Our Toothbrushes Are In:

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Apr 302013
Sep 262014

The longer we travel, the more couples like us we discover or even meet. Like us they dreamed about traveling, like us they made the big trip happen, and like us they document their experiences online. In the Two Toothbrushes traveler interview series we introduce fellow traveling and blogging couples to share their story and draw inspiration from them. If you’d like to participate or know a couple who would, please visit the series page.

Chris and Laura Backe have been traveling together since 2008. As immersive travelers they prefer to settle down in a city for around six months at a time, finding some favorite restaurants, getting to know some locals, and trying to appreciate the local flavors. Chris blogs about their experiences at One Weird Globe, which focuses on exploring oddball travel destinations and the long-term expat lifestyle.

Where are your toothbrushes, where are they headed next, and why?

They’re in Khon Kaen, Thailand, and they are headed to southern Thailand next! We’re about a year and half into Thailand, and I’m researching for my book, tentatively entitled Offbeat Thailand, a guidebook to Thailand’s unusual, bizarre, and weird destinations.

OWG1 Two Toothbrushes: A traveler interview with One Weird Globe

What’s your definition of home?

It’s where the Wi-Fi connects automatically. It’s where we go after traveling. It’s where the laptop cooling fan is waiting.

How do you make yourself feel at home wherever you go?

Chris: I would say we fall squarely into the ‘nomadic traveler’ category – we’ll stay in one place for about 6 months. Finding a few favorite restaurants seems to help, as does getting settled into the new routine…

Laura: Honestly, I think all you need to feel at “home” (whatever that means) is a sort of home base, so as long as you set up your house/apartment/hotel room in a way that lets you feel comfortable there, and as long as you have Internet or some way to connect with friends and family and the wider world, you can feel at home anywhere.

Why this (or the most recent) trip, why now (then)?

As mentioned earlier, I’m researching for my next book. Khon Kaen is the center of the Isaan / northeastern region in Thailand. We spent 6 months in Bangkok (to cover central Thailand), 6 months in Chiang Mai (to cover northern Thailand), and now Khon Kaen. Laura isn’t so concerned about exact location since she can work from anywhere

What were your greatest challenges in making the trip happen? How did you overcome them?

Trying to connect with other expats in the area. Chiang Mai is excellent for this one… Khon Kaen, not so much. Staying legal is another issue (Thailand has been cracking down on both the tourist visa and the education visa, which means a few more hoops to jump through). We jumped through the hoops and are moving on with life.

Moving to Khon Kaen wasn’t the easiest… Trying to find a place within our budget range that also offered some room to breathe was challenging… We ended up taking the first place that fit our criteria, and we’re pretty happy with it.

OWG2 Two Toothbrushes: A traveler interview with One Weird Globe

What do you enjoy the most about your traveling life?

It’s our choice, it’s our lifestyle. There are few time constraints, save perhaps an urgent client deadline.

Share a moment from your travels that you will share with the next generation.

Well, not our next generation – we’ve chosen to not have kids!

Laura and I were traveling through Daejeon, South Korea, when I saw a weird ship on the left as we pulled into Daejeon’s train station. We had a rough itinerary, but as soon as we saw the ship it flew out the window! We spent close to an hour at the train station, trying to figure out where and what this thing was – we’re nowhere near water, mind you. I looked over, and she was as earnest in looking for information as I was. I thought to myself, ‘this will be the woman I marry.’ We had been dating for about six months and things were getting serious… Eventually, we hopped in a taxi and found the ship – it was an abandoned wedding hall of sorts. It’s not technically open to the public, and not published on the blog since I’d rather not encourage people to go there themselves… But somewhere in Daejeon, an abandoned wedding hall inspired an eventual wedding years after it closed.