One of my goals for Undaunted Adventure this year is to interview a variety of fellow travel bloggers, vloggers and podcasters. There are so many amazing people out there who are doing a phenomenal job at what they do, and I thought it would be great to showcase some of my favourites! I’ll be releasing a Q&A each month, and this month Richard & Michelle from Chalk and Cheese Travels took some time to answer some questions all about their blog, travel experiences and tips for future bloggers!
A Bit About Us
A teacher (Chalk), and was teaching in a primary school on the Gold Coast. I was living in Australia since 2010 when I left home in Ireland to begin my travel adventure. Boy oh boy was I unaware of what the universe had in store for me!
After just a few short months living on the Gold Coast, I met my husband. An English guy with itchy feet and a well-thumbed passport…and I knew it was meant to be. With the added bonus of him being a chef (Cheese), its a no-brainer.
Together we have travelled the globe and most recently returned to Ireland to set up home here, and well have a great access to what Europe has to offer.
Why We Started a Blog
Although we both love our careers, we view the world and all its undiscovered places, as our playground. Every trip we go on makes us more excited for the next and we finally decided we couldn’t contain this passion within our suitcase any longer.
Once we realised we were looking at our pay packets as travel tokens, we knew it was time to branch out.
We hope that by sharing with you our experiences, you can take away some tips for upcoming trips or inspiration to go out and buy that ticket!
Life is too short not to make the most of it. Eat the cake…buy the shoes…TAKE THE TRIP!!!
What was your inspiration for starting a travel blog?
Richard: We love to travel, and we love to share our experience and one day we just decided to start doing it. We put it on the back burner for a year or so, but our aim now is to bring people the ultimate travel guides and offer as much advice as possible.
Where has been your favourite place to visit so far? And why?
Richard: Ho Chi Minh city, it was a city which I just got a good vibe from. The people were friendly, the food (the food alone), We felt safe we walked at all times of the day. I enjoyed learning about the history. It’s a place where there has been huge investment but it doesn’t feel commercialised.
When you arrive in a new destination, what is the first thing you do?
Richard: I love to just wander around for an hour or two. Get familiar with our surroundings, chat to local sellers, get those insider trips find out about those places nobody else knows about.
Michelle: I like to look back over the itinerary and make sure we know how much time we have to explore before we need to be at a certain place. We usually have a jam packed list of things we want to do so I always like to tick everything off our list…therefore I always like to keep one eye on the bucket list.
Do you have a bucket list? If so, what is top of your list?
Richard: This is something that always changes, there is two definite ones Petra has always been a dream seeing those ancient cities just really appeals to me. And one that really has shot up over the last few years is India. I would love to take 6 months and travel region to region eating, I love Indian food so much and want to try it all.
Michelle: Since reading the book Shantaram, years ago, India has been on the top of my list. I would love to immerse myself in the culture and explore all this diverse destination has to offer. I dream of walking through the markets surrounded by the vivid colours of fabrics and materials whilst enjoying the aromas of all the spices from local vendors.
Would you rather receive free meals for life at any restaurant you visit, or always be able to travel first class for free?
Richard: Now we do like a bit of comfort but I think I would have to go with the meals, can you imagine how much food I could try.
Michelle: Definitely meals for life! Trying out local cuisines as well as recommended eateries is one thing we do a huge amount of on any trip so this would be the dream.
Favourite food you’ve tried on your travels?
Richard: This is easy the first time I tried Banh Xeo a Vietnamese pancake. We had it off a street vendor in the Ben Thang food Markets and was so delicious, was the freshest meal I had ever had a real party in the mouth.
What would be your number one piece of travel advice?
Richard: Do your research, be prepared and find locals in chat groups before you go, they know the best places.
Michelle: Once you have done your research on your destination, I find it beneficial to make a list of all the things you would like to see in the area. Prioritising your favourite attractions and then gaining some understanding of their locations in relation to each other allows you make a realistic itinerary and utilise the time you have best in the region.
Have you ever gotten into a sticky situation during your travels?
This one is for Richard, when in Bali about 12 years ago and after hiring a moped whilst riding around just north of Jimbaran I was pulled over by a policeman and taken up a side road where a graveyard was and was told to produce a license. I had no license and was told to pay 250,000 rupiah ($22 AUD) to the policeman, or I would be taken to a cell. After a fair few moment arguing I took the sensible decision to just pay.
One item you can’t travel without?
Richard: I have thought this one over and over for a quirky answer, but I hate to say it but my phone it has everything, camera, bookings, taxis, maps and contacts unfortunately we can’t do without them these days. However, when we are in places I do like to switch off.
Michelle: I wouldn’t say I can’t travel without this, but I certainly find it very helpful to have a small “first aid kit” with me. I usually pack some basics in a little travel make-up bag, such as plasters, antihistamines, bug spray, tablets for headaches and something for upset tummies. Something like this can really save time – you don’t have to go searching for a pharmacy or navigate different products that you aren’t familiar with.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own blog, what would it be?
Richard: Just go for it, it won’t be great at first, I still have so much to edit from past posts and have so much to learn. We are way off being where we want to be. Another big tip; don’t get wrapped up in getting views too much. Good content and interaction go much further – the views will come.
You can check out Richard & Michelle’s social media sites and blog below!
Thank you Richard & Michelle for taking part in our Q&A!