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Meet Brian and Noelle, Travel Bloggers

Meet Brian and Noelle, Travel Bloggers

brian and noelle

Introducing the “Passport to People Series” where I’ll take you around the globe, via inspiring, creative souls I’ve met while on my travels!

Meet the roving duo, Brian Barry and Noelle Kelly.  For the past 8 years, the couple have been actively traveling around the world as bonafide digital nomads, focusing primarily on their epic travel blog, Wandering On, which was voted Blog Awards Ireland’s 2015 ‘ Best Travel Blog.’ I first met Brian and Noelle in Daejeon, South Korea, maybe a week after I had touched down. We met by chance circumstances, with me purchasing the loot Noelle had accrued in her year living in Daejeon that she couldn’t take back with her. I had just arrived to South Korea with not enough clothes and to this day, I still carry around in my moving closet two pairs of Noelle’s custom-fit jeans, which perfectly fit me (a miracle for my short-legged self!) But at the time, these complete strangers were the first to invite me out for lunch in Korea at this brunch place called ‘The British Pantry,’ an act of kindness I will treasure forever. During the meal, they told me about their travel blog… of which I later learned was this actually legit, full-scale operation of a blog. Two years later, the two have inspired a serious blogger in myself and graciously took the time, in between bouts of traveling in the RV’ing around New Zealand, traipsing around the highlands of Scotland ,and house-sitting in Korea, to make this interview happen!

Hello again Brian and Noelle! Look at us after two years, thank you for staying in touch! Let’s get our reader’s acquainted. How long have you two been together?

We’ll have been together for 10 years this coming October (2016).

Whoa a full decade! Congrats guys! So going back to the beginning: what was the first trip you took together?

Brian: Our first trip together in Ireland was a camping trip in terrible weather in Kerry. The wind and rain was so bad we almost nearly didn’t manage to put the tent up! Our first overseas trip together was when Noelle flew out to join me for a week when I spent a month driving around France for the Rugby World Cup in 2008. I bought a Toyota Hiace for the trip, which I converted into a camper and lived in as I travelled around France.

What do you two love most about traveling?

Travel turns every simple daily activity into an adventure, whether that’s finding your way around a new place, finding somewhere to stay or your favorite café in a new town or just trying to communicate in a foreign language. Everything becomes new and exciting, like being a child again!

Do you have a bucket list as a couple?

We don’t really have a bucket list. What we want to do and where we want to go develops over time as we travel more and hear about more cool places from people we meet along the way. We just want to see and do as much as we can in this great big world! With that being said, we have made some great bucket list memories already like standing on top of the world at Kala Pattar with 360 views of the Himalayas, watching the sunrise at the Taj Mahal, climbing north Africa’s highest mountain in Morocco and sleeping under the stars in the Sahara desert. There are a few places we would love to travel too, like Iceland, South and Central America, Tibet, Central Asia. You see? This is why we can’t stick to a bucket list!

What’s a song that puts you in the traveling mood?

Newton Faulkner “Gone in the Morning,” John Butler Trio “Better Than,” Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson & Kris Kristofferson “Highwayman,” Xavier Rudd “Twist,” and Jack Johnson “Banana Pancakes.”

brian and noelle

Chatting and laughing together in the Scottish Highlands

So let’s jump into the couple talk! What do you find is the most challenging aspect of traveling as couple?

One of the most challenging aspects is definitely meeting other people. When you travel as a couple, you tend to shy away from group travel and do things independently as much you can. You have each other and there’s someone there with you at all times so you’re less inclined to put yourself out there as much as a solo traveller would. Also, because there are two of you, solo travellers are less inclined to approach two of us and strike up a conversation as they would a fellow solo traveller.

Do you have any traditions on the trips you take?

Since we started travelling together, we always hold hands during take off and landing on flights as Noelle still gets a little nervous! Also, when we arrive in a new city we always go for a walk around as soon as we can to get our bearings.

What are your individual strengths?

While we work pretty well as a team getting around the place, Brian is definitely better at navigating in maze-like cities like Kathmandu and Fez and driving in new places. Noelle is better at planning and one of her hobbies actually includes browsing Skyscanner looking up cheap flight combinations! 

What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done while traveling?

Standing on top of Mt Fuji in Japan for sunset is one of the most romantic memories we have. It was just the two of us up there as the sun set and it was a huge contrast to the more popular sunrise the following morning. Also watching the sunrise at the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest monument to love, was pretty romantic too. As you can probably tell, we’re suckers for a good sunset or sunrise and have been lucky enough to share loads of sunsets and sunrises together in exotic, romantic places.

brian and noelle

(Note: this instagram is not real). To follow them on instagram, add @wanderingon.

You, unfortunately, have been condemned to die, but fortunately, you get to have any meal in the world before you go. What is your menu?

Brian: That’s a really hard question and one that we’ve discussed countless times. It would have to be some combination of Nigiri sushi, Thai green curry and papaya salad, Korean Kongnamul-Gukbap, Vietnamese Pho, Indian dahl and hummus or falafels or both. Could I just have a buffet? I’d wash it all down with red wine.
Noelle: I agree with all of these and would add chocolate, a cheese board and chips! Proper Irish spud chips though, no French fries! Oh and tea!

Best foreign word you know and why?

Brian: Radiergummi, the German for eraser, I learned this word in school and have aways thought it sounds hilarious. We met a German guy in Morocco and he told us the word for shooting star: Sternschnuppe – this is definitely a close second.

You have just won a trip around the world! List twelve cities on your flight path.

Noelle: Cairo, Athens, Istanbul, Melbourne, Shanghai, Dar es Salaam, Quito, Medellin, Lima, La Paz, Rio de Janiero, Havana

What was a memorable ‘first’ abroad?

Brian: There have been so many amazing firsts since I started travelling; my first bungee, skydive, shark dive, scuba dive, teaching experience, overnight hike, etc. Having these first time experiences and looking forward to having more firsts is one of the main reasons we choose this lifestyle. If I was to choose my most memorable first, it would probably be leaving home for the very first time, not knowing what was in store.
Noelle: I agree with all the things that Brian said, but also I’d add the first time I saw such enormous mountains and Mount Everest in the Himalayas in Nepal, so mind-blowingly beautiful.

Here are some pictures taken on Brian and Noelle’s travels…

Best purchase abroad.

Noelle: An electricity cup in India. We don’t have it anymore but it was basically just the element part of a kettle that you could boil water in a metal cup with. Perfect for tea on the go!

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten.

Brian: Some silkworm larvae in the Philippines.
Noelle: Boshintang (soup with dog meat) or sang-nak-ji (live octopus) in South Korea.

What’s your best travel-related investment?

Brian: It’s a toss up between our Macbook Air and our Osprey Farpoint backpacks. The Macbook Air has made working as we go so much easier and the Osprey backpack’s have everything we’ve aways wanted in a backpack –we’ve tried a few in our time and it’s by far the best.

What is the oddest place you’ve ever been to?

Noelle: We’ve done a lot of strange things and we’ve been to a lot of strange places over the last few years. The Penis Park in Gangwon-do, South Korea has to be up there though!

What’s an activity you want to experience on the road?

Noelle: I would love to become a qualified yoga teacher at some stage during our travels.
Brian: I’d love to become a qualified scuba instructor at some stage too.

Thanks so much for your time guys. We are all wishing you two the best of luck in life and in love!

Be sure to check out their blog and social media!

Travel blog: Wandering On

brian and noelle

Facebook \\ Wandering On • Instagram \\ @wanderingon  Twitter \\ @wanderingon_bn

 

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Izzy Pulido is a Bostonian by way of the Philippines who loves to vagabond. At twenty-seven, she's traded in gallivanting around Europe for the 9-to-5 grind... but don't count out the vagabonding! With a new long distance relationship, she's bringing American travel to the forefront. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps.

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  1. Wendy

    11 July

    Love your Passport graphics! Brian and Noelle have found a soulmate and travel-mate with each other! To be travelling around the world with someone you feel secured with must be really AWESOME! Enjoy you two and continue inspiring readers with your travels!

    Great work, Izzy! The world becomes smaller and smaller, right? You met here in Korea and continue to keep in touch through the net.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      They do feel like they are each other soulmates dont they? I love writing about traveling couples because you see them sharing the same path. Its so awesome! Gotta love the web for allowing me to continue friendships with people from all over the world!

  2. Thanks a million for featuring us Izzy – we had a great time answering all of your questions and love the way you put all of this together! Brilliant! 😀

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Duh! You guys are the ones who basically started this for me! So awesome you could participate!!! 😀 😀 😀

  3. Megan Indoe

    11 July

    Awesome interview and thanks for introducing me to another travel blog to follow! I always love your graphics and I love the one you did at the top of the page of this post! Well done! My favorite part of this would have to be how you guys met and became lasting friends! Being in a new place is scary, so when someone is so welcoming and kind when you’re in a new place, it really makes you feel not so alone! It sounds like Brian and Noelle are both really kind and awesome people! Thanks again for introducing them all to us!

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      There are soooo many bloggers to follow, its kind of crazy! You and Scott are gonna be the next couple I feature so get ready! And its so you Megan to be drawn to the sentimental part of the story, thats really why I adore you so much. I can’t wait to talk about how we became friends in my post about you! Can it just be October already?!? 😛

  4. What a cool story about how you met! And having perfectly fitting jeans in like magic, especially when it’s from someone else!

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Sisterhood of the traveling pants! Kind of… right? 😛

  5. Jen Morrow

    11 July

    Cute couple! I can relate to the couple travel comments, you do tend to be more isolated, but we still manage to meet a few people.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Yea I think its a bit of give and take. I think the perk is that you can choose to meet people or not cause you always have each other!

  6. Hanani

    11 July

    Great post, Izzy. And awesome graphics as usual.
    I have to agree with Brian and Noelle on the fact that couples tend to shy away from group travels. Thank you for sharing this great interview 🙂

  7. That’s so great that you’ve found each other to travel with! I’m a dedicated solo traveler and in fact I don’t like traveling with other people. But I’m glad that you two seem so compatible and have had so many fun adventures together.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Thats cool that you can respect those who travel in twos while still being staunch about who you are as a traveler. I really respect that! 🙂

  8. Tara

    12 July

    Wow, what an adventure you two are having! The travel blogging community is so much smaller than I ever imagined and it’s so cool that you guys have all been able to keep in touch over the years.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Despite how big the community is grown, I love how easy it is to relate to connect and then stay connected. I think its easier for this set of people because we travel which means there is a possibility that paths may cross again!

  9. I love that as a couple Brian and Noelle identified their strengths. It’s so nice having a partner that you can depend on and who is great at certain things especially when it relates to travel.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      I ask that question to all the couples I interview and what they respond for one another is just the absolute sweetest!

  10. Totally checking them out! They sound awesome (and another #couplegoals couple to add to my list). And their mantra is perfect! Slow, slow, slow is my motto! I’d rather live in one country for a year and only be allowed to travel around that country than get to visit 20 in the same amount of time. So jealous they’re in Ireland too!

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      #couplegoals couple 😛 i really like it! yea their mantra is something else! i feel like i have been on the trajectory of living in a country for one year at a time but im a country counter so im like 20 countries… oh how tempting! they actually are from ireland but currently in australia now!

  11. Shirgie Scf

    14 July

    Now I know where’d you get your inspiration to blog. Such a lovely couple. I really admire couple traveling together. I am just wondering what is that silkworm larvae he is referring to? I know there’s such thing in South Korea, but I haven’t seen that in the Philippines. But anyway, great interview, I learned a lot especially in the field of traveling.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Yes! They are definitely my inspiration! I had no idea what he was referring to either about the silkworm larvae since I feel like Pinoys dont usually eat bugs??? But I’m not sure! They travelled all around the Philippines!

  12. Emre

    15 July

    I’ve traveled alone and as a couple, so from experience I can say that although you tend to isolate yourself more from other travelers, traveling as a couple beats traveling alone. You always have someone to share the experience with and to me that is the essence of traveling.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Hear hear! I know traveling couples bum out cause they feel like they don’t make the effort to hang but then again, theres nothing like someone being present to share every single moment with. There are two people carrying the same story!

  13. Love this interview!! Will definitely be following Brain and Noelle’s adventures. My boyfriend and I are also living in South Korea at the moment and are following some sloooowww travels at the end of our contracts- saving up those wons now! A bit like Noelle, looking up flights on skyscanner is also one of my hobbies!

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Save up those wons! Slow travel is the best, especially when you can do it with a significant other. It teaches you alot about one another. I did that with Tim and it was the best way to spend my money after Korea!

  14. Laura Nalin

    17 July

    Love this! I’ve followed along with their blog for awhile so it’s awesome to have read a bit more about them. I love that they can fit into the same jeans! Meant to be. You do such a great job with all of these posts and nail it every. single. time.

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      I know! I was surprise to have across such establish bloggers right when I got there. It was totally meant to be 🙂 Readying your post for end of August!

  15. People who travel and have gone through similar adventures as many of us, like teaching abroad or backpacking on a budget, seem like an easy pair of friends to get along with. I hope to meet Noelle and Brian while we’re still living in Daejeon. I bet they have some great stories to tell about their adventures. Another cool thing is that a lot of weird or favorite foods they’ve tried in Korea, haha of all the places in the world….

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Noelle and Brian have actually left Daejeon and are currently in Australia but hey, at least you’ll have a contact in Australia! They were the most down-to-earth people I’ve met!

  16. Gina

    18 July

    I didn’t know you guys have crossed paths before! Awesome! I saw the sunrise at Fuji myself and it was awesome. I had fallen asleep so I didn’t get to see the entire thing, but at least I saw it! I would love to see the sunrise at the Taj Mahal one day! It sounds amazing!

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Everyone that I’ve featured in my Passport To People series are people I’ve met in real life! I have seen Fuji but only from a distance. Its kind of surreal to see it up close and in person! Tim and I were too lazy to wake up for the sunrise at the Taj mahal hahaha

  17. Roxy Hutton

    18 July

    Such a wonderful interview! It’s so inspiring reading about other young couples and their journeys around the world! And how crazy that so many of us have lived in Korea at some point or another along their travels.
    Again, I just LOVE the graphics you created in this post! xx

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Its crazy to think how many people are connected by Korea. Don’t worry, one day I’ll be writing about you and farm boy on my blog 🙂

  18. Chelsea

    19 July

    I’m in awe over this post! It’s such a great idea and you executed it perfectly. I especially love your graphics, as per usual. That’s so interesting how you guys met right away in Korea and kept in contact. And it’s nice to get some insight on travelling as a couple. Now I’m thinking about including Mt.Fuji on my itinerary for my trip to Japan next week (although it won’t be romantic and i’ll probably share the sunset view with no one other than my bae, Snapchat). Your interview questions are so thoughtful, creative and open-ended. I’m looking forward to reading your future interviews, Izzy! And thank you for introducing me to another great blog!

    • Izzy Pulido

      1 August

      Wait for the day I meet you Chels and then get to make something pretty like this for you! Yea, its kind of cray how we stayed in touch. I’m a big advocate of trying to keep in touch with all people I cross paths with. I hope you go to Mt. Fuji, its sooo breathtaking in person. And I saw it with my fam as a 13 year old and it still impresses me tot his day. You are the sweetest girl, like honestly you make me feel really good about life and the people in it!

  19. Brian & Noelle

    26 August

    Just read this post again and saw all the lovely comments! Wow! Guys – thanks so much for all the beautiful words about us! And Izzy – again, thanks so much for featuring us! 🙂

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