we cannot communicate accurately with others. But I can say, the most important aspect of communication is tapping into your own humanity, recognizing that in others, and of course SMILE all the time!

Lainie and Miro at Machu Picchu

Lainie and Miro at Machu Picchu

7) Finally, do you have some advice for those who are seeking to be nomads like you?

I would say, fear is the most common reason people do not embark on a lifestyle like ours. If you are interested in a travel lifestyle and are frozen with fear, here’s my most valuable piece of advice:

First take your own journey inward. Learn to listen to what fears are coming, up, learn to decipher the difference in your fear voice or your inspiration.

This focus will keep you grounded when your rational mind is cycling through the giant to do list, feeling stressed and fearful, and experiencing self doubt. Yes, it’s all part of the experience, (and it’s magnified once you are on the road) unless you have tools to keep the surface noise in check.

Just what is that spark of inspiration that led you to this place? Let’s look at the ‘spark’ itself. Like any living thing, it needs attention to stay activated, to remain alive. Simply, give it attention. Give it attention often. Feel the feelings associated with your inspiration and just sit with it. With a little practice, you’ll be able to access that feeling at a second’s notice, and it’s there with you when you need it. And that connection will keep you safe and your journey fear-free. Then, you can get back to enjoying and appreciating all the ups and downs of travel, even those occasional 30 hour shuttle bus adventures!

Thanks Lainie! You can get in touch with her on Facebook. And follow Lainie and Miro’s adventures on Raising Miro.

Photos by Lainie Liberti at Raising Miro

Miro in Lima

Miro in Lima

Busbud Travel Book Holiday Giveaway: Share your Best Bus Travel Story, Win a Book!

18 Dec

This holiday season, we’d love to hear your greatest bus travel story! What beautiful landscapes have you seen? Where have you been? Who were you with? By sharing your story, you’ll get a chance to win one of five (5) copies of travel blogger extraordinaire Jodi Ettenberg’s new book The Food Traveler’s Handbook.

Jodi Ettenberg was born in Montreal and has been eating her way around the world since April 200. She is also the founder of Legal Nomads, which chronicles worldwide travel and food adventures. Prior to founding Legal Nomads in 2008, Jodi worked several years as a corporate lawyer in New York City. You can also read more about her awesome travels in our Busbud Q&A series with Jodi!

You can type your story (100 words max) or post a video link (1:30 minutes max). A total of five (5) winners will be selected: 3 random winners, 1 best short story and 1 best video. The judging panel consists of staff members of Busbud. Act quick, contest ends January 31st 2013!

For more info and to submit your bus story:
http://busbud.com/en/giveaway

Q&A with Cameron from Traveling Canucks: Marriage, Travel, and Finding Life Balance on the Road

23 May

Nicole and Cameron from Traveling Canucks

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we contact travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott from Uncornered Market. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with another traveling couple, Nicole and Cameron Wears from Traveling Canucks. Residing in Vancouver, Canada, this married couple has visited 50 countries in the past seven years.

Nicole and Cameron share a common passion for travel. In 2008, they traded their jobs for a backpack and a long checklist. After a year on the road, they chose to make their home in Vancouver, British Columbia, and continue to keep travel as part of their lives. They are living proof that it is possible to build a career and family AND travel the globe.

1) What’s your next travel destination?

Our next trip will actually be the first international trip that we take with our baby boy. We are flying to sunny Palm Springs, California! We can’t wait to catch some needed sun and relaxation; it’s been rainy and cold in Vancouver BC. Surprisingly, we have never been to Southern California, so we are really looking forward to the trip.

In the coming months, we plan to visit Honduras, Hawaii, Germany, Switzerland and France. So hopefully Baby B won’t have any issues with airplanes.

Easter Island

2) In a previous interview with CanadianLiving, you’ve given tips on how to keep a relationship healthy while on the road. What about the benefits of traveling as a couple?

We love traveling together because we always have someone to share the adventures and memories with. It’s nice to have someone to dine with every night or play cards while on a long train ride. We’ve been traveling together for 10 years, so we really don’t know any other way.

Traveling as a couple has helped us get to know and understand each other on a completely different level. We travel well together and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, making for a much better travel experience. In our opinion, exploring new places and experiencing new things is essential for a healthy relationship!

3) I’m a fan of your Photo of the Week series. What’s your favourite picture taken in Canada? How about one of your favorite in the rest of the world?

Wow – that’s a tough question! It’s so hard to pick just one. We really like the photo from Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. It’s a picture perfect turquoise lake that is dwarfed by giant snow-capped Rocky Mountains – it’s brilliant!

Canoe at Moraine Lake

It’s way too hard to pick one favourite photo from around the world, but we put together a collection of our favourite travel photos.

4) At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. Have you encountered moments in your travel where you found yourself wanting a service like this? And do you have a bus travel story you’d like to share with our readers?

Absolutely! It recently happened on our trip to Belize a few months ago. We booked our return flight to leave from Cancun and we had to figure out how to get from Belize to Cancun by bus. It was actually quite frustrating because most bus lines didn’t have a website that was up-to-date (many didn’t have one at all!).

One of the hardest parts about finding transportation in foreign countries is that it’s difficult to find a website in English that provides honest and accurate information. We can definitely see ourselves using a service like Busbud.

A bus travel story to share would be the one we took from Luxor to Dahab in Egypt. We were told by many tour operators that the bus trip would be approximately 14 hours. We were prepared for a 14 hour journey, what we were not prepared for was the 22 hour journey that it actually ended up being!

5) I’m actually traveling to Vancouver this spring to judge a swing dance competition. Any restaurants/venues that I shouldn’t miss in Van city while I’m there?

There are so many things to see and do in Vancouver; it really depends on what you’re interested in. It’s very possible there will still be great spring skiing on the local mountains in April, but that’s weather dependant. Walking around the Seawall at Stanley Park is a fan favourite, as is wandering the cobblestone streets of Gastown near Waterfront. Some fun places to enjoy drinks are Granville Street, Robson Street and Granville Island, which has local artist shops, fresh seafood and restaurants with amazing views.

We wrote an article about “Things the Locals like to do in Vancouver”.

Caramel candy apple at the Vancouver Summer Night Market

6) Finally, I really enjoyed your message about balancing career & family with traveling and chasing your dreams. I saw that you are even traveling with your baby this summer! What advice would you give people who are struggling to find balance in their lives? How do you make it all work?

We believe that everyone should travel, at least once a year (ideally more). It opens your eyes to new cultures, food, music, traditions and experiences. It’s a great way to connect with your partner, family and friends in ways you simply cannot do at home. This doesn’t mean you have to backpack across Southeast Asia or take a career break. But make an effort to experience the world, even if it’s just a quick weekend getaway.

So many people have said to us, “I guess now that you have a baby you’re travel days are behind you”. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. We now want to introduce him to the world and have a new purpose for our travels.

Finding balance in your life is essential. It really isn’t hard to achieve once you make it a priority. Start by setting small goals, like saving an extra $100 per month or planning a local camping trip. Life balance is different for everyone, but if travel is important to you then you must make time for it and understand that sacrifices will need to be made to reach your goals.

Nicole and Cameron from Traveling Canucks

Thanks Cameron! You can get in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter. And of course, visit the blog Traveling Canucks to follow their adventures.

Photos by Cameron Wears at Traveling Canucks

Q&A with Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads: On Traveling, Photography and Making Lifelong Friends

1 Mar
Jodi Ettenberg at Tichka Pass, the highest road in Morocco

Jodi Ettenberg at Tichka Pass, the highest road in Morocco

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we contact travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured our first traveling couple, Dan and Audrey from Uncornered Market. Today, we’re thrilled to share an interview with Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads, who was featured just last week in the New York Times. She’s a former lawyer from Montreal currently eating her way around the world, one country at a time. Jodi has been on the road since 2008.

1. Where are you now, and where are you headed?
I’m answering this on a flight from Istanbul to Amman, actually. Hurray for Gmail Offline. I spent the fall in Turkey, Morocco and England and am headed to Thailand again after my weeks in Amman. I can’t stay away from sticky rice too long.

Jodi Ettenberg at the Citadel in Amman

Jodi Ettenberg at the Citadel in Amman

2. You’re great at reporting and sharing stories that matter, both on your blog and on social networks. What gives you the drive to document all these stories and share them with your fans and followers?

There’s a bit of a delineation between the stories I share on the blog and the links and information I posted to Twitter. I used to have a newsletter I sent out daily as a lawyer that cobbled together the science, tech and political news of the day, with copious geekery thrown in. When I quit to travel, I stopped sending it out, but Twitter has become a repository for real-time distribution of links to learn from. On the other hand, the blog houses all the transportation misadventures, longer form narrative about spices, food and connecting with people as a traveler, and photoessays from the road. Throughout, I’ve tried to keep a sense of humour about the more ridiculous of stories; it’s always helpful to not take yourself so seriously.

In the coming months, I hope to bridge those two versions of my online self with a Legal Nomads newsletter. The newsletter will cobble together the best of the links from Twitter and Google+ and also round up the stories I’ve written, each with editorial. I’m looking forward to getting it off the ground because it’ll mean circling the two aspects of what I love to do online, both involving sharing.

3. I heard you had an Olympus EP-3 camera, and use it with a Panasonic 20mm 1.7 lens. I’ve got the same lens myself, coupled with a Panasonic GF1. How have you enjoyed the micro four thirds format so far, and what’s your favorite photo taken with this camera?

I really do love the new camera. People would write and ask what lens I was using from the Myanmar or Thailand photos, which is fun because (as you know) I was just using a point and shoot. The answer would be met with incredulity, as though you have to have a terrific camera to get a good capture. However, I have noticed a difference with the new E-P3 – photos are more crisp, the colour seeps through so much more beautifully and with the 20mm lens I’m able to get close and personal with what I’m eating.

Despite the camera’s lens being used primarily for macro shots, my favourite photo thus far has been from Istanbul, inside Ayasofia. The moody, gloomy lighting and complicated caligraphy combined with shooting through a pinhole has made this my pick. So many to choose from though; I’m like a kid in a candy store when I pour over the photos from the new lens.

Sulemaniye Mosque, Istanbul, shot through a pinhole

Sulemaniye Mosque, Istanbul, shot through a pinhole

Quiet waters  off Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)

Quiet waters off Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)

4. You wrote an entertaining post entitled “It’s Not a Proper Bus Ride Without A Chicken or Two” about public transportation in Laos. I guess it’s safe to say that traveling by bus gets you up close and personal to locals. Can you share a memorable bus story with us?

It’s true! I think that story was a wonderful one, highlighting the differences between our culture and those from elsewhere. The kids on the bus were all vomiting because of the ride, the entire group of us were laughing each time (as were the kids between retches) and what could have been a total disaster was actually a very funny and heartwarming trip.

One of my favourite bus moments was also one of the more absurd, when I was in the middle of a 30-hour gauntlet from Flores back to Lombok, careening atop a minivan with a goat in my lap. The ticket collector climbed up to the roof to ask me for a ticket, and I couldn’t help but laugh – with one hand holding the roof rail and the other holding the baby goat in my lap, there was no way he was going to get a ticket from me until we stopped.

5. How do you usually plan for a bus ride if you don’t find bus schedules online?

I ask at the hostel or place I’m staying, look at some of the forum responses online but what inevitably happens is that I arrive in a place and get to the bus station the day or two ahead of my planned departure, to get the bus ticket sorted and find out the schedules for the region overall.

Unusual road hazards while traveling

Unusual road hazards while traveling

Goat crossing

Goat crossing in Morocco

6. At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. Do you think this is a worthwhile goal, and one that would benefit the travel community?

I do! While there are many forums and great resources online, a bus-specific site is a great node for connecting people to necessary information, and I think buses are certainly a very common way to travel. The downside is the changeability of schedules and the fact that some buses just leave whenever they’re full, as opposed to when they are supposed to leave. But those are small hiccups in what could be a great, comprehensive database of useful information for the travel community.

7. You’re a fellow McGill alumni, like three of us at Busbud! What advice would you give students who are about to graduate and are choosing between travel and starting their career right away?

I highly encourage travel, of course, but I do think it’s great to leave the longer-term trips for later on, after a few years of work. For starters, it gives you some savings to have on hand before you go, but also some useful skills and dealing with management hierarchies before you’re on the road. It’s a controversial response because so many people do encourage going to travel at any point, but personally I was glad to have set up a worst case scenario to revert back to – if I stopped travelling, I could go and do legal work again. The contacts you make as you start out from school are great ones to have as you travel, and people who can help you get reacquainted upon a return.

A doorway in the old media of Essaouira

A doorway in the old media of Essaouira

8. Finally, you’re a great example of a person who has fully embraced travel and all that it has to offer. You’ve detailed many of the benefits on your blog, including how travel helps keep your life in perspective. Can you summarize what you think are the best benefits of travel?

I think travel is an education in and of itself. Combined with whatever you bring to the table as a citizen of the world, travel makes you more attuned to your surroundings, more adaptable when things go awry and more interesting as a human being. As you’ve said, it also helps you keep your life in perspective, helping you recalibrate to what life sends your way. It’s also a great way to make lifelong friends, all around the world.

Inle Lake: Nyangshwe & Pa-O Villages

Jodi and her friend Honza at a market in Myanmar

Hogmanay in Scotland

Hogmanay in Scotland

Thanks Jodi! You can get in touch with her on FacebookTwitter and Google+. And of course, visit her blog Legal Nomads to follow her adventures.

Photos by Jodi Ettenberg at Legal Nomads

Q&A with Dan & Audrey from Uncornered Market: A Husband-And-Wife Team on the Secrets to Long-Term Travel in 70+ Countries

17 Feb

Audrey and Dan on Camel at Giza Pyramids

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we contact travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Samuel Jeffery from Nomadic Samuel. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with our first traveling couple, Dan and Audrey from Uncornered Market. Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott are the husband-and-wife team that brings you deep stories from the 70 countries they’ve visited in the past five years.

Like National Geographic’s digital nomad Andrew Evans, Dan and Audrey have braved the cold in Antarctica. They do amazing video recipes. They have the most epic marriage proposal story ever. Through their adventures, they show how you can travel as a couple and have the time of your life.

1) Where are you now, and where are you headed?

Currently in Oaxaca, Mexico for a couple of months to catch up on a couple of projects. After that, we’re still in planning mode. Have a few places like Japan, Israel, South Africa, Australia on the brain for this year.

2) You aim to humanize the places you visit by drawing your readers in through photographs and stories. How successful have you been so far with your blog? And what’s the most rewarding comment you’ve received from your fans?

When we get comments like, “I’ve never thought about X country (or region), but now I want to learn more and maybe visit.” This was a common response to our articles on Bangladesh, Central Asia and Iran. We consider that a success.

As for the most rewarding comment, I can’t choose just one. But, I do know of readers who have taken their first trip because we gave them the inspiration and confidence to do so. And from that trip they have started exploring more in their lives. That means the world to us.

Salkantay Mountain in Peru

3) Since you’re the first featured married travelers on Busbud, I can’t help but ask you about your relationship. Can you share the challenges and the benefits of traveling with your significant other?

There are many of both! Dan and I often observe and process different things, so when we talk about a situation later it’s like we are both learning more from the experience as we have each other’s perspectives on top of our own. And we balance each other out when one of us is feeling sick or down, the other can pick up the slack. Long-term travel and spending so much time with one person does also cause stress where you start having silly fights and picking on stupid things. We wrote about how to balance all this out in an appropriately named piece called: How to Travel the World Together Without Killing Each Other.

4) You’ve got an amazing original series of videos available online in which you share what your adventures, the food you eat as well as the people you meet. Which video are you most proud of?

That’s a tough question! Our food videos are the most popular, but the one that we’re most proud of would have to be Battambang on a Bike from Cambodia. We’ve shown this short video to students in Estonia and the United States and we’ve been amazed at the response we’ve gotten from students on this and how it begins to question their assumptions about money, poverty, happiness and life around the world.

5) At Busbud, our mission is to make life easier for bus travelers. You’ve taken the bus in China, Cambodia and Argentina. Which country have you found most bus-friendly, and why?

Argentina has the best buses of the three. If you splurge for the high end service, you get champagne, wine and pretty good food. Often there is free wifi, too. In China, my suggestion is to take the train if you can.

Detaille Island in Antarctica

6. And for a related question, what do you enjoy most about bus travel?

Bus travel is slow travel, meaning that you see the progression and changes in landscape, people and culture go by. This provides understanding of the places you’re visiting. When you travel by plane, it can be a shock to land in such a different place without having the context of building up to it.

7) Finally, my favorite section on your blog is the “Make Me Laugh” section. You’ve got a great sense of humor, and you use your keen sense of observations to give us perspective on our lives through these articles. After all these years on the road, are you still surprised by what you discover on your travels? What keeps you going?

Each time we think we’ve seen it all, something else comes our way that makes us realize we’ve seen nothing. Just the other night, we were at a bar in Oaxaca when when a vendor came around with a little box selling electric shocks. Yes, electric shocks! Not sure why, but supposedly it’s a common game that people think is fun. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll always find something that will surprise you.

What keeps us going with our travels? Curiosity and people.

Thanks Audrey and Scott! I’ve attached one of my favorite video recipes from them below, on how to cook classic Thai dishes. You can find more videos on their Youtube channelYou can get in touch with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Like this interview? Read more awesome Q&A interviews with travel bloggers. Or like us on Facebook!

Photos by Uncornered Market

Q&A with Nomadic Samuel: Teaching Abroad, Epic Bus Journeys and… Ostrich Rides?

31 Jan

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we contact travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured with Matthew Kepnes from NomadicMatt. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with Samuel Jeffery from Nomadic Samuel, a travel blog featuring photos, videos & quirky travel stories along with photography tips, interviews, ESL tips, reviews and general travel advice.

Samuel Jeffery from Nomadic Samuel at Angkor Wat

Samuel Jeffery from Nomadic Samuel is not your typical travel nomad. Originally from Canada, he’s spent the majority of his 20’s overseas working diverse jobs in Asia. He’s visited 26 countries during his 6 years abroad, and his longest bus journey was 68 continuous hours from Quito, Ecuador to Puno, Peru! We’re happy to feature him today.

1) Where are you now, and where are you headed next?

I’m currently based in Asia as a digital nomad. I’ve most recently visited some friends in Korea and Taiwan and now I’m figuring out where to base myself. With so many attractive options it’s very hard to narrow it down exactly!

2) You’re a self-described jack of all trades with a long list of skills and careers. Which one of these skills have you found most useful while traveling, and which job have you found most fulfilling while living a long-term lifestyle on the road?

This is a great question! In my opinion, my skills and qualifications as a teacher have come in most handy while being based overseas. Prior to becoming a digital nomad I literally funded all of my backpacking expeditions through my savings teaching overseas. Now that I’m a digital nomad, I feel as though my skills as a travel writer, photographer and v-logger are what’s going to allow me to continue earning a living on the road. I think having the background as a teacher is very comforting because I know if for some reason I was struggling financially or not making ends meet with my travel related projects, I could always go back to teaching temporarily.

Taking a picture at La Paz

3) At Busbud, we’re focused on making bus travel easier. What tips would you give for new travelers, and which countries have you found most bus-friendly?

I’ve had some fantastic journeys by bus. Two countries that immediately come to mind when I think of excellent trips and services are Argentina and Chile. Not only were the buses modern and comfortable but I was also provided with delicious meals and other on board snacks and entertainment. For new travelers, I would suggest bringing enough items to keep you entertained. Charging your iPod, Kindle or other portable media player will allow you to pass the hours on long trips. Additionally, having some books or guidebooks to read are a great way to kill time. Finally, bringing some items such as a neck rest, sleeping mask and/or ear plugs will certainly help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

4) You’ve ridden by camel, horse, donkey, elephant and ostrich. Can you elaborate on the ostrich experience and how it compares to bus travel?

LOL! I can say immediately that I’d much rather be on a bus than an ostrich. If the ostrich was capable of speaking it would have said something like this: “You want to go on a ride? HA! I’ll give you one you won’t forget anytime soon.” It literally tore around the pen and I felt I was riding a bucking bronco. I would compare an ostrich ride to some of my the most treacherous bus journeys I’ve ever been on in Bolivia. In both cases, I was somewhat fearing for my life!

Climbing Macchu Picchu

5) Do you have an interesting bus story to share with our readers?

Although I have many tales of misfortune that I could get into I’ll pick something positive. When I was travelling in South America I met some of my closest friends that I still keep in touch with on various bus journeys. Many of my trips were 24 hours or longer providing the perfect opportunity to get to know whoever I was sitting next to. When traveling by bus I would suggest keeping an open mind. A great new friend might be sitting next to you.

6) You’re Canadian (like us!). What’s your favorite hockey team?

I’m a huge fan of Team Canada during the Olympics and World Juniors, but I must admit I’m a die-hard Chicago Blackhawks fan. Even worse is that I’m originally from a small town located on Vancouver island, so the recent rivalry between the Blackhawks and Canucks has been especially intense for me. I was in Sucre, Bolivia when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. I was prancing around the courtyard on this occasion and a mostly European crowd didn’t have the slightest idea what was going on.

Giant cactus in Norte Argentino

7) Finally, what’s the most rewarding thing that keeps you passionate about travel after 6 years and 26 countries?

The stimulation I feel from being in an exotic land and experiencing something new keeps me going. Furthermore, certain places I loved visiting feel more like home when I come back again. I feel like I’m living my life to its fullest potential when I’m on the road. I know this is what I’m meant to do. I still get goosebumps the same way I did on my first journey. I absolutely love what I do :)

Thanks Samuel!

Samuel Jeffery is the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of Nomadic Samuel Travel Site. He also runs other travel related sites like Smiling Faces Travel Photos. You can get in touch with him on Facebook, Twitter , Stumble Upon, Youtube & Google +.

Photos by Samuel Jeffery

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