"The Jungles on the Road" jungles's Profile

About Me and My Other Half

I don't update or even log in to VT that often anymore, so don't be upset if you email me and I don't reply. As I write this Nick and I are currently in Paris where we are working at the Rugby World Cup until the end of Oct. 2007.

My husband and I are named Nick and Wendy respectively, but we are known to some of our friends as Jungle Boy and Jungle Girl, or, collectively, The Jungles. As you might expect this comes from our habit of traipsing through jungles looking for orangutans, tigers, quetzals, and whatever else might be around.

We like travelling in plenty of other habitats too, though. We love trekking in the mountains especially. We're also into history and archaeology and thus love visiting historical sites. Basically we just love travelling and would like to go just about everywhere in the world. We're up to 50 or so countries now, but we still have many more to go!

Even though we now have jobs that allow us to save up a sizeable sum for travel, no matter how much money we have we will still always be backpackers. This is partly because it's just more fun and rewarding to travel that way; you can immerse yourself so much more in a culture when you're sharing a bus seat with a farmer and his chickens than you can behind the tinted windows of an air-conditioned coach (or worse, a plane). It's also a matter of making the money go as far (literally) as possible. I'd much rather spend one month travelling on a tight budget instead of one week travelling in style. I still tend to think of money in terms of how much travel it can buy. As in, 'Hmm, I could spend $50 on this pair of shoes, or I could spend seven days in India!' Consequently, my hotel, restaurant, and transportation tips will be helpful primarily for independent, budget travellers.

Besides travelling, we also enjoy learning other languages, which of course goes hand in hand with travelling. Our native language is English (Nick's Australian and I'm American) but we both speak Spanish and Portuguese and I also speak French and Italian. I'm always keen to practice my language skills, so feel free to write to me in any of these languages!

By the way, except where noted on my Rome page, all the photos on my travel pages were taken by Nick and are copyright; please don't use them without asking. You can see many more of his shots, including those from the places I've not yet gotten around to making pages for, at his flickr page.

Where We've Been

We both made our way to Europe individually and then met in Rome in September 2001. So we've both seen most of Western Europe, but for the most part not while together. We lived in Rome on and off for four years, and now I consider Rome to be my home more than anywhere else. It's an amazing city; if you have any questions about Rome, however obsure, please ask me. We both worked there as tour guides so we know the city and its history inside and out.

The first trip we took together was through the Middle East from Cairo to Istanbul in 2003. It was absolutely incredible - the history, the warmth of the people, the beauty, both natural and architectural. And the best thing of all was that there were no other tourists there, as everyone was scared away by the threat of war. The first bombs fell on Baghdad while we were in Beirut, but apart from the deafening sound of high-speed jets zooming over our heads in Turkey on their way to reload in the UK, the war had no ill effects on our trip. People always generalise from what they see on the news and think that the whole region must be in turmoil, but of course it's not true. Go to the Middle East; you won't regret it.

Our next trip was to Indonesia later on in 2003. I thought four months would be enough to cover pretty much the whole country, but there was plenty we had to leave for next time. That's partly because the roads are pretty awful, so it always takes way longer to get somewhere than you think it should. There are some beautiful places to see in Indonesia and it looks great in pictures. What the pictures don't show is all the bumpy bus rides and mounds of bland fried rice (nasi nasi nasi!) But apart from the transport and the food, Indonesia's great.

We took off on yet another trip in November 2003, starting in Bangkok and then heading through Burma, India, and Pakistan. The plight of the Burmese is a very tragic one, yet they are still such a kind and friendly people. India, what can you say about India? It's more than a place; it's a journey to a whole other dimension. Whether you love it or hate it (I loved it), it will definitely change your life. And Pakistan - it was the best surprise I've had while travelling. Absolutely blow-your-mind-out-of-this-world scenery, and some of the friendliest people on the planet. If I had to pick just one favourite country, it'd be Pakistan. Nick has written about all our adventures on this trip in a book entitled "Through Eternity: A Journey Across Asia." In my totally biased opinion it's a wonderfully written and interesting book; you can buy it or just read a sample chapter here.

In late December 2004 we left Mobile, Alabama (Christmas with my folks) to start on an overland trip through Latin America. The plan was to take one year to get all the way down to Patagonia. About nine months into it, though, we were both offered a job in Doha, Qatar working for the Asian Games Organising Committee. We accepted, so we only got as far as Bolivia, and the rest will have to wait 'til later. Still, it was an amazing journey, and the further we went the better it got. I have to say that Central America's got nothing on South America.

Our time in South America was cut short when we were offered jobs in Doha, Qatar at the 2006 Asian Games. We spent 15 months in Doha, which was, um, interesting, but we were certainly happy to get back on the road again at the end of it.

From there we visited, Yemen, Oman, and Dubai, then flew to Africa where we travelled in Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo and Benin. From Benin we flew to Rome and got married on May 31, 2007! After a honeymoon in southern Spain we made our way up to Utrecht, The Netherlands, where we worked for a month, and then to Paris for RWC 2007.

We'll be in Paris until the end of October, and then the plan is to travel in Southeast Asia after that. Can't wait!

Some of my top tens in no particular order

Favourite Countries:

1. Pakistan
2. Italy
3. Egypt
4. Peru
5. Syria
6. Sri Lanka
7. Mexico
8. Indonesia
9. India
10. Colombia

Favourite Cities:

1. Jerusalem
2. Rome
3. Varanasi
4. Paris
5. Rio de Janeiro
6. Sydney
7. Cuzco
8. Cartagena
9. Istanbul
10. Havana

Favourite Historic Sights

1. Petra, Jordan
2. Pompeii, Italy
3. Baalbeck, Lebanon
4. Crac des Chevaliers, Syria
5. Pantheon, Rome, Italy
6. Roman Forum, Rome, Italy
7. Borobudur, Indonesia
8. Luxor, Egypt
9. Tikal, Guatemala
10. Macchu Picchu, Peru

Favourite Natural Wonders:

1. Kelimutu, Indonesia
2. Karakoram Highway, Pakistan
3. White Desert, Egypt
4. Grand Canyon, USA
5. Hampi, India
6. Ciudad Perdida, Colombia
7. Cappadocia, Turkey
8. Tanjung Pitang Nat. Park, Indonesia
9. Laguna Paron, Peru
10. Mt. Rinjani, Indonesia

  • Intro Updated Apr 16, 2009
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