In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we speak with André Nogueira and João Santos, the traveling couple behind the travel blog Two by the World. We chat with André and João about the importance of travel, planning a trip around the world, why their home country of Portugal is such a great place to visit, and much more. Check out their favorite destinations around the world and find out where they’re headed next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
We started traveling together in 2007 (we booked our first trip together to Girona, Spain, even before we were a couple) and since then we visited new places every time we could. At the end of 2015, we visited Japan, our first big trip, and that trip ignited our passion for knowing and exploring new places and cultures even more.
We try to mix big trips with shorter getaways and explore our country, Portugal, as much as we can.
What does travel mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important?
For us travel is a way to discover the world. Getting in touch with other cultures, knowing other places and trying different food completely fulfill us. In a global digital world, you can see a lot without getting out of your sofa, but the sensation of discovering each sight by yourself does not compare with seeing it by a 5 inches screen.
We believe that everyone should travel as much as they can. Travel has the power to expand your knowledge of the world and show you different but equally valid ways to live, making you a better citizen of the world and a better person, more respectful and more able to connect with others.
You two run a travel blog called Two by the World. Can you please tell us a bit about it? How did it come about? What makes it unique?
In the past, we’ve thought about launching a blog, but we’ve never found the right motivation to do it. However, last year, the idea of travelling around the world has started to grow in our minds, and so, why not launch a blog and start sharing our trips and tips to inspire others to travel more and better? Planning around the world trip takes time and there are many things to think about and prepare before leaving so, an important part of our blog focus on that.
Nowadays, making a unique travel blog is not easy, there’re so many good ones that inspire us too. What we do is done with passion and honesty, intended to help others with our experiences. We prefer to post less but publish something we are proud of and that we are sure will help others. While we are traveling, we focus more on our Instagram.
You’re currently in the middle of something many people want to do: a six-month trip around the world. What kind of planning goes into a trip like this? What advice would you give to others who want to do it?
The first step to plan our trip around the world was defining the reason why we were doing it. Since we’re not full-time travelers, it was also important to define what to do with our lives before starting. In fact, we were postponing a thing like this because of the uncertainty, but soon we’ve realized that probably everything will be in the same place when we return home. After this, everything started falling into place: the itinerary, the budget and all the things one should think about when traveling for a long a time. Time goes by fast when planning for a trip like this and before we knew it, we were packing to start our trip in South Africa.
Our main advice is if you want to embark on an adventure like this, just do it. When you really want something, the impossible becomes reachable.
You’re both originally from Portugal. What makes Portugal such a great travel destination? What should people see and do when they go there?
Portugal is an amazing travel destination. We travel a lot in our own country, always finding new places, flavors, and great people. There’s so much to see and do in this small country: vibrant cities like Lisbon and Porto, mouthwatering food and amazing wine all over the place (we love the food and wine in Alentejo), beautiful beaches all over the coastline (we prefer the ones in Alentejo and Algarve), and a peaceful countryside full of nature and magical villages. We cannot forget the islands: Madeira and Azores, which have all of the above and more. The islands of Azores have some of the most beautiful landscapes we’ve ever seen.
How many days/weeks do you travel in any given year? What types of places do you like to visit?
It’s hard giving a number to that question. Working full-time, our holidays are limited (but somewhat flexible) so we try to make the most out of them. We travel a lot in our country, usually two weekends a month, and we try to travel abroad as much as we can, mixing short trips with one or two big trips every year.
In Portugal, we tend to choose the countryside for our getaways (and the beaches in the summer). Abroad we always try to visit someplace we’ve never been before and usually, the choice comes down to time, money and convenience. If we don’t have much time, we try not to spend it inside planes or on trips with many stops, in order to enjoy and maximize our time.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
Our main message is that travel is possible and easier than people usually think, and it can be done no matter your budget and how many free days you have. We also believe that traveling independently is the best way to really know the places you visit (and it’s usually a cheaper way to travel). Last but not least, we also want to show that travelling as a gay couple doesn’t have to be different or harder than travelling as other kinds of couples, families or any other way you choose to travel.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
Japan, South Africa, and Laos.
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.
South Africa really impressed us and exceeded our expectations. When you visit South Africa, you can’t miss:
- The views from Table Mountain, Cape Town
- Road-trip in the Garden Route, Western Cape
- The wine region of Stellenbosch, Western Cape
- A safari (we did one in Kruger Park but there are a lot of different options)
- Eat all the local food (we did a walking food tour in Cape Town and it was amazing)
How many countries have you visited so far?
Together we’ve been to 41 countries. André has been to 43 and João has been to 47.
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
Right now, Asian, Asian and Asian. But we also love Portuguese and Italian cuisines. In fact, we love to eat and try everything. Food is a really important aspect of our travels.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
One of our favorite food experiences happened when we were visiting Tokyo. Without any previous recommendation, we entered Manten-Sushi. They only serve an “omakase” course made with seasonal and fresh ingredients from local markets. To this day we still don’t know what everything was that we ate there but all of the courses on the menu were delicious. We recommend everyone to try it and the cost is not as high as it first appears.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Actually, we don’t have one, but Parts Unknown from Anthony Bourdain has been very influential for us.
What is your favorite international airport?
We have been in Hong Kong not a long time ago, and really had a great experience in the airport. We have a flight from Changi Airport (Singapore) soon and our expectations are high.
Which city had the friendliest people?
We’ve been lucky in that department and we’ve met friendly people everywhere we traveled. Japan has some of the most friendly and respectful people we’ve crossed our paths with. All our interactions in Matsumoto were lovely. The people in Laos also stand out.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
Traveling as a couple we can only answer this one way: each other.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Netflix and plan what to do and see in our destination.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Probably not the most exotic but the one that made the biggest impression on us as it was our first contact with something so different and unfamiliar: Japan – the controlled chaos in Tokyo, everything in Akihabara, the serenity in Miyajima, the tradition in Kyoto, and especially the people and how culturally different they are from us.
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 rush and don’t try to see everything or go everywhere (a mistake we still make sometimes). Traveling full-time can be exhausting. You’ll see and learn so much more travelling slowly, otherwise, you’ll be dragging yourself and not enjoying your trip as much as you should.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Noise-cancelling headphones, iPad/laptop, a traveling debit/credit card without international fees and our passports.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
Most of them we’ve included in our round the world trip itinerary. There’s more on our bucket list like India, Iceland, and South Korea. We usually say that if it is someplace in the world and we’ve never been then we want to visit it.
What is your favorite travel quote?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Where are you headed next?
We are answering this in Langkawi, Malaysia. For the next weeks, we’ll keep exploring Malaysia and end the Southeast Asia part of our trip in Singapore. Then we’ll go to Australia.
We are André and João, a couple of two men, in love with traveling, and doing it together for the last 12 years. Traveling beside each other is our top passion in life. Know other cultures, discover new places and eat different food fulfill us completely. We run the travel blog Two by the World where we share tips about planning around the world trip as well as tips on how to travel independently. We are also very present on Instagram where we try to share as much as possible of our trips in order to inspire and help others travel more and better.