Who's out there now?

Who’s Out There Now? Jess and Dany

Written By: jeff

Posted On: October 19th, 2010

travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

GlobetrotterGirls, Jess & Dani, before entering the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave in Belize. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

In this week´s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Jess and Dany, who are traveling the Americas and documenting it all on GlobetrotterGirls.com. In addition to some standard blogger fare on their site, it has some unique categories like information on their ¨Travel Mishaps¨, ¨Housesitting¨ and ¨LGBT¨.  It will be fun following these “girls” around during 2010 and 2011.

1.  So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

We are in San Ignacio, Belize, 12 miles from the Guatemalan border. We were actually planning to already be in Guatemala but have spontaneously extended our stay in San Ignacio to do an extra tour. There is so much more to see here in Belize than we had ever imagined.

2.  What finally pushed you to take the plunge and travel for a while?

We were finally able to. We are both working freelance, so why not do it from abroad? The idea seemed feasible, we both are travel junkies and we decided that if we didn’t do this now, we might never do it in such a long-term capacity at all.

travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Dani & Jess - Cave Explorers in Belize. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

3.  You’ve got some amazing photography on your site. What types of subjects inspire you?

Dani: I am always inspired by beautiful landscapes, and by people in their daily lives, though most of the time I am still too shy though to ask for permission to take portraits. The wide open sky also always inspires me to take photos.

travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Dani & Spider Monkey in Belize. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

4.  Mexico has been in the news a lot lately because of the drug violence in the north.  How have you found the safety of the country traveling around?

This is a great question and one that we spent a lot of time thinking about both during our adventure there and before we even set off in April of this year. We were warned constantly to skip Mexico because it was too dangerous to travel there. With so many loved ones and friends worried about such a trip, we made a compromise to start in Mexico City and work our way down, thereby skipping the drug violence taking place in the north. In total we spent nearly 12 weeks in Mexico and found it a friendly, safe place to visit, and we would certainly consider going back and even doing much more travelling in the regions north of Mexico City. The locals were all so helpful with the language, directions, and more importantly sharing their culture and customs with us. It was very clear that between the 2009 H1N1 crisis and the ongoing drug violence, Mexicans are very aware of how important restoring tourism in the country is. Of course, we know that there are dangerous places and situations in Mexico, especially in the north, and we know that we were especially lucky not to have had one negative expereince in our entire time in Mexico. As we talked about in our own reflections on the issue of safety in Mexico (http://globetrottergirls.com/2010/08/travel-in-mexico-safe-or-not/), you need to take the same safety precautions in Mexico as in any country you visit, remain aware of your surroundings and use your street smarts.  But definitely go to Mexico! The ease of travel, the delicious food, and the colourful customs, along with the friendliest people we’ve come across so far!

travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Globetrottergirls in Chichen Itza, Mexico. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

5.  Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trip?

Nomadic adventure – in a way we’re backpackers, but because we work and travel, we would probably more consider ourselves digital nomads. We don’t have the ultimate freedom that a backpacker has as we work fulltime but we have a certain level of economic freedom that a backpacker doesn’t as we earn a constant salary. We have successfully created a nomadic lifestyle for ourselves, one which we hope to be able to extend for as long as possible.

6.  What are some of the secrets to travel that you´ve discovered that you think more people who aren´t traveling should know?

The first thing is that travel and vacation are two different things. Travel is seeing the world, whereas a vacation is taking a break from your everyday life. We even take vacations from our traveling lifestyle.  The most important myth to debunk is that travel is expensive. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive at all. The more you travel, the more travel savvy you become. A great way to keep on a tight budget is to pay the prices that the locals would pay. Why book a $40 bus when the locals all go by shared mini-van for a fraction of the price?  Pick and choose your organized tours carefully, not every destination/attraction requires a guide and save package trips for a nice break within your travels. There are a million ways to travel on a tight budget – and budget travel is what gets you out of a resort and into the ‘real’ destinations.

Another thing we have learned is that the majority of people are good people. We have been on the road now for five months, and have not once felt in danger. From what we have seen so far, people are proud of their country and happy to share their culture with you.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Globetrottergirls in the Jungle in Belize. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

7.  You are one of the few travel blogs that actually has content specifically for the LGBT community. Based on your experience so far, do you think there are any special considerations for gay travelers.

On the one hand, as gay and lesbian travellers it is our responsibility to do the research on a given destination to find out the attitudes about LGBT issues there and to respect each country’s culture and laws. On the other hand, the LGBT community is no different than any other community when it comes to travel – we all want to trek Macchu Picchu or walk the Great Wall of China. Marketing that targets the ‘pink’ dollar by offering up special nightclubs or destinations stereotypes and aims at only one slice of the LGBT community.

That said, it is refreshing when a hotel/hostel owner clearly understands that the one bed will be just fine without asking too many questions and making the situation awkward. Discretion is something that unfortunately tends to go out the window with most budget accommodation.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Globetrottergirls in Tulum, Mexico. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

8.  What was your first “We’re not in Kansas (London) anymore” moment?

Our first 70 days in the States were no surprise, as Jess is from Chicago, and Dani has been there many times.  Our first “we’re not in Kansas” moment came from walking out of the hotel in daylight on our first day in Mexico City. The music was booming out of every shop at full blast, the streets were packed with people, and we were suddenly surrounded by the sounds of the Spanish language. We adjusted quickly, hitting up the first taco stand along the way to the central park.

9.   What’s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

We stayed in a house outside of Oaxaca in the ‘Colonia’ of San Luis Beltran. The house was by far one of the nicest in the area and not entirely visible from street. The majority of houses consist of a patchwork of aluminum siding and wood nailed together. The dirt roads are serviced by motorized tuk-tuks and chickens, roosters, cows and sheep roamed the streets. Between dilapidated buildings were small patches of land growing corn, next to a used tire lot. Though the people had next to nothing, they were the easily some of the friendliest we met in Mexico. Our neighbor made us corn tamales and waited up to make sure we got home safely when we were out late one evening. We were the only non-locals in the area and on any of the buses, and it was by far one of the best experiences we’ve had so far on the trip.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Dani & Jess on a Temple in Tikal, Guatemala. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

10.  What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Our first Metro experience in Mexico City was by far the most embarrassing. In high traffic times, the Metro is separated into male and female cars. Our first trip using the Metro was early morning rush hour, and we hopped right in as if it were the London Underground. Within a minute or so we realised we were the only women in the car, and were easily a head taller than all the men, plus we were speaking a foreign language. Packed in tighter than sardines, we glanced to the car next to us and saw a much more relaxed car filled only with women. As soon as we realized we were in the wrong car, we fought our way out of the hundreds of men at the next stop. Some of the men started yelling at us in English ‘push, push’ so we could make it out before the doors closed.

11.  What´s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Travel slowly and don’t feel the need to stick to a pre-determined schedule. If you feel really comfortable in a destination, extend your stay. If you don’t like it, leave. This is your trip and no one else’s so visit the places that feel the best to you. Rushing from place to place in order to ‘do’ the whole country is pointless if you only see the surface of a place.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Jess driving a golf cart on Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Copyright GlobetrotterGirls.com

12. Of course, I’ll be seeing you when you get to Colombia, right??? (Hint. Hint.)

Yes of course! We’re not sure when, but we hope to hit South America by January and we absolutley love meeting people from the online travel community along the way!

13. Finally, our lightening round.

  • Best dish you’ve found so far – Huevos Motulenos (similar to huevos rancheros) for Dani.  For Jess, bean and potato tacos from a vendor on Calle Uruguay in Mexico City.
  • Most exotic food eaten – Flor de calabaza quesadillas in Oaxaca – ‘Flor de Calabaza’ is the flower of zucchini/squash.
  • Most breathtaking moment – For Dani it was the Grand Canyon, for Jess it was snorkeling in shark and stingray infested waters off of Caye Caulker, Belize.
  • Biggest disappointment – For both of us it is not having travelled overland from California into Mexico through Tijuana, opting to fly into Mexico City instead.
  • Most memorable place – Very tough! For Jess, Valladolid, Mexico. Dani: The Canyons in Northern Arizona, especially Lower Antelope Canyon.
  • Most memorable person – Julia, our neighbor in Oaxaca, Mexico. She lived in a tiny one-room house with her husband and three daughters which didn’t even have a proper floor. Despite the fact that they had no space, next to nothing, and had to collect gallons and gallons of water out of a well every morning, Julia still made time to make us tamales, fix our stove and wait up for us when we were late to arrive home. She was by far one of the most friendly people we’ve met along the way.
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride – Dani says a good book, while Jess says sleeping pills.
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride – Diarrhea or motion sickness.
  • Best thing you packed – our netbooks.
  • Dumbest thing you packed – At the start of the trip, we way overpacked and ended up filling an entire duffel bag of useless stuff and giving it to a friend before we left for Mexico. The funny thing is that we don’t even remember what was in that bag.
  • Funniest travel habit your partner has – Jess says that Dani should not stop to pet every single cat or kitten that crosses our path, or buy so much dog food for the countless strays.
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer – we both agree Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

You can follow Jess and Dany online at GlobetrotterGirls, on Facebook and on Twitter @TravelWorkLive

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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One Response to “Who’s Out There Now? Jess and Dany”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sherry Ott and BriefcasetoBackpack, GlobetrotterGirls. GlobetrotterGirls said: Learn more about us: We were interviewed Jeff for his Who's Out There Now? series on http://careerbreaksecrets.net http://bit.ly/bmTqkv [...]

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