[quote style=”boxed”]There is a huge opening in the South American peanut butter market. If you distribute Skippy down here, you will not only turn a huge profit from the ex-pat community, but you will also be a culinary hero.[/quote]
For their honeymoon, newlyweds Anne and Mike Howard decided that one sunny beach wasn’t going to cut it. Leaving their New York City jobs in online media (Anne as a design editor and Mike as a digital media strategist), they have decided to kickoff their marriage with a 500-day journey to South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Their plan is to travel to places too far to go with a desk job, too rugged to do as a retiree, and too good to leave off the bucket list. To join them on their journey, follow their site HoneyTrek.com.
What are you working on right now?
Our around-the-world travel site, HoneyTrek.com. So many inspiring and oddball things happen in any given day that we try and distill each destination to the most beautiful, insightful, comical and helpful moments for other travelers and closet globetrotters.
Where did the idea for your trip and website come from?
We were having drinks with a some recently-engaged friends a few years ago, when they threw out their honeymoon concept: a year around the world. We literally couldn’t believe it. They were just going to quit their jobs and go. As unfathomable as that was, the idea affixed itself to our brains and led us toward the open road. For our wedding, we didn’t ask for physical gifts; instead we requested a donation toward our dream destination places. And with money saved up and plenty of chutzpah, we left our day-to-day lives behind, and have been traveling since January of 2012.
What does your typical day look like?
We arrive at a new location in the morning via an overnight bus that takes us from one alluring town to the next, scour the freshest street stalls for some hot, yummy breakfast, bounce into a few hotels/hostels in search of the best ratio of price to amenities, check in, consult our Lonely Planet and the front desk for some sightseeing tips, and start exploring. We usually head to the highest point in town to get a lay of the land, go the central market for a taste of local flavors, and check out a museum that speaks to the region (be it the Futbol Museum in Sao Paulo or the Coca Museum in La Paz).
How do you bring ideas to life?
Photography is at the heart of our blog, so we are always keeping your eyes open for little oddities, intimate moments, and trends that start to appear. Then we snap away. In editing, the most meaningful and beautiful pieces rise to the surface.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
How incredibly resourceful people are. From turning a shopping-cart into a storefront to fashioning a soccer ball out of a coconut or a lampshade from a few soda bottles, South America has showed us that there are always resources and ways to get things done.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Travel, of course. Being a little distance from your comfort zone and looking at how other cultures approach the day is one of the best ways to get perspective on your own work, home and life.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Trying to work in an exciting and exotic place. Rather than cutting into that exploration time, we’ve made long-distance buses our new home office.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There is a huge opening in the South American peanut butter market. If you distribute Skippy down here, you will not only turn a huge profit from the ex-pat community, but you will also be a culinary hero.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
While it is an incredibly sensitive and overarching topic (hence why politicians never touch it), overpopulation is a major factor of nearly every environmental ailment facing the earth today–from over-fishing to excessive oil drilling and spills to rainforest depletion. One of our life goals is to educate citizens and politicians alike about the ill effects of a rapidly growing global population, and to work toward sensible solutions.
Tell us a secret.
Anti-microbial underpants are the only way to go. Second secret (okay, it’s more of a tip): if you are traveling for 30 days or more, buy a STERIpen and save yourself more than $100 per month in bottled water (the environment will thank you).
What are your three favorite online tools or resources, and what do you love about them?
MeetPlanGo.com is like a secret society for those looking to quit their jobs and travel the world. They offer tools and insights on everything from breaking the news to your boss to how make the trip look stellar on your CV when you return.
MileWise.com organizes all your frequent-flyer accounts in one place. Aside from monitoring your balances when looking for flights, MileWise will automatically search all your selected airlines for flight availability and the best rates, and will recommend if you should use miles or cash.
MailChimp.com is an excellent tool for sending/tracking/designing online newsletters. They allow you to send thousands of emails per month on their completely free account, for life. Only after you really hit it big do you pay a few dollars per month.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Vagabonding” by Rolf Potts. He demystifies the idea of long-term travel as being a pastime of Lottery winners and hippy dropouts. He provides the advice, tools and insight you need to make the most of your journey.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@ChrisGuillebeau, whose most recent life goal is to visit all 193 countries in less than five years while helping others work less and travel more. He’s a marketing genius.
@RTWDave teaches people how to make a living from their travel blogs, and he leads by example.
@Mashable is fantastic if you want to live on the cutting-edge of all new social media technologies and learn how to efficiently use the existing pillars.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Driving through Achoma, Peru, we get pulled over by a band of drunken dancing elderly Peruvians celebrating a local saint day. A woman in full Arequipeña regalia said en Español, “Come dance.” Before we knew it, we were doing shots of a mysterious corn liquor and dancing in hand-held circles to the sound of a rectangular-shaped harp guitar. After about an hour of our taxi driver pleading us to get back in the car, we had to turn down a grandma’s offer to keep partying and stay the night. We caught our bus home, laughing the entire way.
Why is branding important?
Whether you are an individual looking for a job, a company looking for more customers, or a non-profit organization looking for donations or volunteers, branding is more important than most people realize. Start by reading up on the basics at Mashable and Adweek, and reach out to some experts on Twitter for some tips.
What do you want to do when you return from your trip?
Mike: I would like to employ my digital marketing and web community-building background to connect willing and able digital marketers across the globe with environmental NGOs in need of assistance.
Anne: I always loved my job as a home design editor, but I have a feeling my writing and editing will take a more global twist when I return.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.