In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we speak with Justine and Scott from Wanderers of the World, a travel-obsessed couple who are proof that you can hold down a 9-to-5 job and still explore the world! We chat with Justine and Scott about what travel means to them, the advice they have for those who feel their job gets in the way of them being able to travel, their favorite things to do in Brussels, and much more. Check out their top destinations around the globe and find out where they’re off to next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
Our love for travel started without each other at first and continued to grow once we started dating. As a young boy and teenager, Scott was often whisked off on adventures with his parents and brothers; this is where his love of skiing, snorkeling, and adrenaline-fuelled passions came from. As for me; my childhood involved numerous camping trips but it wasn’t until I was 23 when I was hit with the travel bug. Keen on using my Italian qualification from college, I embarked on a solo trip to see eight cities in seven days throughout Italy. Upon returning, I made it a goal to see at least three new places abroad every year and more of the UK in between. 18 months later, Scott and I met each other and it wasn’t long before he was brought along for the ride.
What does travel mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important?
Travel brings excitement, adventure, and passion into our lives. It gives us something to dream about and then put into action. It teaches us new things about ourselves, each other and cultures around the world. And it shows us that there’s beauty wherever you look and whatever you’re attracted to; be it ocean blues, forest greens or sandy whites.
You two run a travel blog called Wanderers of the World. Can you please tell us about it? How did it come about and what makes it unique?
We’d been travelling together for about two years when Scott suggested the idea of starting a travel blog. This was in May 2016. Initially, I laughed off the idea as I didn’t know anything about running a website and so I continued to plan our upcoming multi-city trip to Los Angeles, Honolulu, Hilo and San Francisco, which was planned for September of that year. But his idea stuck with us throughout that trip and we found that all we wanted to do when we got back was tell people all about the paradise landscapes we saw in Hawaii and why others should visit too. A month later, Wanderers of the World was born. Since then, our blog has evolved with us and we now focus on travel that couples can do around the 9-5 like day trips, weekend getaways and 1-2 week holidays. We’ve found that the larger travel blogs are often run by digital nomads who don’t have the same issues and concerns as those of us with office-based full-time jobs. We wanted to create a space to inspire others like us and show them that they can see the world; they just might have to do it one destination at a time and whenever they’re able to.
You two manage to travel even with 9-to-5 jobs. What advice would you give to people out there who feel that their jobs prevent them from traveling?
If travel is really something that you want to do, then your 9-5 won’t stand in the way. Yes, you might have to do some advance planning in order to get time off approved rather than just hop on a plane tomorrow, but that shouldn’t be an issue. Where do you want to go next year? Start thinking about it now and put it into action! Remember that your 9-5 is your gateway to travel not the enemy; you need money to travel, right? So your job is what will help you to do it. And lastly, don’t forget about everything in your own home country – a quick day trip or weekend jaunt to the countryside counts as travel just as much as a trip abroad. You may even be surprised by what’s waiting for you in the next town along!
How many days/weeks do you travel in any given year? What types of places do you like to visit?
We spend 95% of our annual leave days and UK bank holidays on travel, which equates to around 30 days per year. And then we probably spend another two weekends per month travelling on top of that. So we’re looking at around 75-80 days of travelling per year. We’re not very good at sitting still so we love to visit places with a good balance of relaxation, adventure and nature. You’ll often find us travelling around the UK in search of new places to hike and take in the countryside views but we also love European city breaks as they’re perfect for long weekends. To give you a flavour for our kind of travel, a few of our favourite trips have been to Belgium, Vienna, Iceland, Finland, Morocco, Hawaii, Bali, Singapore and Dubai.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
We’re doing this to share our own personal experiences with our readers that they can hopefully learn from. But with this comes the need to be truthful in everything that we say and do. For us, this means keeping our photos realistic of what it’s really like to see a place (warts and all) and describing the pros and cons where relevant too. We hope that by being a normal everyday couple, readers will find us approachable and feel like they can ask us whatever they want.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
- Hawaii: It’s what started our travel blogging journey and truly is a nature lover’s paradise!
- Iceland: Natural beauty around every corner and where we got engaged.
- Brussels: This one surprised us. We expected a fun city break just before Christmas and came away having fallen in love with the gilded buildings, ease with which to get around to other cities in Belgium and (of course) the chocolate!
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of your top 3 destinations. Like a mini-guide or a to-do list of sorts. It can be anything from your favorite hotel, the best place to have lunch, the best sightseeing, etc.
Given how much we loved and were surprised by our trip to Brussels in Belgium, here’s our ‘top 5’ list to hopefully convince you to take a trip there too!
- Must See: The Grand Place. Even though this is the most famous tourist spot in Brussels, and you’ve likely seen photos of it plastered across Instagram, nothing compares to seeing it in real life. You really will be mesmerised by the gold glinting in the sun and the intricate architectural details of the buildings. We could have stood there for hours just simply gazing all around us.
- Must Do: Self-guided street art walking tour. Brussels is home to over fifty street art murals, which celebrate Belgium’s connection with famous comics like The Smurfs and Tintin. It’s great fun to wander the streets looking around corners searching for new murals to discover. Take a look at our blog for maps and addresses of some of the city’s most popular murals so you can head out on your very own street-art walking tour.
- Must Eat: Authentic Belgian chocolate. There’s nothing quite like visiting a Belgian chocolatier. At every turn, you’ll be faced with bitesize pralines, buttery cookies and beautiful chocolate gifts. For a truly authentic experience, make sure you go to the original flagship store of Neuhaus in Galerie de la Reine, which is where the praline was invented in 1912.
- Must Drink: Belgian trappist beer. Trappist beers are brewed by monks within just fourteen monasteries across the world – and as many as six of these breweries are in Belgium itself. When in Brussels, make sure you try the most popular Belgian trappist beers: Westvleteren 12, Orval, Rochefort 10, Westmalle Tripel and Westvleteren Blond. There’s a reason why Belgian beers are known all over the world!
- Don’t Forget: Brussels is a great hub for day trips. Belgium’s rail network is fast, reliable and cheap and Brussels is well connected to other cities around the country and further afield, making it a great base for day trips. As an example, Bruges takes less than an hour to get to, as does a trip to the diamond district of Antwerp, while historic Ghent is just over 30 minutes away from Brussels by train.
How many countries have you visited so far?
To be honest, we haven’t been keeping count. But between us, it has got to be well over fifty by now.
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
That’s easy: Italian, Singaporean and British.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
Archipelago in the heart of London never ceases to be the most unusual restaurant we’ve ever eaten at. It won’t be to everyones’ taste as dishes on the menu include things like zebra, crocodile, kangaroo and even chocolate-covered locusts for dessert. We implore you to find the two or three most unusual dishes on the menu and indulge… you never know when you might get another chance to eat something so unique.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Into the Wild is a tear-jerker but is full of beautiful visuals and scenery and is a strong reminder to get out there and see the world but always be prepared when doing so.
What is your favorite international airport?
Schiphol in Amsterdam. When we visited in 2017, it had row upon row of giant sunflowers outside it. This was a wonderful way to welcome us to a new city and served as a beautiful reminder of Van Gogh’s connection with the Netherlands too.
Which city had the friendliest people?
Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. They’re chilled, down to earth, welcoming, honest – and make great friends!
Who is your favorite travel companion?
Besides each other? Our Rough Collie, Kai. He joins us on most – if not all – of our UK trips and days out.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Writing. On average, it takes us around 2-3 hours to write a new blog post from scratch (not including publishing time). This really eats into the hours spent on a plane, it’s fun – and gives us one less blog post to write when we come home!
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Because we both work full-time, we usually choose to work with local brands and tourism boards; not exactly what you would call exotic but it has given us a chance to visit places in the UK that we might never have done otherwise. We’ve recently partnered with Visit Swansea Bay and spent three days seeing the best of the Gower Peninsula in Wales. It was the first area in the UK to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we had never thought to visit before. It’s simply stunning so I’m glad we got the chance to do this as a press trip.
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
Don’t expect everything to be perfect. There will be mishaps along the way – anything from cancelled and delayed flights to lost baggage and freak weather. But just as long as you can travel with an open mind and positivity and remember to laugh about your misadventures together then you’ll have a great time no matter what.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Our phones are our lifelines and navigators (thanks Google Maps!), as well as what we take the majority of our photos with. You’ll also find us clinging to a good book, mini journal for keeping blogging notes and a headphone splitter, so we can still ‘Netflix and chill’ while travelling.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
We both have a longing to travel around Japan for three weeks to see places like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Uji, the Snow Monkey Park and Mount Fuji.
What is your favorite travel quote?
“Home is not where you are from, it is where you belong. Some of us travel the whole world to find it. Others find it in a person.” – Beau Taplin (an Australian author and songwriter)
Where are you headed next?
Aside from a few more weekend jaunts around the UK, we’re currently planning my 30th for next year, which is probably going to be island-hopping in Croatia with day trips to Krka National Park, Plitvice Lakes and the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro.
We’re Justine and Scott; full-time workers, part-time travellers. Our travel blog, Wanderers of the World is for couples that want to travel outside of the 9-5 like going on day trips, weekend getaways and 1-2 week holidays. Come and escape the 9-5 with us via our blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!