VACATIONS. ARE. THE. BEST. And when they involve a lot of discovery travel and/or adventure? Returning back to normalcy is too tough. But what if travel life could be the definition of ‘routine’?
Meet Dominique Binggeli and René Nussbaumer who’ve been travelling the world for 6 months now! When they met, Dominique was tied up with her apprenticeship, but always intended to leave Switzerland for good and settle someplace warmer. They waited until Dominique’s apprenticeship ended and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime!
After an exciting and emotionally challenging goodbye to Switzerland, they travelled to South Africa- Johannesburg, Pretoria, Namibia, Zambia, amongst other places. They left their jobs and apartment, travelling with minimal items (more importantly- cruelty-free grooming products). They are currently travelling in India, exploring our cities, towns and their varied culture. They’ve captured all their adventures, in their blog 1heart1soul1planet.
They introduce themselves as “Two free birds who have left their nest and flown away…”
At the time of answering my questions, they were in Hyderabad, enjoying the Biryani there, I assume. Here’s what they had to say about their experiences so far-
love for adventure
René has been in love with adventure and exploration ever since he was a child. He went on his first US road trip, with his family, when he was 4. It got him hooked on the feeling. He’s gone snowboarding in the Swiss Mountains (he also got hit by an avalanche), kitesurfing in Egypt, hiking on volcanoes in Indonesia, diving in the Maldives (in spite of an ear infection) and to other places. He says he can’t imagine his life without adventure.
Dominique hopped onto the wanderlust waggon a little later in life. In 2015, René had planned a 6 week trip to Thailand for his divemaster certification and Dominique decided to go along. She went backpacking around Thailand for 3 weeks, before joining Rene towards the end of his course at Koh Tao. This was when the travel bug lit up in her and they began hatching plans.
How adventure has changed them
A friend had once told her- “when you travel, you don’t only explore the world, you also explore yourself” Dominique, an introvert, used to find getting out to go grocery shopping, cumbersome. She admits backpacking around the world and staying around strangers is challenging. Sometimes, she wants to simply book a double room instead of a dorm, and stay under the cover for days. With René with her, Dominque says she has pushed her limits further that she could imagine. There have been ups and downs, but the travel has changed her. She’s tapped into her creativity, finally gotten started on her book (after an accident in Namibia), and grown stronger, yet sensitive.
Because René has always been participating in adventure travel, there hasn’t been a stark transformation. But travelling through poor countries with low standards of living has taught him to appreciate the privileges he grew up with and the importance of protecting our environment. René also recalls the year when two of his friends happened to meet with accidents, one while speed flying, and the other while snowboarding, and says this has left him humbled.
The average day
If they don’t have to travel to somewhere, the day starts around noon. After cheap food at a local restaurant, they decide their agenda depending on where they are staying. Options include strolling around town and taking pictures or getting beers with friends they’ve made on the way. Or they might work on their website, back at their guesthouse. This is time-consuming, apparently (Yeah, tell me about it!)
They recommend taking local transport and staying with locals, if possible. Also, travelling during off season to avoid mobs of tourists is a great idea. When in rural areas, if they weather looks right, they might go off on a hike. And of course, if there’s a beach in a vicinity, they are invariably lounging there!
Believe it or not, they’ve been living purely off their (not very princely) savings so far. Their travel is not yet generating them any income. Frugal is the way to go- they always choose the cheapest mode of transport, stay and food. They are on a budget and have managed to stay within its limits.
Often, they have to let go of opportunities to go diving or rafting, because they cannot afford it. In Botswana, they had gotten a neat little system going- they volunteered on an organic farm, getting free food and shelter in exchange. In case their money runs thin, they’re sure of picking up work on the way to get by.
They want to see as many places as possible during this trip. They plan to move East and travel through the rest of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and North America.
“There is no detailed plan however, since things can always change- especially the politics and therefore the safety of a country. But hey, we love surprises.”