Editor’s Note: Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers! I’m thankful for many things, including you as our reader. I wasn’t sure whether or not to publish today, and then I looked at the last two year’s stats and realized they were normal on the holidays. So either you love us a lot too, or we’re good fodder for a quick family escape. Either way, happy reading.
Today’s guests were very interesting to me as soon as I read about them, because, well, they’re kind of like me. They travel and take their business with them, and are doing their bit to change the world. Let’s learn more about Carrie and Jonathan.
Can you introduce yourselves?
We are Carrie and Jonathan Kraft from Parker, Colorado, in the USA. We love to travel, and have built online businesses which allow us to travel the world while maintaining and growing our business activity. In 2007, we decided we wanted to try living location independent. It took us 2 years to get it set up properly, but in 2009, we sold our cars, got rid of our cell phones, and packed what wanted to keep into storage, selling pretty much everything else. We left Colorado on October 4, 2009, and will spend a little over 2 years traveling and seeing the world.
You also have a site called Strive 4 Impact. What does “strive for impact” mean for you?
Jonathan: An apple tree doesn’t get to decide where or how to grow. It only has the ability to respond to it’s climate. An apple tree overcomes this by producing hundreds of apples. Inside each sweet apple are seeds. Inside each seed is not only an apple tree, but a forest of apple trees. I’m striving to create great forests, through the fruits I produce, from the seeds I plant, during my short 150 years on planet earth.
Like many people, I have the desire to make the world a better place.
My thoughts, words, and actions (regardless of how large or small) make a difference (positive and/or negative).
This is true for all living things.
The difference for us (as humans who live in free societies, compared to all other living things,) is that we get to decide our thoughts, words, and actions.
We get the awesome power of choice.
If the only thing that I truly have control of in this life are my thoughts, words, and actions, then the only point of leverage I have in making the world a better place is to pay careful attention to the thoughts I have, the words I use, and the actions I take.
Strive for impact means to me that I am a person who works every day to strengthen my philosophy, my skills, my communication, and the work I do, so that I can have the greatest possible positive impact on every life I come into contact with.
In that way, I am creating not just great seeds, but great forests for the future.
Andy: Awesome. I think we all just got some homework to think about what that means to us!
One of your regular features is “Carrie’s Kitchen.” Do you cook everywhere you go? What’s your favourite recipe you’ve found while travelling? Can you share it with us?
Carrie: We do try to do a lot of cooking. In fact, we even travel with a large chef’s knife and bread knife in our suitcase. Cooking is a great way to experience a new culture, especially when you get the chance to learn to cook traditional dishes of that culture. I love signing up for cooking classes along the way.
One of my favorite recipes is for Patacones – an Ecuadorian snack that is incredibly versatile.
There are only 3 ingredients: green plantains, oil, salt.
First step, wash the plantain. Then peel it. Instead of slicing the plantain as thinly as you can, cut it into chunks.
Fry these chunks in hot oil. But, remove them before they’re completely cooked (i.e. softened on the inside, just getting crispy on the outside)
When they’re still warm, grab a glass or a coffee mug, and use the bottom of the glass to flatten them into pancake shapes. Be gentle, and turn the glass a bit as you flatten them. (If you just smash them directly down, they’ll break.)
Return them to the oil and fry again. Remove them when they’re beautifully golden yellow, drain on paper towels and add salt.
You’re done. You’ve just made patacones.
You can enjoy them with a cup of coffee, dunked in guacamole, or topped with anything from salmon to well, anything you can think of really.
In fact, I might have to go search for some green plantains here in New Zealand now.
Andy: Oh yummy! Now. Very. Hungry.
You’ve spent quite a lot of time in Central America. Any favourites?
If you include the time in Ecuador and Northern Peru (which are technically South America), we spent October 2009-May 2010 in central America.
Favorites are many… Some that stand out in my mind at the moment: Chichicastenango in Guatemala, which is a market that has been there for 800 years.
We looked like giants walking amongst the indigenous people there, and even though we were pretty aggressively sold to all day, it was an amazing experience.
Zip lining in Mindo Ecuador: 1 1/2 hours cost $10
Chocolate tour in Mindo, Ecuador: $3.25 included an amazing brownie at the end of a tour to show you the entire process of how chocolate is made.
Granada, Nicaragua and Cuenca, Ecuador: Both colonial towns that are working hard to preserve and restore their heritage. Both cities are places that are big enough to have lots to offer, but small enough to know you the second time you walk in to the store or restaurant.
Getting scuba certified in Bocas Del Toro, Panama: The world under the water is amazing! And getting certified in Panama cost about 1/3 of what the exact same PADI Certification costs in Colorado, in the US. We later got to swim with a turtle and a shark (both on the same day) while in Tahiti.
Our favorite thing about this time from Oct. ’09 – May ’10 is the change that occurred for both of us.
We are now able to speak and understand Spanish (not fluently, but we are definitely conversational), and have a better understanding and appreciation of the cultures and background from this part of the world.
What destinations have been on your “must” list for awhile that you’re finally going to visit soon?
The Taj Mahal has always been on both of our lists, and Angkor Wat has always been on Jonathan’s list. We’re also really excited to see Petra, Jordan (since Indiana Jones made it famous), Jerusalem, the pyramids of Egypt, Tuscany in Italy, Istanbul, Dubai, and about 100 other places.
Carrie has always wanted to take cooking classes for both Thai and Indian food, so it will be really neat to do that in the places where those foods originated.
Andy: India is high on my list, as well as Petra. I hadn’t though about an Indian cooking class, but since I love curry, this is a fabulous idea. *curious pencil scribbling*
What has been your most inspirational travel experience?
Jonathan: The “most” anything is kind of difficult for me. However, “first” and “only” are both in the same travel experience.
Our first longer trip away from home and our first overseas experience together was during the summer of 2006.
We left Colorado for 7 weeks total.
We first spent 12 1/2 days being tourists in Washington, D.C.
We walked 3-7 miles every day, looking at all of the monuments while learning about the history of the United States.
From there, we went to New Jersey and then New York City (where we saw my former roommate on Broadway).
All the walking got us in shape for what we were about to do.
We flew to Tanzania, Africa, where we spent 8 1/2 days climbing up and down Mount Kilimanjaro.
The only time I’ll ever propose to Carrie happened at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro after we spent 6 days of some pretty intense hiking and altitude acclimatization getting to the summit.
Standing there at sunrise, I could see the shadow of Kilimanjaro stretching beyond the horizon.
Having achieved the goal of summiting the mountain and knowing that I would get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend… that was an inspirational and life-changing experience.
Wow. You sure do know how to make a girl say yes. Thanks for all the insights, guys. To learn more about this travelin’ couple, visit their website, www.carrieandjonathan.com.