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The latest “Find Your Adventure” series highlights Darren and Lauren, the two Scots behind Far Am A Gan travel blog. After 6 years of long distance, they quit their day jobs to live the daydream. Now they catch flights with each other, instead of to see each other, documenting their tales and fails on their blog. “Far am a gan” translates to “where am I going” in the Scot’s language, Doric. The phrase is likely muttered several times a day by this traveling twosome as their cheeky Scottish charm gets them into all sorts of epic adventures around the globe.
Read on to find your adventure with Darren and Lauren as they share how they find adventure every day and ditched the idea of a comfort zone.
What does adventure mean to you?
A wise woman once told me, “find someone that makes even going to the grocery store feel like an adventure.” When I met Darren that’s exactly what it felt like. After 6 years of long distance dating, we were so excited to be in the same place at the same time! Being able to catch flights with each other, not to see each other, makes every day feel like an adventure! To us, adventure doesn’t have to include adrenaline-fueled activities, expensive hotels or the most popular places on Instagram. It’s who you travel with that makes a trip an unforgettable adventure.
Tell us about your first adventure! Where did you go and what did you do?
Our first adventure was a trip to Barcelona. It rained the entire trip, Lauren got food poisoning and threatened to get the next flight home when Darren locked her donuts in the hotel room safe. Not forgetting Darren offered a souvenir shop owner Lauren in exchange for a photo frame. Fast forward 7 years and 25 countries later, we’re grateful for that first not-so-epic adventure as it taught us that if we can make it through that, we can make it through anything.
Is there any adventure that’s intimidating or off limits to you?
From meeting Maasai warriors in Tanzania to hunting down the lava in Hawaii and singing Abba on karaoke to an entire ferry in Stockholm, there’s not much we find intimidating.
Darren had never swam in the sea until this year! This was partly due to growing up near the frigid North Sea and partly due to fear, but now he’s practically a mermaid. So until this year, he would have said anything sea-related was off limits.
One adventure we do feel is a little off limits is skiing. Despite our Scottish upbringing, we’ve never been skiing or snowboarding and now feel we’re too old (at the ripe old age of 25 & 28) to attempt the nursery slopes. But, we would never say never.
We believe no amount of Ted Talks, YouTube tutorials or advice can persuade you to go on an adventure if you haven’t broken that barrier in your head first. We have a wee rule when debating to go for something or not, in that we ask, “Will I ever get this opportunity again?” If we answer no, then we’re all aboard the YOLO train. You will soon realize there is no limit to adventure as you are capable of anything you put your mind to!
What has connecting with your sense of adventure taught you?
Along the lines of what we’ve already touched on, adventure has taught us we no longer have a comfort zone. Every time you try a new food, meet a new person, or dance to new music you are not only learning about a new culture but you learn more about yourself. Endless flight delays have taught us extreme patience. Questionable hotel rooms have taught us how to make each other laugh instead of cry. And wrong turns have taught us they often lead to the best adventures.
Learning to embrace change has been the most valuable lesson. We were very much stuck in routine and ready to follow society’s expectations of getting married, buying a house, and having children. Thank goodness we followed our gut and escaped the day jobs to live our daydream. you can read how we did that and how you can too, here.
What’s on your must-have gear list?
Packing cubes! Packing for an 18 month trip seemed harder than a task on The Apprentice, but they save so much space and make it so much easier to find a particular item instead of emptying the entire contents of your backpack.
Our Go Pro would also be a must have. Not so much because we’re Adrenaline junkies (although it has been so useful for kayaking in New Zealand, snorkeling in Fiji and toboggan riding in Switzerland) but more so because we’re crazily clumsy. So far it’s been pretty indestructible! We put together our ultimate essentials and Darren, the excel enthusiast, even created a free downloadable packing list, with all the backpacking travel essentials.
Do you have a favorite kind of adventure?
Growing up in Scotland, adventuring in the great outdoors is in our genes, so our passion for hiking has led us on some epic adventures. We’ve made it up the 1,050 steps to the top of Koko Head in Oahu (although it did require some blueberry muffin bribery to get Lauren up there). Making it across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand was also a bucket list adventure we were so proud to tick off. Hiking has became a huge part of our adventures as we thrive on being tested mentally and physically but also find it one of the most rewarding experiences when you reach a summit (even if it does require a 4-pack of blueberry muffins to get you there).
Alternatively, our second favorite is music festivals. Whether dancing in the mud of the Scottish highlands or under the Spanish sunset, we have been to over 21 music festivals and it is where we truly feel our most free. Free to dance, dress how we wish and meet so many creative individuals who all share our passion for music and camping! Any other festival fans out there? Our festival checklist may come in handy.
What’s your dream adventure and why?
To be honest, our bucket list grows daily. We want to visit Japan, The Philippines and hike to Machu Picchu! Lauren is obsessed with penguins and, being a redhead, doesn’t cope well in the heat so her dream adventure would be to travel to Antarctica to visit penguins. Conveniently, we are currently staying in St Kilda in Melbourne where penguins sleep on the pier every night so Australia is also proving to be a dream adventure so far!
What is one piece of advice you would share with a fellow adventurer?
Remember, it’s your adventure. Do not get caught up in Facebook likes, following the crowd or feeling like you should visit somewhere/do something because it’s what you’re “supposed to do.” We didn’t go on a gondola in Venice, we didn’t find Paris romantic and didn’t place a bet in Vegas. But we had the best time regardless. Love a place? Stay longer. Hate it? Then leave. There are no rules to adventure planning and you should never feel pressured to do something or go somewhere based on other people. Although we’re traveling full time, and gave up a lot to be here, there are days we just want to snuggle up with Netflix, which we’ve learned is perfectly ok too. You can read our 10 top tips for first time backpackers for our best advice. Whether you’re an adventure virgin or veteran we’re sure you’ll learn a thing or two!