THE MONTHLY #2: We changed the way we live, and our Budapest love affair

The Common Wanderer monthly personal update #2

Each month, we jot down a personal wrap of our travels, life updates, and general happenings in the life of The Common Wanderer.


For us, August in Europe is one of those ‘meh’ months.

Work dries up, summer temperatures are at their peak, and the vibe in town is a little more subdued as Europeans head off for their summer breaks; either by the salty Mediterranean sun or in the crisp alps.

This August however, was bloody brilliant.

Firstly, our blog went mental and we achieved our stretch goals for the year, both in terms of traffic and revenue. Secondly, our friends Phil and Mandy came to visit us in Budapest, and we got to explore some of this wonderful city. Thirdly, Mark shot off to Croatia for a photography job, and enjoyed a week of incredible activities.

But mostly, we just enjoyed being in one place for a while.

Over the month, we’ve made a point of getting out and exploring as much of the Budapest as possible, but less as a tourist and more as a local. It’s been so nice, and something we’ve definitely craved for a long time.

Here are some of our highlights this month.


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Highest traffic ever… by a LOT

At the start of each year we sit down and list out our business goals and hope, somewhat in vain, to achieve them come years end.

Well, we’ve only gone and smashed our end of year goals... in August!

Our website traffic increased by 60% in the month of August, driven by guides we put together for Hvar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Italy. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but seriously pleasing after a lot of hard work over the last few months.

We very rarely celebrate our successes, but on this occasion we headed out to our favourite restaurant in Budapest to enjoy a pizza and cheeky beer.

So, what’s next?

Much of the same!

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Getting to know Budapest

Call it lust, but we’re a little bit enamoured with Budapest.

There’s not a day go by that we don’t both agree that we’re super happy to be here.

The historic architecture, the incredible views from the Danube, the tree-lined boulevards, massive parks, selection of bars, cafes and restaurants, and of course the cheaper prices, makes this new home of ours so wonderfully appealing.

Oh, and our little apartment is starting to feel a little more like home (a box of our stuff arriving from storage in London has made us very happy!).

We’ve explored the 7th and 8th districts extensively, and have found our own slices of heaven; little bars, restaurants and cafes to call our own, far from the city’s well trodden tourist trail.

Budapest is beginning to feel like home, and it’s a feeling we’ve not had since leaving our real home, Melbourne.

Our hometown will always be the best city in the world, but Budapest is starting to creep a little closer.

Budapest from Gellert Hill

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Croatia photography trip with Flashback travel

Mark recently spent a week photographing and exploring Croatia with a travel startup, Flashback Travel.

Different from our usual jobs, where we’re required to write, photograph, film and share our travels, this 'photography only' job was a welcome creative challenge.

Starting in Split and ending in Dubrovnik, the tour included a heap of fun activities, such as quad-biking, river tubing, wine tasting, sea kayaking and city exploring.

It’s not often we get to truly enjoy a job, but as the deliverables were far less on this job, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

Croatia is a dream summer destination, and being able to explore some more corners of the country was bloody wonderful.

Oh, and it meant I got to enjoy one last swim in the Med before winter arrives, which was basically the dream (sorry, Mim).

The beauty of Dubrovnik, Croatia

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The first of our friends visited us in Budapest

As soon as we signed the lease on our apartment in Budapest we told anyone who’d listen that they were welcome at our new abode.

Our London buddies Phil and Mandy decided to take us up on the offer, and spent a week under our roof enjoying the best of Budapest.

It was great to be able to show some friends around our new city (and basically show off how cool it is!), but also just to have some quality time with people we rarely get to see due to the nature of our jobs.

We drank a little too much, enjoyed some fun nights out, explored parts of the city we’d not seen, and generally had a rad time.

Thanks guys, you’re welcome again any time.

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On our mind

\\ Trying to change the way we live and travel

The last month has left us feeling incredible anxious and worried about the future of our planet.

Almost every day, we’re hearing news that horrifies us.

The last five years—from 2014 to 2018—are the warmest years ever recorded, and we recently hit earth overshoot day in July, the earliest ever. Natural disasters are occurring at a far higher frequency, such as the Arctic, Amazon and African fires, while parts of Australia are in the midst of record droughts. Chennai, India’s fourth largest city, is in the midst of a water crises (it’s literally run out of water), while Himalayan glaciers are retreating at the fastest rate on record.

Things seem to be rapidly getting worse right in front of our eyes, it is scares the living hell out of us.

While that’s bad, it’s the reluctance of Governments worldwide to address the issue head on that has us really worried; in essence, the world’s politicians and their constituents are prioritising economics over the planet and its species.

It seems we, as humans, have lost the deep connection we once had with nature, and everything now is seen as a commodity. Over the last three years, we seen first-hand examples of this in Myanmar, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, London, and even here in Budapest.

It’s weird, because humans love to holiday in pristine tropical environments, hike and camp in pure wilderness, swim in clean rivers or ocean, ski through the thickest snow, and yet no one is prepared to change their daily habits to save the very places they cherish.

Because of this, at the start of 2019 we decided to fundamentally change the way we live.

We decided to live as environmentally friendly as possible. We’re not hippies, just normal, everyday people absolutely horrified at what we’re seeing on the planet we love, so we decided to make the necessary changes to our life to live and travel as responsibly and sustainably as we can.

We’re acutely aware that what we do is inherently bad for the planet - flying is one of the leading causes of man-made CO2 emissions, and we take upwards of 20 flights per year. We don’t own a car, mostly walk everywhere, and try to live within our means. But that wasn’t enough.

We knew that if we wanted change to occur on a global scale, we had to make small scale changes to our own lives. Think globally, act locally.

With little to no impact on our lives or our business, we made the following changes:

  • Offsetting carbon emissions for each flight we take

  • Becoming vegetarian and reducing our dairy intake to almost zero

  • Committing to taking the train for any non-essential travel (holidays, regional jobs)

  • Reducing our waste, both natural and man-made

  • Drastically reducing our plastic consumption

  • Reducing our showering time to 3 minutes

  • Buying local produce

We’re aware that there’s a lot more we can do, and we plan to do so in 2020, but for the moment, we’re happy with the changes we’ve made.

From a business standpoint, we’re in a privileged position where over 100,000 people read this blog every month, and over 65,000 people follow us on social media, so we’ve begun incorporating responsible, sustainable travel information and messages within our content (read all about it here) in the hope that you guys live and travel more responsibly in the future.

We hope you don’t see this as virtue signalling, but by showing you how easy it is to change your habits, both at home and on the road, we hope to change the way you guys live and travel.

Not to sound too cliche, but we’re all in this together, and if our governments aren’t going to act, well, we may as well.

And sure, it might all be in vain, but it’s worth trying to make a difference, isn’t it?

ps. Feeling the same? Have any recommendations for us or your fellow readers? Let us know in the comments!!

Enjoying first light over Poon Hill in Nepal

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Something to read

We’re keen to share some of the content online that inspires us, as well as some of our best stuff.

Below is our selection from August (apologies there’s only one article, we’ve been too busy working to read too much this month!).


| No-fly zone: Could you give up flying if it meant protecting the planet? |

If you read our musings above, you’d know we’re grappling with our own impact on the planet, and this article asks the toughest question of all - would you give up flying to protect the planet?.

A very interesting and thought provoking read worthy of your Monday lunch break.

| READ MORE

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Something Good to watch

Here’s an example of extremely good content.

It’s by our friends Carmen and Eric, and it’s all about Carmen’s quest to create more than she consumers.

Carmen works diligently to promote the preservation of wild places everywhere and her innate sense of curiosity has challenged her followers and soon to be followers to stop and ponder about life, the environment, and the impact we have.

Enjoy.


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PHOTOGRAPHY | Love our photography? Wondering what gear we use to get all of our photos around the world?

Click here to view our detailed photography gear guide, as well as our top travel photography tips!

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL | Responsible travel is important. REALLY IMPORTANT.

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We want our monthly updates to be a mix of our life, thoughts and musings.

If you’ve got anything you’d like to hear our opinion on, or want to know more about, let us know in the comments!