Elodie and Louis-Francois
From: Paris France
When We Met: Feb. 2014
Where We Met: Cozumel and Playa del Carmen
Occupation: Elodie: Sales, Louis-Francois: Marketing and Online Marketing
It is better when you are two because you can share your memories and experiences.
Where are you from? Louis-Francois: I’m from Paris, born and raised there.
How old are you guys? 34
What do you do back home? Louis-Francois: I work in marketing and online marketing.
Where are you going on this trip? Louis-Francois: We are aiming for Central America and South America. We don’t now exactly where we are going, but we arrived in Cuba and we would like to go almost everywhere, in the safest countries.
Are there any countries you look forward to going to in particular? Louis-Francois: Yeah, I dont know why exactly but i think Bolivia would be very good, also maybe some specific stuff in Peru, and maybe the north of Argentina, the desert.
What was your experience in Cuba? Louis-Francois: It was good, it was not entirely good, we spent two weeks in La Havana and had a great time with people in Casa Particular but people in the street….not so good. Not bad but we didnt get to mix a lot with people.
Did you meet a lot of travelers in Cuba? Louis-Francois: Not so much, some but many less than Mexico.
How long are you traveling for? Louis-Francois: Three months
What made you want to take this trip? We did a trip like two years ago, in Asia for almost a year. At first we wanted to travel in Asia and South America but after three or four months in Asia we realized that it was impossible to do both and to [not] rush it so we decided to stay in Asia and save a little money [for South America later].
What is your favorite experience so far on this trip? Louis-Francois: Its difficult [to say]. We spent good time in San Cristóbal de las Casas and some dives [on this trip] were really really good and if I can say a third one, we did a dive in an amazing cave in Belize called ATM, it was really awesome.
What was special about it? Louis-Francois: It was a whole day adventure you have to get up early you and walk for a hour thru a jungle, walk through a river…and then you are in a big cave. You jump into the water and see a lot of scalectites and old artifacts from the Mayans, and also some skeletons, remains of skeletons.
Where are you going after Mexico? Louis-Francois: Costa Rica
And you are taking a flight? Louis-Francois: Yeah, we are going from Cancun to Mexico City for a couple of days and then to Costa Rica.
What are your impressions of Playa Del Carmen and of Mexico in general? Louis-Francois: Well we are here for diving mostly and Playa its not the best experience above water I’d say, it’s easy and you can find a Burger King if you want but thats not what we are looking for. It’s average above water but the diving is awesome. Mexico on the whole is really good, very different [in parts] like the Yucatan and like Chiapas. I really like Chiapas.
Have you ever felt in danger in Mexico? Louis-Francois: No, and we were really afraid of that [before coming] but no. Actually its really safe here.
Have you had any really undesirable experiences thus far on this trip? Louis-Francois: Not really bad, we were jut stuck in a hotel where you can find nothing within 20 kilometers and you were stuck with them and had to do what they wanted you to do and eat what they wanted you to eat. But so far we haven’t had a bad experience.
Where was that? Louis-Francois: It was in Cuba.
Did you prefer Cozumel to Playa del Carmen? Louis-Francois: Yeah, above water I’d say equal and below water different. Here you dive in the cenotes and its really different from anything you can find in the world. In Cozumel it was really really nice dives, there were a lot of colors and coral underwater but its difficult to compare. I think its great to have such a difference in diving in such a small area.
Do you ever stay in dorm rooms? Louis-Francois: Yeah, I’d say like 50% of the time. When it is not so expensive to get a room we get a room.
So traveling as a couple, what would you say is the hardest part of staying in a dorm is? Louis-Francois: I’d say intimacy obviously, on the practical side like using your stuff like your big bag you can’t leave it open. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass. I’d say that’s the most. Oh and it’s really hot here.
Is it easier to pack since there are two of you? Elodie: It is better when you are two because you can share your memories and experiences and actually I carry all the time my entire house in my backpack. Louis-Francois: She is better now about how much she brings. Elodie: yes when I traveled alone before in Asia I had a big big big bag. It was a nightmare. We traveled in Asia for one year, I tried to send a package to France and it was a very good idea. So now when I have a lot of stuff, because I try to buy a lot of memories, I send them to my family. It is easier.
We ask everyone what their daily budget is and I’m really curious about yours because you seem to be doing a lot of diving? Louis-Francois: Yeah it is really expensive and we can’t do like a year of diving so we decided to do that in the beginning and because after we will know we have already done that and so then we try to check everything. We are prepared with that in mind and we know that it costs a lot and after we will have a normal budget.
What is your normal daily budget as a couple? Louis-Francois: I’d say around 50 euros ($69) a day depending on the country. In San Cristóbal we found a place with a kitchen we could stay for one week for 50 euros.
What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited? Elodie: for me Mongolia was very strong because it is very different to stay with a family in a yurt. So it is very different, strong experience. You are in the middle of nowhere with just nature in the wild with a family. You work with them. You can see on their face it is a very strong climate. A very impressive sensation. I really like Mongolia.
Louis-Francois: I’d say some places in India but it is difficult. I mean it is always great in India, it is very particular because we were with a family and a guy who was with us for like two weeks, he is a Sikh and it is like the Mecca of Sikhs and it was very strong and really cool. Or some places in Japan.
Elodie: or Burma with thousands of temples with the sunset or sunrise was just amazing.
Louis-Francois: It is impossible [to choose one] because it is difficult to choose from a monument or landscape or meeting people. It is impossible to just match that and say this one is better than the other. Everything is a bit different.
After you finish this trip do you know where you want to go next? Louis-Francois: We think we will try to settle in Bangkok. So that’s a trip in its self.
So you want to move to Bangkok? Louis-Francois: Yeah.
Do you have a process of how your plan your trips? Louis-Francois: Yeah usually I do everything and she waits and looks when everything is done and says I want to go there and not there. (Laughing) Elodie: it’s great!
Do you use any kind of social media to keep in touch with people back home? Louis-Francois: Yes, we use Skype, Google hangouts, because my mom bought a Google Chrome book, and obviously Twitter, Facebook.
Do you travel with a laptop or phone? Louis-Francois: Yes, I have one laptop and one phone. The phone is something you can not live without because with France you have to receive texts when you purchase something online. So if you want to buy a flight ticket, if you don’t have a phone, you can’t buy it. So I have my French line and when I want to buy something online I just turn it on and that’s it.
What advice would you give someone who hasn’t traveled backpacking style and wants to do it? Elodie: Do it! It’s just great, just easy and great and maybe your life will change in a good way.
Louis-Francois: It’s not hard so just do it and prepare yourself for it more than preparing everything else. Usually you think that it is going to be too hard to prepare everything else, like leave your apartment and everything but I think the most important thing is that if you want to do it prepare yourself.
Elodie: And don’t be too scared, some good things can happen and it is great.