We are Kaspars and Una, a traveling couple from Latvia. In October 2013, after giving away all our belongings and leaving our jobs, we went to India, to cycle across it for 5 months. During this adventure we fell in love with traveling. And we don’t have any plans to stop exploring the world. Right now we are working on building our location independent lifestyle.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
We have always been backpackers. Only instead of hostels we prefer to stay in private rooms or apartments.
What’s inside your backpack? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry
We travel light. Una has 35 l backpack and a spacious handbag. I (Kaspars) have 30 l backpack. We carry a little bit of clothes, some toiletries, laptops (each of us has one), cameras, phones, a GoPro, an iPad, an Amazon Kindle, some medicine, Una’s Spanish and Yoga books, chargers and that’s pretty much it.
As now we are also working while traveling, most of the time we need at least one computer and camera with us.
Kaspars and Una were Cycling 5 Months around India. How was the experience?
Before this trip we had no experience in long distance cycling. We had camped only twice. And all in all we were inexperienced travelers. But anyway we did it – in 5 months we cycled more than 5300 kilometres all across India. And that taught us, that we, people, are capable of way more things than we think we are.
Physically it was quite hard, but far from impossible. We cycled approximately 80 km per day, sometimes – up to 130 km per day. Most of the days were really hot, +30 C and more. A lot of roads were hilly, so quite a lot of going uphill and downhill. After totally flat Latvia it was challenging. In some parts of India people were exceptionally curious and they were stopping us for a chat very often. If on the highways and big country roads traffic mostly was light, then in the cities and towns traffic was heavy and chaotic almost all the time.
It was interesting adventure.
Which one was the best moments cycling around India? Why?
One of the best moments was arrival to our apartment in Goa.
At the very beginning of our cycling trip we decided, we will take 4-week long rest somewhere in Southern of India, somewhere near the ocean. Later on we decided that it will be starting from middle of December, and in Goa. And as it was top season we decided to book a place in advance (our only booking in advance in India).
We didn’t know anything about that area. And what a pleasant surprise it was to end up in a quiet place, surrounded by palms with almost no people around. It was exactly what we needed then.
Which one was the worst moments cycling India? Why?
There were no any real problems. Of course, it wasn’t cool to be pushed off the road by some bus or car (it happened to us few times), food poisoning also isn’t something very nice (again – happened few times), or few extra hours spent cycling to the next town just because there, in the only hotel of the village, they don’t accept foreigners. It’s all part of the adventure.
How many kilos you were carrying? How many kilometers per day?
When cycling in India our luggage was a little bit heavier than now (about 5 kilos heavier), because of bicycle spare parts, tools and camping equipment, which we almost never used.
Our daily budget per person was about 8-10 euro.
Can you tell us about a experience in working away?
Our first volunteer gig was in Malaysia. There we were living in our own house. Looking after this house and few chickens, gooses, dog and cat living there was one part of our duties. Second part was connected with our host’s yacht charter business. Sometimes we worked in the yacht club – port, cleaning the yacht or helping in some maintenance works, sometimes we went on charters ourselves.
We had no previous experience with yachts. And here was our chance to learn a lot of new things. Best part of this job was all these people you can meet in the yacht club, people from all the corners of our beautiful planet.
After that we have volunteered in family run hotel in the castle in France, in farm stay in Italy and in guest houses in Canary Islands.
Are you planning for a new trip or do you already have a new trip in mind?
In January 1, 2016, we are returning to India, where we plan to spend almost 5 months. And after India we will go to Nepal.
Work away while traveling? How is working?
Workaway.info is a site, where you can find volunteering opportunities all across the globe. And it’s something we highly recommend for everyone to try out.
When volunteering via Workaway you usually work for 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week. In exchange for your work you got a place where to live and food. Minimal term usually is 2 weeks, but in some places they are searching only for volunteers who can stay for 2 months or more.
It’s your chance to live in some interesting for you place longer, spending very little. You will learn more about local people’s lives and their culture. You will make new friends, as most probably there will be also other volunteers – travelers.
You can search for volunteering opportunities for free, but to contact hosts and apply for jobs you will need to register. Registration fee for 2 years is about 30 euro (for a couple).
You can learn more about volunteering on our blog.
Are you usually traveling slow and lightly? Why?
Most of the time yes. We just don’t like carrying heavy backpacks, ha. But if talking about traveling slowly, we have learned, that it’s our way of traveling. We love to spend more time in places we really like. Thus learning more about local culture and lifestyle. We also like to have “our home” in many places around the world, and traveling like this gives us the feeling.
Which country did you find the most hospitable people?
So far – Spain, especially in Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) and Portugal.
How is a day in your life when you aren’t traveling?
We are thinking about our next travels, ha.
For example, recently we spent 6 months in the Netherlands, working and saving money for traveling. Most of our free time we spent reading books about traveling and following other travellers online. At the same time we were thinking about our future travel plans.
What’s the big reason why you are traveling?
Now we just can’t imagine living all the time in one place. We have an urge to go and see new places, to experience new things and meet new people. World is very beautiful place, and we want to see more of it.
Can you tell us about your longest trip? How long was it and which places did you go to?
After cycling across India for 5 months we haven’t really stopped to travel – live abroad. After India we went to Malaysia, where we were volunteering (via Workaway) for 3 months. For almost 2 months we were traveling on our own across Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. Then we were volunteering in France for about 1 month, and went to visit our family in Latvia afterwards.
While volunteering we almost didn’t spend any money. And in total these 11 months – including vaccines, all the flights, visas, everything… – cost us about 5000 euros (for 2 persons).
After visiting Latvia we went to Italy, France, Canary Islands. In all of these places we were volunteering. Then came the Netherlands and 6 months spent there to earn money, to get ready for the next step of building our life of travel.
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far? Why?
4 months before going to India we went to Spain. There we walked one part of Camino de Santiago – about 350 kilometres. We loved this experience because of few reasons: There we understood, that we like to spend time outdoors; Nature in Spain is beautiful and people are nice.
During this trip the idea about cycling across India was born. And we love where it has led us.
What’s your favorite gastronomy/food cuisine that you had in your travels?
We love to eat. And in every country, where we have been, we have some favourites. For example, daal and paratha in India, tortilla and potatoes with mojo in Canary Islands, nasi goreng in Malaysia, frog legs in France and so on.
Has there been any challenging and bad moments? Can you tell us about the experience?
Kaspars was robbed in Malaysia once. 4 guys with knifes approached me in the park, and took my camera and phone (all I had with me then). But that was all, they didn’t harm me. Una fractured her finger on the very first day in Malaysia. She fell from the bicycle. Again, everything was fine afterwards. Medical treatment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is good and inexpensive.
Being between so many people as it is in Indian cities can be very challenging, too. But nevertheless we love this country and we are going back.
What has been you favorite destination on all the trips you’ve done? Please tell us why.
It’s hard to choose one favorite. Our top 3 is Fuerventura (one of the Canary Islands), Goa (India) and Hong Kong.
We love Fuerteventura because of its unique nature. Deserted island, which looks like another planet, with hills of every shape, beautiful coastline and pristine beaches. Goa, especially central part of this state, is our paradise on earth. Beautiful and peaceful place surrounded by palms, chilled atmosphere and tasty food is what describes it best. But Hong Kong… it’s Hong Kong. It’s BIG. It’s modern. It’s futuristic. And at the same time it has this spirit of Asia we love so much.
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping? What’s the best?
The worst place we have slept in was one hotel room in India. It was damp, dim, stinky and dirty. We arrived in a small town and this hotel was the only option. It wasn’t so cheap either. If normally we paid 7-9 euros per night for a decent and clean three-person hotel room (in India we were three – Kaspars, Una and my brother), this super dirty one cost us 6 euros.
Comparing to it sleeping in park in Singapore, as we did once, was way better experience.
Do you have any recommendations which blogger/traveller should I interview next?
Jamie of Great Big Scary World.
Great interview with Kaspars and Una, thanks for your time guys!
Kaspars and Una have been traveling around the world in different ways: walking, cycling, volunteering. If you want to hear more about their travel stories, how they were able to maintain a good relationship while traveling, and on top of that working on a travel blog, visit their space online on WearefromLatvia.com. They are traveling in India right now starting their Asian adventure. Great stories about their Indian bicycle trip and volunteering on interesting jobs. Also, if you like hanging out on social media, you can follow their trips and experiences in Facebook and Twitter.