Raelene teaches literature and English, and Cody is a copywriter at a digital advertising agency. Together with their miniature dachshund Lucy, they love staying at home, watching TV shows and sleeping. Occasionally they venture out for a big trip, and we ask them about the fun places they've explored together.
Out of all the places you've traveled to, what's your favourite destination so far? Why?
Cody: Hmm... if we had to choose, I'd say our favourite place we've traveled to so far is Tokyo. The food there is amazing. The people are nice. And their vending machines, my goodness - they have a vending machine for everything!
Raelene: One night, we decided that for dinner we'd just head down to the convenience store and buy anything that looked good back to our tiny little shoebox apartment and have a feast. I think we might have felt sick after but boy was it fun trying all the different snacks and instant noodles they had.
Pictured above: Raelene in Tokyo in front of the vending machines
What kind of travellers are you?
Cody: Well I think we're pretty much laid-back travellers - but with a little bit of organisation thrown in. Rae is the one that does all the planning and research on what's good to eat and where to go, how do we get around and I am more of a just wing it as we go kind of traveller. And it's a lot more fun when you're not having to rush around ticking boxes of places seen. A holiday is all about relaxing and i'm glad we can both agree on that.
Cody - what do you enjoy about traveling with Raelene, and Raelene, what about you with Cody?
Raelene: I love that he is so laid-back when it comes to travelling - he never thinks twice about venturing into dodgy lanes or exploring a different route. He always sees getting lost (in fact I think he likes it) as an opportunity to discover new opportunities and possibilities. His attitude towards travelling really calms my anxious nerves that act up when things don't go my way.
Cody: Being the laid-back one, I can be a little lazy to do anything fun (sometimes) and I wouldn't mind just staying in and sleeping. Thankfully, Rae drags me out and reminds me that even though we're on holiday, it doesn't mean we should be wasting out time and money sleeping in. But of course, there are days when we'd both just want to nap a little bit before heading out again and I'm glad that she feels that way too. As much as she's the planner and organiser of our holidays (and she can be quite strict about following a schedule), she will still be willing to take a detour with me down a quaint alley even if it means straying from the pre-planned activity. Rae's also not a very outdoorsy kinda girl, so anything involving trees or grass is a no-no but she was willing to endure all of that and take a 15-20 min climb up a hill/tiny mountain 3 days in a row for a music festival in Bilbao. We ended up enjoying every freezing minute of it.
How do you usually pack for your travels? Are you light or heavy packers?
Cody: We usually take two suitcases with us, but make it a point only to fill one. This allows plenty of packing space for anything that we pick up along the way.
What are some of your must-dos when you visit a city/country?
We always try to:
- Rent a room in a local neighbourhood. It immerses us in the environment and culture that a hotel just can't provide. It makes us feel like we're living as the locals do, or so we like to believe.
- Try the local cuisine. We always do our research on what to eat, and where to eat it.
- Go a day without a map. Even though it can be nerve-wrecking (for one of us), it allows us to just have fun and go with the flow.
Do you prefer nature holidays, urban getaways, adventure...?
Raelene: We aren't huge nature fans, and much prefer urban getaways. Even though a city holiday may not be seem as adventurous as an outdoor one, there are still pretty exhilarating experiences to be found in the dimly lit street corners and alleys of a city. Truth is, I don't think both of us can bear giving up our creature comforts.
Can you share some memorable travel stories with us?
Cody: Halfway through our big 35-day Graduation/Pre Honeymoon European Adventure (Barcelona, Bilbao, Rome, Florence, Venice, London, Paris) in 2012, we decided to visit the Vatican City (which was amazing, words can't even begin to describe that place). But our guide told us that the Pope wasn't in because he was chilling in his summer vacation residence - Castel Gandolfo.
On a whim, we decided to hop on a train and travel there just to see if we can catch a glimpse of him. When we arrived, we didn't know that it just so happened to be a Sunday where he was scheduled to give a sermon and we ended up just one floor down from his balcony where he preached. We didn't understand anything but being able to stand so close to the Pope and have him preach to you (even though we weren't Catholic), was just something else.
Oh and I proposed to her in our apartment in Rome too!
Pictured above: Castel Gandolfo (credit: Erin)
What are some places on your bucket list?
Pictured above: In-n-Out Burger (credit: Ghooost)
What do you enjoy about staying in homes rather than hotels?
Cody: We only started staying in homes rather than hotels during our big European trip, partially to save money and partially because we thought it'd be interesting to see how the locals stayed. After that, we were hooked. Being able to stay in a local neighbourhood and visit the convenience stores that the locals go to and eat at the tiny food stalls they eat at gives us a sense of what it'd be like if we did end up living here. It's like a little potential retirement test to see if we enjoy living like the locals do. Also, prices seem to be a lot cheaper when you stay, shop and eat where the locals do.
Stylish places to stay in Tokyo and Rome
Located in the heart of Tokyo, this modern apartment is only a couple of minutes away from the Tokyo Bay.
This charming apartment in Rome is just a short distance away from the Via Del Corso, Piazza di Spagna and the beautiful park of Villa Borghese.