In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we chat with Adam and Kathryn Frazer, the awesome traveling couple behind Adventures of A+K. We chat with Adam and Kathryn about why travel is so important to them, the challenges they faced while converting their van into a home on wheels, the best things to do in one of their favorite destinations, and much more. Check out their favorite restaurant in the world and find out where they’re headed next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
In 2016, we felt a huge urge to leave Austin, Texas, where we had both called home for 10+ years, and start a new adventure in Seattle, Washington. While we enjoyed traveling before our move, our passion for travel really ignited once we moved to the Pacific Northwest. We spent every single weekend driving all around Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, hiking in the mountains, exploring new cities, visiting the beach, checking out coffee shops, and eating new foods. The three years we lived in Seattle were the absolute best years of our lives and gave us a much more adventurous spirit, so much so that we decided we wanted to travel full time in a Sprinter van!
What does travel mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important?
For us, travel means getting out of our comfort zone, learning about new cultures, meeting new people, and seeing beautiful places all around the world. It’s so easy to get stuck in your day to day life and the familiarity of your own culture and location, but by traveling, it really opens your eyes to how others live and the different customs and traditions they have, which can make you more open-minded and able to connect with others on different levels. We believe that the best way to learn about the world is to go out and experience it!
The two of you run a travel blog called Adventures of A+K. Can you please tell us a bit about it? How did it come about? What makes it unique?
Adventures of A+K is a travel blog and YouTube channel with the goal of helping busy, budget-conscious, and adventurous travelers maximize their vacation time and money wherever they go. We share the must-visit local eats, popular and off the beaten path sights, and tons of tips to make planning your next adventure a whole lot easier.
We want to help people spend less time (and stress) planning their adventures and more time enjoying them. We provide super detailed travel itineraries and guides for the places we visit with the hope that it provides all of the information someone who is visiting that location would need to have an amazing trip.
Our blog came to be in the summer of 2015 when we visited Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We went during the 4th of July, the busiest week at the park, but hardly waited in any lines and had the best time ever! We decided to start a blog to share our tips from that trip and eventually started writing “travel diaries” for all of our future trips. In 2017 we decided to switch gears and make the blog more valuable by writing travel guides and other travel resources instead of just recaps of our own adventures. And in 2018 we started our YouTube channel to give others a more personal look into our adventures (and our goofiness), while still providing tons of tips and information about the places we visit!
Adventures of A+K is not only unique because we live in a van (which is pretty crazy!), but also because we try to create itineraries and guides that cater to those who work full time and do not have endless vacation days or money to spend on their travels. Although we do travel full time, we also work full-time jobs and cannot explore freely during the week, as well as have a limited number of vacation days. The majority of our itineraries are between 2-5 days, perfect for those who just have a regular or long weekend to explore. We focus a lot on affordable accommodations, local restaurants that may not be as trendy, but serve inexpensive and incredible food, and free things to do.
You two spent seven months converting a Sprinter van into a home on wheels that you use and live in during your travels. What challenges did you face during that time and what advice would you give to others looking to convert a van for them to travel in?
Oh man, what challenges didn’t we face? Haha! Converting our Sprinter van was by far the most challenging and stressful thing we have ever done, but it was 100% worth it! We took turns traveling back and forth from Seattle to Austin to work on the van, which meant we spent a lot less time together, and we had zero building experience, which meant that every task we had to complete required us to learn new tools and skills. We also had to battle Texas heat, working full time while trying to convert the van, and multiple setbacks, like the time we decided to re-do the entire ceiling and had to sand off all of the stain for 6 hours with our necks in an uncomfortable position.
Our biggest advice to those looking to build a van: be patient. Every task will take longer than you hoped and likely not go as smoothly as you hoped. It’ll be stressful and some days you’ll wonder why you’re doing it, but trust us, it is worth it to know that you built your home with your own hands and learned new skills along the way! Also, don’t buy a ton of items in advance. You may decide you don’t need it and miss the refund window.
In addition to being full-time travelers, Adam, you were formerly a teacher and now run a web design business, while Kathryn, you’re also an event marketer for a tech company. Have those skills helped you out in your lives as travelers?
For Adam, being a public school teacher and coach for the past 6 years has given him the most skills to help with travel. He began his teaching career at a high school for newcomer students to America and as a soccer coach, which is known as the world’s game. He taught and interacted with kids from all over the world, including Central America, South East Asia, and Africa. These kids brought the world to him, in a way. Now as a web designer, Adam is able to help a lot with our blog and online presence, which allows us to connect with more travelers around the world and hopefully help them plan their own adventures.
For Kathryn, working in events requires adapting when things don’t go according to plan, as no event is 100% perfect. When traveling, it’s rare that things always go smoothly, especially in the van, so this has helped her go with the flow if things go wrong and game plan to get things back on track. It has also made her extra organized, which helps us plan our itineraries for the places we visit and juggle writing content and editing vlogs.
How many days/weeks do you travel in any given year? What types of places do you like to visit?
We travel about 90% of the time in our van around North America, visiting a mix of National Parks, small towns, and large cities. We try to do 2-3 international trips a year as well!
We love to visit places that have a lot of diversity in scenery and activities. We love to hike, visit beaches, wander around both small towns and large cities, eat tons of delicious food, and explore different ecosystems. Our adventures are always packed with activities, so the more there is to do, the better!
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
We hope to inspire people to get out there and explore! Adventures don’t have to be far away or cost a lot of money. Some of the best adventures we’ve had have been in the United States, just outside of our own backyard.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
This is so tough because we love so many places, but we’d have to say (in no particular order):
- Seattle, Washington: we loved it so much we had to move there!
- The Dolomites in Italy: the most beautiful place we’ve visited!
- Hawaii: all of the islands are amazing!
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.
One of the reasons why we love Seattle so much is that there are an endless number of things to do there. Here are some of our favorites!
- Head to Pike Place Market early in the morning (to beat the crowds!) and grab a piroshky at Piroshky Piroshky, the most decadent yogurt at Elleno’s, and some mac and cheese at Beecher’s.
- See the best view of the city (and Mount Rainier if you’re lucky!) from Kerry Park. Fun fact: we got engaged here in 2014!
- Have some of the best tacos we’ve ever had at Tacos Chukis. Make sure to get their signature Tacos Chukis taco with pastor and pineapple!
- Visit the National Parks! Washington is home to three and they are all beautiful: Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades.
- Drink coffee! Some of our favorite spots are: Anchorhead, Seattle Coffee Works, and La Marzocco.
How many countries have you visited so far?
Together we have been to 6, but individually we have been to a few more than that. We just started traveling internationally the last couple years and our goal is to add many more countries soon!
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
We are huge fans of Mexican cuisine, especially tacos! We also love Texas BBQ (our van is even named Brisket) and Italian food (we ate our weight in pasta and gelato in Italy over the summer!).
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
This is another tough one, but we’d have to say Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ in Austin, Texas. It’s a food truck that is combining two of our favorite things: tacos and BBQ! You must try their brisket tacos and their loaded queso, which is queso with brisket in it. It’s our must-visit place every time we are in Austin and it’s so delicious that it brings Adam to tears.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Adam loves “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” because of the breathtaking scenery, the awesome soundtrack, and the story of a guy stuck in a 9-5 office job who goes on an epic adventure.
Kathryn loves “Wild,” well, the book more so than the movie. Reading the book and watching the movie gave us a huge urge to explore the outdoors and was a huge catalyst to our move to Seattle.
What is your favorite international airport?
We admittedly haven’t been to tons of airports outside the US, but we probably enjoyed Heathrow the most because it had a super nice lounge! Inside the US, we really like the Austin airport. While it doesn’t go to too many international destinations, it is full of local restaurants, live music, and isn’t too large to navigate!
Which city had the friendliest people?
We have experienced friendly people in many places, but one experience in Ortisei (a small town in the Italian Dolomites) really stands out to us. Our Airbnb hosts, an adorable German couple, were extremely welcoming, made us coffee and breakfast, and didn’t let a language barrier stop them from being very friendly and talkative with us. We communicated via Google Translate the entire time, as they spoke German and we only fluently speak English. They treated us like family and we will never forget them!
Who is your favorite travel companion?
Besides each other, we’d have to say our pup Kona! While she is not the easiest dog and does make travel a bit harder, we love getting to explore with her and have her snuggles in the van.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
We really love travel days because they allow us to get so much work done! Our favorite way to kill time is in airport lounges. Free food and coffee? Yes please!
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
We haven’t traveled to many typical exotic places, but we have been to the Hawaiian islands 6 times together, which is one of our absolute favorite places in the whole world. The many ecosystems on the islands makes you feel like you’re exploring many different places at once!
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 try to rush your adventures and plan rest days. We spent the first couple months in the van rushing all around the US due to some obligations we had and it made us feel super exhausted. We are traveling at a slightly slower pace right now and trying to have designated rest days where we don’t explore. It’s hard to not go fast when you want to see so many things, but being able to rest will help prevent burnout.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Our cameras, a portable charger, our YETI water bottle, and Orbit sweet mint gum!
What is your ultimate dream destination?
Our dream destinations are a bit different from one another. Adam would love to go on a huge Europe trip and attend many soccer games along the way, while Kathryn really wants to go hiking in Patagonia!
What is your favorite travel quote?
As National Park lovers, we are big fans of John Muir. One of our favorite quotes from him is: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
We love this quote because we can really relate to it–being out in nature brings us a calmness that helps us de-stress from everyday life.
Where are you headed next?
We are heading back to Texas for the holidays and plan to explore the East Coast during the first half of next year. We haven’t spent much time on that side of the US and can’t wait! As for international travel, there is a 95% chance we will be spending two weeks in Peru next year!
Hi y’all! We’re Adam, Kathryn, and Kona, an adventurous married couple (+ pup!) living on the road in our self-converted Sprinter van! You can often find us driving all around the US and Canada, scoping out the best coffee shops, eating tacos and ice cream, and working towards our goal of visiting all of the US National Parks (21 down, 40 to go!).