Natasha and Cameron are an American couple that together have traveled to over 40 countries. They both left their stable, but boring jobs in New York City for a life of adventure and uncertainty. They prefer to backpack and live off a budget of less than $30 a day while working and volunteering to sustain themselves on the road. You can connect with them through their blog The World Pursuit, as well as on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
1) What hidden gems of the country (s) you visited could you share with someone who has never been there?
Traveling Thailand a couple years ago we needed a place to go to on the fly after getting dropped off by a shady bus at 3am on Khaosan Road. We had already spent a significant time in Bangkok and wanted to go somewhere different. Instead of wasting money on a hostel we took a tuk tuk to the train station and decided to take the next train out to Ayutthaya. The town is off the tourist path, rich with Thai culture, and is a short 2 hour ride away from Bangkok.
2) Any places you would recommend that visitors may not find in a guidebook?
I scoured the Japan guidebooks for weeks, but it was actually while staying in a hostel that I heard about Okunoshima. An abandoned Japanese island with thousands of bunnies just waiting to crawl all over you. Getting there is fairly easy. Taking the incredibly efficient and fast Japanese trains to Tadano-Umi station will put you at the harbor. In your most broken Japanese ask to board the ferry to the bunny island and prepare yourself for the best and most furry day ever.
3) What is your favourite place you have visited and why is it your favourite that’s not considered off the beaten path. For example, Paris would not be considered off the beaten path but you stumbled upon something hidden there that you weren’t expecting to find, whether it was a walking trail or place where the locals hang out?
I really love the city of Rome. There is so much history and things to do you can stay there for weeks and never get bored. The food is great, and the locals will make you feel very welcomed. Just walking the cobbled streets will bring you to some warm and cozy cafes away from the crowds.
4) Can you share some local haunts you have found in your travels that the locals themselves have shared with you?
After spending some time in Kotor, Montenegro a local told me of a town 20 minutes up the road called Perast. It was a little more off the tourist path than Kotor at this time. I decided to make the trip and see the beauty of the town this man had described. It was off season and I ended up being the only person in the whole town! Perast is a quaint, hilly location right along the coast. There were numerous old churches to venture into, but I found the real charm to be just walking on the stone ground watching the fisherman bring in their daily catch.
5) Now that you have seen some of these ‘off the beaten path’s and hidden gems, would you consider trying to find more of these places when traveling or would you stick to the usual tourist places to visit? For example, many people visit Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and Rome for the Coliseum but there is more to these places than what we have seen.
I’m not much for big cities anyways. If I get somewhere and discover that it is too commercialized or touristy, I will only spend a couple days there before heading onward. That’s not to say that Paris or Rome don’t have their charms (because they definitely do) but I much more prefer to be where no one else is and really delve deeper into the culture of the country I am in.