She’s a full time high-school counselor and he’s a fiction novelist, though together they decided that waiting for “someday” just wasn’t going to make the cut. Not buying into the excuses that travel is impossible because of money or kids, Toccara Best and husband Sam believe that if travel is something you want to do, then you do whatever it takes to make it happen.
After-all, tomorrow is never a guarantee, so it would be unwise to put off a dream trip or ignore your sense of adventure!
What do you love the most about travelling?
There are many reasons why we love to travel. It’s hard to explain the feelings we have when we’re in a new place. There’s just something exciting about being somewhere new and experiencing new scenery, eclectic food, and a different culture. This planet has so much to offer in the way of variety that dreamers like us can’t be passive observers.
We’re on the go as much as possible, always searching for that next great adventure. Whether we’re trying the local cuisine or listening to traditional folk music in a converted wine cellar, it is the deep, textured heritage of the world that calls us to explore.
We love the great outdoors and would much prefer a gorgeous hike, as opposed to a museum.
What inspired you to start travelling?
Both of our families traveled frequently when we were kids, taking a few family vacations each year, usually in the southeast United States. Those experiences got us excited about exploring new places.
As we grew older, suddenly the whole world started to open up to us and we realized that with enough planning and saving, we could go just about anywhere!
What is ‘Forget Someday’ all about?
Originally the name of our blog was My Travel Days. I was planning to run the blog by myself and it was the best name I could come up with at the time, since I was planning to keep with the theme “4 Days in Paris”, “3 Days in Venice”, etc. before I realized just how much more there was to blogging about traveling!
Never really loved the name, but every so-called original idea I had was already taken! After attending the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference in Athens with me, Sam decided he wanted to be more of a contributor to the site and My Travel Days just didn’t work anymore.
Forget Someday comes from the fact that too often we hear people say, “Someday, I’ll [fill in the blank].” Well, we say FORGET SOMEDAY, and do what you can to make your dreams become a reality TODAY.
Of course this can apply to anything, but we like how it can be applied to travel dreams.
Why should people “forget someday” and travel right now?
Many of our friends say they can’t travel because they don’t have the money or because they have kids, and we think those can sometimes just be an excuse!
If it’s something that you want to do, then do what you can to make it happen! It doesn’t have to be a trip of a lifetime, it can be a ‘stay-cation’ or a weekend getaway too.
Prioritize, save, plan and achieve those travel goals! Your next day is never a guarantee, so don’t put off your dream trip or ignore your sense of adventure!
You have a series on your site called “lessons learned”. Tell us about some of the good lessons you’ve taken away from travelling.
Our philosophy in life has always been, “it doesn’t hurt to ask”. The goal for most people working in the travel industry is to make their guests’ stay as pleasant as possible, so we figure why not ask more. In most cases, if that “more” is available, travel industry professionals are willing to oblige.
For example, we love staying on top floors in hotels for the views (and for the lack of stomping from guests in the room above). When checking into a hotel, we always ask if a top floor room is available and usually when it is, our request is granted!
It also doesn’t hurt to ask for an upgrade either! If a larger (more expensive) room, for example, is going to go unused for the evening and the staff are interested in providing their current guests with an extraordinary stay, they may oblige.
Another quick example of a good lesson learned is when we gave up our seats on an overbooked flight to Hawaii. We were rewarded with $1,000 (USD) in travel vouchers, upgraded to first class on the next flight, which actually by-passed our layover destination, getting us to our final destination before our luggage!
Now what about some of the bad (lessons)?!
Our most recent bad ‘lesson learned’ was when we booked an overnight hotel stay in Istanbul during a long layover following our time in Athens for TBEX. It was by far the most economical flight option back to the States to have a long (14 hour) overnight layover, so we booked a nearby hotel which offered free shuttle service from the airport.
We had a coupon through Expedia, so it was a super nice hotel at a very affordable price! Lesson Learned: Do your research regarding required visas when leaving an airport, even during a layover. We got up to the counter to get our passports stamped and were informed that we needed a visa to enter the country! WHAT?!
We’d visited Istanbul before and didn’t need a visa, but it was during a Mediterranean cruise, so maybe there are different arrangements when arriving by cruise ship. We explained that we were just going to a hotel down the street to sleep, but it didn’t matter. We were instructed to go over to a nearby machine and purchase our visas. How frustrating! We weren’t planning on this expense!
Even more frustrating, the machines weren’t taking our credit card (even though we had notified our credit card company that we would be in Turkey), so we had to purchase our visas from the counter, which was $10 (USD) more per visa than the machine. So, $60 (USD) later, we were heading to the hotel for a good night’s sleep! Mind you, the time it took to organize our visas, we almost missed the last shuttle of the night to the hotel.
Staying in the hotel during our layover was totally worth it in the end, but we could’ve done without the added stress and expenses. Now we highly advise to do your research anytime you want to leave an airport.
Any funny lessons learned during your travels?
A funny ‘lost in translation’ story comes from our most recent visit to Greece. My shaving cream was confiscated at the LAX airport, so I was on the hunt for a new bottle when we landed in Athens.
After visiting a local supermarket, I walked out with what I thought was women’s shaving cream (you know, since it was located right next to the men’s shaving cream), but as it turns out, I had actually purchased a can of spray deodorant. The can looked exactly like shaving cream, but the writing was in Greek, so my assumption on the content was completely wrong!
Lesson Learned: Ask a clerk at the market (who hopefully speaks your language, or learn key phrases in the local language) to clarify what a given product is.
Tell us about your most memorable/epic adventures to date.
Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland is pretty much one of the most epic experiences we’ve encountered in our lives up to this point.
It’s one of those experiences that most people we know have near the top of their bucket list! And we felt so fortunate that the weather was cooperating during our brief visit to Iceland.
We went out in search of the lights 3 different nights and had incredible sightings each time. I remember literally jumping up and down the first time I saw them; it’s a feeling we won’t soon forget.
How do you afford to travel – are you rich?!
We’re certainly not rich, but at the moment, I have a decent paying full-time job and Sam brings in supplemental income with his writing.
We fund our travels by saving up. We have no debt and live modestly while working, so when it’s time to travel we have a decent amount in savings. We’re hoping to do at least a year on the road starting June, so our plan is to supplement our money in savings by some freelance writing and other monetizing methods.
One thing which you don’t like about travelling?
I HATE packing…with a passion! It’s the fear of packing too much, not enough, the right stuff, and within the strict weight limits of some airlines.
Packing causes me more anxiety than probably any other aspect of traveling.
Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?
In the US, we pretty much put everything on our credit cards and most places take plastic as an acceptable form of payment. We’ve found that when we’re traveling overseas, fewer places accept credit cards and we’re left withdrawing money (incurring withdraw fees) quite frequently.
We prefer to visit smaller towns and villages (who still favor paper/coin currency.) This is tough especially when visiting many different countries with varying forms of currency in a short amount of time.
I’m not sure if that really counts as culture shock, but more as a way of living and functioning that takes some adjusting on our part.
Three things you can’t travel without?
Like most people, we crave a good night’s sleep, so we never travel without our eye-masks and earplugs!
Although it encompasses more than one ‘thing’, we cannot travel without our camera gear. Photographs and the memories they evoke are our most cherished souvenirs.
And finally, we always travel with a phrasebook, so we can learn a few key phrases before visiting a new place with a new language. We’ll probably never be fluent in another language, but it’s important to at least make an effort when talking to the locals!
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?
We cannot wait to visit Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the South Pacific. Antarctica is another bucket list destination for us!
There are simply too many places in the world we want to visit. I love the quote, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” That’s pretty much how we feel!
Most practical piece of advice for those planning travel?
Don’t pack too much into your schedule! Try not to plan every second of every day. Unforeseen circumstances may occur, things may not go according to plan, and you may exhaust yourself in the meantime.
It’s best to have a general idea of what you hope to see, accomplish, and eat in a given day or city and leave the rest up to ‘where the road takes you’!
Sometimes the best experiences are the unplanned ones!
Why should people travel?
Traveling takes us away from the ‘everyday’. Every time we visit a new place, we gain a new perspective; a way of thinking and living.
There is a whole world out there to explore. However, don’t feel like you have to go around the entire world to feel like you’re ‘traveling’.
I guess the premise is ‘try new things’ and for us, this usually equates to some sort of travel adventure. Near or far, get out and explore and experience the amazing and beautiful world we live in.