They’re the inspiring couple from Latvia who quit their jobs, sold everything they owned and took off to India with little more than a bike. For 5 months they cycled the country from end to end, accumulating phenomenal experiences with each of the 5,300 kilometers they went. Though this was in October 2013, and they have continued to travel full time ever since.
Kaspars and Una have spent the last two years living and working between destinations across Europe and Asia, with the ultimate goal of exploring every corner of the planet before returning home. They travel slowly to truly immerse themselves into each new culture and place, and keep their costs low by volunteering in exchange for food and board.
Because why not quit your office job, give away everything you own and travel indefinitely if you don’t want to return home? Seriously, why not!! That’s exactly this one inspiring couple’s story.
What do you love the most about travelling?
We love everything about travel. We love experiencing new places, and have found that the best way to do this is to to live in different countries among different people, experiencing new cultures.
As such we personally like to travel slowly, stopping in a place for not just few days, but for weeks or months. We move onto the next destination when we feel like it’s the right time to go for something new.
What inspired you each to start travelling?
We both took our first trip abroad around 3 years ago now, just to see what it was like to travel. We planned the trip ourselves and did everything related to it on our own.
And we felt in love with it.
What is ‘We are from Latvia’ all about?
Initially it was blog which detailed our travels and adventures. But soon it evolved into something more.
Currently it the blog is made up of our travels and adventures, interviews with inspiring people whom we know, travel advice for others looking to pursue the same trips, as well as our thoughts about traveling and life.
Recently we have started “Around the World” series, where we plan to do a short interview with one person from EVERY country of the world.
Tell us about some of your travels to date
Our first trip abroad was to Portugal. Two months later we went to technology conference in Berlin, and a few weeks later we bought tickets to Istanbul (Turkey) – to spend New Years Eve.
A few months later we realized the travel bug had really hit, and we traveled to Spain to walk one part of the Camino de Santiago. On our return from Spain we knew it was time to take on a much bigger journey.
For 4 months we saved as much money as we could. We gave away and sold everything we owned, and went to India, to cycle across the country for 5 months. Then came Malaysia, where we volunteered for 3 months, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, France, Italy, Spain, and the Canary Islands.
Though our journey still continues!
Tell us more about cycling across India. Sounds Amazing!
5 months. 5,300 kilometers. One word: Hard. Haha.
There were three of us who tackled this adventure – Kaspars, Una and Kaspars’s brother. We didn’t plan too much, so every day was essentially a surprise. Mostly we woke up before sunrise and cycled until midday. Then we found a place to stay and explored the area.
In total we cycled for some 2/3 of the time in India. Frequently we stopped in cities along the way for 2-3 days, sometimes longer if there were interesting things to do.
Some time before Christmas we started to plan our “vacation” – we wanted to take about a month as a break from cycling to celebrate Christmas and New Years in a nice place. So, on December 15 we arrived in our apartment, by the ocean, in Goa. And lived there for almost one month. Such a fantastic month!
If you ask us about the most beautiful part of this journey – we would tell you it was the 100+ sunrises we saw during this trip. Most of our friends told us it was crazy, from the very north to south of India on a bike. But what a rewarding experience it was – that’s what we can say now to everyone.
Though if asked about the hardest part – being between so many people all the time is tiring. Sometimes it becomes too hard, and then you just want to be in your hotel room and do nothing.
Pros and cons of travelling as a couple?
If asked 1 year ago, we may found many cons! Everything was new to us when we started traveling together, so of course there were learning curves along the way. We needed to adapt to new conditions and an environment where we were constantly together.
But now we see only positives, the most important being that there always is a person you can rely on. Christopher McCandless was right saying: “Happiness only real when shared.”
Lots of couples have conflict – it’s normal. How do you deal with conflict while traveling?
After 8 years of having been together we find we don’t have any large conflicts. And after more than a year of travelling together now, I believe this has made us understand each other even more.
How has travelling changed each of you as a person?
We have learned how little we need. Yes, it’s possible to live for 6 months with two pairs of shorts, three t-shirts and one pair of flip flops.
We have learned to let things go. You are robbed, and now your smartphone and camera are gone? That’s fine, at least you are OK.
Our home is everywhere and anywhere, as long as we are together, and home is where we feel good a the time. As simple as that.
How do you afford to travel – are you rich?!
Yes, we are rich. We have so many rich experiences now which neither of us ever believed were possible.
Oh, you are talking about money!! For more than six months we lived only on our savings. But then we started to rely on volunteering as a way to travel the world on the cheap. That has allowed us to live on tropical island for 3 months, experience living in a castle in France and do many other things spending only very little.
When we have an opportunity we take on paid jobs, sometimes online, sometimes in the place we are.
Related Article: Make Money While Traveling The World. Start A Blog.
Tell us more about workaway – sounds like a fantastic opportunity for travel!
After more than a six months of volunteering in different destinations across Asia and Europe, we can say that Workaway is a really fantastic opportunity to travel more for less money.
You have to pay registration fee for a membership to their platform, it’s something like 25 euros for 2 years. But what a well spent 25 euros these are! You then have access to huge database of volunteer positions from around the world. And then all you need to decide is which part of the world you want to spend time, and guaranteed there will be a placement which is interesting for you!
Volunteering has allowed us to learn new skills, meet a lot of interesting people, and experienced things other’s only dream about.
What advice do you have for others who want to do what you do?
Choose one destination or region. Save some money (1,000 Euro in South East Asia wisely spent will easily last for 3 months). Don’t try to plan too much. Everything will be fine. And go!
If not, you always can go back.
What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started traveling?
You don’t need to take 24 Duracel batteries when going to cycle across India. They are also available there and cost less than they do in Europe. The same goes for medicine, bicycle parts, cosmetics and many other things.
You can essentially apply this lesson to any trip abroad – you will generally find a lot of your necessities can be purchased once you’re there.
One thing which you each don’t like about travelling?
Neither of us like to think about transportation – when to fly, on which date it is cheaper, from which airport to go, where to make a stopover, for how long, which bus to take, where to buy tickets for train and so on. I guess that means we’re not huge fans of the planning aspect!
And VISAS!!! All these different rules for different nationalities!
Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while abroad?
Arriving to India and on our first day cycling through crazy traffic of Delhi. Cars, buses, trucks, tuk-tuks, cows, people, dogs, pigs, beggars,… – everyone is a road user.
Related Article: Does the Taj Mahal Live Up to Her Hype?
Three things you each can’t travel without?
Kaspars – Toothbrush, running shoes and iPad Mini (my camera, e-book reader, phone, music player and computer in one device).
Una – toothbrush, Amazon Kindle e-book reader and spare pair of underwear.
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?
We are interested to see every country in the world. But if to name few we are interested more then – Nepal, China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, islands in South Pacific, America, Cuba, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, UAE, Pakistan, Israel, Ghana, Morocco, Norway.
Most practical piece of advice for those planning travel?
The smaller your bag, the less you will pack, the easier your journey will be!
Related Article: How The Hoboroll Solved My Packing Problems.
Why should people travel?
To see that in reality, world is not that scary as it appears on the evening news. It is so much more than war and problems. The world is a way better place than the media would have us believe, and it’s so beautiful!
Get out there – you will fall in love!
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Featured Photo Credit: Joshua Singh.