To those that don’t know, surprisingly, Tom and I are both quite cynical when it comes to love. Very seldom would you see me gushing about a romantic story..but this one..this is pretty unique. Meet Mark and Camille, a lovely couple who are going on 365 dates around the world, as they celebrate their honeymoon (aww yea! I can see you gushing already!) Read their story and get inspired.
So tell us a little bit about you and your blog, 365 travel dates. How did you guys start?
The name 365 travel dates was created over a Valentines Dinner in Shanghai in the year leading up to our big trip. We intended this to be a yearlong honeymoon. We wanted to document our trip and be able to look back and see where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, who we’ve met, and hopefully be able to inspire others to travel and follow their own dreams.
Like most travel bloggers, we didn’t really have any prior blogging or writing experience. It started off very slow and mainly as a travel journal. Slowly we gained an audience and started receiving messages about how we travel and so we started writing in response to those messages. We’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of like-minded people. We consider ourselves to be a normal couple. The blog isn’t about just travel but is starting to be more of a voice to empower people to love life and live it to the fullest.
How did you guys first get into travel? How would you say you have grown as travelers compared to your first few trips?
Mark studied abroad in Argentina and South Africa when he was in college and was bit by the travel bug. After college he went to South Korea to teach English then to Manila to take his Masters. We met in the Philippines shortly after he finished studying and then he went to Saudi Arabia after that. He came back 3 months later and we started dating. He was addicted to traveling and while we were dating we started traveling the Philippines together. Then he left for China and I went to Singapore. We got engaged and then got married. He continued to want to travel ALL the time and convinced me to do the same. After our first year of marriage, we went on a 40 day trip around Southwest China and Cambodia. This trip was a pre-cursor to the current trip we are on now. Not much has changed in terms of the way we’ve travelled. Although while we lived in China, we took vacations and weren’t as budget conscious as we both had good paying jobs. We travel way cheaper than how we use to. Also, we pack way less than before. And, instead of buying souvenirs we cherish our memories through photos and experiences. We started doing work exchanges and volunteering during this trip which we didn’t have time to do while on vacation.
What inspires you to travel? What do you love most about traveling?
The discovery of new cultures, food, people, and landscapes is a daily inspiration for us. We are constantly learning new things about foreign lands and ourselves as well as unlearning wrong assumptions or misconceptions that we’ve previously had. We love discovering each other more through travel.
What is the most difficult/challenging travel experience that you guys have gone through?
Africa was our most difficult and most challenging region of travel so far. We had two experiences that illustrate this during this trip. After getting robbed in a taxi in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania we gathered ourselves up and still decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. This was by far the hardest physical thing we’ve done in our lives. We hiked for 6 days total. The day before summiting we hiked for 10 hours, slept for 4, then woke up at midnight and hiked another 8 hours to the summit. We then went down back to our camp which took 2 or 3 hours, had a short nap, ate lunch, then continued hiking further down for 4 more hours. We were exhausted, hadn’t showered, and were ready to be off the mountain.
What’s next for you guys? Where are you headed to?
We are currently in Panama City and will go to the San Blas Islands (a group of 365 islands in the Caribbean side of Panama). After that we will go to Colombia and make our way down south until we get to Argentina. In between we’ll likely have stops in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia with trips to the Galapagos Islands and Macchu Picchu. After South America our current plans have us going back to the Philippines and then a summer trip to Europe! Our plans change a lot but this is what our current thoughts are today.
Out of all your ‘dates’ around the world, what has been the most memorable?
It’s so hard to choose just one. Mount Kilimanjaro was definitely on the top of our list. Africa in general was amazing especially with all the safaris we went on. During this trip Mark kissed a giraffe, went on a walking safari, fed a rhino, saw tons of lions, elephants, chimpanzees, wild dogs, monkeys, and literally thousands of wildebeest and zebras surrounding us. This is something we would recommend to everyone!
More recently went into the Caribbean and did a freediving course. Camille has a fear of the ocean and panics when she can touch the ground. At the beginning of the two-day course, she didn’t even want to get off the boat. By the end of it, she was able to hold her breath and dive down to 12 meters below the surface. Dates like this are incredible, especially when fears are overcome by courage!