This is the first in a series of posts written by and about ourselves—the contributors to the Expedia Viewfinder blog.
The guys behind No Vacation Required (NVR), a blog about living deliberately, traveling deliriously, and working virtually, are the kind of travelers you meet on the road and immediately like. If you ever encountered them, say in Spain—a recent jig on their travel dance card—your evening would go something like this: You’re sitting beside each other in a small tapas bar, chatting turns to cava, and more cava leads to patatas bravas. The next thing you know, you’re travel besties on a train to Italy to spend a week at a villa in Tuscany.
What I love about this dynamic duo is that their lust for exploring the world’s natural and urban coordinates is matched by their passion for people. Not satisfied with the surface of a destination or its inhabitants, they explore the back alleys and the hard-to-reach mountain trails, and always stop for coffee with a local—or 10—along the way.
I recently sat down with Kent and Caanan, fellow members of the Expedia Viewfinder travel blogging crew, in Vancouver, British Columbia, to chat about what meal they’d jump on a transcontinental flight to consume, their efforts to give back through travel, and what it’s like to fly first class in an Emirates A380. Here’s the who/what/where on the NVR guys and why you’d be lucky to meet them for coffee in their hometown of Seattle, or for cava in Barcelona.
What inspired you to travel?
A yearning to learn more about the world that, as kids, so many people are conditioned to be scared of.
At what point did you decide to become a travel blogger and why?
That was a simple (and not very exciting!) decision. We wanted a central place for curious family and friends to keep up with us. Yes, that means we were sneakily trying to relieve ourselves of the burden of sending multiple emails containing constant trip updates.
How often do you travel?
We’re away from Seattle about half of the year. And, for the record, Seattle is a tough city to be away from. We really should base ourselves in a place we hate.
What’s in your carry-on?
Apple survival kit (Air, iPad, iPhone), GPS watch (for navigation and exercise), pouch-able jacket, protein bars, Via (a sign that we’re caffeine-addicted Seattle guys), sunglasses, notepad and pen, clear pack with lots of necessities, and small indulgences (eye gel, mouthwash, shower in a tube).
What tricks have you developed to take the frustration out of flying?
We take our watches off and refuse to check the time. It has been the most liberating air-related decision ever.
What has been your best-ever trip splurge?
Using our miles to fly first class on an Emirates A380. We were blown away. We’re often impressed, but rarely blown away.
You both believe in giving back, how do you accomplish this through travel?
We’ve done some big things. We’ve traveled to volunteer in Africa and South America, and we’ve taken advocacy trips to Washington, D.C., to name a few. We like to inject at least a bit of a giving back vibe in as much of our travel as possible. This summer, for example, we built a trip to New York around business and an event for one of our new favorite charities, Broadway Cares.
Caanan and Kent in Spain
Your home base is Seattle. How would you spend a perfect day in the Emerald City?
That is like being asked to pick a favorite child, but we’ll be good sports. If you’re visiting, stay at the Four Seasons Seattle. It’s superbly located, and they do customer service right. Start your day with caffeine and a sweet at a Seattle institution, Top Pot Doughnuts. Take the water taxi to our hood, West Seattle, for a run or walk around the peninsula and some water-side nosh. If time permits, wander around Capitol Hill and then refresh with a swim back at the hotel before heading downstairs for happy hour at ART Restaurant & Lounge. Stroll up to Pike Place Market and pick a place that feels right for dinner. We recommend Radiator Whiskey for its distinctly Seattle vibe (and for its chocolate chip cookie + whiskey dessert). Then head over to the Olympic Sculpture Park to catch the sunset. Back at the hotel, send us an angry email for suggesting an overly ambitious day.
The meal you’d jump on a transcontinental flight for?
We’ll give you two. Heading East, DANIEL in New York City. Order the Beef Duo. Heading West, Side Street Cafe in Honolulu. Order the Spicy Chicken. Be warned, each restaurant will keep you coming back to its home city.
The hotel in which you could live?
The Lodge at Whitefish Lake because it’s so close to Glacier National Park.
Your “happy place” beach is?
Any swath of sand that can be seen from the top of a mountain.
You’re most happy on the road when…
We tap into how a destination moves; when we leave feeling like we “got it.”