Have you heard of slow travel? People all across the globe will pack up their things and move from country to country over a long stretch of time to really get a feel for the spirit of each destination.
Irish Declan and English Emily are a couple pursuing a big dream – traveling the world together. These two have been travel blogging over at The Two Gallivants, which offers fun stories about their adventures in South East Asia and China.
We’re in awe of what they’ve accomplished and want to share it with you! Declan Bradley took the time to answer a few questions for the Leaf Canoe Community about his experiences on the road and with the Leaf Canoe app.
Are you interested in trying out the Leaf Canoe app too? Let us know!
When did you discover a love of travel and why give up corporate life for this love?
I have a faint childhood memory of playing about near the base of the Laxey Wheel on the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea. I must have been about 4 or so and I was covered in oil from the massive wheel. My mum was in hysterics that I’d ruined my good holiday clothes, but I didn’t care – I was having the time of my life and I remember thinking that day that holidays were the best. Ever since then, I have always been excited about breaking from the daily grind, boarding a plane and heading somewhere that I had never been before.
After university when a lot of other students were taking the opportunity to travel before starting their careers, I said to myself “I’ll do it eventually” and put it on the backburner. Then, with my usual impatience, I rushed straight into a full on career in law. Whatever I do, be it pen pushing or travel, I tend to do it to the extremes. And so, at the tender age of 24, I flung myself head first into 80 hour weeks and working weekends, eager to get ahead in the law game. I didn’t let up for a few years and was often feeling the stress.
Then I went to Portugal with some friends to visit their family. Life there was much more relaxed and they were all very happy. It hit me then that I needed to slow down or I would burst. More than that, I realised that I had forgot all about my plans to see this beautiful world of ours. That act of slowing down in Portugal allowed my mind to shift away from my career and I made a plan to travel, to try something different for a while, to educate myself about how other people handle life and hopefully come back with a more mature and sustainable outlook towards a work/life balance.
A few years on and I have done what I set out to do. I left my job and traveled for a full year non-stop around Asia and with the prospect of heading back to London soon to pick up my career again, I am a much happier person because I did it!
A very happy me while travelling!
What has been your favorite travel memory so far?
A very difficult question indeed, there are so many! Angkor Wat gave me that first spine tingling “WOW! I’m travelling” sensation. Hoi An, where I lived for a month in an apartment by the river, holds many warm memories for me. I loved the solitude of my hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge in China. But if I have to chose just one, it’ll have to be reaching the summit of Mount Rinjani on Lomok, Indonesia. My best friend Ted flew out to meet me for a short holiday and I had him climbing the hard slog up Mount Rinjani on a three day/two night trek. You can read all the details on my blog! It is sufficient to say for these purposes that the trek was the single hardest activity I have ever done. So reaching the very top of the active volcano was one of the greatest physical achievements of my life, and getting there with my best mate made it all the better! Did I mention the view…
Are you a fan of travel technologies and why?
I have my own travel website, so I would hope so! I think travel technologies such as planning sites, like TripAdvisor and the thousands of wonderful travel blogs out there, and sharing apps, like your very own Leafcanoe or the Instagrams or Pinterests of this world, are useful tools to motivate others to get out there. There is an argument though that too much information or photos beforehand can spoil the surprise of travel or lead to over tourism of certain areas. But to answer those critics, I would say that travel is almost never like it is on the screen and there are too many travel snobs that think they alone have an inherent right to experience the wonders of this planet. There is truth though that a general increase in worldwide travel means a greater onus on sustainable tourism and travel technology companies should do their bit to educate travelers on the dangers of exploitation in whatever form it assumes.
Oh, and one last thing, while I think technology is a good thing for travel, remember that you should have the experience – not your camera!
When you received the first version of the LeafCanoe, what impressed you the most, though it was still in a very rusty stage? What’s your vision for such a community-based travel knowledge sharing platform?
Leafcanoe was in an early stage when I first tried it last year, but I could see its great potential. The main thing that stood out to me was the ease with which I could beautifully record my experiences using photos, text and audio and readers could see exactly where I was using the GPS feature. So you can pack a lot in with little effort.
I think I touched on my own vision for travel sharing apps in my previous answer – a forum for people to learn about the world in a responsible way.
Any future travel plans that will be captured in LeafCanoe?
I recently posted a new “Leaf” about a family reunion I had with my parents and my brother in Australia. I finished a year’s travelling in Asia at the end of 2014 and my parents flew out to my brother, who lives in Perth, for New Year. So Perth seemed like the perfect destination after my travels, just a pity my sister Clare couldn’t be there, who was back home in Ireland.
And stayed tuned for new leaves about Australia Day, which we spent in Fremantle, Perth and culminated in an awesome firework display, and our lives as locals in London when we return in February.