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Who’s Out There Now? Audrey & Dan

Written By: jeff

Posted On: January 18th, 2011


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

Dan and Audrey at Machu Picchu, Peru. Copyright

In this week’s ¨Who´s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Dan and Audrey, the traveling powerhouse duo behind the popular travel site, Uncornered Market. This is the first interview in the series with travelers who are more traveling nomads rather than career breakers. But, they have the ¨Because Life Is Out There¨ spirit I like.  They’ve hit all the continents in the world including Antarctica, which is when I first discovered them online.  I then got to show them around Bogotá when they passed through on their way to the States last year. They’ve got great travel videos and photos so check them out.

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

From a little house on the beach on the island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand.


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

Audrey and Dan in Prague, The Czech Republic. Copyright

2. So, how did you come up with the name of your site. How does it reflect your traveling style and philosophy?

We threw around the concept of Uncornered Market before we even decided to launch the website. We’d like to think of ourselves as cross-pollinators. And we were looking to create a platform to share our ideas, one whose name suggested “open and free.” Not to mention, in many countries, markets are where news and information is exchanged between people from all walks of life. We feel that there is no “right” way on how to live or do something. And we don’t seek to corner the market on our experiences, but to share them.

3. You are really well known for your photography.  What are your favorite types of subjects to shoot?

We really enjoy photographing people, especially in market scenes. In many parts of the world, markets are where the action is.  They provide a window on an interesting, approachable, and colorful slice of society. Oh, and food, particularly street food. We also really enjoy working with microfinance organizations as photographers (e.g., Kiva). We use our photography to help share the story of the organization’s work in the field and the inspirational stories of the people (usually women) who use small amounts of credit to build a businesses – and better lives for their families.


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

Dan and Audrey in Antarctica. Copyright

4. Is there any country, city or region of the world that you consider ¨home¨?  Why or why not?

This is always a difficult question. Home is where our family is on the east coast – Scranton, PA and Vienna, VA.  But it is also Prague, to some extent.  We lived there from 2001-2006 before setting off on this journey.  We have friends there and it’s familiar.We are also still searching for our next “home” or base to live.

5. One difference in your site versus others is that you don’t emphasize your content by country, but rather by inspirational channels like ¨Make Me Wander¨, ¨Make Me Hungry¨,  ¨Make Me Think¨, and ¨Make Me Laugh.¨ What’s the rational behind organizing like that?

Our focus has never really been to maximize or emphasize the number of countries we’ve been to, but rather focus on the depth of what we’ve learned and experienced.  And those lessons and impressions seemed to fall into the categories that the channels represent.  We’d like to think this is reflected in the content throughout Uncornered Market. We decided to make “channels” – like a TV – so that people could easily find and dig in to what type of content they wanted. Also, these channels span countries so readers can discover the similarities and differences between all the countries and regions we’ve traveled to.  Having said that, we are in the process of redesigning our site and we’ll feature a section that also highlights our content by country for more specific and practical information.


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

Dan and Audrey on the Annapurna Trail in Nepal. Copyright

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

Perhaps career transitionals? Our original idea was a creative sabbatical for 12-18 months to travel the world and develop a new and different set of creative professional skills. Between us, we had over 20 years of professional experience, but we thirsted for something new that could leverage the wisdom that we believe we’d accumulated while living and working more traditionally. Our transition has been from almost exclusively left-brained work to something with a bit more right-brain balance.   Then, the journey took on a life of it’s own, as is apt to happen once you get on the road.

7. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?

Treat people with respect and you’ll be surprised at how friendly and kind the world can feel, how many doors will open.  We’ve really been humbled on so many occasions by the kindness and hospitality of others, especially those with very little. Respect isn’t something that should be reserved only for life on the road.


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

Audrey and Dan. Copyright

8. What was your first ¨We´re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

Sharing a long distance taxi and pulling up to a gas station in Georgia (Republic of) and being told to urgently exit the car before it would get its tank filled. “Why?” we asked. “Because the car could blow up,” our driver responded. We then realized they were filling the tank with propane, a highly flammable gas, instead of petrol.

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

On the lighter side, when our curiosity got Audrey a new job cooking aloo tikki in Varanasi. When on a microfinance photography project in northern West Bengal in India, we were taken to visit a village at night. We had been told that this village was one of the poorest in the area and that this group of people were considered “tribal” and outside the traditional caste system (which meant they were treated with even less respect than people of low caste). The village was completely pitch black – there was no electricity – so the only light was from the headlights of our host’s car. We were overwhelmed by the curiosity and smiles of the kids; they had these amazing, open eyes. Then we listened to the families’ stories of losing their land to unscrupulous loan sharks and for some of them, their teenage children to agents who promised lucrative jobs in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai. It’s one thing to read about these sorts of things on the news, but it’s another to see the reality for yourself and the harsh socio-economic factors that led to all this. In spite of all that, those were perhaps the happiest looking people we’ve seen in our lives.

10. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Walking in on a man squatting, taking a dump, smoking a cigarette and reading a newspaper in a bus stop pit toilet in village in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.  I (Dan) just stood there for way too long in the shock and horror of what I saw.

11. I quite enjoyed the recent video of Dan in Thailand getting his feet worked on by dozens of little fish. Do you make it a point to relax and go to the local spas around the world often?

The point we probably don’t make often enough on our website:  balance. Working on laptops perched in odd places and carrying heavy backpacks can do a number on necks and backs.  When it’s affordable, we try to fit in a massage or spa session for a bit of pampering and healthy realignment. This is why Thailand (and Southeast Asia in general) makes for such a great place to rejuvenate.

12. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Follow your curiosity and don’t be afraid to approach local people and ask questions. Often, people are excited to share their culture, food and insights into their country’s history or politics. It’s the people we meet on this journey who keep us going, who really make the difference.

13. Finally, our lightening round.

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: Audrey: Dahi Puchka – Indian chaat (snack food). Dan: Channa/Chole Batura (another Indian snack)
  • Most exotic food eaten: Audrey: Beshbarmak (five fingers) in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan. Dan: Bugs in Cambodia.
  • Most breathtaking moment: Audrey: Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. Dan: Summiting Thorong La on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit.
  • Biggest disappointment: Audrey: Being treated as a dollar bill instead of a human. Dan: Ditto.
  • Most memorable place: Audrey: Georgia (Republic of). Dan: Kyrgyzstan
  • Most memorable person: Audrey: Adrianne & Rick of K.I.D.S. Dan: The women at the market in Zugdidi, Georgia.
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride. Audrey: Water (don’t realize how important that is until you are without). Dan: Patience.
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: Audrey: Stomach issues (an immodium stuffed into your money belt is never a bad idea). Dan: A year-old burrito stuffed in your armrest.
  • Best thing you packed: Audrey: MacBook. Dan: My wife.  Oh, and earplugs.
  • Dumbest thing you packed: Audrey: Hardback copy of Don Quixote (read it, but got rid of it eventually). Dan: Portable hair dryer. It’s long gone. Used it once to dry clothes in a downpour in Kodaikanal, India.
  • Funniest travel habit your partner has: Audrey: Pickiness about dental floss. Dan: Pickiness about her partner’s affinity for dental floss.  She’s also got this thing about eating Chinese dried salted plums.
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: Audrey: Nepal. Dan: Turkmenistan

You can follow Dan and Audrey online at on Facebook and on Twitter @umarket

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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4 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now? Audrey & Dan”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Jung, clickdottravel. clickdottravel said: Who’s Out There Now? Audrey & Dan: In this week’s ¨Who´s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Dan and Audrey,… [...]

  2. Great interview! Really captures the spirit of uncornered market. Dan and Audrey have a great thing going, and I’m intrigued about their plans for the new site :) Keep on keeping on. P.S. #10 – ewww.
    Sasha @ Global Table Adventure recently posted..About the Food of East Timor

  3. Audrey & Dan are one of our favorite travel couples out there, thanks for featuring them! Their website is excellent and we always check it for travel tips before we get to a place – great to learn more about them through your interview.
    Globetrottergirls recently posted..Polaroid of the week- Old school transportation in Leon- Nicaragua

  4. Tintin says:

    Uncornered Market is my favorite travel website! And I really love Audrey and Dan!!! Superb photography too!! :) Thanks for sharing your interview with them! :) :) :)

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