We often hear the phrase, “traveling for work”. How about the concept of working for travel? Over the past 35 years, Dan and Rudi Taylor have done just that. They turned their passion for travel into careers. Between their online import business, Happy Mango Beads, and their Colorado storefront, Wishful Living, this duo travels the world in search of unique items to bring back to their customers. Maintaining a close relationship with dozens of craftspeople around the world, they directly support communities in a way that the typical tourist does not.
“Which country is your favorite?” What a loaded question, eh? Everywhere I’ve traveled, I feel I’ve left a bit of my heart. Myanmar though—that country really stole my heart. Big smiles come to mind when I think of Myanmar—big, toothy, sometimes crimson, betel-stained grins. Genuine warmth radiates from the people there. From the charming mountain town of Hsipaw, we walked through farming communities up into the clouds where we were welcomed into small Palaung villages, and homes of the kindest and most curious folks I’ve met. Trekking in Myanmar was simply unforgettable.
Even on our honeymoon, we couldn’t just pick a relaxing vacation. Travel for us has always been about seeking adventure, meeting locals, taking in all the smells and sights, and feeling like we’re getting off the beaten path. Sri Lanka was becoming a hip destination by the time my husband and I married in 2017. I remember seeing Instagram smothered in images of young travelers hanging out of train windows, vistas over Sigiriya Rock, palm trees that seemed to spill straight into the ocean, and elephant safaris. It was attractive, but I knew our Sri Lanka vacation would offer us even more than what meets the eye.
My shins are literally sweating.” I was earning my stripes on this inaugural bikepacking trip in Costa Rica. Literally, sweat was drawing lines through the dirt caked on my legs. It had already been a long, exhausting day of riding, and we were only halfway to our destination. Riding through the touristed town near Playa Flamingo, we popped out on the beach. The air wreaked of suntan lotion as we strode past the crowds on the hard-packed sand. That mile of beach riding was exhilarating! Finding our own nook on the beach, we stripped off our sweat-soaked clothes. I removed my shoes and laughed at my ghostly-white feet, contrasting against the morning’s accumulation of grime. Aaron and I ran toward the clear, turquoise water and tripped into a refreshing haze of bliss.
What impact do you have on the places you’re traveling to? Whether it’s a 2-hour drive or a 2-year jaunt around the globe, there are several ways we can all be better travelers and minimize our impact. Throughout the years, I’ve compiled some of my favorite travel tips.