THE MONTHLY #3: Sweden, South Tyrol, and a visit from friends
Each month, we jot down a personal wrap of our travels, life updates, and general happenings in the life of The Common Wanderer.
September was a good month. A really good month. A month where everything just fell into place… well, almost.
Firstly, we had some of our best friends in town for the entire month… which meant a whole lotta catching up over Aperol Spritz and pizza (the ONLY way to catch up properly), and a whole lotta laughter.
After a welcome two month hiatus, we finally got back on the road, working with some of our favourite clients on two very exciting jobs in Europe which we can’t wait to share with you soon.
We also had our highest ever monthly traffic on our blog, and smashed our highest ever monthly earnings.
Things are going well, although a little accident during our Sweden trip was a much-needed reality check for us both.
To learn all about our September highlights, read on amigos.
A month in Budapest with our friends Andrew and Emily
We’re somewhat ashamed to admit that we don’t really get homesick (sorry, Mum). Perhaps it’s because we’ve been too too busy over the last few years to think about missing home, and all that’s good about Melbourne and Australia (read: family, coffee and AFL).
One thing we do miss, though, is having friends around. We miss those Friday night catch ups, the long Saturday brunches, summer days in the park, and spontaneous Tuesday night cook ups in the comfort of our own home.
This month, though, we had our wonderful friends Andrew and Emily from Along Dusty Roads living right here in Budapest, and we got to enjoy everything we miss about having friends close by.
In fact, it was the first time in 18 months we’ve been able to spend quality time with these two, and it was bloody brilliant.
We enjoyed spontaneous cook ups (with copious amounts of chilli), met every Friday for beers and pizza (and more beers), had lazy Saturdays exploring parts of Budapest (mostly bars!), and even successfully completed an Escape Room.
We talked a little about work, but we mostly talked life and politics and sport and the future - you know, normal conversations you have with friends!
Their time in Budapest was refreshingly normal and something we’ve both been craving for a very long time.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t convince them to stay and join us in this city (damn you, Brexit), but we’re already planning our visit to their new home in Shrewsbury, and an AfrikaBurn adventure in 2020.
Guys, we miss you already.
Discovering ‘real’ Sweden in Småland
For those OG followers of ours, you’ll remember we visited Swedish Lapland in 2017 and fell a little bit in love with Sweden. So when Visit Sweden invited us back to film, photograph and explore the region of Småland earlier this summer, we immediately said yes.
For those of you who don’t know much about the region, it’s basically a microcosm of greater Sweden. As the tourism board’s website to eloquently states, Småland consists of forests, meadows, glistening lakes and red cottages.
What that statement fails to mention, though, is the miles of amazing cycling routes, the vast array of incredible accommodation, the outstanding food, and most importantly, the friendliest of people.
Mark even got to tick off a bucket list item - a typical Scandinavian sauna/lake experience.
Idyllic Småland took us by such surprise that Mim even suggested we set up our ‘future’ life here (classic TCW - fall in love with a place, want to spend the rest of our life there!).
We can’t wait to share more from our trip to Småland with you all, and hopefully inspire you to visit this little slice of heaven yourself.
Mark had a little accident
The least accident prone of the TCW two, I (Mark) broke all the rules and decided to have one almighty bike accident on the first day of our Småland trip.
Riding along a beautiful country road, I thought it a good idea to film some trees above me, so reached for the Go Pro which I’d attached to the handlebar of my bike.
The Go Pro strap somehow got caught on the handlebar and within a millisecond I was upside down on the road, hands and face covered in blood.
All I remember is losing slight control of the bike and tapping the breaks, which lurched my forward in an instant. The impact actually broke the front of my helmet, and left my nose, mouth, chin, arms, chest and legs with cuts and bruises.
Not long after I went into a mild shock and felt extremely light headed. After about 20 minutes, I started to feel a little better and before long was back on the bike, in extreme pain mind you, to complete the days cycling.
Three week later and I write this, I still have healing wounds on my hands, and bone bruising on my elbow, knee and hand, but otherwise I’ve recovered a treat.
If there’s a key takeaway for you guys, it’s this: always wear a helmet, and don’t reach for your Go Pro when moving on a dirt road at speed!
Back to the mountains | a week in South Tyrol and the Dolomites
With the end of our job in Småland, another started in South Tyrol and the Dolomites.
Just over a year since our last visit, this trip was all about filming, photographing and writing about the contrasting experiences in South Tyrol, from the Mediterranean wine country, to the alpine peaks of the Dolomites.
It’s fair to say this was our biggest job ever, in terms of length of trip (9 days!), amount of activities, and the nature of our deliverables (our video will be shown at a South Tyrol event in London).
It was also, dare we say it, our best job ever.
From sampling three Michelin star chef Norbert Niederkofler’s famous beetroot gnocchi, to hang gliding off Monte Elmo, enjoying organic wine at Manincor, to riding a Vespa through the wine lands, each day brought a new and exciting activity and challenge.
The super early mornings and incredibly long days were all worth it, and we can’t wait to share more from this campaign shortly.
It was a great way to finish off what was a wonderfully productive month.
We’ve already shared a few posts from our trip which you can find below:
On our mind
There’s been a heap on our mind this month, but unfortunately we’ve not had the time to sit down and really think about a topic to write about.
Soz. Next month!
SOMETHING good TO READ
Here are a few of our favourite travel-related reads of this month.
BEAUTIFUL, REMOTE AND SO INSTAGRAMMABLE - CAN THE AZORES MANAGE POPULARITY?
With Iceland as a cautionary tale, the newly popular and oh-so beautiful Azores off the coast of Portugal are bracing for the impact of mass-tourism.
Will it survive, or will its popularity on Instagram (and blogs), create the new Iceland?
WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVE TO A SECOND CITY INSTEAD
On the theme of over tourism, this article proposes visiting a country’s second or third city instead of the capital, such as visiting Lyon over Paris, for instance.
It’s an idea we’re completely behind, and one we think you should be too.
SOMETHING GOOD TO WATCH
After enjoying an 18 month summer, we’re just a little excited for winer.
This film by Tim Kellner gives us all the feels.
TRAVEL BETTER WITH THESE ESSENTIAL POSTS
AIRBNB GUIDE | Our essential guide to getting the best out of Airbnb
TRAVEL INSURANCE | Don’t leave home without travel insurance (seriously, don’t!). Click here to get the best deals with World Nomads, our trusted travel insurance provider
PHOTOGRAPHY | Love our photography? Wondering what gear we use to get all of our photos around the world?
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL | Responsible travel is important. REALLY IMPORTANT.
Learn our top responsible travel tips to help you, your family and friends travel more consciously around the globe
ECO FRIENDLY PACKING ESSENTIALS | Don’t leave home without our favourite eco-friendly travel essentials
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!