In today’s Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A I interview JB and Ren of Will Travel For Food. This adventurous couple have traveled across Asia diving into the local cuisines of each country. Food plays a major role in their travels so they’ve made it their mission to eat and recreate every country’s national dish. Meet JB and Ren and check out her Top 5 List for Cappadocia and where she’s their off to next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
I started attending school in the US when I was 13 so I guess that got me used to traveling at a young age. I’m from the Philippines so I would take 2 transpacific flights a year. I did a lot of domestic travel within the US as well. Ren has a similar story except she moved to the US after graduating from college.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?
We’re probably traveling a total of 2 months a year now. I’m a location-independent designer but I still work full-time hours. Ren takes care of her elderly parents so we can’t be away for too long. Plus, I don’t really like mixing work with travel. I know many bloggers do it but I don’t think I can. I’m too easily distracted! When we’re traveling, I don’t want to be working at all, and that includes creating content for our blog. All the work comes after a trip.
We love to travel and eat so places with good or interesting food is always a plus. It’s a key factor in our travel decisions.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your work videos and photography?
I didn’t realize this before but I’ve found that many people are intimidated by travel, especially DIY travel. By sharing our experiences and writing detailed travel guides, I want people to understand that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Planning your own trips is easy and fun! Plus, the world is actually safer than what many people think.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
For me, it’s Japan, Turkey, and Taiwan. For Ren, it’s Greece, Turkey, and Japan.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
I’ll do a top 5 for Cappadocia, Turkey:
- Stay in a cave room
- Ride a hot air balloon
- Explore Cappadocia’s moonscape on horseback
- Kill time over a bottle of wine and delicious Turkish dishes like pottery kebap and borek
- Go on the Red Tour and see the best of Cappadocia
How many countries have you visited so far?
I’ve visited 21 so far while Ren’s been to 18. Together, we’ve visited 14.
Your top three favorite cuisines?
For me, it’s Japanese, Indian, and Thai. For Ren, it’s Italian, Spanish, and French. Always the yin to my yang.
Favorite restaurant in the world?
That’s a tough one. I’m big on comfort food so one of my favorites would have to be this little diner in Portrero Hill, San Francsico called Just for You. I lived in San Francisco for a few years and I would go there for brunch on Sundays at least twice a month. I would always order the same thing – Creole crab cakes with two fried eggs, home fries, toast, and a side of longganisa (Filipino sausage). That platter of food was pure heaven.
For Ren, it’s Le Petit Bistro in West Hollywood. She says it wasn’t the best restaurant in the world but they did have the most delicious lamb chops and pommes frites. She’s been telling me about it for the past 14 years!
Your favorite travel movie?
We watch maybe one movie a year at most so this is a tough one. If the definition of a good travel movie is one that inspires you to visit that place, then I would have to say Lord of the Rings. It made me want to visit New Zealand. I still do.
Favorite international airport?
That’s easy – Changi Airport in Singapore. Ren and I hate rushing for a flight so we always arrive a few hours early. It helps when you’re at an airport with as many things to do as Changi.
City with the friendliest people?
I would have to say all of Turkey. Turkish people are incredibly warm and hospitable and they always made us feel like family. We enjoy many countries we visit but we don’t necessarily want to live there. We would be happy to live in Turkey.
Your favorite traveling companion?
That would be Ren. I actually don’t like having anyone else with us on trips. I prefer it to be just us every time.
Best way you kill time while traveling?
Take lots of photos. I love taking photos and videos on our trips. I get lost in my own world and time just seems to fly by when you’re behind that shutter.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
So far, it would have to be Cappadocia in Turkey. That place is like no other. It’s like being on Mars! As bizarre and unfamiliar as the landscape looks, we actually felt strangely at home there. We would love to go back.
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
Never be entitled. When you’re traveling in a foreign country, remember that you’re like a guest in someone else’s home. I’ve seen too many tourists who act like they own the place and it makes my blood boil every time. Don’t be like that. Instead, always be mindful and respectful of the local people and their customs. You wouldn’t want anyone being disrespectful in your home would you?
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
My DSLR, iPhone, pocket wifi device (which I rent at each country), and power bank. It’s all about staying connected and compiling content for our blog.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
I have many but one of my top would be Antarctica. It’s like visiting the end of the Earth! I’ve read that you’ll need to take a cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina to get to Antarctica. I’ve been wanting to visit Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, since watching the movie Happy Together. So going to Antarctica would actually be killing two birds with one stone for me.
Ren doesn’t have any particular dream destinations, but she’d love to ride the Orient Express.
We see you have traveled a lot in Asia, which country should a first timer to Asia visit?
For a westerner, I would have to say Singapore. It’s a modern city and a good introduction to Asia. I’d recommend Japan or South Korea too but the language barrier makes it more difficult. Most people speak English in Singapore so communicating is easy. Plus, with Singapore being clean and modern, it’s less of a culture shock than developing countries like Thailand, the Philippines, or Malaysia. They can progress to those countries after they’ve gotten a taste of Asia in Singapore.
Speaking of first-timers to Singapore, I wrote a First-Timer’s travel guide that travelers may find helpful. They can check it out HERE.
Your favorite travel quote?
“Eat well, travel often.”
Where to next?
We’re going to Vietnam in April! Ren’s been dying to get her hands on their street food so we’re super excited. We’ll be visiting Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh. It’ll be an all street food trip.
JB & Ren are the Traveleaters behind Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. Food plays a major role in their trips so they’ve made it their mission to eat AND recreate every country’s national dish. Follow them and their National Dish Quest at Will Fly for Food. Connect with JB and Ren on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.