My next wonderful respondent to my Q&A was a set of twins who travel the world part time, I’ve been speaking to one half of the duo, Laura Jopson, when I asked her to describe how they travel, she said ‘at least once a month but can travel from anything from two days (European city breaks) to three or four weeks. It really just depends. We literally try and cram everything in when we can!…We both have careers we really enjoy, outside of travel, so we do both. Which is definitely possible.’ This is such an unusual set up that when I found their Instagram I couldn’t wait to find out more!
So this is Claire and Laura’s set of answers to my Q&A:
Q- What made you decide to travel? What influenced that decision?
A- We have always enjoyed travel and fitted it in here and there during school, University and eventually work, but it was never something we focused on completely. But once we reached 26/27 years old, only a few years into our careers, we both realised just how quickly your life can fall into a standard, generally uninspiring, routine of work and home. Time seems to speed up, and weeks and months can easily merge into one!
We realised that we needed to find a way to break the routine and a way to ensure life stayed exciting, different and engaging. Travel was most definitely the answer to this. Experiencing new places, even if it is just a day trip elsewhere, or a weekend break in Europe, seemed to help slow time down, breaking up the routine with new memories, challenges and adventures. It makes life full.
Q- Were your friends and family supportive of your decision to travel?
A- Yes, definitely. Our parents worked extremely hard all their lives and realised just how fast life can pass you by. Our travelling has even inspired them to start taking more trips abroad!
Q- Would you say that you are happier now living life on the road than before, when you lived a more ‘normal’ life?
A- Absolutely. Perhaps unusually, we maintain quite demanding jobs, whilst juggling travel alongside them. But even this has changed our lives infinitely. We feel more in charge of our lives, rather than trapped in a routine. Our weekends now are spent exploring new places; writing about new places; being more creative with our photography and meeting new friends along the way. Life is richer, more stimulating, challenging and happier. Travel doesn’t have to always mean a life on the road, it can just mean ensuring you are always seeking out new places, people and things – from a weekend in Paris to four weeks in India! They say ‘a change is as good as a rest’ and this is travel in a nutshell!
Q- What would you say has been the best experience of travelling?
A- We probably aren’t the most ‘natural’ travellers’. We are natural born worriers and one of us (Laura) has struggled with periods of fairly horrible anxiety. So perhaps travel isn’t the best thing to do? Except it definitely is! Our by far best experience has therefore been learning that travel is something anyone can do, regardless of their fears. Life and the world isn’t just filled with scary people or scary events. But kind, interesting, wonderful people. Travel gives you confidence not only in yourself but in other people, and this is an experience that travel gives us over and over again.
Q- What has been the worst experience?
A- Food poisoning. Being sick when you’re away is never fun and always a little tough. I think everyone who is ill when they are abroad will have that ‘pang’ for home and the thought ‘what am I doing here?’ But remember it always passes, however terrible you feel!
Q- How do you get by financially?
A- As we mentioned above, we work full-time! Luckily, where we work has very generous holiday allowance, so we can travel almost monthly. But travel doesn’t have to be expensive. With sites like ‘Air BnB’ now offering cheap accommodation in people’s homes, and increasingly beneficial flying reward programmes, travel can be something that you can fit into your life. If travel is what you want to do, then you won’t mind not buying that pair of shoes or spending money on a night out. Put it in your travel pot!
Q- Do you prefer to go it spontaneously or do you always know where you’re going and what you’re doing?
A- We are definitely organised travellers. Due to the nature of the way we travel (in between work) we always want to make sure we maximise our time in a place and often this means planning. We love guide books, maps and looking up recommendations. That said, we do enjoy often booking a weekend break at the last minute. You have no time to worry and before you know it you’re up in the air and off to somewhere new! It makes you realise that you always have freedom, however limited you feel, and change is only a plane ride away.
Q- Are yo glad you have company on your travels, do you think it’s doable on your own or is company a complete necessity?
A- We firmly believe in travelling a way that suits you, in a way that you feel comfortable and happy doing. Social media is full of solo travellers; group travellers; or pairs of travellers and there can be pressure to enjoy and undertake travel in a certain way. But it’s entirely up to you how you do it! We really enjoy travelling together and sharing experiences. But that is just us. Likewise, some people may find travelling with others frustrating and prefer to go it solo. Travel is a unique experience and as much about your personality than anything else. So if you want to brave it alone – go for it! If not, grab your best friend and go. Do it your way.
Q- Do you think there is a certain level of happiness and fulfilment that can only be achieved by travel?
A- That’s a difficult question! Everyone is different and has different passions, interests and things that make them happy. Travel is most definitely not always the answer to a happy life. So perhaps ‘happy’ isn’t the right word but instead richer? Once you fall into a routine, life can become two-dimensional. Grey, maybe? They say that the human brain stops noticing ‘new’ things after a couple of days. You don’t notice the paintings in your house or the colour of the walls anymore. You can barely remember what you wore yesterday. But by going to new places, seeing new people and experiencing new food and smells, your making sure you’re always ‘awake’ and experiencing life in an indefinitely richer and fuller way. Life never gets boring when you travel.
It’s the spontaneity vs. planning that’s what I think sets Laura and Claire apart from the usual stereotype of travellers, and is opposite from what Ben said. It just proves that travel is a very personal thing that is very easy thing to manipulate to your own life so that it meets the needs that you have. I mean, these two manage to juggle their unreputed wanderlust as well has having successful careers! It just proves that you really can do anything when you put your mind to it.
Another thing that really stood out for me was their comment about it not being particularly happiness that comes from travel, but a richness instead, that feeling of a more enriched self that can only derive from having seen the wonderful polar opposites in our world. To have experienced the amount of emotions, to have spoken with the amount of people, to have seen the amount of wonders that people who travel have is surely immeasurable next to anything else.
This interview with Claire and Laura has sparked my imagination back to a quote I saw a while back:
I think this quote makes me think of them because they are clearly very much in love with not only travel, but also home, and all the things that a conventional home life can give you, and they are even lucky enough to have a job that they love! So this quote sums them up in my opinion, because they are both inpsiring, hard working, free spirited individuals but also have a good sense of knowledge and are sensible in the way that they cater for travel in their lives, they haven’t had to give up home or their happiness for travelling, they’ve just made it work for them.
To follow Claire and Laura, check them out at http://twinsthattravel.com ! They are brilliant!
Much thanks and love to you both,