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Sofia von Porat and Nathan Schacherer are the dynamic duo behind the very popular travel blog As We Travel. They’ve been traveling the world together since 2008, starting with an 8-month RTW trip. They also recently wrote a book, The Pre Travel Guide, advising people on how to prepare for a RTW trip. Today we find out how they got started as long-term travelers, their favorite places, where they’ve been traveling this year, and their next travel plans. Let’s get started:
Q1. Sofia is Swedish and Nathan is from New Zealand. How and where did you meet?
We met while Nathan was studying classical music in Sweden about 4 years ago.
Q2. You kicked off your long-term world travels with an 8-month RTW trip. What inspired you to do set off on such an adventure?
It had been Sofia’s life-long dream to travel the world, so when she finished high school and Nathan had quit his classical music career, we decided to travel the world together, with not much money (6,000US each) and simply a dream to see as much as we could for as long as we could. Now we are here and still traveling, so yeah dreams come true. :p
Q3. What countries did you visit on that trip?
New Zealand, Vanuatu, Australia, Bali, Malaysia, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and then back to Sweden in 8 months.
Sophia-As We Travel
|Sofia in Cambodia
Q4. What were your favorite 3 places from that trip and why?
Vanuatu (Nathan) – The people in Vanuatu were just so friendly, I have never met such a friendly culture since.
New Zealand (Sofia) – Everything about NZ was amazing- the nature, the adventure, the people. It made our 3 months there amazing.
Malaysia (Both) – For us Malaysia was all about the food, especially up in Penang. Oh and also the amazing Perhentian Islands on the East Coast, which was one of the most beautiful places in the world..!
Q5. What are the most important lessons or insights you learned from making that trip?
We learnt so much about each other, and how there is so much out there we didn’t even know existed – meeting and seeing so many different cultures really opened our eyes – and sorta got us addicted to seeing more and more of this world – the reason we are still traveling so much today.
|Nathan with his improved lightweight 25 L backpack
|Q6. You’ve written a great book to help other people properly prepare for their own RTW trip, entitled ThePre-TravelGuide. The extensive tips you give in the book are partly based on lessons you learned from some mistakes you guys made on your first RTW. :)) Could you tell us about one of those mistakes which caused you some major aggro, stress, financial issues or other major problem?
The biggest mistake we made during that first trip was taking way too much stuff. Nathan took a suit jacket, and dress shoes – while Sofia took 2 pairs of high-heels, and a massive bag of makeup :p
We left Europe with a 70L backpack and a 90L backpack each, but it was only 1 month into that trip when we realised if we continued to carry this much stuff around the world, we will get back home with back problems and never want to travel again. So we started throwing things out, with Nathan going from a 90L backpack to a 25L backpack in 2 weeks, which he continued to use for the remainder of the trip.
Q7. So you made your first RTW in 2008-2009 and you launched your travel blog AsWeTravel in 2010. What did you get up to in between?
We finished our first RTW trip in May 2009, and then spent a few months back in Sweden just relaxing and catching up on things. Then in November 2009 we decided to move to Switzerland to ski for the winter, during that winter we decided to start As We Travel, which we did on the 1st of February, 2010.
|Sofia in Istanbul
|Q8. This year on AsWeTravel you started making weekly videos of your travels through Europe. What inspired you to start making videos?
The main reason we were inspired to start filming our travels, was that we realised you could capture so much more of a city and a place by filming it – taking photos is nice, but they don’t really let your readers feel like they are there with you.
We also wanted to share our personality more with our readers, and putting ourselves in front of the camera was a great way of doing that.
Q9. Your videos, although new, are quite professionally made, with graphics, music, AsWeTravel branding, crisp editing, and amazingly still and clear video footage. Impressive! How did you learn to make such quality videos? Did you take some courses? Learn by trial and error? Hire a pro? Or?
Everything we have done, we simply learnt ourselves by trial and error. We have made so many mistakes, and lost a lot of great opportunities to capture some amazing footage by having the wrong settings, bad gear or not enough filming knowledge. But that is the best way to learn how to do something. Just go out do it!
|Nathan and Sofia making a video in Serbia
Q10. What advice would you give others who would like to make travel videos?
Be prepared for it to take up a lot of your personal time at first – you have to also find your own style, work flow, and a system of filming which works best for you – now 9 months later we can plan, & shoot a video in any city in around 3 hrs.
Also make sure you invest in some good camera gear, wireless mics, a tripod, etc, to make sure your shots are steady and look more professional.
Q11. This year you’re traveling extensively through Eastern Europe. Why that region of the world?
This year we visited 34 European countries in around 3 months, not just Eastern Europe as part of the Europe Train Challenge – 30 countries in 90 days with InterRail.
Eastern Europe is an amazing part of the world, but before going there we didn’t know much about the region – so we were happy that the InterRail pass included so many Eastern European countries – we really wish more people would travel to that part of Europe and not just go to Spain, France, Italy etc.
|Nathan and Sofia in Oslo
Q12. You originally set your travel itinerary for 2011 to visit 16 European countries. So you’ve obviously well exceeded your goals already! Did you travel outside Europe this year as well? What’s up for the rest of 2011?
During 2011 we visited 38 countries, 34 of those were in Europe with the rest in South East Asia. Right now we are in Sweden, having a rest for a bit, but will most likely be traveling down to Austria to spend the winter skiing there for a few months.
Q13. What are you travel plans for 2012?
Right now we don’t really have any plans for 2012, we seem to always make our plans only a few weeks before we want to leave- seem to work better that way ;)
But for now our plans are to go skiing in Austria for a few months, then we have a trip to Iceland planned in Spring, and also to Greece. After that we will most likely be going to India and traveling more around that part of the world.
Thanks so much Nathan and Sofia for telling us all about your RTW trip, your ongoing travels, and about making travel videos. Hope to meet you out on the road one day! cheers, Lash
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