Australians Elise Reeks and Anthony Milotic of Positive World Travel have been out globe-trotting the world since January, 2010- nearly two years already!
Most recently they’ve been adventuring around South America: visiting Glapagos Islands, zip-lining, canopy-walking, mud-sloshing, and any other craziness they can find out in the jungles and mountains of South America.
I recently caught up with them to ask about how they got started (both as a couple and as travelers), what their favorite places and activities are, and how they learned to make their fantastic videos. Here we go…
Q1. Please tell us about how, where, when you met. How long have you been together?
We have been together for 6 years now. 2 of those years we have been engaged (basically the time we have been travelling for!). We first met at the restaurant Anthony was the head chef at, and I was working as a waitress while studying at university. I wouldn’t exactly say it was love at first sight…we didn’t really like each other! After a few months, though, we started to get along a lot better, and well now, 6 years later…the rest is history!
Q2. You mentioned on your website that you both traveled overseas well before meeting and before setting off on your long-term world travels. Where have each of you been? What were your favorite places and why?
We have both been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to travel pretty much our whole lives. My family loves to travel, so since I can remember we have always been overseas. I was at Bali by the age of 3, Fiji at 9 and we have continued travelling since then! One of my favorite trips overseas with my family was when the 4 of us (my parents, sister and I) backpacked through Thailand for 4 weeks. I was around 14 at the time and my sister was 9 and we had a blast-each of us with our own packs on. I think that was the starting point with my real love of travel and also Thailand. I love Thailand so much. I could never get sick of travelling there!
Anthony has been on a long term trip overseas before we met and he spent some months working on the Greek Island of Ios and then some more travel through Europe. Much like myself, he always found his way back through Thailand and I think from last count has been there about 8 or 10 times now! Probably his other favorite country on his trips before was Croatia. He always raves about what a stunning country it is and how the people are so good looking! I think another highlight for him when travelling to Croatia was visiting the house and town where his father grew up, in a small town called Pula.
|Waiting for a bus in Laos- which came 6 HOURS late!|
Q3. When, exactly, did you set off on your world travels? When did you start Positive World Travel?
We set off at the end of January in 2010 with a one way flight ticket to Malaysian Borneo. Positive World Travel only started a few months before that, not really knowing the huge potential it would have. Like many travel websites, they begin as an easy way for loved ones to follow you around the world. When we both realized how much we liked writing and filming our travels (and other people apart from our family did too!) we decided to turn it into something bigger and better!
Q4. When you started your big trip, did you have some idea of how long you wanted to keep traveling? Did you have your sights set on a year or two, then return to ‘settled’ life? Or did you hope to continue traveling for the rest of your lives? Or was it like, ‘as long as we can afford it’? Or what was the plan?
We always knew that when we started our big trip it was going to be a long one. We had saved for 3 years and we could have bought the perfect family house with the money. Instead, we decided to head off and travel. We had no set plans other than knowing it was going to be at least 1 year. We had some vague ideas of roughly how long we were going to spend in each country (but as soon as we started that all went out the window!) and just travelled where and when we wanted. Returning home was going to be just when it felt right…and of course money was a big factor too! Whether we would stop and work if we found a place we liked or just keep travelling till the money ran out! Planning to not have a plan worked the best for us!
|Celebrating Christmas in New York City|
Q5. How did your friends, colleagues, and family respond to your plans to leave on an indefinite world trip? Were they supportive, excited, and happy for you? Or were they nervous, scared, and discouraging? Or?
We are so lucky to both have such loving, supportive and close families. Of course they were sad to see us go for such a long time, but they never once told us we couldn’t go or didn’t want us to. They all know we both love to travel and really wanted us to be happy. Of course, our friends too sadly waved us goodbye, but knew we would be back one day and they would still be there waiting for us!
The hardest part for Anthony and I was to be away from our little nephews, cousins and our friends’ kids. Missing them grow up is sad.
Q6. What are your 3 favorite things to do out in the world? (party? extreme adventures? Lounge on beaches? )
As much of a chicken I am, I still love to push myself in areas I get scared or nervous about. We love adventure activities and we often seek out things we could do in each country that were both exhilarating and exciting, like rafting, canopying and the like. We also love going trekking and have been on many treks overseas. We are also both beach loves, having grown up on the beach, so we always seek out some great spots where Anthony can go surfing and I can laze about in the sun!
|Enjoying the beach in Vietnam|
Q7. Thus far, how many countries have you visited? Which are your 3 favorite, and why?
On this trip together we have been to 22 countries. It seems like a lot when grouped together like that, but there are still so many more places we want to see! Our top 3 places without a doubt would be Vietnam, Ecuador and, of course, Thailand.
We spent 3 months motor biking from North to South in Vietnam and I think that really allowed us to see a lot of the country that other tourists might miss. You often hear a lot of travelers talk about how intense the Vietnamese can be towards travelers, but we found the exact opposite. In many of the smaller towns we would have families invite us into their homes, make tea for us and freshly baked cakes. Of course they couldn’t speak any English and Vietnamese was so limited, but it was great nonetheless!
Ecuador was such a great little country in South America. You often just think of the Galapagos Islands when Ecuador is mentioned (which are amazing by the way!) but there is so much within the small country. The best part is that within a matter of hours you can be surfing at the beach, then trekking to snow capped mountains, then in Amazon jungle!
And, well…how could Thailand not get a mention?! We love this country, the beaches, the food and the people. What more can I say?!
|Freezing in Nepal|
Q8. Have you been in any seriously scary, dangerous, nerve-wracking situations when you feared for your health, safety, or your lives? If so, please tell us about one of them.
I think we have been really lucky while we have been away. Nothing too bad has happened to us. I guess that comes down to being smart travelers as well. We didn’t stay out to really late times at night. Wouldn’t walk through ‘dodgy’ areas or places locals told us to stay away from. We always try and suss out every situation we are in.
Q9. You make a lot of great videos! How long have you been making them? Is Ant, Elise, or both of you the video ‘master’?
Anthony is most certainly the video ‘master’. While we both do filming, Ant does more and is also in charge of the editing of our films. I work on the music and writing the voiceovers for our videos. While we both do some work, Anthony is the one who really makes them look so good with his filming and editing.
Q10. Your videos have some pretty advanced and professional features like including a Positive World Travel intro, background music, text over, and smooth editing. You’re videos have also won many mentions and awards. Congrats! How did you develop your video techniques? Did you take some classes or just learn by practice?
Thanks for the kind words! We both really love doing the videos and we found that it enhances our travels quite a lot because we are always thinking about what/where we should film. Anthony did a few online courses, lots of reading and research about different aspects too, especially when we bought new camera equipment and got a DSLR camera for filming. Much of it, though, is through lots of practice!
Q11. Why is there a video of Dame Judi Dench on your website? :))
How observant! That is actually one of our sponsors for Positive World Travel, who have asked us to embed a video for them on our site!
|Having beer in Asia|
Q12. I was going to ask you some questions about how you manage to travel together as a couple 24/7. But you’ve actually written several articles on that topic! So, let me just ask you this one question:
What advice would you give any couples that are considering traveling long-term together?
Talk and be open. Like you wrote, when you travel as a couple you are with each other 24/7. Spending so much time with your partner is fantastic and often something you don’t really get to do when you are at home, but when you do have arguments or mishaps you need to talk about them straight away because you only have each other to rely on. Being honest and really listening to how your better half feels is important in any relationship, but especially when you are travelling.
*A lot of our articles about couples travel are actually on Nomadic Matt’s site when we were the couple writers for him:
The Joy Of Travelling As A Couple: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/the-joy-of-traveling-as-a-couple/
The Importance Of Personal Time: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/the-importantance-of-personal-time/
Coping With Fights On The Road: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/coping-with-fights-on-the-road/
Organising Travel Responsibilities: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/dividing-up-travel-responsibilities/
Keeping The Spark Alive: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/keeping-the-relationship-spark-alive/
Advice from other couples: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/travel-advice-from-traveling-couples/
Q13. So, now that you’re nearly 2 years into your nomadic life, how much longer do you intend to keep traveling? Do you think you’ll ever settle down somewhere? If so, got any ideas when and where?
Well, as we speak we have just returned home! It was all a little hush, hush because we were surprising my family and also Anthony’s cousin for her wedding! It was fantastic to see our friends and family again after so long! Our plan is to stay here for a year or so and then head off to Africa as our next adventure!
As much as we love to travel we will always call Australia home. We love our country and especially where we live on the beaches of Sydney. It’s just a beautiful place. So no matter where we travel to in the world we will always somehow end back up in Sydney (but passing through Thailand on the way!)
Thanks so much, Elise, for sharing your travels with us. Enjoy your year in Australia before setting off on the road again! cheers, Lash
Elise and Ant have written this excellent and very thorough guidebook to motobiking through Vietham, based on their own motorbike trip through the country. If you’re planning to visit Vietnam and/or you love motorbike travel, check out their awesome guide to get started.
Follow Elise and Ant with their continued adventures:
Website: Positive World Travel