April Travel Blogger Of The Month - Stephanie

Name: Stephanie Frias

Blog: 8 Duffels & 2 Mutts

How many countries have you travelled to?

We have travelled to just one country outside of our homeland. That country is Ecuador. We have been expats there for over a year now. In just a few weeks, we will be leaving our home and trading it in for life on the road. Our family (including our two kids and our two dogs) will be moving into a camper vehicle indefinitely. Our tentative plans at this stage are to travel through each of the South American countries, spending several weeks to several months in each one. We imagine the road trip in its entirety will take us approximately 2.5 years. We hope that this will be the first leg of worldwide travels.

April Travel Blogger of the Month - Stephanie

What was your first overseas trip?

I first travelled overseas as a teenager, when I spent a few weeks abroad as an exchange student in Germany. My husband has been travelling internationally since he was a kid. Our children (and our dogs) experienced their first trip abroad last year when we moved to Ecuador. At the time they were almost 2 years old and 3.5.

What is your favourite destination in the world and why?

We are quite fond of Ecuador and are enjoying extensive explorations of the country before we move on to the rest of South America. There is much more to the country than the Galapagos Islands. We have fallen in love with the little fishing villages of the central coast, the Andes Mountains, and the Valley of the Volcanoes. We are still looking forward to upcoming adventures in the rain forests, cloud forests, and sierra regions of the country to name a few. The country is not only full of stunning natural landscapes, but is also full of history and culture. There is always something to see, do, experience and learn in Ecuador.

What inspired you to start a travel blog?

Our travel blog happened by accident really. I never had any intention of becoming a blogger, nor did I know anything about it. I am not sure that I had ever even intentionally read a blog previously. I was completely anti-social media and never would have imagined that I would become as proficient in the online world as I have become today.

The blog started as a private Facebook page, where I was chronicling our move abroad. My intention was to have an online journal for our children to read when they got older. A few family members and friends asked me to invite them to my journal. They wanted to follow along with our discoveries, struggles, and achievements. People were curious what it was like to move abroad, hoped to lend us some support, and ultimately wanted to stay in contact as we “disappeared” from their world.

Eventually I had around 20 people following, so we decided to make it public. After the following grew to a couple hundred more, it seemed obvious that I needed a better platform for our readers. That was when we decided to move all of the content to an official blog website. That was the beginning of our introduction to the blogging world.

April Travel Blogger of the Month

What has been the most rewarding aspect of travel blogging?

The most rewarding part is still the original intent, knowing that our children will have a wonderful place to come back to when they are old enough to relive these memories. Here, I know that they can find our memories, our photographs, and my stories. It is just a bonus that it was also lend itself as a living scrapbook of the people and friendships we have made along the way.

I also imagine it as a memory-book for my husband and me, when we are old and beyond this phase of our life. I hope that when that time comes, we can sit together in our rocking chairs and be content with the life we chose. This will be the place we come to reminisce and celebrate everything that this life was for us and our children. And of course, we will be missing our dogs by then but from here they will live on forever in their glory days.

Name three things on your bucket list:

I suppose I am not really the bucket list type. We try to take life as it comes and we find the most happiness and success within ourselves when we don’t try to plan it all out. The main idea here is not to visit X amount of countries or to have a special passport stamp. Our goal is to find peace and tranquillity outside of this fast paced modern world. We most hope to find fulfilment through not being tied down by a traditional life. We dream of our children being raised as global citizens in every aspect of the term.

April Travel Blogger of the Month

Where are you off to on your next trip?

As we embark on the first part of our full time travelling journey, we spend more time exploring the beautiful Ecuador. After a weeks or months have passed, we will exit to one of the neighbouring countries and then carry on through the rest of the continent. We are sure yet which one it will be, but Colombia and Peru are the countries that border us. Our travels will mostly be unplanned but we will most likely head south and then curl up around again through the east and then head back north towards Central America.

Apart from travel, name three other interest/hobbies that not many people may know about you:

  1. I am an artist of all sorts, with a deep love and appreciation for drawing, painting, crafting, and photography.
  2. My husband is a fitness guru and has been in the industry for the majority of his adult life. This means that our daily routine is greatly influenced by living a healthy and fit lifestyle.
  3. As our children get older, we plan to home school them with ideals that reflect the principles of interest led learning and nature based education.

If you want to follow along on Stephanie and her family's upcoming and exciting adventures throughout South America, be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And don't forget to join the 8 Day Travel Blog Bootcamp Challenge below!

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April Travel Blogger Of The Month - Stephanie from 8 Duffels & 2 Mutts. Read Stephanie's inspiring story of how they moved their family and dogs to Ecuador and how her travel blog is like a time capsule for her children to look back on. Click here to read more about Stephanie's adventures and join the free 8 Day Travel Blog Bootcamp!

Sally Cochrane

Sally is a Brisvegas (Brisbane, Australia) born travel blogger and founder of Travel Blog Squad, an online community for travel bloggers. Among many other experiences, she has skied down the Austrian Alps on Christmas day, gone for a ride in an army tank through the mud in Slovakia, woken up before dawn to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat and attended university in Mexico. Hola! Her non-travel-related interests include tea (of any and every kind), TED Talks and running at her local Parkrun.