Hey there! I’m Charlie and this is Charlie on Travel, a sustainable and slow travel blog written by me and my life and travel companion, Luke (I’d be lost without him). We’re slow travellers, nature lovers, vegetarians, green advocates, sustainability enthusiasts and house sitters.
For us, travel more than just a holiday, it’s a lifestyle choice. We travel slowly and house sit when we can so that we can experience local life in different countries, get off-the-beaten path, explore lesser known towns and neighbourhoods, eat where the locals eat and travel in a way which is as sustainable as possible.
How Did It All Start?
Crank up the way back when machine. After only a couple of months of meeting Luke, we moved to Taiwan together and became ESL teachers. That was in 2012. I started my first travel blog, Strangers in Taiwan, and wrote about expat life and teaching in Taiwan. Living in Taiwan was an incredible learning experience for us. Our time in Taiwan is what made us realise we wanted to be long-term, slow travellers. When we left, that’s what we did.
How Did You Become Slow Travellers?
We loved experiencing local life in Taiwan but we also wanted to see different places as well, rather than being tied down to the same small town (not that we didn’t love it). After living as expats for a year, we knew that an alternative travel lifestyle suited us well and we knew that going slow was good for us. We began researching slow travel options like house sitting, short-term apartment rentals on Airbnb, and some volunteering opportunities.
How Does Slow Travel Work?
Cramming multiple countries into a two week trip isn’t really our style, we like to keep our travels simple and slow it way down. Slow travel doesn’t tie you into one certain type of travel, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a certain amount of time somewhere. Slow travel is really an off-shoot of the slow food movement. The core principle at the heart of slow travel is travelling local – that means getting to know local life and supporting local people. For us, slow travel works thanks to great concepts like house sitting and Airbnb, and thanks to our flexible work.
What’s House Sitting Like?
We absolutely love house sitting. It’s enabled us to travel for much longer periods of time than we had initially anticipated as it usually means we can live practically rent-free. We’ve house sat in some amazing local neighbourhoods that we never would have got to know otherwise, and have been genuinely touched by the kindness and generosity of the expats we’ve house sat for. Not to mention that we’ve had some beautiful animals to look after! So far, we’ve house sat in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and the UK.
What About Sustainable Travel?
It’s very important to us to travel in a sustainable and responsible way. For us sustainable travel means raising awareness about ethical wildlife tourism, caring for the environment, supporting the local people and economy, and protecting local culture and history. Another aspect of our sustainable travel ethos is being able to sustain our own travel long-term with as minimal negative impacts on the environment as possible.
How Come You’re Vegetarian?
Luke and I have been vegetarians for as long as we can remember and travelling didn’t change that. Our vegetarianism feeds into our commitment to sustainable travel and looking after the environment. Some people reckon that vegetarian travel means you can’t enjoy all the local and traditional foods of a country, but we’re here to show you otherwise! We’ve learned so much about different kinds of vegetarian cuisine on our travels and it’s made us much better cooks too.
How Do You Afford to Travel?
While it’s true that we did save a lot of money teaching in Taiwan, we’re not travelling off of our savings. We used this money to travel Vietnam and then to tide us over for a couple of months while we made the transition to freelance writing careers and set ourselves up as professional house sitters. We’ve been working in digital marketing for nearly two years now and are excited to see that we’re able to work from anywhere in the world as long as we have a decent wifi connection. As you might imagine, we don’t make a mint but we’re careful with our money and keep meticulous track of our travel budgets.
Want to Know More?
Have another question about sustainable or slow travel, becoming travel blogger, starting out as a house sitter or the places we’ve been? Feel free to get in touch and ask! We do our best to answer all the questions that we receive, though sometimes it takes a couple of days. If you have a really in-depth questions, then we might even cover it in a blog post.