Spotlight: The Lazy Travelers

Besties, Ashley & Carolyn of The Lazy Travelers share their stories and travel tips.

The Lazy Travelers - GGB

Ashley & Carolyn at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Ever dreamed of traveling the world with your bestie? Of course you have, as have we. Ashley and Carolyn of The Lazy Travelers have made this dream a total reality. These two gypsets conquer the globe one glass of red at a time, and have had their fair share of adventures (downed pints in the Irish countryside, got locked in an Austrian dungeon in the middle of night, etc.). As you can see, these two travel gurus live an unaverage yet incredibly fascinating life. Ashley and Carolyn have taken the time to share with us their story, their traveling tips and much more.

The Lazy Travelers - Budapest

Ashley & Carolyn in Budapest

How did you two meet/become best friends?

On the seventh grade school bus! Once we found out we had every single class together that year, we were pretty much inseparable.

How did you guys get the idea to start a blog? Was it something you always dreamed about?

Not at all. We were both working for the same company, and the work/life balance was… lacking. After a lot of post-work wine one night, we brilliantly decided we would run off to Dublin and open a pizza shop. We created a full presentation for Ashley’s husband, who immediately talked us off the ledge. Apparently he didn’t agree that there is a major hole in the Irish pizza market.

A blog seemed like less work, so we bought the domain and just started writing!

The Lazy Travelers - Flytographer, Nob Hill

Ashley & Carolyn in Nob Hill, San Francisco (via Flytographer)

What do you do when you’re not roaming the world?

Ashley just moved to London and Carolyn is back in Philadelphia after a few years in NYC, so we’ve been doing a lot of hometown exploration and weekend staycations!

We also enjoy drinking wine whilst wearing comfy clothes and gchatting/whatsapping/snapchatting each other excessively. Standard bestie protocol.

The Lazy Travelers - Brooklyn Bridge

 Ashley & Carolyn at the Brooklyn Bridge 

What is a typical day like for the two of you when you’re traveling together?

We’re big proponents of getting to know a place by aimlessly wandering, which means we don’t really have a typical day. If we’re in a city, we’ll get up, grab breakfast, and then pick a neighborhood to explore on foot. We also find ourselves renting a car for at least one day on most of our trips, and going on a bit of a roadtrip. Recently, we were in San Francisco for four days, but went out to Napa for a night so we could get a taste of the wine region.

Whatever we do, almost all our travel days include a few hours spent in a local bar, pub or cafe, people watching and taking it all in. Oh, and instagramming, mildly obsessively.

How many places have you traveled together?

Our first real adventure together was a week long pre-college program in NYC when we were sophomores in high school. Not sure how we convinced our parents of that one, but they fell for it.

Since then, we’ve been up and down the US East Coast together, all over Europe… it’s hard to keep track! Most recently, we were in South Africa for a week, which was incredible.

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Stellenbosch, South Africa 

What is your absolute favorite place you have ever traveled? What is one thing people NEED to do while there?

We can’t pick a favorite!! BUT our recent trip to South Africa was one of our best experiences to date.

There are so many things worth doing–wine country, safari, Cape Town–it’s an insanely beautiful country. The thing that made our time so memorable was two days spent with a local charity called Newkidz on the Block. They help establish loving homes for orphaned, vulnerable and destitute children, and the co-founders, Hilda and Michael, are such incredible people. We raised funds in the weeks leading up to our trip (and still are!), and it was so uplifting to meet the kids and caretakers who benefited from everyone’s donations.

It also made us realize that giving back when you travel doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. It’s not all or nothing–you don’t have to dedicate your entire vacation or honeymoon. It’s wonderful if you can, but even just donating one or two days really makes a huge difference.

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Ashley and Carolyn painting murals in a daycare with Newkidz on the Block!

Which destinations are on your bucket list?

It’s way too long to list! Our recent reunion in San Francisco made us realize just how much of the US we haven’t seen. We also have our sights on South America. Chilean wine country, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos? We’d settle for any of those! We also definitely want to go back to Africa sooner rather than later, ideally to Botswana, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya…

Seriously, the list is just too long.

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What is your favorite part about traveling the world? What is the biggest challenge in traveling?

It sounds cliche, but we genuinely love experiencing new cultures, trying new food and meeting new people. We can get a little cranky about the actual act of traveling, and usually just want that part to be over.

Our husbands would probably argue that we get a LOT cranky, especially on the return journey, but whatever. Who likes to leave vacation?!

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Sunset in South Africa 

What is the last best thing you ate/drank?

Kevin Arnold Shiraz paired with spicy dark chocolate at the Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa! And not that Kevin Arnold, we asked. We were met with blank stares.

What are your 5 tips for traveling internationally?

– Don’t put pressure on yourself to see everything! Instead, narrow your personal must-sees to 2 or 3 things that you can’t miss, and check out more if you have the time. Chances are high your favorite moments won’t be zipping through a museum or snapping photos of a building you heard was important.

– Try to learn key phrases in the local language, but don’t let it stress you out if you panic and forget everything as soon as you land! When all else fails, hand signals and an apologetic smile work wonders.

– If you’re unfamiliar with the local cuisine, scout out the regional fare in advance and mentally list a few dishes you know you have to try. This also helps if you’re a fan of ignoring recommendations and just picking a restaurant that looks cute. Even if you can’t read the full menu, you’ll at least have a vague idea of what to order!

– Check out the local public transport situation, as well as how much a cab should cost from the airport. There is nothing worse than wondering if you’re getting scammed the second you step off the plane.

– Pack light, especially if you have more than one stop on your itinerary. We speak from experience when we tell you that there’s nothing worse than unpacking and repacking piles of unnecessary clothes every three days.

The Lazy Travelers - Cape Town

Ashley & Carolyn in Cape Town, South Africa

What are your favorite travel essentials?

Chapstick and a big scarf! We can’t board a plane without either one. Also, on the subject of packing light, packing cubes are a godsend. They make organizing your suitcase so, SO much easier, and are a major space saver.

If you could choose one of our Wanderable Experiences (we have over 2,800!), which one would it be and why?

Welp, just fell down a rabbit hole and literally want to go on ever single trip. Like… is the Treehouse Lodge even real? Or this eco resort??

…Do you guys do best friend registries?

Not yet, but stay tuned!

#WanderOn

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#WanderableGypset: Rachel and Carly of The Citizenry

Make your home something to talk about with these extraordinary products from The Citizenry 

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We love it when we find like-minded people who believe in the importance of travel and experiences. We caught up with #WanderableGypset, Rachel and Carly, the two travel gurus of The Citizenry, who revealed to us their passions and the concept behind their incredibly unique philosophy and website. These two wanderers have a strong belief that our homes should be a reflection of the journeys that we take, so they travel the world and find the best of the best to sell on their awesome website. They collaborate with local artisans in various countries to combine their modern style with their time-tested techniques to bring you an exclusive collection of home goods. Here is an inside look at our latest #WanderableGypset: Rachel and Carly of The Citizenry.

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Wanderable: Walk me through an average day in your un-average life.

CARLY: Our days in the studio always start with a French press and some time to love on the office dogs. Then we jump into lots of emails and calls with our artisan partners, web team, and graphic designer. It’s a lot of unglamorous hard work, but we have a talented team that makes the day-to-day exciting. The really un-average days are when we’re traveling to visit our artisan partners…

RACHEL: Whether it’s a 20-hour bus ride to visit a rural village in Peru or trekking across Africa, we’ve already accumulated so many great stories. When we’re traveling to visit artisan partners, we constantly have these pinch-yourself moments when we can’t believe we’re lucky enough that this is our job.

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What inspired you to develop this type of business? Was it something you always dreamed of doing or something you just fell into?

RACHEL: The idea came from our own frustrations trying to find beautifully crafted items for our own homes. We were looking for high quality, handcrafted pieces, from a company we could feel good about, at a price that didn’t break the bank. That’s a tough combination to find.

CARLY: We started thinking about the things in our homes that we treasured, and all those items had a story behind them – either the story of the maker or the place where it was from. We wanted to build a brand that celebrates those people and stories behind the products.

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How do you decide where you want to travel?

RACHEL: We choose places for our collections based on their natural resources and product expertise in a certain category.

CARLY: For example, we went to Argentina for the country’s incredible leather, and we targeted Peru for their native alpaca and weaving expertise. Both cultures also have rich histories of craftsmanship, and we were so excited to shine a light on those stories.

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If you could choose one of our Wanderable Experiences (we have over 2,500!) which one would it be and why? (www.wanderable.com)

CARLY: The site is a rabbit hole of experiences I die over, but I’d pick this Cambodia package. It’s a country I haven’t explored,  Angkor Wat is on my bucket list.

RACHEL: I’ll never turn down a chance to go to France. This tour of Champagne has my name written all over it!

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What is your favorite item on the website and why?

CARLY: I’m head over heels in love with our Copper Butterfly Chairs. They are handcrafted in Buenos Aires and are the perfect mix of modern design and old world craftsmanship.

RACHEL: The Estrellas Rug is another one of our favorites. We worked with a small group of weavers outside of Lima to hand dye every color and weave these beauties start to finish. Each one takes six weeks to complete, so they’re true works of art.

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What are you loving right now?

CARLY:  Public Supply Notebooks are my new favorites for scribbling notes and ideas.

RACHEL:  Red velvet macarons and maman coffee cups.

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What are your travel essentials? OR What’s always in your carry-on?

CARLY: Cuyana travel cases and drybar detox dry shampoo.

RACHEL: It may sound like a shameless plug, but I always travel with one of our San Pedro blankets. I’m always cold on flights, and these are the perfect weight for travel.

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What destinations are on your bucket- list?

CARLY: Morocco and Turkey. We’re already dreaming up possibilities in all those places.

RACHEL: Japan would be an incredible collection as well.

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Now you can easily see why we are gushing over The Citizenry. Just wait til you see the other products that are sold on the website–they definitely give Anthro and Urban a run for their money. We cannot wait to see what else Rachel and Carly have in store!

#WanderOn

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The Wanderable Gypset: Nicole Anderson

Wanderable will be featuring wanderlust-y individuals literally living their dreams in our new feature, The Wanderable Gypset.  Nicole Anderson is the inaugural bohemian tastemaker in this brand new series.

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What is a gypset?

A gypset is a gypsy-jetsetter, a free spirit who is young and heart and leads an unconventional career and life, traveling the globe and wandering through life at her own pace, in her own style.

Who is Nicole Anderson?

Nikki is a professional wedding photographer (check out her drop-dead gorg portfolio) who studied Russian literature at Harvard and lives in Singapore with her fiance. Her itinerary this month includes Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Marrakech, London, Glasgow, and Singapore.

We picked her brain with this lovingly curated questionnaire, and we are happy to reveal the responses to you.

Wanderable: Walk me through an average day in your un-average life.

Nicole: As a wedding photographer, I’m lucky to have a very flexible workday and really no two days are the same. But on most days, I’ve likely gone out for coffee, done some photo editing, made time for reading, thought about going to yoga and then thought up excuses for not going, spent way too much time on Instagram/Style Me Pretty/100 Layer Cake, and somewhere along the way opened a bottle of wine.

W: Did you always want to be a traveler, or did you just fall into this lifestyle?

N: My family spent a summer in Austria when I was 16, and I remember the wild sense of freedom I had wandering around Salzburg. I loved being able to create each day, get lost, hop on a bus, see works of art, discover hidden cafes, and read all afternoon. After college, I had a great job in marketing but I just wasn’t happy tied to a desk. I had no idea if I could make it as a photographer, but I knew it was worth trying. Being able to spend a month in Paris last February during the wedding off-season or book a last minute flight to Culebra with a friend without asking anyone for vacation time definitely confirmed that this was the job for me.

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W: What are you feeling/loving/eating/reading right now?

N:

  • Feeling: blessed
  • Loving : my fiance Daniel
  • Eating: In the past two weeks, Spanish tapas to Moroccan tagines to my friend’s delicious Pakistani food
  • Reading: The Savage Detectives by Robert Bolano and The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester

W: If you could bring anything/anyone from home, what/who would that be?

N: If I have Daniel and a good book with me, I don’t need anything else.

W: What location is on your bucket list, and why?

 N: One of the many reasons I love my fiancé is that even while we were traveling on our engagement trip (I asked for a trip instead of a ring!), we couldn’t help talking about all the places we want to go together. There’s such a lot of world to see. For our honeymoon we have already tossed around wildly different ideas, like beaches in Greece + Albania + Croatia OR a wine + cycling tour of Italy OR Iceland adventuring!

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 W: What are your go-to travel essentials?

  • ONA Bowery camera bag
  • Canon Mark III
  • Journal/book
  • A great necklace (currently alternating between a gold and white 31 Bits necklace and a colorful one scored at an Anthropologie sale)
  • Flowy maxi dresses
  • Comfy but cute walking shoes (currently tribal patterned Toms and trusty Birkenstocks)
  • MAC red lipstick and sunscreen
  • A scarf that can double as a picnic blanket when the occasion calls for it

 W: What has recently taken your breath away?

 N: In Madrid, some of Goya’s later paintings at the Prado Museum. In Cordoba, the stunning Mezquita Cathedral. In Seville, the Puente de Triana at night. And in Morocco, an incredible Berber village perched atop a mountain in Ouirgane.

W: What have you learned about your Significant Other other through your travels?

 N: He’s learned that I wait to eat sketchy street food until the last day of a trip in case I get sick and that when I have my game face on I’ll haggle toe to toe with any Marrakech shop keeper! I’ve learned that his shoulder is my favorite travel pillow, he has a way better sense of direction than I do, and that when I’m sick he’ll rush out to get me tea and lie with me in bed reading Borges stories aloud to keep my mind off my stomach ache. And together we’ve learned that we will both shamelessly tie our sweaters around our waists when the forecast has fooled us.

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W: Advice for aspiring Gypsets? Go.

N: There’s always a way to satisfy your wanderlust. I once took a semester off college and was practically broke, so I worked on a farm through WWOOF in Cornwall, crashed with a cousin in London, and Couchsurfed in Italy and France. That trip cost me very little, but it was one of the best of my life. Make friends that live in other cities and countries. A hundred times better than staying in a hotel, and a heck of a lot cheaper too. Be bold in what you ask of the universe.

Follow Nicole’s adventures at www.sorella-muse.com and on her Instagram

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