#FBF: Followback Friday is a weekly interview series where we get real with some of our favorite travel influencers. We want to learn what makes them tick, their best tips and tricks, and share stories of (mis)adventures from the road.
The dynamic duo behind eTramping has been traveling the world since 2008, but it wasn’t until 2011 that they decided to become “location independent” as permanent nomads.Their nomadic lifestyle isn’t abnormal — plenty of travel influencers (some we've even interviewed!) pursue that lifestyle. Instead, it's how Agness and Cez are doing it that is worth a second glance: They’re traveling across the world — taking in some of the best sites — for only $25 a day. Lucky for you, Agness agreed to share her best budget travel tips with iExplore and told us a bit more about her adventurous lifestyle.
You’re currently traveling through Taipei, but you’ve been permanent nomads since 2011. How did you two meet and what made you decide to live a life of constant travel?
We met in the UK for the first time in 2008. We were both students and accidentally bumped into each other at a bus stop. I got lost and he guided me back home. I must reveal that there was a love story before the travel stories kicked off — we were a couple for three years.
I have travels in my blood and I inspired Cez to travel once we set off for a Eurotrip as a couple. We visited France, Italy and Spain and since we didn’t have a lot of money, we did it very cheaply. I loved it, so did Cez and two years later we both developed the urge to become location independent. I quit my job and moved to China first and Cez joined me after six months. Since then, although we are no longer a couple, we are the best travel buddies who have been still on the road together.
What’s the best part about traveling the world with your best friend?Collecting moments together and being supportive to each other. You feel much safer and you are able to keep smiling all day long because your best travel buddy knows how to make you laugh, make homesickness go away and get things better in case something bad happens.
How would you describe your travel style?
At the moment we care a lot about the balance between still being budget travelers and going for more expensive travel options from time to time to treat ourselves. Additionally, we travel slowly but surely and make sure we are staying healthy and active.
How do you manage to travel the world for around $25 a day?
It’s actually very easy. We walk instead of taking a taxi, we choose a budget hostel or go couchsurfing instead of booking a 5-star hotel, and we dig into street food (to avoid) expensive restaurants :).
What’s your top budgeting tip for other travelers?
Make friends with locals. They all know budget places around their town/city and they will be more than happy to guide you. They also get ripped-off less frequently, so having them around will help you spend less money.
Another tip is to keep smiling. I know it sounds cliche, but that’s the truth. Everything comes easier to a happy person, and a smile attracts happiness like a magnet.
What are your top three budget-friendly destinations?I would stick to Asia and say that Nepal, China and Taiwan are so far one of the cheapest and friendliest travel destinations we managed to visit.
Where is the first place you’ve ever visited that first gave you that travel bug? Have you revisited it since?
For both of us is was the Land of Dragon, where we are actually based right now. Yes, China has changed our lives. From getting an English teaching job, through learning the language, to getting familiar with local food, customs and traditions. It was a real life lesson for us and we always come back here to say hi to our friends and dig into Chinese dumplings.
How do you establish a sense of “home” while you’re traveling?
We both feel like our home always will be the family house where we grew up. For me it’s Żagań and for Cez it’s Gdynia — two different cities located in Poland. Although we are not recent visitors there, it’s still our home; it’s still the place where we have childhood friends and family.
While traveling, we rather use a word “base” to describe a place where we stay for a longer period of time. It’s where we keep our things, where we live like locals when not being on the road. Having said that, we often find ourselves saying “let’s go back home” after a whole day of sightseeing, when we actually go back to a hostel.
What’s been your favorite travel memory so far?
I still cherish moments spent in Tibet where I learned how to be more respectful and humble while Cez will never forget his trip to Zhangjiajie where he had a chance to explore the Avatar mountains.
Do you have any bucket list adventures you haven’t crossed off your list yet?
Yes, it’s South America where we are heading next! What countries? All of them, but Peru has been definitely our favorite one. As for Cez, North Korea tops his bucket list, and although not crossed off, we are hoping to both visit this mysterious country very soon.