As you know, we have started introducing you to our favorite traveling couples and decided to make this a series. Next up in our spotlight are Andrew and Emily of the blog “Along Dusty Roads”: two amazing photographers who have been experiencing the best of what South America has to offer.

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Andrew and Emily: The Slow Travelers

Lately, I have been telling you guys about my love for world photography. So I was pretty happy when Andrew and Emily contacted me to take a look at their work and story. More than a regular travel blog, “Along Dusty Roads” is a collection of breath-taking pictures. This couple is not only great at traveling together, they also both happen to be amazing photographers. So, it didn’t take me long to decide that the next feature of this series would be about their adventure. The humanity coming out of their photos made me want to know more about this traveling duo. And before going any further, let me just share my enthusiasm for their talent with a few of my favorite shots:

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Photography was something we both loved, but in terms of sharing the passion publicly and taking it seriously, that was a thing from which we both shied away…” explains modestly Andrew, when I tell them about my admiration for their work. But what made me want to do this interview is not only their ability to take stunning shots, it’s also the couple’s unconventional story. “Where better for a pair of bloggers to meet than online dating!” answers joyfully Emily. “No, not Tindr (that didn’t exist when we met) but a dating website in London brought us together in 2012 and since that first date where Andrew turned up an hour late, we’ve been pretty much inseparable.”

The two travel-enthusiasts (Andrew had lived in Europe and Asia whilst Emily had already worked in Australia and toured the Americas) instantly fell in love and two years exactly after their first date, they decided to take a flight over the Atlantic. Destination: Mexico, where they would start their first long trip as a duo. “Before we met, I knew Latin America was somewhere I wanted to go back to, says Emily. That I found someone who also shared that dream was fantastic. We really didn’t consider anywhere else – maybe it was fate after all.”

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And that’s how, soon after their adventure started, the photographers decided to create a blog and celebrated the birth of a baby called “Along Dusty Roads”. “I had never really used blogs before – Emily was much more into them – but when researching for this trip, I started to notice just how prominent and useful they were for the travel community, points out Andrew. We felt that we could use this trip as an opportunity to create something different to other sites out there to help and inspire future travelers, which would hopefully evolve into a long-term project and creative platform for us to finally get more serious about our street photography and underpin our future adventures.”

When I ask them how they came up with such an original name, Emily answers: “We went through so many names before we settled with this one – some frankly ridiculous in retrospect and some others already taken up. It wasn’t until we were travelling in an old school bus through Belize along an incredibly dusty road  – reggae blasting out the speakers, the sun setting in the background – that we had the ah-hah! moment. This was exactly the sort of place we loved to discover and exactly the sort of moment for which we travelled – some of the best travel memories are made in the least expected places.”

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I love the couple’s optimism: “We always think that the best memory is just about to be made and that the worst, hopefully, has already happened” says Andrew. I also admire the travel “rhythm” chosen by the photographers. While some of us would try to cover many places, when given the opportunity to leave our country, Emily and Andrew are two proud slow-travelers. “Don’t get us wrong, we still love long-weekends in Europe or a two-week break in the sun, it’s just that you can’t beat really getting to know a place. Spending a few days in a new city, you can tick off the big items but you’re unlikely to find the undiscovered or local secrets which really underpin the culture and character of a place…” Their willingness to actually understand the countries they travel to is probably what makes their photography so beautiful. “Our rhythm allows each place to reveal itself to us:  its quirks and nuances and those little details that you so often miss when you’re rushing around for the next connection…”.

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It also really helps with our finances, adds Andrew. I won’t gloss over it: the self-imposed budget is definitely the toughest aspect of our trip. We’re not huge fans of tours, and prefer to do an activity on our own with public transport, but it has meant that we’ve had to choose what we can afford and what we have to miss out on. We’ve stayed in some absolute hell-holes because it saved us money, we’ve had arguments in the supermarket because neither of us wanted to eat the same old meal again but couldn’t afford anything nicer and we sometimes had to miss out on the social side of travel. However, it has given us a new found appreciation of value and has removed certain hitherto unhealthy aspects of our relationship with money. Our first year, we each spent less than £15 a day for the best year of our lives – that makes it all worth it in the end.”

“For the last few years before this trip, I had quite a large disposable income and never really thought about my outgoings. This adventure has really taught me the importance of not just budgeting, but the true value of the items that I might buy” adds Emily. “Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, how I view the rights of society has changed quite significantly. It goes without saying that in the UK, and indeed vast sections of the developed world, we are incredibly privileged and have so much we take for granted. Our governments are not corrupt, nor are our governments badly managed. This is not the case in Latin America and the poverty has been, at times, truly shocking and it has been very difficult to see such a great division of wealth at the expense of the most vulnerable. The rich-poor divide in the UK barely exists when compared to say Guatemala or Peru. It is impossible to spend any time in these countries, and not believe that on an international level so much more must be done.”


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And just as for many other topics, Andrew agrees with Emily: “I’ve better appreciated how immensely fortunate we are coming from Europe; it’s given us so many unseen advantages and opportunities that we often don’t even realize or value. I also now know that I really do only need certain things in life to be content, to be happy; and that’s a priceless lesson to learn”. This South American trip evidently taught them some major life lessons. But how did it impact their life as a couple? “Another thing we’ve learnt is how much a perceived bad situation depends entirely upon that moment in time. There have been a number of experiences that felt truly awful then and there, but in retrospect they’ve either left us with a funny story or a better understanding of our relationship.  The same goes for those moments of our story as a couple. The fact that we’ll be able to look back on those special times where it was just the two of us experiencing something remarkable – well, that’s something I won’t be able to have with anyone else but Andrew, explains Emily. I may well have wanted to kill him some days but this trip has given our relationship something that can never be taken away.”

The couple then tells me: “Taking at least one big backpacking trip in your life is something we would recommend to anyone. And, to every couple, we’d say that the best way of truly getting to know your loved one is to put yourself in a horrible, dingy room in El Salvador, where the heat clings to you, the fan is broken and there’s no door separating the bed and bathroom; that will tell you an awful lot about yourself and how well matched you are to the other person!” I laugh loudly before noticing that our interview is almost over already!

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As a final question, I can’t help but ask the two slow-travelers what are their plans for the future… “One part of me only wants to focus on making the most of the rest of our big adventure, whilst the other more responsible part knows that I need to start making plans, says Andrew. As the time to return edges closer, I’m actually starting to get excited about being back  – seeing my family, drinking in a proper pub, taking better advantage of the incredible opportunities and lifestyle on offer there – but I’m also well aware that after the first week, I’ll be yearning for the life I’ve just been living. However, that will act as big motivation for me; I know that travel is always going to form a huge part of my life and that motivates me to work hard to achieve it.” And once again, Emily can only agree: “If being back home becomes too much, I’ll know that at least the next big adventure is only a year or so away!”

Rarely have I interviewed people with such a good spirit. Not only did I fall in love with their photography, I am also a big fan of their philosophy. So if, just like me, you enjoyed their story, know that Along Dusty Roads provides you with great pictures but also original Latin America guides and amazing travel resources. And if you still want to learn more about Andrew and Emily, you can follow their adventures on various social networks such as Facebook, PinterestTwitter and Instagram.

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This post was written by Elisa Fourt.
Elisa Fourt was part of the Travelettes team from 2015 to 2017.  Elisa usually describes herself as a world citizen. She has lived, studied, worked and travelled in more than 60 countries throughout her life and she loves to share her passion for the world with others. When she is not planning her next trip or writing about the last one, Elisa likes to help people in need and get involved in various not-for-profit projects. She currently works for a NGO in the Middle-East. Follow her on Instagram @lisou.me