This weekend, Audrey and I will be shaking hands and kissing babies, schmoozing and pressing flesh at a meet-and-greet with the well-traveled. Those of you in the circle know it as TBEX. To those of you outside the world of travel blogging — yes, Virginia, there really is such a thing — it’s the Travel Blog Exchange conference.
As we dropped in on PREBEX, an ad hoc pre-conference cocktail hour, it occurred to us that the networking process is probably a lot like speed dating: get your story across in a short time while listening to and understanding the story of the person to whom you are speaking.
Problem is, we’ve never speed dated.
So in the spirit of cutting to the chase, here’s our Pocket Guide to Uncornered Market (@umarket on Twitter). It covers some of the off-the-bat questions. And for those interested in digging a little deeper, it includes a section on our travel ethic.
For those of you at TBEX ’10, please say hello and let us know a bit about yourself. For everyone else: if you’ve ever harbored burning questions about us, now is the time to ask.
The Basics, Off-the-Bat
Q: How do you stay so good-looking while traveling to so many grotty places?
A: An occasional shower. Laundromats. Q-tips. $0.66 haircuts in Peru.
Q: Who are you?
A: We are an American husband-and-wife travel, blogging, writing and photography team on a journey around the world. Curiosity guides us, humanity is what touches us.
Q: How long have you been traveling?
A: At the time of writing, 1,298 days — since December 2006 when we swapped our jobs in Prague, Czech Republic to travel around the world. For the fuller — and more interesting — story, check out Wandering the Zeroes.
Q: How many countries have you been to?
A: Quite a few. Probably north of 70, but we really haven’t bothered counting. We propose a better quantitative proxy measure: median time in each country visited. For us, it’s not so much about how many countries you’ve been to, but how and how well you’ve grokked them.
Q: How do you stay sane and married after traveling all this time together?
A: Easy: a healthy supply of tranquilizers. Just joking.
Q: What is your style of travel?
Simple, budget, public transport, guest houses, street food, markets. Having said that, we do enjoy posh from time to time and graciously accept gratis invitations to 5-star properties
Q: What do you hope to do when you grow up?
A: Change the world, change minds. If that doesn’t work, we’re thinking street food vending in Varanasi.
Q: What do you write about on your blog?
A: Like a high-quality box of chocolates — you never know what you are going to get: a cros pollinator’s view of travel, socioeconomic perspectives, food, photography and microfinance.
Q: Where are you going next?
A: After two more weeks in the United States, we will return to Prague for a spell and steal off to an undisclosed location for a couple of months with the plan to visit East Africa in the fall.
Ethos: Who We Are and How We Engage
The story is in the stories.
Storytellers: Listen to this introduction from Arthur Frommer.
Practical: How to Travel Without Hugging the Bowl
Personal Growth: Living Deliberately
Idealistic: Travelers As Diplomats
Insightful: Seeing the Unseen in Patagonia
Atypical: An Unusual Look at Potosi, Bolivia
Ravenous: Peruvian Food Isn’t Just Ceviche
Assimilators: It’s one thing to do a million different things in your travels. It’s another when you draw the common thread: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Travelers
Adventurous: How to Drag Audrey Down a Volcano
Nuts: 1296 days on the road and carrying all this sh*t? Bona fides on crazy street.
Whether you find yourself online or offline, we look forward to continuing the conversation. And if you’ve had success in speed dating, please feel free to share your secrets.