I’m not sure who invented it, but I’ve seen it all over my Pinterest and Twitter feeds, those photos of couples who are doing cute stuff together emblazoned with the caption, “Relationship Goals.” One of those relationship goals is to explore the world with your partner, which clearly is what this couple is doing. But how is it really to travel with the love of your life? Learn this and more as I give you our first Travel Bug Series couple, Diego and Gloria of Cafe con Leche Abroad.
Tell us some things about you
Some things about us, Hmmm… well, we are English/Spanish speakers, good salsa dancers, and full-time world travelers.
When did you guys start traveling as a couple?
We started traveling as a couple in February of 2015. Not long ago, but so far it’s been an incredible journey, we can’t wait to see what’s ahead.
How many countries have you been to already?
Together we have visited 6 countries, but individually we have traveled more. Before we knew each other, Diego had done quite a bit of travel through Latin America, and Gloria had visited a few places outside of the U.S.
You stay in a country for longer periods; how do you pick your next destination?
In the beginning, it was all premeditated and well planned. When we moved to Paris, we spent months planning our trip/arrival/living conditions, however, after some time, we realized that there is such a thing as over-planning and it can bring unnecessary stress to our lives. In fact, it can even damage entire trips because you get annoyed before you even arrive at your next destination.
So now we just live it as it comes, whatever option seems best and accessible, we go for it. We still do take a few days to make sure our flights and living conditions are in order, but not as meticulously as before.
Where are you currently staying and how’s it going so far?
As we type this, we are in Dali, China. Which is a small ancient town in the Yunnan Province.
The experience has been amazing thus far! we were invited to participate in a 3-month full immersion Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training camp along with 3 other travel writers, and we are SO glad that we agreed to join.
We wake up everyday at 8am, have breakfast then go to Yoga class for 1 hour, then learn Jiu-Jitsu combative techniques for 2 hours, have a lunch break for an hour and a half, then right back to Jiu-Jitsu for 3 more hours of the day, only to close our day with Chinese classes at the end of every training.
Aside from that, we also go on hiking trips during the weekend, explore nearby towns and temples, and share travel stories amongst travel bloggers, it’s AWESOME! seriously.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of traveling as a couple?
There are very little disadvantages, but there are some. The main one would be the lack of privacy, since 99% of the time we are together, anything else can be worked out over time.
Advantages of traveling together as a couple, there are MANY! For one, you get to know the person better when you travel, because trust me, if someone is psycho it WILL come out while traveling, specially when you are in a foreign country, hungry, lost, and have no idea what language people are speaking. So traveling with someone can teach you much more about a person than any amount of conversation ever could. It also shows you how clean a person is, lol.
Another major advantage is the 2 for 1 specials… hotels usually accommodate 2 for the price of 1, and it’s easy to share meals, and although that isn’t exactly an advantage, it’s also not a disadvantage, plus if you factor in the company, love, and late night convos you both share, it’s definitely a win.
We absolutely love the fact that we get to see each other grow and learn little by little, everywhere we go. The experience of witnessing your partner’s growth first-hand is incomparable to any other experience you could have as a couple (except for having babies together, that would probably top it lol).
What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you while traveling?
Not exactly a funny event, but one time we got really really drunk in Paris and danced/stumbled our way home. For some reason, we found the entire soiree hilarious, and we couldn’t stop laughing, so there we were, zig-zagging through people on the sidewalk, laughing like complete maniacs. Good times
How do you do deal with cultural differences? Do you still get culture shock? Can you cite an example?
Maintain a student mentality at all times, and cultural differences will have no negative effect on you. Multiple times we have experienced or witnessed something that we were not used to, but we kept an open mind and reminded ourselves that our way of doing things isn’t the only way, and if we are traveling, it’s with the purpose to learn about other people without judging too harshly.
We are currently experiencing major culture shock in China, since almost everything is done differently; from the way they eat, to the way people use the restroom, it is ALL different.
Where are you planning to go next?
No plans set in stone yet, but we’re going to see a few more countries in Asia, then head over to Africa. That’s all I am allowed to say for now, if I disclose any more information, I may have to kill you. lol
What is your take about the traveler versus tourist issue?
The term traveler has very little meaning nowadays, and so does the word tourist. All I see on my social networks is “travelers” bragging about how many countries they visited in 3 months. Now tell me, if a “world-traveler” visits France for 2 weeks, what can that person really learn in such a short period of time? In countries with rich history, what can a person learn in 2 weeks really? Not much!
So, a lot of these “world-travelers” are tourists themselves, only there for the pictures and landmarks with the exception of bouncing from one country to another rather than going back home to a 9-5 job. I feel like these “travelers” are the main ones tossing shame on tourists because they carry selfie sticks instead of professional DSLR cameras and hiking backpacks.
I think a real “traveler” is someone who visits a country to learn, and not to add a stamp on a passport.
You’ve already been to the Philippines but aside from Bohol, you didn’t really go to the touristy areas and instead stayed in the city. This is not something that most tourists do when they visit the Philippines. Why did you guys choose to spend most of your time in Metro Manila?
Palawan, Boracay, etc. didn’t really call our attention, because it lacks culture. We hate labels, but if we had to label ourselves at all, I would say we are “culture-travelers” meaning that we travel with the purpose of learning about people’s culture, rather than hang out in western-type bars and beach resorts.
Bohol gave us enough island life, and we wanted to experience the city life in The Philippines, and I tell you, we are NOT regretful about our decision. We spent our New Years Eve partying with locals in the West Crame Barangay, we saw with our bare eyes the difference between province Filipinos and City Filipinos, we experienced the stress of driving through Manila, we made lots of friends and saw how they interacted with each other, learned about their humor, their sense of fashion, their families, their issues, their dreams, their mentality, etc. [Watch: Diego and Gloria Got Lost in Bohol]
The entire time we stayed in Manila, it was learn, learn, learn!! I feel like in Palawan we would’ve just drank a lot, and gotten lots of cool beach pics to brag with, which doesn’t trump the value of what we learned in Manila. [Watch: Diego and Gloria celebrate NYE in Manila]
What is the best thing that you liked about the Philippines?
Hands down, the people! The Filipino is without a doubt the kindest human being in the entire world, to my knowledge. I say that with all sincerity, not just because you are a Filipina. [Read: Things You Need To Know About Filipinos]
Your blog is called Cafe con leche (coffee with milk), is there a special reason for choosing this name?
Yes, Cafe (coffee) is brown, which is Gloria’s skin color, and Leche (milk) is white, which is Diego’s skin color, so put us together, and we are like a cup of Cafe con Leche lol… Cheesy I know, but it’s far too late in the game to change name now.
What is the most challenging thing that you have experienced so far when it comes to blogging?
Blogging is ANNOYING! I’m just going to be real with you. We started “blogging” only a few months ago, after numerous people requested that we build a website and share written stories, aside from our preferred way of sharing, which is video.
We never meant to write a single thing, especially since neither one of us are skilled writers, if you look at our articles you will find tons of grammatical errors! We love Youtube, that is our thing! It’s like the saying “A picture can speak a thousand words”. Videos are hundreds of moving pictures, so one video says much more than any article ever could.
What I find the most challenging about blogging, is the competition amongst bloggers. On Youtube it isn’t so scandalous and full of drama, people just create dope vids, and everyone supports each other. In the blogging world however, people gossip behind each other’s backs, they support only the already popular writers, and sometimes write the dumbest articles! Also, it is mostly the travel “bloggers” who are responsible for the whole traveler vs tourist issue, which is dumb.
So if I had to name the most challenging thing about travel writing, it would be that, putting up with the high-school attitude of all the travel bloggers flooding the market with their nonsense. Most of them lack the personality to be in front of a camera, by the way, yet they act so freaking cool in their articles and social networks.
Can you tell that I’m annoyed? lol and it’s only been months since I started.
Why do you travel?
To learn about other cultures. Plain and simple.
Do you have any advice for those people who are aspiring to become travel bloggers?
Make Youtube videos instead 😉
Want to see Diego and Gloria do some serious jiujitsu? Follow their adventures through the following: