Vagabonding Case Study: Ligeia and Mindy

Ligeia and Mindy Mindy-Ligeia-1


Age: 33 and 41

Hometown: Baltimore and Toronto respectively

Quote: I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?
We only recently discovered Vagabonding through a Facebook group, so unfortunately we were not able to make use of it during our previous trips. We will, however, use this resource on our many upcoming trips.

How long were you on the road?
We have been living abroad for many years, including Europe and Southeast Asia, however, we were on the road for one month on the trip we’d like to highlight for this interview.

Where did you go?
We journeyed through China, Tibet and Nepal.

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?
We used our savings account to fund this adventure.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?
Not this time, but we very often do. We are currently working and volunteering, for example, for Save Elephant Foundation, which supports Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?
We enjoyed so many places on this trip but our absolute favorite was our time in Tibet, more specifically Lhasa and Everest base camp. Lhasa was enticing for all the senses from people watching to the smell of incense and yak butter in the temples, from the crisp Himalayan air on our skin mixed with the hot sun to listening to the monks chanting and we could never forget the delicious taste of Tibetan momos.

Having visited in April, our overnight at Everest Base Camp was uncomfortably cold, even freezing the water in our water bottles solid. And yet, stumbling out of the tent with toothbrush in hand to see the rising sun hit the face of Everest made this one of our most memorable travel experiences.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?
On this trip we were very disappointed by Kathmandu, mostly due to the party atmosphere in the Thamel district. We have since spoken with others who assured us that Kathmandu is not usually like that and that we happened to be there during Spring Break. So we are now eager to revisit and give the city another chance, as well as explore other parts of Nepal.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?
This trip was the first time that we took along an Android tablet and it turned out to be the most useful piece of gear that packed. It allowed us to enjoy movies on our 24-hour train journeys across China, gave us access to our email and we were able to compose blog posts on the road.

Everything we packed, we used during the trip, rendering everything useful.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?
Nothing is permanent and so if you are not happy with your surroundings or just need a new adventure there are no roots anchoring you to one place. In this way, Vagabounding gives you freedom to explore the world.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?
Nothing is permanent and this includes friendships, home and work. The transient lifestyle lends itself to constant change and therefore often takes the place of putting down roots. Maintaining strong relationships with your family and close friends becomes more challenging.

What lessons did you learn on the road?
We have learned so many lessons on the road, but in this interview we’d like to highlight three of them. The first and perhaps biggest lesson we learned on the road actually happened on the trip while we were in Tibet. Suffering through migraines, altitude sickness and nausea, Mt. Everest taught us that physical discomfort is only temporary and that wonderful memories will last a lifetime.

The second lesson was finding the perfect balance between honesty and safety regarding coming out as a lesbian couple. There have been times, such as in a homestay in the cloud forest in mountainous San Lucas, Guatemala, when we regretted not revealing our relationship when directly asked about it. We have therefore made the decision to always come out, except in places where we are concerned about physical safety.

The third lesson involves how to explain why we are vegan in different places around the world to make us truly understood (and not get meat in our meals). For example, we learned to describe our dietary choices to Central and South Americans from a health standpoint (aka, it will make us sick), to Southeast Asians on religious grounds and to North Americans and Europeans due to ethical reasons. Regardless of where we are in the world, all these reasons are true for us.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?
For us the term “vagabonding” has come to mean needing less to do more and having a hard time answering the question, “Where are you from?”

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?
On the trip to China, it would have been nice to know ahead of time to expect mass numbers of people staring at us and wanting to take a picture with us. We eventually got used to this; however it was a bit annoying at first. Although we had heard about the widespread spitting on the street, trains and just about anywhere throughout the country, we still were not prepared for the stomach-churning sounds that went with it.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?
We recommend going to Tibet sooner rather than later, because the culture there is quickly being swallowed up by China. When leaving Tibet, be prepared for Chinese exit immigration officials to look for and confiscate any literature related to Tibet, including a Lonely Planet guide or even a map. Across the whole region, be prepared for squat toilets, so get those leg muscles strong! When staying in hotels and guest houses, opt for shared bathrooms instead of private ones attached to your room, as we found they always smelled of mildew. Finally, from a Western point of view, the idea of personal space is nonexistent in a country with over a billion people. Watch a few hockey games so you know to effectively body check to ensure you get a seat on the bus, and don’t be surprised when you get a few elbows in your ribs.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?
We are planning on taking a trip to Myanmar and Vietnam in the next couple of months. Feel free to come along for the ride.



Read more about Ligeia and Mindy on their blog, Bounding Over Our Steps, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


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Posted by | Comments (1)  | August 29, 2014
Category: General, Vagabonding Case Studies

One Response to “Vagabonding Case Study: Ligeia and Mindy”

  1. Laura @Travelocafe Says:

    Great interview! Thanks for introducing Ligeia and Mindy to us.