Well, Scotland Week is coming to an end here on Full Life, Full Passport. It’s been a lot of fun sharing our two-part Scotland travel guide on the site as well as flooding the FLFP Instagram with some of my favorite photos from our trip. Thank you to everyone who read, commented, shared, liked, and otherwise supported the guide launch this week! You truly are appreciated.
Scotland aside, the rest of the week has been pretty swell, too. Here’s what I’ve been loving lately!
From the moment I first discovered her blog (thanks to her comment on one of my posts), I knew that Riana over at Teaspoon of Adventure was a kindred spirit. Not only are we both passionate about travel (that’s the obvious connection), but we seem to organize our lives in similar ways in trying to prioritize it. We both are part-time travelers, fitting in our adventures whenever we can while still holding down jobs, permanent homes, retirement savings funds, cute pups, and other trappings of a more settled life.
Recently, Riana posted an article that really resonated with me, coining a term that I’d never heard but with which I immediately identified. She declared herself to be an “almost budget traveler.”
An almost budget traveler is someone who does his or her best to travel as inexpensively as possible while still allowing for certain comforts and experiences. For example, Riana discusses scouring the web for the cheapest airfare, taking advantage of free activities, and staying in non-luxury hotels to save some money, but then not being afraid to put those savings toward splurging on a great meal or embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime experience like a safari in South Africa.
I would have to say that M and I are the same way. I’ve discussed how we have leveraged websites like TravelZoo to save on airfare, activities, or vacation packages. We tend to travel offseason to take advantage of lower prices, like going to Iceland in April. We don’t stay in the fanciest hotels or buy many souvenirs. (Usually, we return home with only photos and a Christmas tree ornament.) We pack snacks and bring refillable water bottles.
On the flip side, we are willing to pay for comforts and experiences that will add value to our trip. It’s been just shy of a decade since I slept in a hostel bunkbed with twelve of my closest strangers in the same room, and I am more than fine with having moved up a rung on the accommodation ladder. Like Riana, we choose to eat most of our meals in local establishments rather than cooking for ourselves, since food is such a huge part of culture (and, let’s be honest, half the reason why I travel). Most importantly (and within reason), we don’t say no to an amazing experience just because of the price tag. I don’t want to leave Turkey without taking a hot air balloon ride, and I wouldn’t visit Tanzania without going on some sort of game drive. Granted, I will be doing my research to find the best price possible, but if you’re unwilling to pay for the very experiences that made you excited to visit in the first place, why bother going?
In those ways, I suppose I would fit pretty neatly into the club of almost budget travelers. How about you?
Last July, a story appeared in National Geographic Magazine that I found utterly fascinating. I happened to be reminded of it this week and couldn’t help sharing it with you, even though it’s almost a year old.
Each year, in the remote foothills of the Nepali Himalaya, Mauli Dhan goes on a dangerous mission to pluck enormous honeycombs from the sheer faces of rocky cliffs. Using only homemade ropes, rope ladders, and hand-woven baskets, Maui hangs suspended in the air over a sure-death drop of hundreds of feet to access the honey. Sometimes, he steps onto a narrow ledge with no safety line whatsoever. All the while, he is battling the stings and swarms of some of the biggest bees in the world who are not thrilled with the incursion.
His reward is a kind of psychotropic honey worth much more than other varieties, but the risk is immense. Mauli is also almost sixty years old, and the last of a dying breed. Local religious beliefs and superstitions hold that only people who had been blessed with a certain dream can harvest the honey, and no one but Mauli has had it in decades. A sort of curse seems to fall on anyone who attempts Mauli’s work without the dream, so he goes it alone. How much longer he will be willing and physically able to do so remains a mystery.
The article is absolutely fascinating, a glimpse into the way of life of a quiet and secluded people who just so happen to commit one of the most unbelievable acts of bravery in the world. It is absolutely worth the read, but at the very least scroll through the photos and watch the behind-the-scenes video above to be awed by the courage and skill of this incredible honey hunters. Just be prepared to experience some intense vertigo – I caught myself holding my breath more than once.
3.) A Visit from Mom
A highlight of the week was my mom coming to visit, which ended up being great timing because M was called away on a work trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. Riley and I appreciated having another human around and it made M’s absence go by more quickly.
Mom and I have always had a great relationship, even when I was a teenager. Believe it or not, I never really even went through a rebellious, “I hate you, Mom!” kind of phase. Sometimes it’s tough that she lives over two hours away back in the town where I grew up, but luckily she’s close enough that we still get to see each other fairly frequently.
Mom arrived on Wednesday and is leaving today, so it was just a quick trip, but we managed to fit a lot into it. We visited a big farmer’s market and did some other shopping, ate some yummy food, went out for ice cream, took Riley on some nice walks, and shared a lot of laughs and conversation. Sometimes a visit from Mom is just what your heart needs!
Well, that’s a wrap on the week! I hope that you have a fantastic weekend and look forward to sharing more with you on Monday.
What have you been loving lately?
Would you consider yourself to be an “almost budget traveler”?
What’s the most daredevil thing you’ve ever done?