As with most of the blogs I read, I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled on Kylie’s blog, Kylie and Spencer, earlier this summer but I did and after reading just a few posts I quickly became a “follower” and have been reading along ever since. Kylie and her husband Spencer are humanitarian photographers/videographers – something I’m interested in as well (which could be part of the reason I instantly fell for their blog). So far, they’ve lived and worked in China, Hawaii, Peru, and now Ecuador where they are currently shooting for a non-profit. Travellers and humanitarians? My kinda people. When you read Kylie’s blog it’s clear that they have a genuine love, passion, and excitement for what they do (and each other) – I love that.
Oh, Kylie’s also a triplet. An identical triplet (how cool is that!) – and they each love to travel. Together with her sister’s they write the blog Traveling Triplets – another fun read. So now you have two new reads to add to your reader 🙂
Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
How many trips do you take each year?
I have a tendency to move places instead of just stopping by – so it really depends on the year. While living abroad we travel to many other places nearby which averages out to about 3 trips per year.
Favourite travel memory (in 5 sentences or less)?
In Spring of 2017, I traveled with a group of students to the tiny island nation of Tuvalu. Tuvalu is said to disappear in the next 50 years, swallowed by the sea due to its low elevation of only 15 feet above sea level. This island is one of 9 coral atolls, and can hardly be seen on a map. Located in Polynesia near Fiji, Tuvalu is home to the most kind, warm and welcoming people where everyone is considered family. You can learn more about the island by watching our videos here.
Best thing about traveling?
Meeting new people – seeing how families live from day to day in a totally different environment – trying new food and being introduced to new customs and traditions. There is so much to learn from experience that we cannot learn from books or online.
Toughest thing about traveling?
Having enough money to do what you want to do! It can be tricky when you travel on a small backpacker budget, as I do, but there are always ways to do what you dream of doing without having a heap of money to do it.
Three essentials you always take with you and why (excluding money & passport)?
1. Hand sanitizer – I use this stuff all the time, especially considering so often there is no soap or running water where I go and I do love me some clean hands!
2. SLR camera – must.document.everything
3. My hubby – he is my other half, my best travel mate, and without him it just isn’t near as fun!
A favourite gadget/item/tip you’ve discovered that helps:
Lonely Planet travel books and their Thorntree Forum. They’re my ultimate travel companions. I never go to any country without one. LP is perfect for those who travel on a budget and full of great ideas and adventurous destinations without making you feel like a total goofball tourist. Thorntree is an awesome discussion board where travelers leave comments and posts about where they’ve been and what they did, and it is usually quite reliable.
How do you survive long plane rides?
I sleep! A lot! Put me in a car and I’m out in 5 minutes, just ask my hub. I ask for a blanket and cover my head with it, too. Then I always make sure to wake up for free drinks and complimentary meals/snacks. It does help to be near the aisle to get to the bathroom easier and unload your baggage first, but I admit I prefer the window so I can gaze at the sky and sun as it sets and rises between time zones. Those moments are magical.
How do you plan for a trip?
I would categorize myself as a planner, although my husband and I don’t do a lot of planning when it comes to traveling. We do our homework on areas we want to go beforehand – such as seeing what there is to do in each city, what kinds of activities are available, and which destinations we would prefer. Beyond that, it is all spontaneity. We get off a bus, train or plane and with our packs on our back mill around looking for a hostel to our liking. From there, we talk with the locals or other expats and see what there is to do that is fun and adventurous. My husband and I like to pave our own path – we are two little explorers that enjoy the relaxed low-key rhythm of travel with no real concrete plans that just end up stressing you out or failing. It’s more fun to plan as you go – and it allows flexibility in your schedule.
Favourite things to do/see when you’re in a new city?
Whenever we get to a new place, we always look for good food. We love to eat. And I especially love to eat ice cream and anything chocolate. We sniff our way to yummy bakeries hidden around corners and appetizing restaurants on the streets. As a couple, we most enjoy doing things alongside the locals and taking the less-trodden path to see how things really are at a local level.
What camera do you carry with you?
We carry two cameras with us – as humanitarian videographers and photographers, our gear and equipment is our job and therefore we guard them with our lives and take good care of them. Our cameras mean a great deal to us. At this point, we are absolutely 100% satisfied with our equipment, especially since it took 4 years to upgrade to this level. I shoot on a Canon 7D while my husband handles the Canon 5D mk II, but when he isn’t filming I snag the 5D for photography as well. We always bring along external hard drives, the LaCie 2 TB and portable Mac-compatible WD drives to backup our photos and video as we go. We have experienced the photographer’s dreaded moment of the computer crashing and losing ALL our photos from Asia, and ever since we never hesitate to back up right away. Our favorite lenses include Canon’s 17-40 mm L series, 50 mm 1.8 thrifty fifty, and an old school Hoya Skylight IA 50 mm 1.4 lens that has incredible bokeh.
Many people want to travel but often don’t – citing reasons like not enough time/money, too busy etc. How are you able to make travel a regular part of your life?
Traveling is not a question of time or money, but rather priority. Although time and money have a huge deal to do with it, there is more to it than what people may assume. For those of us who have a burning passion to explore and see the world, traveling is not just an option it is a necessity. We make things happen. The key is looking for opportunities to work with NGOs or humanitarian organizations that can use a helping hand in exchange for free rent, or making time during the summer or with what time you get off from work to go somewhere new. Some people even take on school abroad to see the world! There are plenty of options.
Do you collect anything from your trips?
YES – bracelets, bracelets, and more bracelets! I LOVE bracelets. My wrist has a party all year round. My husband and I each buy wedding bands (just any type of ring) everywhere we go, as well. It’s a fun tradition! And of course, anytime there is an opportunity for a new hair wrap I take it.
Peru. I lived in Cusco for two months, filming and photographing for a humanitarian organization with my husband. During our time there, we were able to visit the infamous and stunning Machu Picchu! I loved the fuzzy llamas and climbing ancient ruins under the scorching Incan sun.
At Machu Picchu
The Caribbean side of Colombia. We want to soak in all the rays we can, and enjoy a change of scenery under the sun.
Place your dying to return to?
CHINA! I LOVE CHINA! Seriously, hands down, top fav of all the places I’ve been. The people in China blow me away with their love and kindness. The culture is so unique and there is SO MUCH to see in China. With such incredible diversity in climate, landscape, food, and dialect you are bound to have an adventure no matter which direction you take.
With her students in China
Best hotel you’ve stayed in?
The best hotel I’ve stayed in would have to be in La Fortuna, Costa Rica at Villas Vista Arenal. This place is luxurious and located in the middle of the jungle at the base of a beautiful volcano. The grounds are serene and peaceful, with an eternity pool out front and private cabinas spread throughout the property. Rooms are spacious, include a safe for your valuables, and accommodations include delicious complimentary breakfast to fill your tum to its max! There is a porch out front with hammocks strung for you to relax with a book, and the grounds are quiet and peaceful for you and your lover to have some ME TIME! Love this place, and would recommend it in a heartbeat.
France. My mother and grandmother are French, and I have many relatives in the South of France that I would absolutely love to visit. It is on my must-visit-when-I-have-money list, since Europe is more spendy than my usual Asia/Latin America trips. I also have my eyes on Greece, as that is a place I’ve always wanted to go with my sisters. I am an identical triplet, and with my sisters we run a site called Traveling Triplets where we share our travel stories and tips on how to travel on a budget. It’s a lot of fun and we are determined to fulfilling all our dream destinations within this lifetime! ☺
The Traveling Triplets (at her sister’s wedding this past summer)
Finish this sentence: A world without travel is like…
…..living in a box. I know that sounds harsh, but really people? We need to get out! We all need to see a little of the world to freshen our perspective, keep us humble, and help us learn valuable lessons that we otherwise just won’t learn in our own backyard.
I love these Frequent Flyer features because I get as much out of them as, hopefully, you guys do. I enjoy getting to know the bloggers behind some of my favourite blogs a bit better and sharing their thoughts, insights, tips and suggestions…and it’s always fun to discover new blogs, no? Along with her sisters Kylie is in the process of opening up an online shop where they will sell unique handmade items to wear from around the world – I’m really looking forward to it! Be sure to stop by both of her blogs, Kylie and Spencer, and Traveling Triplets – and I tell her I sent you!
Photo credit: All pictures taken by Kylie or Spencer and used with permission.
Frequent Flyer spotlights a blogger I enjoy who also happens to love traveling and exploring new places. In Frequent Flyer I ask them a few questions to get their thoughts, tips, suggestions, and travel tales – in hopes of inspiring YOU (and myself!) on future travels. In the Frequent Flyer feature I don’t just talk to travel bloggers – I talk to bloggers of various backgrounds (design, photography, fashion, life…) Some take many quick trips a year, others travel frequently for work, and others take a handful of longer jaunts abroad – but they all have great stories and tips and I hope you enjoy this feature!