Someone is a traveler since he was three months old and another one took time to be absorbed by it. When they met some years later, they fell in love and have made the world their home. Albert and Carrie’s journey is one of remembrances, of contemplation, of a beautiful friendship and a traveling couple trying to make the world a better place.
Hello, Albert! Welcome. I have been trying to get to you since the past month. We finally come to talk! 😊 How are you doing?
I'm doing well! We returned over a week ago from a pretty epic trip to #hongkong #taiwan and #Doha
Hongkong, 2019. PC: Albert
Oh wow! Why don't you talk about this recent trip of yours before we move on to the major questions pertaining to your travels? How long was this trip?
So we traveled for nearly two weeks! Splitting our time between #Hongkong and #Taiwan.
Oh and the food... Luckily for everyone, our [guide] (https://www.backpacking-with-the-bonds.com/the-best-guide-you-can-get-for-hong-kong) to #honkong will be published later today/early tomorrow!!
This looks delicious! And how long was the entire trip? Any challenges you faced there? How different was it from the rest of your trips?
We spent 5 nights in #Hongkong and 5 nights traveling around #Taiwan. It was a little different because we hadn't traveled to Asia in a couple of years and we were traveling with friends. We hadn't traveled with them in several years.
Wow! Carrie has been to China on her very first trip. So, I am sure this trip has been extreme fun for you guys! Cheers!
So Albert, let’s start with the inception of your journey on the road of traveling. If you could just tell us about it in a nutshell?
Sure thing! So I'm Albert, one half of Backpacking with the Bonds! Carrie is sorry she can't join us today.
I started traveling at a very young age, 3 months to be exact and basically haven't slowed down since!
Together, Carrie and I have been traveling since we met back in 2007.
Albert and Carrie in Bahrain. PC: Albert
Wait! 3 months! You have been on the road before your neurons fused consciousness! Wow! And after you met Carrie there has been no looking back, right? I really wanted both of you to join today, but perhaps it's fine! So, tell us about how you two met. Was it in a trip?
Sort of I guess.
We met serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in #Jordan. It was our mutual love of travel that led us to each other. While we lived in different parts of Jordan during our service we traveled a lot throughout Jordan to see each other and to neighboring countries when we had the chance.
There are people who dream and aspire your life! What was the first trip that you two took together? How was it like?
It was to #Cyprus in early 2008. It was a good escape from #jordan for a bit, but also a chance to learn more about each other, especially the way we travel.
Travel tests you in ways normal life doesn't and seeing how people respond or the decisions they make is a great insight into the sort of person they are.
#Cyprus was just the beginning! Our trips have become more interesting and adventurous ever since.
I can relate. The first time I went to a village bordering Bhutan, a tough mountain hike took out a facet of my character. It's really the best way of finding ourselves. From that day I promised I wouldn't panic and scream at my fellow travelers for not being up to the mark.
You are stationed in Jordan in the heart of the religious trail as you mention in your blog. Do you think religion is a major influencer of a section of people to travel?
I think to some extent. There are several Christian religious sites dotted throughout the Jordan Valley and the region around #madaba (where I served in the Peace Corps). Jordan receives a fair number of tourists because of the religious sites, but most people come because of #petra. Jordan's number one draw for tourists.
Mount Nebo, Jordan. PC: Albert
Religions (more than one) have mingled in these places and they really prove the world is one. Despite what fundamentalists say. But tourists and travelers share widely different opinions about the Middle East from the mainstream media. Why do you think this happens?
Oh man, that's a big question to answer.
I think part of the issue is the conflicts impacting some countries in the region. People tend to generalize.
#Jordan is very safe to visit and as far as big cities go #amman is very safe.
That's not to say people should go and travel to #syria or #yemen. Far from it. Much of the region is peaceful and well worth visiting.
And how has been your experience in the middle east?
Our experience has been great. We wouldn't be living in #Jordan for a second time if we didn't feel that way. One of our favourite places we've traveled to is #Oman.
Its landscape is absolutely stunning and it has a rich history and culture. #Bahrain was another surprise favorite of ours! We’ve traveled to most of the Gulf (all except #Kuwait) and #Bahrain has been our favorite.
Excellent fall and winter weather, amazing food, and compact enough that you can actually walk places. Not to mention the museums too!
People like you are the connecting threads of the long, lost worlds and their people. You all fight against what's given and mainstream. Perhaps, living in one of the most ancient cities of the world did this to you. Talking about Syria, it was also the seat of peace and culture until history happened to that place. I wish I could go there one day and just look at the landscape. Moving on, if you could show us your homeland through pictures, it would be great! Perhaps, history is embedded in all its walls!
I grew up moving around a lot, but if I have to come up with a single place that would be #WashingtonDC and there is, of course, a lot of history there!
The blog of your homepage says ‘We both saw the positive (and negative) impacts that tourism can have while living in Jordan.’ Could you elaborate a bit on that?
Tourism, unlike any other industry, brings the consumer (tourists) to the location of production (destination). This means locals can benefit greatly if they're part of the industry.
The problem arises when locals can't participate. Part of our approach is trying to support locals when traveling and this means as often as we can to stay in locally owned hotels and frequent locally owned restaurants and shops.
Today tourism is about big brands, luxury and completely taken over by MNCs. Amidst all this, locals get submerged. You engage vehemently in responsible travel.
What are your thoughts when you see a pristine and untouched beautiful place? Does this wish of hiding that place occur to you?
That's a great question.
Just stressing that others be mindful when traveling. It's a good way to help make sure the beach or whatever site doesn't become ruined in any way.
We would certainly want others to experience it and by doing so, others would support the locals who might depend on tourists. We would set about by highlighting the destination through the local options, and ways to mitigate the negative impact that could occur such as a reduction in plastic usage while traveling.
Great initiative! Locals have a way of preserving the habitats they reside in. Mnc's have no such stake. Could you tell us about one of the most pristine places you have ever been to which you would like to preserve the way it is with your life!
I think it's important to note that some MNCs are starting to notice the trend and reasons for sustainable practices and are finding ways to do a better job.
The most pristine place was #Svalbard high up in the arctic circle (we have a guide)! It was such an incredible experience to be somewhere so beautiful and remote.
With today's globalized world it's often hard to find places like that on earth. Some of the most stunning landscapes on earth are found in #svalbard.
The breathtaking landscapes of Svalbard. PC: Albert
It's a good thing to hear that MNCs are finally changing their mode of operations. Yet, personally, I would always trust a local more with that duty!
Moving past Albert, your travels include Europe, Middle East, North America and Asia. If you had a sentence to spare for each landmass, how would you describe each? Take your time, Albert. And one favorite travel memory from each?
Wow! OK. So for the Middle East, it has to be the history. Its location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa has left its mark on the region, for better or worse. Many important sites can still be seen today.
Albert in Petra
As for North America. It has some of the most diverse landscapes on earth. From the stunning coastlines of Prince Edward Island on Canada's East coast to the dramatic desert landscapes of the western United States. North America has it all.
Europe's architecture is a major draw for me. I love nothing more than exploring some of Europe's treasured historic cities!
As for Asia, it has to be food. I can't think of a better place for street food or of a more vibrant food scene than what we had on our most recent trip.
Doesn't it look delicious?
So, you answered my next question! So, which country's cuisine has stayed with you till date?
Definitely, have to go with the food in #HongKong and #Taiwan!
Okay! How did Bangladesh change your perspective about life?
It was my first trip to a developing economy (2002) that I was able to remember.
__The level of poverty and lack of infrastructure (at the time) really stuck with me. __
I returned two years later for an internship with a microfinance organization. The people I met were so friendly.
It stands out as well because it was the first time I traveled somewhere that was completely off the grid when it comes to tourism and I was able to really experience the country. There's so much to see and do there!
Yeah! And perhaps this land has seen the most terrible facets of humanity this world can conjure!
Talking about over-tourism, have you been to places which used to be beautiful once but now the local ecosystem of nature and humans have been completely disrupted due to tourism?
Two places come to mind.
One I went to years ago #Venice and the other just two weeks ago #Macau.
What makes the experience unbearable for me is the sheer volume of people that visit certain places. We do our best to avoid them at all costs or visit in the low season.
What hurts the most is the amount of pressure exerted on #nature and the locals there.
It was great chatting with you, Albert! We wish you all the very best in all your future travels. Your love will change the world someday. Keep up the good work!
Albert is one half of a couple who are vehemently involved in responsible traveling with an urge to ...