Dan & Casey Conquer the World
A lot of people go on a honeymoon after they get married. But most people don’t go on a 7-week, 11,000 mile road trip across the USA for their honeymoon; and still fewer set off halfway across the world to teach English after that! Fortunately, Dan & Casey aren’t most people, and even more fortunately you can live vicariously through their photos and stories as they share their experiences as newly-weds in Taiwan, their home base.
We interviewed Dan & Casey about their travels, their plans for the future, and their advice for other travelers.
What was the first trip you took together?
It was Christmas of ’09, New York City. Also the same time as the North American Blizzard graced the East Coast with its presence. What was supposed to be a 12-hour drive turned into Dan skidding and hydroplaning for nearly 36 hours straight as we took on the blizzard in a Volvo station wagon. We knew if we stopped for a break the storm would overtake us, forcing us to stop short of our magical Christmas destination. After hands-down the most harrowing drive of our lives, we did arrive safely in NYC for what was one of the most memorable—and just plain fun—weeks of our relationship. There’s something extremely special about that first trip you take as a couple, especially when it includes building snowmen in Central Park and ice-skating at Bryant Park.
What destination has been your favorite?
This question is always so hard for us, even though it’s the first thing we ask fellow travelers! Typically we love each place we go for a different reason. Our favorite destination for a romantic getaway would probably be El Nido in the Philippines. We stayed on our own private island for the same price most budget hotels in America would cost! Tourism to El Nido has been increasing more and more, but for good reason. It is simply stunning.
What destination is still on your bucket list?
Everywhere! More specifically? Probably Latin America. We’ve yet to visit Latin America as a couple, and it’s an area of the world we’re both really interested in. Casey actually studied Spanish and Latin American Studies at University, so it will be nice for her to get back over there and brush up on her language skills as well. Conveniently, it looks like October will see us relocating to Central America for a couple months. We’re thinking Mexico, but travel tips are welcome!
When did you know that a nomadic life was right for the two of you? Did either of you have any reservations?
It’s actually an idea that’s continually evolving for us! We always knew we would travel together; however, we imagined ourselves more as long-term expats, settling down in one area for one or two years and traveling locally. So that’s what we have done in Taiwan, and it has been amazing. However, as much as we love teaching, we want more flexibility now. Only recently we have decided to become location independent, which will grant us the ability to travel at our own pace wherever we would like. Most people probably won’t believe this, but if anyone had any reservations it was Casey. While we know the lifestyle is right for us at this time, it can be stressful thinking about things like financial security and what the future holds. Not to mention a lot of people don’t understand why we wouldn’t possibly want to come home, buy a house, and start thinking about kids already! In August we’ll be leaving Taiwan and just traveling, slowly but surely, with no end in sight.
Could you see yourself settling down anywhere? Where?
Absolutely. As much as a nomadic lifestyle is the right move for us at this point in time, we’re not committing ourselves to it forever. We’re sure that one day we are going to want the security and stability that comes with a permanent location. If we were to settle down right now, we would choose San Diego. You have to pay for that sunshine, but the weather, food, public parks, farmer’s markets and location are worth it.
How do you choose your destinations?
A lot of it has to do with convenience. Right now our home base is in Taiwan, so naturally we do more traveling around Asia. We’ll be going home for a few weddings in September and October, so in the fall our travels will probably bring us to Latin America, just on the other side of the border. We try to travel places where our dollar will last longer (hence why Europe will have to wait) but other than that we’re normally open to anything!
What are the best parts about traveling as a couple?
You know, we always tell people that if they are thinking of getting married, they should travel together first. We think traveling as a couple allows you to get to know your partner much more intimately, much more quickly. Which is awesome! But if we had to say the best thing about traveling as a couple, it’s that we always have another person to go out exploring with. When we were traveling solo, we would often get discouraged when no one else seemed as excited to try something new or push their limits; now, we always have each other. Whether it’s tasting stinky tofu or running a marathon or just getting lost, it’s reassuring to know that someone else is in it with you.
What are some of the best meals you’ve had while traveling? Any places you’d go back to just for the food?
Italy, hands down. This one is more applicable for Casey, as all her favorite food items seem to stem from the boot shaped country. And let’s not forget the wine! When Casey was briefly living in Italy, she stayed with a handful of families, each of which claimed to cook the ‘most authentic Italian food’. Needless to say, it was all drool-worthy. We would definitely go back to Italy just for the culinary delights, but we would have to incorporate some sort of intense calorie burning program into it!
What’s one place you wish every person could see once in their life?
We have different answers for this one. In Casey’s opinion, India. It is a country of paradoxes—at times colorful and beautiful, a sensory overload, yet also a reminder of the immense poverty and corruption in our world. More than anything, India is unique; I’ve yet to experience anywhere else in the world like it. Dan would have to say New Zealand. If there is anywhere in the world that might actually take your breath away, it’s here. The scenery is dramatic and pristine, including fjords, glaciers, coastlines, lakes and valleys. Not to mention you can stop at some top-notch wineries along the way!
You can follow their journey on
Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Dan & Casey are also publishing an e-book all about expat life in Taiwan, so be sure to bookmark their blog!