We are so pleased to be able to catch up with Jessica and Hai from Notes of Nomads. It’s so much fun to follow this Australian couple as they decided to seize the moment and travel around the world together. Having traveled through over 40 countries, these two have seen quite a lot and have some great stories to tell! So we hope you enjoy this segment as Jess & Hai share with us their Love of Travel.
How did the two of you meet & when did you know that you shared a passion for travel?
Hai: We met at our part-time job back in our university days in Melbourne where we both worked in the electronics department of a large department store. Jess doesn’t actually remember the first time we met. Several shifts in after transferring to the city store from the countryside where she grew up, she introduced herself to me again. Seriously, how can you not remember a name like ‘Hai’ (hi, hello!)? 😉
We worked together for a couple of years before we started dating and during that time Jess was travelling as often as she could during university holidays and as part of her courses as well. I guess I wasn’t overly passionate about travel in those days. Travel is something that I was planning on experiencing sometime in my life, Japan particularly was a place I planned to get to; it just wasn’t on my immediate radar.
But after hearing Jess’ tales of places like India and Bangladesh during work breaks as she kept trying to remove the henna from her hands to avoid another remark by management, the idea of travelling sooner rather than later and to countries I hadn’t even considered before grew on me. Six months into our relationship, we were already planning a round-the-world trip together and I was happy to have found someone who I could pursue my growing interest in travel with. It was on that first trip we took together that I realised I truly loved the travel lifestyle too.
Where in the world are you guys now?
Jess: We are currently house-sitting in Berlin where we are looking after two seriously adorable cats! House-sitting is something that we have been getting more and more into recently, especially as we are trying to slow down our movements after a hectic past seven months.
We have been on the road continuously this time around since June 2013 on a trip that we envisage spanning two years and, fingers crossed, all the way to that 7th continent.
We started in SE Asia and then gradually made our way to Europe by train. Where we go after Berlin is still undecided. We tend to leave these decisions until rather last minute. It is not always the best strategy, but it does give us a lot of flexibility to follow opportunities as they arise, and we have that freedom to thank for some of our most unexpectedly rewarding travel experiences.
When did travel become such a big part of your lives together?
Jess: At the end of our first trip together and we didn’t want it to end! It was a trip that spanned six and a half months and took us to nine countries and five continents. We started the trip as a relatively new couple in sweltering India and ended it engaged on top of the Empire State Building in New York. From then on, we not only knew we were meant to be together but that travel would also be a big part of what we do. It has been just one big plan as to how to make our next adventure happen since then.
We Love your Open Travel Diary series! What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is thinking of getting out of their comfort zone to travel around the world?
Jess: It’s never as scary as you think when you get there.
I believe that the most anxiety-inducing time is pre-travel. Let’s face it, there’s a lot to think about. And doing something out of your comfort zone is daunting at the best of times, let alone in a foreign environment.
There are all kinds of little things that you start to worry about. Hopefully the excitement will outweigh or at least equal your anxiety. But even if it doesn’t, don’t allow the fear of something new stop you from trying. Anxiety comes with change. Whether you have travelled before or not, everyone can relate to some instances in their lives when change has made them nervous: first day at a new school or a new job, perhaps. We worry about so many things that are quickly answered after a few periods or meetings, and by the time second week rolls around, we are already finding our feet and settling in to a new routine.
Travel is no different. You’re probably going to worry about how you’re going to get around, or how you’re going to communicate and which of your ten dresses you’re going to pack. But in reality, once you get there, you quickly realize that other travellers are around trying to do the same kinds of things, that you’re actually pretty good at communicating in sign language and that it really doesn’t matter whether you brought the blue or the green dress. It all seems so insignificant now with all that you are seeing, doing and experiencing.
Be smart and do your research before you go to maximize your time away, but don’t worry if you can’t find the answer to every little question you have. Just breathe and go. You’ll work things out when you get there. You did at school and work, right?
This one is for Hai, and it’s a tough one. What’s been your most favorite place that you have photographed?
Hai: That’s definitely a tough one, but I’d have to go with Tokyo. During our four years living there, I developed a real interest in street and people photography. And there’s no shortage of interesting people to photograph in Tokyo! There are so many subcultures that you don’t get to see elsewhere. If we take fashion as an example, a suited-up office worker on a weekday, can turn a dolled-up maid on the weekends and nobody will bat a fake eyelash. Japan is full of contradictions, juxtapositions and layers.
When I look back on photos over the years, it’s the ones of people that I am most drawn to. Even the most technically flawed image of an interesting face, of an emotion captured in time, is more appealing to me than the most beautiful sunset. It is these emotions that I want to convey in my images and Tokyo has given me endless opportunities to practice my craft. It will always be a very special place for us.
** All photos were kindly provided by Notes of Nomads
We would like to thank Jess & Hai from “Notes of Nomads” travel blog for sharing their love of travel with us. We wish them the best and look forward to hearing about their upcoming adventures together as they continue to explore the world together! Be sure to check out their blog for great travel stories, beautiful photographs, and inspiration at http://notesofnomads.com.