As you know, we have started a series where we introduce you to some of our favorite travel-blogging couples. Next up in our spotlight are Rachel and Matt of the beautiful “Across land and sea”: a couple of Londoners who left everything behind, back in June, to go travel the world.

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Matt and Rachel: The gap-year adventurers

“Before June 2016, Matt & I lived a standard yuppie lifestyle in London – visiting cool bars, dining at nice restaurants, going to the theatre and buying the clothes, gadgets and other things that we wanted. It was awesome, but as Aesop says, “adventure is worthwhile”, and living the same day, same weekend over and over again for years on end is not our idea of fun” explains Rachel at the beginning of our interview.

“Earlier this year, I had this fourteen-month gap in between finishing my studies and starting my role as a trainee solicitor, and I knew that I wanted to travel. Matt broke the welcome news that he wanted to quit his job and come with me to Australia.” The couple has been living in Sydney since and managed to find jobs within a week of landing. Rachel is working within Business Development in a law firm, whilst Matt works in Digital Marketing Recruitment. “It’s a great way for us both to understand how business is done on the other side of the world”, they say.  “For the most part, we’re housesitting, which gives us the chance to keep rent costs down whilst meeting some adorable animals along the way. It’s also great to explore different suburbs and we would recommend it to anyone that wants to take things slow and really get to know a place.”   

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In 2017, Matt and Rachel will leave Australia behind and head to South-East Asia. “We want to visit Myanmar and the Philippines, before travelling to Central America,” they explain. I ask them how they plan their itinerary and generally choose their traveling destinations. Rachel answers: “We try to strike a balance between visiting bustling cities and peaceful, natural landscapes. Food is also a big draw for us!” And when I ask her about her favourite destination, she says:  “Our five-week trip to Malaysia is close to my heart as it was our first substantial backpacking trip together. It allowed us to get under the skin of a country I’ve always been keen to visit. We were amazed that we could explore cities, lounge on beaches, hike through misty highlands, trek through the jungle, spot endangered animals – all in a single country.”

 “We did so much in five weeks” remembers Matt. “We saw orangutans in the rainforest, stayed in a tent in the jungle and learnt how to scuba dive. Mabul Island has to be one of my favourite ever destinations. The marine life is in absolute abundance and you can see turtles’ nests on the beach if you’re there at the right time of year. But one of our best travel memories in Malaysia has to be conquering all 4,095m of Mount Kinabalu. We had an awesome guide, and despite Rachel experiencing altitude sickness for the first time, it was an incredible achievement for us.”

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Rachel and Matt wanted to share their traveling experiences with the world and that’s how Across Land & Sea was born. “We have used travel blogs before when planning our trips abroad, so we’ve always been aware of how important and useful they are. When we started reminiscing on some of our favourite trips, we realised just how many incredible experiences we’ve had. We decided to collate our photographs and write down what we hoped would be useful for other travellers.  We also wanted a place to bring together our experiences and memories. With over 50,000 photos on our iCloud that nobody ever gets to see, we thought it was time to show some of them off!” While Rachel writes most of the posts, Matt enjoys editing and curating photographs. This combination works really well as it satisfies their individual interests and produces great content for the blog.

We’re also really proud of our blog’s design” they add. “We’ve put a lot of effort into editing our template, dabbling in code and finding out more about the technology behind web platforms. We thought there was still space on the Internet for a well-written travel blog. As we both graduated with first-class degrees in English Literature, quality of writing is important to us. We try to write blog posts with this standard in mind. We also wanted to create something to inspire and advise people like us who aren’t $10-a-day budget travellers, but not luxury tourists either.”

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I then ask them how they manage to find time to blog, while still working on the side. “We both have full-time jobs in Sydney, so we have to be organised and set aside time to work on Across Land & Sea. It can, and does, take up a lot of our time. Before we started work in Sydney, we put in 14-hour days to get the site up and running. It would be incredible if our blog grew to the point that we could indulge in our love for travel and photography and work with brands that we’re passionate about. But at the moment, we’ve both got city jobs to pay the bills!”

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Before leaving Matt and Rachel, I ask them if they have any pieces of advice for our readers who would be tempted by traveling and blogging together. “The best way to get to know your partner is to climb a mountain, reach 4,095 metres above sea level, return to an old hostel room without a fan and comfort each other as you suffer from extreme exhaustion and ultimately wreak havoc on the bathroom down the hall… but seriously, travelling tells a couple an awful a lot about their relationship and taking a longer trip is something everyone should do!” they say. “Working together can also be difficult; we have different ways of doing things and it adds an extra string to our relationship: we have been classmates, friends, partners and now, in a way, colleagues! Being creative together, writing posts, taking and editing photographs, has allowed us to grow our relationship in ways we never envisaged as boozy university students.”

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If you want to follow Rachel and Matt’s adventures, don’t hesitate to check their blog, twitter 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