Interview with Globe Trotters: Atlas and Boots

Here is an article I wrote for the company, Globe Of Love. I conducted an interview with a couple who gave up their competitive day jobs, to travel around the world and blog whilst doing it. This company is an online magazine that provides inspiration and positive messages around the globe for everyone. 

Atlas and Boots, known as Peter and Kia to their friends and families, have quit their day jobs and left the hustle and bustle of London to explore the world – specifically, the South Pacific and South America. Now as Atlas and Boots, they take each moment as it comes, and are planning their trip with advice from strangers on Twitter, fellow travellers, locals and of course, the trustworthy guidebook. Their motivation and enthusiasm highlights to all of us that life is what you make it: you can bite the bullet and do what you daren’t and if you haven’t travelled already, you still have time to do so.

Both of you have a number of job descriptions between you from teacher to photographer to author could you please describe to us what you feel has been the hardest or easiest to leave behind?

Peter: Leaving teaching has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I won’t get into it but it was a stressful part of my life and I’m happier now that it’s behind me. I miss the friends I made but I also know I’ll see them again.

Kia: In terms of work, none of it has been particularly hard to leave behind. I’m still writing on the road – almost more than I do at home. Outside of work, I mainly miss the range of food available in London. I’ve been making a list of the things I miss and 6 out of 8 of them are food based.

What made you leave home to go travel into a world of the unknown?

Peter: I’ve always “suffered” from wanderlust. When I was younger, my father would tell me tales of India where he once lived which first got me interested in leaving the shores I grew up by. I love adventure, getting my hands dirty and challenging myself. I love reading stories of exploration and adventure – I sometimes wished I lived in centuries past when there were still continents to discover. When I met Kia, we talked about going travelling one day so it was always on the cards. We just had to save enough to do it!

Is there anything you miss from home?

Peter: My friends and family. Cricket. And cheese. There’s no good cheese in the South Pacific. When we asked for some in a supermarket in Vanuatu, the staff thought there was something wrong with me!

Kia: See my first answer: mainly food! The other two things on my list are my family and The Godfather films. They’re my go-to films.

What has been your proudest moment in your career so far, and in your trip so far?

Peter: I’ve had a few different jobs so it changes for me. When I worked in audiovisual engineering it was working with big bands like the Arctic Monkeys and the Manic Street Preachers. As a teacher it was presiding over a set of great results in my department and from a photography point of view it was selling my first photo and getting accepted as a Getty Images photographer.

Kia: In terms of my career: first, publishing my novels and, second, seeing hit a million monthly users. In terms of our trip, I’d say completing a 6-hour hike in unrelenting 30-degree heat! I was nearly in tears by the end.

Why should other people follow in your footsteps?

Peter: Well, they should only follow if they want to. Travel isn’t for everyone, but for those who want to do it, I think an important message is that it is possible. We’re not rich. We just decided to do it and made it happen. Travel is far easier and far more accessible than people think. If you want to do it, you probably can.

Kia: I don’t want to reel off a bunch of clichés, but travel gives you perspective on the privileges you have in life, it makes you empathise with other people, it instils patience and it builds strength. Plus you get to do amazing things like trek active volcanoes, dive with turtles and swim with whales – much better than sitting in front of Excel all day!

Could you share with us some valuable life lessons you have learnt along the way?

Peter: Patience. When you’re on the road, time has a habit of slowing things down and the unexpected happens. When it does, there’s little you can do but accept it. I’m more chilled out thanks to travelling. Also, I think it helps you realise what’s important. It gives you time to think. For me, I realised that a high-powered job isn’t important to me. I want happiness more than anything. And seeing the world with Kia by my side makes me happy. That and some decent bloody cheese!

Kia: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” That quote from Robert Frost is the most important lesson I’ve learnt. Just don’t sweat the small stuff because life will carry on. Even when things go wrong on a major scale, life will carry on.

Who has been the most inspiring person you have met so far and why?

Peter: For me, my father is pretty inspirational to me. But if you’re asking about people I’ve met on the road it’s probably John and Mair Pugh, a couple I stayed with in Tanzania. They were there with their daughter, training nurses in a small village in the middle of nowhere. It was eye opening. They had lived in Madagascar before that, doing the same sort of thing. They were pretty incredible people doing some pretty incredible things. They were actually making a difference to people’s lives day in, day out at great sacrifice to themselves.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced whilst travelling?

Peter: Language always holds me back. I speak a little of this and a little of that but never enough to truly connect with people. I’m determined to improve my Spanish in South America. I want to take lessons and spend some time in the culture long enough for it to really improve. I’m always very jealous of those who can speak different languages and deeply regret not sticking with studying languages when I was younger.

Kia: I know this is becoming an emerging theme but, for me, it’s food. I don’t eat meat, which sometimes people can’t quite comprehend. When we were staying at a beach fale in Samoa, the waitress said: “You don’t eat meat? What about chicken?” When I said no, she said: “What about the sausages, you can eat the sausages, no?”

What do you think is your favourite destination so far and why?

Peter: Probably Tanzania. As I said earlier it was a pretty eye-opening experience for me. But, also, I did such a diverse range of things. I climbed mountains out there, swam in beautiful waters, went on safari and explored a completely new and foreign part of the world.

Kia: It would be between Cambodia and Jordan. Both had amazing people, stunning architecture and amazing weather. If I had to choose, I would say Cambodia. The country has such a painful past and yet the people are so upbeat, friendly and welcoming. I was blown away.  

I am a backpacker myself: do you have any tips for fellow travellers out there?

Peter: Pack light. Head up. Eyes open. Ask questions. Eat when you’re hungry. Try things that scare you. Say yes.

Kia: If you’re unsure of something, just ask. Swallow your embarrassment or awkwardness and just ask. People are usually more than happy to help.