Continuing our feature on the travel couples series, we spoke with Sarah and Eric who are blogging about their wonderful travels on their site, Chopsticks on the Loose. See there amazing photos over on their Instagram (@chopsticksontheloose).
We love your website, Chopsticks on the Loose. How long have you been documenting your travels?
Thank you that really means a lot to us! We first started documenting our travels when we decided on leaving the UK – this was back in December 2015, about a week before Christmas.
You’re creating a lifestyle away from the typical 9 – 5 through your travelling and website. What inspired you to start ‘Chopsticks on the loose?
The original idea behind Chopsticks on the Loose was to document our travels to share with our family and friends back at home. We treat it much like how our parents treat their old family photo album, a place to look back upon our memories.
Fast forward two years and our hopes for Chopsticks on the Loose is for it to become a place to inspire and help others to travel. As our audience began to grow, we’ve had people reach out and tell us how they’ve been inspired by our journey. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being able to help others achieve their dreams.
Was it scary leaving everything behind and just going for it?
It was definitely a mixed bag of emotions – one minute we were excited that we’re finally getting to fulfill our dreams, the next we were panicking from the fear of the unknown. The only path we knew was to get good grades, get into a top University, get a top job, climb the corporate ladder, climb the property ladder etc. But when we sat down and thought about the paths we had in front of us, the prospect of not doing the thing we love was much scarier.
Where/How did you meet?
We first met in London during a mutual friend’s birthday. At the time, we had both just come out of different relationships so neither of us was looking for love. Over the next few months, we spent a lot of time together and realised that we started seeing each other as more than just friends. This was 5 years ago, how time flies!
And what was your first date?
Our first official date as a couple was to an ice bar in London, but I (Eric) think our real first date was waiting outside iTunes Festival. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to get tickets. But, if people didn’t show up, there was still a chance you could get in if you queued outside. We took our chances and together we sat outside on the street for 5 hours, it was the first time we really got to know each other but it was also the first time I realised I had fallen for her. And yes, we did manage to get into the festival in the end.
Obviously photography plays a big part of your adventures. What’s the story there?
Photography wasn’t always a part of our lives. In fact, I (Eric) hated it at the beginning. Unlike Sarah who’s artistic by nature, I’ve always sucked at art and photography. Common complaints Sarah had about my photos included: “Why am I blurry?”, “Why have you cut my legs off?”, and my favourite, “Why is there a tree on my head?”
It was only when we got our first DSLR camera in the summer of 2015 that we really started getting into photography and improving our craft. If you scroll all the way to the beginning of our Instagram feed, you’ll find the very first trip we did with the camera (don’t judge).
Everything we learnt was self-taught or through watching countless hours of YouTube. There was a lot of going out and getting things “wrong” before we started liking our own photos. We’ve come a long way and have begun finding our style but we still have a lot to learn.
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
This is such a hard question to answer but one we get often. We’ve been lucky enough to travel to some incredible places, each with its own unique charm. But if we really had to pick one, our favourite destination is Japan. Not only is the country incredibly beautiful, Japan has one of the most fascinating cultures. And don’t get us started on the food!
And where do you have planned next?
Over the next few months, we’ll be travelling to Seoul, New York, The Bahamas and London. We’ve also just made the decision to travel Japan for a year, so expect plenty of Japanese content on the way!
What has been your most exciting adventure together so far?
Similar to how difficult it is to choose a favourite destination, it’s extremely difficult to say which adventure has been the most exciting. But the first thing which came to mind was our recent trip into China to hike Huangshan. We hiked through freezing temperatures to catch the very first sunrise of 2018, the moment was simply magical. If anyone has never heard of Huangshan, do check out our Instagram.
How would you describe yourselves as a couple?
We’re just a normal couple looking for the next adventure.
What is your favourite thing about travelling together?
Sharing incredible memories with a loved one is something to really cherish, especially experiencing new things for the first time together. Also, it’s not often talked about but travel can get lonely at times. You leave behind all your family and friends to explore places where you may not speak the local language. By travelling as a couple, we are able to share some of these hardships and overcome challenges together as a team.
What would you say to other couples considering travelling or taking the huge step and leaving everything behind for a year or even longer?
Consider why you want to travel in the first place. Just because one couple has decided to leave everything behind, it doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Lots of people work 9-5’s and still manage to travel once a month.
Having said this, for those who do want to spend a year immersed in travel but are having doubts, remember that there’s no perfect time to do it. There will always be something holding you back no matter what point you reach in your life. But if travelling is something you are passionate about you just have to make it work with the circumstances you have. Finally, travelling as a couple is a great test of compatibility, more so than living together. You’ll come across many challenging and stressful situations, which may put the strength of your relationship to the test. But once you pull through the hard times, you’ll come to realise how rewarding travel can be and how it can even change your lives.
Would you like to read more inspiring travel couples that Hero and Leander have interviewed? Check them out here.