There are a lot of travelers out there. Here at Travefy we try to track some of them down. So when we found Jade and Gabriel of We Travel and Blog we were hooked on their mission to change the world while simultaneously exploring the world. We got the chance to talk to Jade and Gabriel about their blog, living in their van “BigBlu”, love and adventures.
Q. When and how did you decide to start traveling?
J&G. I caught the travel bug early, having been lugged around different countries as a child. I had a RTW trip up my sleeve for many years while “real life” kept getting in my way. After a few solo trips and a tempestuous divorce with “real life” I met Gabriel who had recently moved back to the Dominican Republic. Travel plans hadn’t been in his foreseen fortune, but the bug is contagious.
Q. I LOVE your mission statement. When did you guys come to realize that was what you wanted it to be?
J&G. They say “if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem” and, travel or no travel, it’s always been important to each of us individually not to be part of the problem.
We both left our previous lives, before we met each other, in search of a path that would be more conducive to being part of the solution. We both knew it was going to have to be something the mainstream sees as unconventional. We had no idea it would take us here, trying to reach zero waste in a Westy, but step by step, that’s where life has brought us.
Q.What is it like traveling with each other?
J&G. Traveling with each other has had many facets and has evolved a lot. As our love evolves and changes, so does the way we travel.
At first it was all butterflies and magic. Our trips were care-free, our skin tan, our sun-bleached hair trailing behind us on our motorcycle like he manes of wild horses. We were exploring the boundaries of our relationship and what we were all about. It was mostly all smiles.
As our travels started to take on a stronger meaning and the blog a following, I can’t lie, we lost a bit of the initial freedom. There’s been a looming sense of adult responsibility coming over what we do, but that isn’t always bad. It has also mirrored our relationship, our commitment to each other.
We’re in it for the long haul and when the mierda hits the fan we can’t just walk away to a new location with a fresh partner and new butterflies.
Our travels have accelerated the speed at which we’ve had to uncover our previous scars and fears, and forced us to deal with them NOW. Luckily, our love is strong and we both do our best to find the patience to put our egos aside when necessary in order to help each other heal, and most importantly, to keep the ball rolling. If we want to keep having fun, we have to take care of each other, that’s just how it is.
Q.How is van life treating you?
J&G.Great question, because Instagram will have you believe in a nostalgic romanticized version of the vanlife, and it isn’t always so.
Our trip with BigBlu actually started off with a pretty bad streak. We knew nothing about anything, mechanical, electrical, or otherwise. She needed a lot of TLC which we were unqualified to give her without help which we couldn’t really afford.
We were also just getting used to no longer being in the Dominican Republic, wild and free, and suddenly found ourselves stealth camping in a tin can at the mercy of the pacific northwest’s very wet winter capriciousness.
We found it hard at first to adjust to not being able to make a move without taking the whole house with us, and honestly started getting on each other’s nerves quite a bit. I cried, a lot. Every transition needs an adjustment period, and we’re now really starting to feel at home in our little house on wheels. Plus the weather’s much better in Baja! That helps.
Q.If you could give new travelers one piece of advice what would it be?
J&G. My number one piece of travel advice to new travelers–after the obvious remember to be in the moment as often as possible–is to remember to leave no traces. That doesn’t stop in the woods. We are drops of water in a large ocean; our motions affect everything around us.
While this to you might be the most life-changing, most unique moment of your life, it is probably routine to your tour guide, waitress, or surf instructor.
This might sound a bit like something your mother would say, and what I’m suggesting is definitely very difficult, but do remember to step out of yourself while having the time of your life.
Locals only ever see travelers who are on vacation. They don’t ever see the struggle that it took to get there. At best, this very skewed perception of economically stable countries affects the goals, hopes, and dreams of people in “developing nations.”
At worst your behaviors might be introducing previously non-existent demands for a drug trade and drug dependence. In short, let loose, but be aware of the cost of your soul searching.
Q. What is one of your biggest secrets to traveling?
J&G. There’s no real secret to traveling. I’m sorry everyone, it’s just not that mysterious.
You will, however, find that everything rolls a lot smoother when you try your best to have genuine interactions with the people who’s countries you are a guest of. Sure it’s fun to mingle with fellow travelers in the hostel lobbies, and you’ll find rich connections there.
Going out of your comfort zone and getting on the wavelength of those living life everyday under the rules of a different culture, however, will lead to much more lasting relationships, and self growth. It’s not really a secret, but it might help a few people ad depths to their journeys.
Q. Where to next?
As I write this from the sandy beach of LaPaz’ Malecon, we just finished changing out our suspension and are waiting for the next available ferry to Mazatlan, mainland Mexico.
We opted for the cargo ferry instead of the passenger ferry so we could keep our pup Phi with us while we slept amongst the 18-wheelers, instead of shoving him in a kennel for the 16 hour journey.
The trip so far has taken us through many gateways, one way doors into the unknown. Our marriage, our departure from the DR, our cross-Canadian train trip, our impulse purchase of a Westfalia, our crossing into Mexico, our adopting Phi, and now, our journey out of the desert and into the lushness of mainland and eventually Central. These have all been moments of great importance but blurred significance.
Where will the road take us? Hopefully all the way to Patagonia, a land that’s almost become legendary and mystical for us now: the final destination, the compass bearing. What will we encounter along the way and how many more gateways will we cross?
It’s a destiny loosely written in the sands of the surf beaches along the way, with each passing wave it’s erased and a new future is written, awaiting our arrival. Maktub.