Since we last spoke to the wonderful Campbell & Alya of The Stingy Nomads they got engaged! And as you would expect it wasn’t any old proposal…
Campbell: The progression of our relationship was a bit different. We met in a small surf town, sleeping in neighbouring beds in a dormitory and consequently we were together 24 hours a day. We like to travel with a mission, not just moving. Both of us were surfing in the Philippines when we met, following our Asia trip we did a lot of hiking around Latin America and after a couple of months of camping in the snow and the cold we came back to Asia to do some diving!
I only proposed successfully on my third attempt. The diving around Komodo National Park in Indonesia was amazing and we had such a great time there. I have been thinking about it for a while and one day I just decided today I am going to ask Alya to marry me. Since there is no dive signal for ‘will you marry me?’ I made a sign and hid it in my BCD pocket (Scuba kit) and organised something to serve as a ring. There was even a good videographer on board! I thought hanging in the current asking her with a couple of big mantas swimming around us would be amazing! Unfortunately there was no current and no mantas! It was a pretty boring dive and the time just wasn’t right so I decided to hang on for a while.
My second attempt was at Nusa Penida, near Bali. We were diving to try and see Mola mola, the giant oceanic sunfish that congregate there this time of the year. There were some problems with this plan; the water was cold, the current very strong and unfortunately no mola mola. Clinging to the rocks in cold pumping current was hard work and not very romantic, again I had to abort my plan. We became friends with Barbora, the friendly Czech dive instructor at Nusa Penida Dive Resort. I let her in on the plan and she was almost more excited than me! My final attempt was at the dive site, PED, an easy drift dive over a beautiful coral reef. Conditions were great and I surprised her by pulling out the sign at the end of the dive. Alya looked so stoked and surprised, I loved it! Nusa Penida was a magic island, we snorkelled here with many mantas, forgot about being stingy backpackers for a bit and enjoyed some nice cocktails and good food. We spent our last day at Nusa Penida exploring this beautiful island by scooter.
Watch their epic proposal video here >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE3pfDK4gZQ
Tell us about The Stingy Nomads…
Stingy because we try to travel and do as much as we can on the tightest budget possible. We would rather spend money on doing amazing things than on transport and accommodation. Nomads because we have been on the road for a couple of years, constantly moving. The Stingy Nomads!
What inspires you to travel?
People and their stories
Where/How did you meet?
We were both surfing in the Philippines and staying in the same open air dormitory in this amazing surf hostel, ‘The Circle Hostel’, in the town San Fernando on Luzon Island. We have been together 24 hours a day since the day we met.
Sharing a tuc tuc to go surfing in the morning. On our first romantic date we went to see fire flies from a boat in Donsol in the Philippines. It was magical, a small boat with only us and a skipper, sounds of crickets, night sky with thousands of stars and a tree all covered with fire flies.
First trip away together?
We went to Banaue in the Philippines to hike between the rice terraces for a couple of days about a week after we met. We were not a couple yet, but everybody thought we were married. Alya is a very fast hiker and during that trip our half dead guide had a hard time keeping up, he kept telling her ‘madam please slow down, your husband is very tired.’
Favourite place in the world and why?
ALYA: I love anything south, South America, South Africa and the south of Spain.
CAMPBELL: It is too difficult to pick just one; I will go with Africa for animals, South America for mountains, South East Asia for diving and India for culture.
Favourite type of cuisine?
ALYA: Campbell mum’s food, delicious and always big portions.
CAMPBELL: I am going to be a patriot and agree, I want to specify a big South African ‘Braai’, a barbeque with all the awesome sides.
Best place you have ever eaten in the world?
There is a saying ‘hunger is the best chef’. Combine that with spectacular views and it has to be somewhere on top of a mountain, taking off our shoes after a long day of walking and cooking noodles and coffee.
Favourite hotel you have ever stayed in?
Bolita Eco Lodge in Costa Rica. This is an unreal place in the jungle with amazing fauna and flora. Our room only had 3 walls, I am not sure if they were still building or if it was a style thing, but it worked great. The fourth wall was an awesome view of the jungle.
Define your idea of romance?
Having fun together and being able to laugh a lot. We share everything. Small little fights when we both want the other person to have the better seat, food, view or whatever the situation might be.
What has been your most exciting adventure together?
Traveling for 13 months from Mexico to the south of Patagonia, hitchhiking and camping most of the way.
What is the most romantic thing you have ever done together?
This started off as a disaster. Alya lost her backpack; it fell of a truck that gave us a ride in Patagonia. We decided to share a sleeping bag and mattress until we could find a new one to buy. Campbell was a bit claustrophobic in the beginning, but we started liking it. We camped like this for about two months and had so many funny and romantic moments.
How would you describe yourselves as a couple?
Unpredictable and balanced.
Unpredictable because we never know where we will be the next day. Balanced because we balance each other’s mood, when one has a tough time the other one is always positive and cheery.
What is your dream trip?
We have been busy with a dream trip for two and a half years. Some future ideas are diving in Iceland, trekking in Pakistan and cycling through Africa.
Lifetime goals for The Stingy Nomads?
Have fun, be happy and play a positive role in other people’s lives.
To find out more about The Stingy Nomads please visit stingynomads.com