When I started my “Stories with… series I wrote down a list of all the people I would love to interview.  It was my dream list and I really didn’t expect anyone to say yes. But it turns out, if you ask, sometimes you get a yes…

I stumbled across Faramagan one day on twitter and they made my list straight away. I am increasingly drawn to more authentic and ‘real’ people online and these two Scots are full of laughter, great travel adventures and buckets of authenticity.  I love looking at the beautiful pictures on their amazing site, checking out their travel itineraries and watching their fun Instagram stories (especially when it’s cold and rainy at home).  I hope one day Lauren and Darren will teach me how to pronounce Faramagan properly (i.e with a proper Scottish accent) and I hope I learn whilst we are drinking beers, playing jungle speed and talking about our travel stories in real life. But for now, I’m really excited to share with you stories from a backpack with… Faramagan.

As always I start with the question no traveller wants to answer (because it’s so hard to choose)… Please share with us your favourite/ best/scariest or funniest travel story…

Travel fails seem to follow us wherever we go, so we dedicated a whole post to our funny anecdotes from our travel fails to show behind the scenes of travel blogging. A recent fail was from our time in Oahu, Hawaii despite the tropical surroundings we were in the not so tropical destination of McDonald’s (we’re poor backpackers, don’t judge.) My phone randomly started to vibrate and beep like crazy, I thought I’d either got a dodgy virus or one of the girl’s in the group chat had got engaged. Instead, a message flashed on the screen reading “Emergency Alert, Ballistic Missile Threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter, This is not a drill” We had two options: either it was false and I definitely had a dodgy virus on my phone or it was true and my last meal on earth was going to be in McDonald’s. It’s funny in those situations how your brain works – you literally could have moments to live but instead of calling loved ones or saying your goodbyes, we ordered a McFlurry cause well, those extra calories aren’t going to count tomorrow. It took nearly 40 minutes for the government to send a follow-up message to explain the alert was an accident. As in, a government employee had pushed the wrong button and accidentally alerted the entire state of Hawaii of a missile attack – talk about a tough day at work!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever had (travel related or otherwise)?

Around 10 years ago, my photography teacher in school told me the best advice which is even more relevant today, “don’t live it through your lens.” As a generation with the convenience of now having cameras in our pockets, accessible 24/7, we live so much through the lens – recording, Instagramming and snapping away rather than living the moment first, then photographing it later to capture the memory. Little did my photography teacher know people would choose their destinations based on Facebook likes and how tourist hot spots are now defined by their popularity on Instagram. This became even more apparent on a recent trip in Cairns where we saw so many girls posing in waterfalls for the perfect Instagram snap, fooling their followers into thinking they were having a whale of a time when in reality, they didn’t get in and swim in them. They created a false memory through their cameras and didn’t actually live in the moment. We hope through our blog we can change the “photos or it didn’t happen” mentality, and encourage others, so live more and scroll less.

If you could only go back to one place in the world, where would you go and why?

This is a tough one. There are so many places we’d return to, firstly Loz would say Fiji because we arrived during Cyclone Gita so paradise didn’t exactly go to plan so we’d love Fiji Take 2. You can read about our time backpacking Fiji which includes money saving tips and lessons learned from our mistakes! However, we both agreed Iceland was somewhere that blew us away and being Scottish, we far prefer the cold than sunshine so would love to return and explore more. We only spent a long weekend there and it was not nearly enough!

What has travel taught you?

Travel has taught us to be grateful for so many things. To be grateful for our sense of curiosity, for the kind people we have met, for the memories we will never forget and for each other.

What is that one moment from a trip you will never ever forget?

No question – the lava in Hawaii. It is one of those bucketlist moments that are so surreal, we still can’t believe we witnessed it. Being European we also expected there to be a major safety briefing and some sort of safety barrier or viewing platform, but instead it’s completely free, you rock up at sunset and are told to literally follow the orange glow until you come to lava. A complete natural phenomenon – no tourist fanfare, gift shops or rip off entry fees. We absolutely loved it, although others tourists didn’t enjoy our continuous yells of “watch out the floor is lava!” We managed to squeeze our 10 day Big Island Road trip into a 90-second video, it features a lot of lava and even our poor attempts at fire dancing.

And finally… What’s your favourite line from the Stories from a Backpack manifesto and why?

“Are you the person you want to be?”

This really resonates with us, as this was the reason we quit the day job to live the day dream in the first place. For nearly 6 years we were in a long distance relationship – we both had great careers with Loz working for a global fashion brand in London and Darren an engineer in Aberdeen but we agreed we’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff. We were also fed up of wasting money on flights to see each other, instead of with each other. Our friends and family thought we were mad to give up our jobs, sell our belongings and live out of backpacks but although on paper all looked great we weren’t the people we wanted to be. For starters, we weren’t even living in the same city and our careers didn’t give us the same fire in the belly passion that travel does. We are still trying to figure out who those people are, but our backpacks are definitely helping us be those people far more than a few more years in front of computer screens were ever going to teach us. If you too are questioning quitting the day job to live your day dream, we put together a post on how to quit your job and travel the world. If we can do it, anyone can! 

Thank you so much guys!  Laura xx

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