One of our favorite accounts to follow on social media is The Danish Nomads so we were thrilled when they agreed to do an interview with us!
Let's jump right into the Q&A!
1. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of stumbling across your blog or social media, would you mind giving a brief introduction?
We are Nick & Kia, a young couple from Denmark running a travel blog called The Danish Nomads. Through that, we do our best to help others live a life of adventure. That’s the ultimate goal for ourselves as well, and we're starting to feel like we're getting there.
We quit our corporate careers, sold all our stuff, and are now traveling full-time. It may sound like we're living the dream (and sometimes we are), but it's also hard work. Our lifestyle has taken quite some getting used to, and a lot of sacrifices, but it has all been worth it. Although we can no longer afford a proper hotel room and are living out of our backpacks, we are happier than ever.
2. When did each of you first travel outside of Europe? How old were you, and where did you visit? And what about together as a couple?
Nick first traveled outside of Europe quite young, as he went on quite a few vacations with his dad as a child. The first place he visited out of Europe was on a trip to Egypt when he was 6- years-old – in fact, he was so excited he threw up right before take-off! We have, of course, been back since, visiting the ancient pyramids once more last year.
Kia, on the other hand, didn’t travel outside of Europe at all as a kid. Being part of a large bunch of siblings (9 brothers and sisters!), it was mostly short trips around Europe and camping when she was young. The first time outside of Europe happened quite a bit later in life, at age 22, on a trip to Jamaica.
3. In terms of travel accommodations, do you prefer hotel, hostel, rental, house sit, or some other type and why?
As we are trying to keep our budget down – thereby ensuring we can travel longer full-time, we try to avoid expensive accommodation as much as possible.
We are not fans of hostels, but we have spent many nights in our tent or cheap Airbnb rentals.
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We do, however, mix it up a bit. After a couple of days camping, either sleeping in our car or in our tent, we splurge a little on a “real bed” in a hotel room. We might also occasionally book a rental we know includes a washer, as this saves us a lot of time (and money) finding laundry places.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about your worst travel experience and perhaps how it affected your approach to travel in the future?
The first real eye-opening travel experience that truly disappointed us was when we visited the legendary Mountain City of Petra in Jordan. Most people find this to be a shocking answer. Still, for us, the experience was completely off in terms of our expectations and the whole feel of what was supposed to be a magical place with memories to keep for a lifetime.
We learned A LOT from this experience and have even ended up writing a full blog post about why we are never going back to Petra, to give people our honest view and hopefully so people can avoid making all the same mistakes as we did.
One of the worst parts about this travel moment was how uncomfortable it made us feel. The locals were all over us, with kids almost running us down on their crazy donkeys. Sometimes we even felt like we had to jump for our lives!
But the absolute worst part about our visit was the disrespect and uncaring behavior we witnessed there. The animals were mistreated, and in horrible conditions, the ancient ruins were used as toilets. It seemed like a money-machine rather than a focus on the absolute wonder these buildings actually are supposed to be.
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The mountain city itself is indeed impressive, but the overall experience is still one of the worst we have had to date. What was supposed to be a legendary journey back in time ended up feeling like a tick-off on a bucket list. It is definitely a ONCE in a lifetime experience for us.
5. If money were no object and you could bring all of your friends and family with you, where in the world would you choose to live year-round?
We love the natural world and embark on outdoor adventures as often as possible! But we do love the convenience a concrete jungle offers as well, having everything readily available, great food, etc. They are often beautiful, in their own way, too!
We have visited many cities that are high up on our list, such as Tokyo, but a true number one is always New York City. It has it all, and you can take a short flight or drive and get to some of the most epic natural scenery in the world! So the US is definitely high on our list!
6. Where were you born, where were you raised, and which culture do you identify with most strongly?
As it appears in both our brand and in our name we were born and raised in the Kingdom of Denmark. We still love this country to our bones, and we really can’t get enough of the beautiful beaches and nature our home country boasts.
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Our favorite area is a place called Skagen at the very top of Denmark, which is definitely worth a visit if you ask us. We also believe in the Danish lifestyle, with happiness and hygge being the key elements. However, we didn't really function in the typical 9-5 way of life that most of our family and friends lived and so we moved abroad to explore the world. We now take all the things we love from our home around with us as nomads traveling the globe.
7. Where is your happy place? Somewhere you would go if you needed to de-stress and enjoy being in one place for a period of time.
Our happy place is always heading into mountains, and just going upwards. We find it soothing and de-stressing to be off the grid with no connection and just being in nature. It helps underline what a small part of this world we occupy and makes us see the bigger picture. Hiking makes this possible, and we always have a vast number of hikes in the pipeline. One of our favorites so far was when we hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Switzerland, and Italy. We came back super dirty but fully recharged for new adventures.
Apart from the Alps, another of our favorite places to escape to is Nepal and the Himalayas. We have been there every year for quite some time now, and we probably wouldn’t fully function without a 2020 trip as well.
8. What was the tipping point in your lives that motivated you to sell everything you own and travel full-time?
We reached the tipping point on a three-week vacation around Southern Africa. We spent some time in the bush and on safaris having the time of our lives! We realized that we couldn't go back - as if something had changed inside of us.
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Our 5 weeks of vacation each year, back then, was not nearly enough, and we knew we had to do something about it. So we did.
We did all we could to save up as much as we could in as little time as possible. Of course, living in tax-free Abu Dhabi helped a bit, but really we believe you could do the same almost no matter your current circumstances. It is always possible to change your life!
9. “Travel hacking” to get discounts on flights and accommodations is common for Americans. Is anything like this available to you as Danish and European citizens?
To be completely honest, no. In Europe, you cannot find anything similar to all the travel hacking opportunities you have in America. There is no real "service" that can help you find cheap flight tickets and no credit cards that makes you earn miles in the same way you can get in America. We gotta say, we are actually really envious of all the offers Americans have to help make travel simpler and cheaper. We often talk about how Americans probably have no idea how blessed you are.
10. On your blog, you talk about pushing the boundaries of your travel comfort zone. Could you give us a few examples of some “travel comfort zones” that the two of you had to push through when you first started traveling?
Our mission is to go on more adventures and not stick to the same old ways of traveling (or living even). To do this, we have a rule saying we cannot visit a place without including a proper adventure. This means we must try something we have never done before or something that scares us, on each trip. This also applies when we are back home in Denmark.
As an example, when we celebrated Christmas back home recently, we tried winter-bathing for the first time.
The main aim of this rule is to avoid getting too comfortable! As we have pledged to go on more adventures, our blog now has a dedicated adventure travel section to ensure we never stop exploring and never say no to a new adventure.
Whether it’s skydiving in Dubai, paragliding above Mont Blanc, or something completely different, we just got to try everything out!
As Seth Godin so fittingly said: "If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try."
A sincere THANK YOU to Nick & Kia of The Danish Nomads to take time out of their jam-packed, adventurous lives to answer our questions. We hope they've inspired you to add a little more adventure to your life whether that means simply trying a new restaurant or hiking a mountain!
Eddie & Megan
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