Tag Archives | Taiwan

7 Questions With the Cruising Couple

Every so often we highlight another traveling couple.  We pick their brain for travel ideas, challenges and their best fights!  We want to introduce you to our friends Dan and Casey of acruisingcouple.com.

First off, here is how to get on the “boat” to follow the Cruising Couple:

Blog:  ACruisingCouple.com

Facebook: CruisingCouple

twitter: Dan and Casey

Couple travel1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

We were both really lucky to have a lot of independent travel experiences before we tied the knot. I think the total count is somewhere around 22 countries on six continents (we’re still working on Antarctica) although we only visited about half of those together. We have a lot of travel plans lined up for the end of 2013 and beyond, so we’re excited to be adding to that tally soon! If you are following our blog, you’ll probably notice some dramatic changes in the fall!

 

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

He said: Dumbledore. I mean, do I even need to explain this one? He can teleport in flashes of fire, eliminating any need for public transport. He is an epic dueler, so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting mugged. He can create objects out of thin air, so no need to sleep on the floor in an airport. Plus, a man who represents love and tolerance would probably have some pretty good insights on world travel.

She said: Nellie Bly. Not only did she travel around the world faster than anyone else before, she did it all as a solo-female traveler. When everyone else was telling her she couldn’t do it, Nellie Bly wasted no time in showing them wrong, And then she wrote about it in Around the World in Seventy-Two Days. She’s an inspiration to women, to world travelers, to writers, to anyone going against the status quo.  I can only imagine she’d be a pretty badass travel companion.

 

Couple Scuba3)You guys lived for sometime in Taiwan.  What was the best and worst part of being expats?

He said: One of the best parts about living in Taiwan is that everything is easily accessible and convenient. It’s a country the size of our home state, North Carolina, which means going from one side of the island to the other can easily be done in a day. There’s also the High Speed Rail, which makes travel even faster. We love how every weekend we can get out, explore, and see something entirely new, while still making it to work Monday mornings. The hardest part about being an expat is the communication barrier. It can be quite frustrating when we can’t understand what’s going on or express ourselves the way we would like to. We manage, but after nearly two years of living here our Chinese should definitely be a lot better. Of course, I have only myself to blame, and Taiwanese are extremely accommodating when it comes to speaking English.

She said: They say it’s the people that make a place, and when it comes to Taiwan, I totally agree. Taiwanese are extremely hospitable, friendly, and generous. The locals really want you to feel comfortable in their home country, and will do whatever it takes to achieve that. For example, when you ask for directions, it’s not uncommon for strangers to hop on their scooters and drive you wherever you need to go. During a recent cycling trip, we popped a bike tire in the middle of nowhere. It took twenty people to help us get the predicament sorted out, but every Taiwanese person who saw us made it their personal mission to fix the situation. It really is amazing how genuinely generous people in Taiwan are.  Of course, not everything is a walk in the park. Taiwan isn’t really a country that specializes in cheese and wine, two of my favorite food groups. You can find them, but you’re going to have to pay a small fortune for the good stuff. I try to just tell myself it’s contributing to my diet plan…

 

couple picture4)  If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?

He said: Maybe this is a cop out answer, but I’m going to say anything Casey made for dinner. She’s an amazing cook, even with our limited resources in Taiwan. As for where, anywhere with family and friends would be perfect.

 1000Fights: That is a cop out!  But we love it!

She said: Given my lamentations about the lack of cheese and wine in Taiwan, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. I would definitely want my last meal to be an Italian feast in Tuscany. Last time I was in Italy I literally gained twenty pounds. I just cannot control myself when it comes to pasta and wine and coffee and gelato and risotto. Gosh I think I’m starting to drool just thinking about it.

 

5) Holy cow! You guys had quite the honeymoon! Do tell!

Our honeymoon is where A Cruising Couple had its humble beginning. We knew we would be moving abroad right after we were married, so we didn’t really need all the traditional ‘stuff’ most newlyweds receive. We also didn’t want to just go to an exotic location for a couple days and that be the end of it.

Instead, we spent 8 weeks traveling across America in our Volvo station wagon, totaling around 9000 miles through 25 states. Our wedding registry included hotels, restaurants, gas cards, and ‘experiences’ to make our honeymoon possible. It was an incredible trip and start to our married life, as well as an amazing way to involve our family and friends in our cross-country adventure. We were fortunate enough to do things like hot air balloon riding in New Mexico, wine tasting in Napa Valley, and hiking in the Grand Canyon, just to name a few. Our honeymoon road trip was also the reason why we started A Cruising Couple, and realized people were actually interested in following along with our travel adventures. Two years later we’re still learning new things about travel blogging everyday, but loving it more and more!

 

traveling couple6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

He said: Lack of Universal clean water is a drastically under reported issue. With human impacts becoming more and more detrimental to our environment, the hunt for clean drinking water will become increasingly difficult. Poor and rural areas are going to feel the greatest effects but there are already some nifty and optimistic sustainable solutions popping up at science fairs around the globe.

She said: Human trafficking. In light of celebrities taking a stance against trafficking as well as Hollywood productions bringing the issue to light, I think most people have much more awareness about the issue today. However, it still blows my mind that human trafficking is the third largest international organized crime; that people are bought and sold, held against their will, and forced to do unperceivable things everyday. Definitely a complex problem worth solving.

 

kissing couple7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said: When we first arrived in Taiwan, for some inconceivable reason, Dan thought it was okay to drink water from the sink. We were both pretty experienced world travelers at this point, so I’ll never understand why Dan thought it would be a good idea to drink tap water. We argued about it for a while, until I finally gave in to Dan’s argument. Well, August in Taiwan is ridiculously hot, which meant we were downing that water left and right. I think we probably went through a couple liters before we read somewhere that, of course, you can’t drink unfiltered tap water.  That led to a whole different argument about whether we were going to be spending the rest of the night over a toilet or not. In the end, we decided to just get some rest at our hotel. 16 hours later we woke up, perfectly fine, and a little bit less cranky.

He said: We’re pretty lucky that we get along so well, and most of the time we’re able to talk through disagreements without them leading to fights. Or I just give in to Casey so I don’t have to worry about it ;-p I do like to give Casey a hard time for that popped bicycle tire she mentioned earlier. We were riding along that day, and I specifically told Casey to look out for some broken glass on the road up ahead. She claims she avoided it, but I swear I looked back and saw her run right over it, only to have a popped tire later that day. We’ll probably contest that until the day we die.

1000Fights:  a huge thanks to Dan and Casey for their candor!  What a fun couple!

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The Danger of Expectations (in Marriage and Travel)

One of the many precautions we take in our travels is getting the proper immunizations. Before our Amazon trek, we went in to our local medical clinic and said, give us everything you’ve got! We felt like human pin cushions! Those pesky shots, while painful in the short term prepared our bodies to reject the attack of those pesky yellow fever things. But no immunization or medication can protected someone from an unrealized expectation. We have found this out the hard way.

Perception is Reality?

We just returned from a two week trip to Asia, visiting both Thailand and Cambodia.    I had lived in Taiwan for a couple of years in college, this was Luci’s first visit to the Orient. It was so intriguing to watch her experience a new culture, and dispel and confirm some of her preconceptions. She thought that the food would be spicy, and it was! In other areas she discovered that she was completely off base. Each new place we visit we arrive with the rose colored glasses of glossy guidebooks. (That’s one reason we love the travel blogging community, for its candid un-gussied up descriptions.) As travelers, we tend to be  loaded with pre-conceptions. These notions rarely hit the mark.

 

Pinterest Perfect?

Just like travel, we build in our minds some times unrealistic expectations from our marriages/ relationships. We think things should be a certain way.  Simply because…that’s the way things happen in the movies or on TV. Why would we want to model a relationship after a fictional portrayal? #epicfail ! (I just used a hashtag as a complete sentence! Cross that off the bucket list!) Our culture, our environment push us to envision and quite frankly expect the ideal. Look no further than Pinterest to see well-meaning people create a palette of perfection. The never ending quest for the perfect wedding centerpiece. Then there’s the dress! All of this leads us to create in our mind an expectation, typically unrealistic and unattainable.

Is that really healthy?

How to overcome?

Some of the best advice we have ever received was offered by Javier, our young Peruvian guide in the Amazon Jungle. Before embarking on our night safari in the Jungle he counseled us, “don’t set your heart on seeing any one animal or insect..just enjoy what you find in the jungle.” Wise words for sure. We have often reflected on this advice. Enjoy the ride. Don’t say..i want this, that and the other or the experience is an abject failure. Don’t do that to yourself. Enjoy the journey for what it is. Leave your expectations at the lodge of life and open your heart to the experience.

Finding the perfect in the one you love

Come up with your own perfect. One thing that we have discovered in 15 years of marriage and 25 some years of friendship is that neither one of is perfect. We likely know each other’s flaws and quirks better than anyone else in the galaxy. For a relationship to thrive, we can’t expect our lover to be a combo of every perfect character we have read about in Jane Austen novels. Likewise, it is completely unrealistic and a little dangerous to expect our sweetheart to look like a supermodel 24/7. It is up to us to find the best in those we love, especially our significant other.

 

How do you overcome your preconceptions? What are your secrets to rejecting the pressure for perfection? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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