As you know, we have started a series introducing you to our favorite traveling couples. Next up in our spotlight are James and Sarah of the blog “The whole world or nothing” – a couple of full-time travelers and part-time adventurers who encourage anyone reading their blog to follow their dreams and never look back.

James & Sarah: The ones who fell in love with travel

“We met in a cocktail bar (not cliched at all!) in Nottingham, England which is our adopted home town. From there it was all whirlwind, heat, and flash. We already had lots of mutual friends so had kind of known each other to say “hi” for a while before that. Our first date was to a Japanese restaurant – it must have been a sign! We got married, progressed in our corporate jobs, acquired nice cars and a house and then realised it wasn’t the lifestyle that we wanted. So that’s when we started travelling” explains Sarah as we start our interview. Yes, just as simple as that :).

In 2015, she and James set off on what they thought would be a one year trip. “Turns out we fell in love with travelling and decided it was something we couldn’t live without!” Since then, they’ve been visiting dozens of countries but their bucket list keeps on growing. “We read a lot about travel and as a result we have a list as long as all of our arms put together of countries we want to visit! Generally we tend to listen to our friends and like-minded people we meet because they tend to have the best recommendations. We’re pretty spontaneous and not afraid to visit places on a whim, which we find keeps it interesting. Plus, being budget backpackers we also have alerts on flights to countries we fancy – so plane ticket costs play a part. Sometimes though, a country just keeps popping up in conversations and things we read and we get a bit obsessed with the idea of visiting it so it goes straight to the top of our list.”

To share their love of travel with their readers, Sarah and James started blogging at the end of 2015. “We called it The Whole World or Nothing because it really embodies our spirit. We’re not saying that we want to visit every country in the world, and it’s not even really about travel. We spent too long doing things we didn’t particularly enjoy before we made the decision to do something that would really make us happy. So it’s more about just striving for whatever it is that makes you happy and daring to fail. It’s also a quote from one of our favourite authors, Charles Bukowski, and pretty much sums up his attitude.”

And, now, as experienced travelers and bloggers, do they have any budget travel advice for any travelettes readers who would come across this post? “South East Asia has got a reputation as THE backpacker destination and for good reason. We found that Laos and Cambodia were the kindest on the wallet, no one can grumble at 30c for a beer! In South America, Bolivia is also really budget friendly. We were eating 2 course meals every day at the markets for under $1. But actually we try not to think of anywhere as off-limits financially – it’s more about making it work for you and making the necessary compromises. Pretty much anywhere can be budget friendly if you do your research and are committed to the cause. We even travelled throughout notoriously expensive Japan on under $60 total per day” Sarah answers.

“Another piece of advice is to work out beforehand what you’re willing to compromise on and divide your budget based on your interests,” adds James. “For example, if you’re not into food then you might be happy to eat cheap noodles or pasta every day to afford to do a scuba diving trip. If you are into food then you might prefer to splash out on a Michelin star meal and miss the scuba diving. Don’t skimp on the things you’re passionate about because it won’t make you happy, just try and save money on the things that you’re not bothered about and the rest will take care of itself.”

When I ask them about their favorite travel memory so far, they both answer: “The Cambodian island of Koh Ta Kiev is hands down one of the most stunning places we have visited. We spent the most amazing few days there with some new friends just chilling out on the gorgeous secluded beaches and exploring the lush green jungle. One of the days we went on an adventure to the only village on the island, we had to wade through loads of swamps to reach it! When we go there we ate freshly caught fish with a local family and then hitched a ride back on their fishing boat to our hostel where we were staying in hammocks on the beach. The sunsets were simply to die for and at night the sea was lit up by thousands of specs of magical bioluminescent plankton which made for an unforgettable impromptu skinny dipping experience.”

And what about being 24/7 together? “They say that travelling together can make or break your relationship, but for us it has really made it stronger” says Sarah. “The main bit of advice is to communicate. Just talk, talk, and talk constantly. You can sort anything out as long as you speak to each other. It might be basic but it’s invaluable, trust us. And relax, laugh, act the fool, if you’re not having fun what’s the point? Also try and incorporate a bit of solo travel into your plans. We’re not one of those couples that ‘need’ to spend time apart and we were quite nervous about whether we would enjoy it, but it was actually really great to just miss each other for a while. When you are travelling and working together 24/7 we think it’s important that you don’t start to take each other for granted.”

For more great pieces of advice, make sure to visit James & Sarah’s blog, instagram, facebook, twitter and youtube channel.


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