Interview: Hitched Hikers
We got in contact with travel bloggers the "Hitched Hikers" who took a break from their busy travel schedule to make us all incredibly jealous and spread severe FOMO, here's what they had to say-
First of all, who are you?
We are Liam & Philippa from the UK, we got married last year and quit our teaching jobs to travel the world. Since leaving the UK, we have been running a pretty successful travel blog, under the name of Hitched Hikers, which features the ups and downs of backpacking through Asia whilst also offering tips and advice to other travellers.
What's are the origins of Hitched Hikers?
We first decided to write a blog as a way to keep our families and friends updated on our whereabouts and experiences however, the blog quickly became popular and we began to take it more seriously. The name Hitched Hikers, originally thought of by Liam’s dad, seemed pretty apt as we were recently married and are travelling on a tight budget, although we don’t always get around by hitch-hiking!
How long have you been on the road now?
We have been on the road for coming up to one year, during which we have explored a large portion of Asia. We intend to spend the next year between Australia and New Zealand before heading to South America. Although our plans are forever changing, we intend to travel for at least another year.
Tell us a bit about where you've been and the places you've loved the most.
We started our journey in India and although we'd visited Asia before, it was still a major culture shock and a difficult place to start out finding our feet on a long-term backpacking trip. Despite this, India remains one of our most loved countries and we cannot recommend it enough - even if just for the food! We love hiking and just mountainous regions in general, so we spent a lot of time in the north of India, West China and North Vietnam, all of which are great places to visit if you love mountains as much as we do. For those who are looking for something a little more upmarket, Hong Kong is a great place for everything - food, shopping, beaches and hiking; it has it all (if you have the budget!).
Are there any places you wouldn't recommend?
After spending a few months living and working in China, we couldn’t wait to leave and get back on the road but that doesn’t mean we would advise totally against going. It is an interesting country to visit as it's completely different to other parts of Asia and it also has a lot of natural beauty, especially in the south, but working there wasn’t for us and we began to get itchy feet.
Any favourite moments throughout your travels you didn't expect?
Our highlights from the trip so far are hiking through the Himalayas in Northern India, exploring the temples of Bagan in Myanmar and swimming with turtles and manta rays in Indonesia. However, the highlight that we wouldn’t have expected, is what we are currently doing, motorbiking through Vietnam. We had never ridden a motorbike before this trip so it is a bit of a surprise to be doing this but it is, without question, one of the best experiences we have had.
What's the biggest difficulties you've faced on the road?
Our biggest challenge on the road has been trying to explain that we are vegetarian, particularly in China and Vietnam, as they love to put meat in their food and English isn’t widely spoken.
What have you learnt about yourselves?
When we set out on our journey, we couldn't wait to leave the UK and even thought we might settle somewhere else in the world, however as time goes on we have learnt that home is always home and we now think we will eventually return to our families and friends... at some point!
Managed to squeeze any musical moments in?
Our musical experiences on this trip have been pretty limited although on other trips we have been to festivals and caught some of our favourite artists whilst travelling around Europe. We considered watching Liam Gallagher in China but when we found out it was an all seated venue, we were a bit put off. The one musical experience we have had on this trip was learning to play the ukulele, which must have been pretty annoying for those sharing a dorm with us.
Tell us a bit about your personal music influences?
Liam was brought up with his mum blaring out Motown classics whilst doing the housework, which probably stemmed into his love of hip hop. Philippa’s main musical influence came from her mum listening to 80s and 90s chart hits such as Pulp and Beautiful South so much so that she has been to see them both in her adult life and even met up with the Beautiful South for an after show drink in a Wetherspoons.
How do you find keeping up with new releases?
Keeping up with recent music on the road is a little difficult as we only tend to hear the same five or six popular summer tracks bellowing from every bar or restaurant. Before we hit the road, we sold our vinyl record collection and player which was a bit of a heart breaker but even though we are travelling on a budget, we still insist on paying for Spotify Premium because, although it’s not the same, it helps us to keep up with any recent releases from our favourite artists.
Any favourite artists to listen to whilst on the road?
Anderson.Paak has featured a lot on this trip, we're not sure if that’s because it is great travelling music or just that he has released some amazing material recently. In general, trip hop makes for pretty good listening on the road, the likes of Massive Attack and Groove Armada frequently feature on our playlists. But if your just trying to chill out and get some sleep on a long night-train, we like to listen to New Orleans style Jazz like Sidney Bechet or the storytelling hip hop of Kendrick Lamar.
Finally, what's the Hitched Hikers top 5 albums of all time?
We both have pretty varied tastes in music so these are our top five albums as a couple:
The first is Oasis who were the first band we ever saw together as a couple and Philippa even walked down the aisle when we got married to a string quartet playing ‘Whatever’ and although it was only a b-side, the album has to be ‘Definitely Maybe’.
The second is Kanye West’s masterpiece 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ which happens to be the most beautiful vinyl we have ever owned and it features the song 'All of the Lights’ which was our first dance at our wedding.
The Arctic Monkeys have to feature on here, the only question is which album? We have seen the band together twice but probably the most memorable time was during Benicassim festival in Spain when they were touring the AM album, so we guess we will go with AM.
We both love Pulp so it would be difficult not to include ‘Different Class’ on this list.
The final album is Beyoncé’s self titled album, we flew to Belgium for Philippa’s birthday as a surprise to see her touring this album.
Thanks so much to Liam & Phillippa, if you would like to live vicariously through them, hit up their socials below!