Who needs maps? Certainly not these two! Traveling couple Jack and Jenn, of Whoneedsmaps.com, get lost as a profession. With a healthy dose of spontaneity and fearlessness (and maybe a little bit of trepidation!), this adventuring couple takes every opportunity to hit the road and get into a whole mess of misadventures – ask them about their mice fetus shots – seriously. Both hailing from opposite sides of the Pacific, Jack and Jenn have managed to balance life, travel and their relationship. They show us that if you want it bad enough, all you have to do is just go and get it!
Tell us a little about Who Needs Maps. Who are you, what you’re all about, and you’re first introduction to traveling?
Who Needs Maps is all about an Aussie and an American trying to make a long distance relationship work through travel. We write about experiences, tips and tricks as a travelling couple, and how we travel to keep the relationship going! We both have internationals families that boast traveling, so we have started early thanks to them!
Being able to live a life of travel is a dream for most, how do you guys balance your work and school life with your love of traveling?
Right now, we both work full time, but we maximize our weekends, study abroad programs, vacation days we were given. We both relocated to each respected countries allowing us to work and travel around Australia and America. So now with Jacks American Visa we are traveling around California. It’s like we say, you don’t always need a plane to travel!
Currently you both live in different parts of the world, Jack from Australia and Jenn being from the U.S, how do you guys make it work as a traveling couple?
Currently we are both together in America, but it’s been back and forth for the most part of this relationship. Apart from both relocating to each others countries we meet in the middle to travel together. We just recently backpacked Southeast Asia together, which was incredible! Also, lots and lots and lots of trust and communication. It takes a lot of dedication but it can be magical when it works.
Flying back and forth between Australia and U.S, along with your trips, can certainly get expensive, how do you guys afford all your awesome adventures or misadventures as it where?
Flying Australia to America is so expensive so we found it cheaper to relocate to each respective homes or just travel. Hey, were still young! We both work full time now, but when I lived in Australia we both worked as much as we could so that when I had to leave, we could travel. Money should never hold you back from traveling, because there are many ways to work abroad (or trade services-working at a hostel for a free stay.).
I love the idea of having two perspectives for every destination, the fearless and the fearful. Surely there are times when one doesn’t want to do something the other does. How do you deal with conflict as a traveling couple?
I am the scared one, the one that always gets sick, the one that is so conscious about everything. Jack helps me be a better person and fight through my fears, for the most part. He pushes me to do things I normally wouldn’t which is a good trait. We have learned to compromise-there has to be a bit of give and take in order to make it work. We fight, we bicker, but at the end of the day we are lucky to be together and traveling together since we are usually apart. We aren’t always blessed with time since we are constantly apart; so a little fight just gets put behind us, we kiss, and make up. We are traveling the world, a little fight can’t sop us.
What are three steadfast rules that you abide by in order to stay on budget while on the road?
- Include flights in your budget price- so the flight was $100 for 10 days of vacation, add $10 to your daily budget that way you know you didn’t go over because you didn’t include the biggest expenditure.
- Always eat local food. It’s cheaper, tastes delicious and the locals know how to prepare their food well (and better than western food).
- Overnight busses are great because you not only get to a destination without wasting a day but you also save a night of paying for accommodation.
What is your strategy to really dig into a culture and get everything you can out of each destination?
WALK- you never know how much you can see, run into, find, smell, taste if you just walk everywhere. If you do tours and touristy stuff, yeah, you see what everyone else is seeing but when you walk you see everything! We found some amazing museums, parks and restaurants just by walking. We could spend a whole week walking in a new city and discover beyond lonely planet books.
What’s one of the craziest/dangerous situations you’ve experience and how did you get yourselves out of it?
We are really lucky we haven’t been in too many dangerous situations, more unfortunate one, but thankfully nothing we couldn’t manage. I have told this story many times, but it still blows my mind that it happened. I got stitches in Vietnam because an air con panel fell on my face while I was in bed. No adventuring, no crazy drunken stunt. Just in bed and unlucky. We made sure we had a good travel insurance, went to the hospital to check it out, and put scar cream to avoid a scar. It worked out pretty well but it just shows you have to be prepared for anything!
If you guys could offer only one survival/safety tip, what would it be?
Avoid air con panels haha, I’m only kidding! Bring a good medical kit because you never know what can happen. It is better to be over prepared than under because if you end up stuck in china with a cold asking a pharmacist to help, chances are they may not understand you. Just be prepared for the worst and pack a good kit.
How have you both evolved as travelers from when you first started to how you are now?
With our parents, we had the comfort of the “everything paid for” trip or the resort hotels, but to be honest, we cant stand resorts and hotels. We hate when people are like “oh we were in Thailnd and our hotel was amazing” because then they just stay at the hotel. We like many places that force us out of the hotel so that way we can see the country. The Hilton is nice but it’s not culture or visiting a country. So I think backpacking has really changed our outlook on traveling. We do treat ourselves to a nicer hotel once in a while but that means more like breakfast included or warm showers! We have changed to learn to appreciate the country we are exploring.
We all have a favorite piece of gear that we absolutely MUST bring on our adventures. What is your one essential piece of travel gear, and why?
We both bought the Guerilla Backpack for our travels. This was hands down the best thing we bought when we traveled! It had a detachable day pack, a rain cover, adjustable straps, and top, bottom, and side loading. It was such a great purchase and we would recommend it to anyone.
Another item we love is our GoPro. I think it’s a given because we used it so often to take pictures, film our adventures, and use it underwater. It was seriously one of the best purchases we made when we traveled!
Of all the destinations you’ve been to, what was your most memorable experience?
Vietnam was our favorite country and we would love to explore more of it if we ever had the chance. It was filled with culture, delicious food, adventure, stitches, and beautiful nature. We couldn’t have asked for a better time.
Where are you now, and where will your adventures take you next?
We are now taking the time to explore the U.S as Jack has his visa here. So road tripping in California, camping, maybe New York eventually? Who knows! But we both will be in France and London in August! We are going to a family wedding but we are also secretly hoping to go on some wine and cheese tours
Do you have any final advice for those who wish to live a life of travel?
Just do it. You will always have an excuse to say no- I don’t have enough money, I cant quit my job, none of my friends want to come with me. There will be excuses forever, but the best time is now because you don’t have many ties to stay. Just go. Money will come, work abroad, meet people there. It will work out and it will be a decision you will never regret.
About Who Needs Maps
We are Jack and Jenn from Who Needs Maps. We are a long distance couple, from America and Australia, so why not meet in the middle and use travel as an excuse! We are thrill seekers, food lovers, world travelers, adventure finders, misadventure attracters, and a fun loving couple who just wants to explore the world together. We hope to inspire, inform and entertain people through our experiences and stories! Embrace the fun, enjoy the craziness, and let’s take on the world together! Happy travels
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