TTB 060: September Travel Bites w/ Bob and Elliot

When you want to read a lot, but books are too heavy


TTB 059: Joyce Azzam and the Seven Summits

Show Notes

On this episode we talk with Joyce Azzam, who is the first Lebanese woman to have climbed the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. She concluded this achievement by scaling Mount Everest in May of 2019. As a Conservation Architect, Joyce brings together the world of adventure and architecture. Her love for outdoor activities has revealed a passion to research innovative approaches to protect and conserve cultural heritage, and more specifically, sites designated as “Cultural Routes & Landscapes.” Her ambitions are now polarized, as she aspires to become the second woman in the world to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. Through her mountaineering achievements, Joyce hopes to inspire young girls and women to follow their dreams, to challenge themselves, and break through their respective glass ceilings. 

Inside the Episode:   

  • Born during the height of the Lebanese War, constantly on the move to avoid violence and destruction, Joyce developed mental fortitude that would lead her to accomplish some of the world’s most physically and mentally challenging feats. She finished the Seven Summits in May by hiking  Mt. Everest, and she discusses the obstacles she had to overcome in order to accomplish this goal!
  • Joyce’s ambition (and she has a ton) has pushed her into some of the most dangerous environments across each continent. Now, her ambition is aimed towards the Explorer’s Grand Slam, where she will complete individual hikes to both the North and South Poles. 
  • “The magic of the mountain changes you from the inside”. Joyce finds her spirituality on the mountain. Bringing her peace and purpose. 
  • It’s ridiculous how much garbage has been left on the summit of Everest. Years of negligence have left mountains of trash on the trail, and we are finally seeing momentum to clean it up. Joyce is leading one of those projects - to protect what she loves and inspire future hikers to consider the health of the environment as part of their experience.
  • Tents, clothing, waste packaging, and...poop. 28,000 pounds of it were taken up down the mountain in 2018. It's an issue that we (westerners) don’t spend much time thinking about after we leave. What happens to all the waste produced by our influx of tourism? Someone has to clean it up, and when that clean up takes place over 20,000 feet. The altitude presents huge issues on how to safely clean the mountain and who will do it. Joyce discusses the cleanup project at Everest with us on this week’s episode and gives insight on how to approach the mountain with a more sustainable mindset before we even set foot on it. 
  • Joyce tells us that one of the best ways to achieve big goals (like hiking Mt. Everest) is by breaking them down into smaller, more feasible steps. Keep your focus on the minimal tasks (one foot in front of the other) and eventually you'll reach your summit. 
  • “This is my story.'' - Joyce Azzam.
    • A lot of people put Joyce down, including family. She was told that she just wasn't supposed to have big dreams - she ignored them. Don’t expect her story to end with Mt. Everest either. Right now, there is no finish line.
  • The Explorers Grand Slam is one of the hardest tests of physical and mental strength any single person can endure on this planet. Joyce is planning on becoming the third woman in the entire world to accomplish this. Follow her at @joyceazzamS7 and cheer her on as she completes the unimaginable.



TTB 058: Ordinary Jones - Exploring Italy's History

Show Notes

Samuele and Daniele of Ordinary Jones are interested in symbolism and anthropology with a historical approach throughout Italy. During their travels, they visit the archeological places like conventional tourists, but they also look for ancient traces and unknown findings. These findings could be symbolisms, undeciphered scripts, or knowledge linked to traditional rites. 

Inside the Episode:   


  • Samuele is very interested in the mystery shrouding some of Italy’s most well known archaeological sites. With Rome having a major influence on modern civilization, Samuele believes that uncovering information from these archaeological sites can provide valuable information on who we are today.
  • Have you heard of the Tomb of the Diver? Built around 470 BCE this tomb is believed to symbolize a man literally diving into the afterlife, depicted as sea waves. It’s considered one of the few paintings of ancient Greek artwork to survive today. 
  • One of Daniela’s favorite locations for Italian archaeological sites is in Sardinia. On the surface it appears the same, but as you look closer it is quite a different culture than mainland Italy with significant Greek influence. If you’re in a pinch to take it all in, a good stop would be the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, which houses jewelry, sculptures, and artifacts from ancient Italian cultures.
  • I had to ask, are those beautifully carved, chiseled Roman statues an accurate representation of what those men looked like back in their day? The answer Samuele gave us - they’re likely exaggerated in order to present a more powerful and god like appearance to the general public and enemies. 
  • Samuele has done some significant research of the Knights Templar during their crusade in Italy. There is symbolism stemming from the Knights Templar incorporated in tons of ancient Italian architecture. 
  • Most people know the story of Pompeii, a town covered by ash and approximately six meters magma from the eruption of  Mt. Vesuvius. When the volcano erupted, the citizens of Pompeii had no time to escape, encapsulating them in the midst of their daily routines, and creating one of the most popular archaeological sites on the planet. Samuele recommends that after you walk the eerie city, be sure to check out the Pompeii museum in Naples. 
  • Samuele had some really cool info on the Roman Colosseum. In the Colosseum primitive form, the Romans would actually flood the floor creating a giant pool where they would reenact naval battles, with gladiators acting as historical Roman soldiers. 
  • If you’re into archaeology, architecture, or just Italy in general, follow Samuele for some really awesome posts on various historical sites in one of the most historically significant countries in the world. Get a quick history lesson and learn about a new site you could add to your bucket list the next time you’re in Italy! 


TTB 057: Visiting Cuba with Coast to Costa

Show Notes

While living in Spain for four years Andrew developed fluency for the language and fell in love with the culture. His time there has given him the ability to create a local’s experience, highlighting some of the best- kept secrets that cannot be found in a guidebook. After moving back to San Francisco, he worked in the Spanish food and wine industry. In this role he was able to build relationships with the best restaurants, wineries, and Mezcal producers in Northern Spain and Mexico. It was shortly after this, in 2012, when he launched Coast to Costa to share his love and insider knowledge of all things Spanish. Since then his passion for travel has expanded Coast to Costa’s roster to include several destinations in Mexico and Cuba. With years of group of travel under his wing, he’s sure to make you feel like you’re traveling like a local, not a tourist!

Inside the Episode:   

  • There’s a common misconception that traveling to Cuba from the US is banned. However, there are 12 specific categories that you need to travel under to visit the country. You can travel under the guise of Supporting the Cuban People - but be wary, a lot of research will be needed to ensure you aren’t staying in government owned organizations. 
  • Americans just got on board with traveling to Cuba pretty recently. Our neighbors to the north have been going for a while,same with South Americans and Europeans. The reason we’ve been missing out is primarily due to political reasons - But hey, no need to worry! Andrew has you covered! 
  • You HAVE to fly into Cuba with cash and convert it to the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUP). This is a form of currency put in place by the Cuban government that only holds value within the country. As Andrew tells us, it’s all you are technically allowed to spend as a tourist.
  • Ropa Vieja, the national dish of Cuba. It’s made up of shredded beef with vegetables in a tomato sauce base and served up with some plantains, rice, and beans. Pair this up with a nice cold Cuban beer and maybe a cigar and you’re all set.
  • Andrew tells us that Cuba is one of the safest countries you can possibly visit. For example, gun crime in Cuba is virtually non-existent. Yea, they have their issues with pickpocketing, and you should still be careful while in major cities, especially at night. But generally speaking, violence in Cuba is minimal, so don’t let that discourage you from going!
  • “It’s not that many things” Alex says, before listing off all the planning need to travel to Cuba. “Your passport has to be valid for 6 months, you have to have a Cuban travel visa, you have to sign an affidavit on why you want to go there, and you need proof of Cuban travel insurance.” Our advice, book your trip with Coast to Costa for a smooth and carefree experience to this delightful country! 
  • Coast to Costa hooks you up with local guides at your destination. In Cuba, for example, you’ll be set up in groups of 10 to 16 people and go everywhere from Havana to Trinidad, exploring tobacco fields, sipping Cuban rum, and dancing the night way inside of a “cave club”. Yes, a club located inside of a cave...we were intrigued.
  • JFK to Havana is 3.5 hours. Super easy. If you go to Cuba, Andrew recommends spending at least a week. That gives you plenty of opportunity to spend time in Havana, The Bay of Pigs, and Trinidad. We are completely sold on seeing this country!
  • Andrew was not only hilarious, but also incredibly informed on Cuba. We got a TON of great information on travel logistics. In addition to Cuba, his company runs tours to Spain, Mexico, and Peru. Check it out. Book a tour. See the world. A big thanks to Andrew for coming on The Travelers Blueprint Podcast!

Contact Info:


Instagram @coasttocosta

Twitter @coasttocosta



TTB 056: hiking in the italian dolomites

Show Notes

On this episode we talk with Christine, born and raised in Honolulu Hawaii currently works as an ER doctor. The shift work allows her to have a nice chunk of time in her schedule for extended vacations around the world. Today we talked with her about her hiking trips in the Italian Dolomites. We touched up on logistical tips on traveling to the Dolomites which included information on air travel, hiking, the food!  

Inside the Episode:   

  • Christine recommends to set up base in the beautiful alpine town of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Setting up here will allow you to take multiple day hikes without having to camp in the mountains overnight. It’s perfect for those on their first trip to the Dolomites.  
  • Ever hear of a refugio? Christine informs us that these mountain huts can provide you with a warm meal, warm bed, and some good company while traversing the Alps...for a cheap price. So ditch the weight of carrying a tent and sleeping bag and look for a refugio along your route!
  • FOOD! One of our big questions was on the differences in cuisine between the northern mountain dishes and traditional Mediterranean dishes along the coast. Lot’s of cheese is what we were told… and beef, all fresh and free range, just the way it's supposed to be. 
  • JFK to Venice, then a 2.5 hour bus ride up to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Then boom, you’re in the Italian Dolomites within range of some of the most popular hikes in all the Alps. It's that easy and well worth the experience. It also ties into the trend we’re seeing in “under tourism”. 
  • Metal cables put in place by the Italian Army during WWI are still in-place and helping hikers scale the Dolomites today. Refortified for tourists, you can summit these mountains (with views of former bunkers) through the same routes used by the Italians when fighting the Austro-Hungarians!! 
  • The Alta Via 2 is stunning. That's it. Just look at it. 
  • One of Christine’s most useful pieces of advice for hiking the Dolomites, always check the weather! She ended up getting stuck in a massive thunderstorm, on the side of a mountain, with waterfalls appearing all around her. She later found out that storm did not treat a few other hikers as kindly as her. 
  • Finally, we get some solid info on what peanut butter is like in Italy. “Watery, and just not peanut butter”. Haha, we’ll cut the Italian’s some slack on the peanut butter. They are responsible for some of the most amazing food the world has ever known. 



TTB 055: August Travel Bites w/ Bob and Elliot

Show Notes

On this episode we discuss some of the recent travel related news we found interesting or relevant over the month of August. We discuss the rise in the trending slow-tourism, the Amazonian wildfires, and the clashes in the street and airport of Hong Kong!  

Links to Articles:   

  1. American Airlines Flight to Africa 
  2. Slow Travel Trend
  3. Woman Retraces Journey from 100 Years Ago
  4. Venice Cruise Ship Ban
  5. Sri Lankan Tourism
  6. Guy Gets Entire Plane to Himself
  7. Honk Kong Protests Update
  8. Agriculture and Global Warming
  9. Where Libraries are the Tourist Attraction
  10. Millenial Travel Companies
  11. Amazon Rain Forest Fires
  12. Self Culture Dooming Tourist Sites
  13. Measles Traveler in US

Up Next:

1. Catherine, a Hawaiian ER Doctor who spends her vacation time scaling the Italian Dolomites

2. Andrew of Coast to Costa talks to us on Cuban tourism

3. Samuele and Daniela aka "Ordinary Jones" - an archaeological investigator in Italy


TTB 054: rving w/ destination rejuvenation

Show Notes

Jennie and Lynn Owens have been foster and adoptive parents, worked in residential care, and started a clinic to help struggling children families. They found themselves in a state of compassion fatigue as a result of emotionally draining work and secondary trauma. They took radical measures to ensure their ability to continue the work they are passionate about. They sold almost everything, including their house, bought and RV and began traveling full time seeking adventure, margin, and beauty to counter some of the effects of the past. 

Inside the Episode:   

  • It’s something we’ve heard time and time again. People are getting overwhelming exhausted with their daily grind. Based on the people we’ve met over the past year, one remedy for that seems to be travel. Jennie and Lynn sold mostly everything and packed up their remaining essential belongings into an RV to hit the roads of the United States.
  • Mobility has been one of the greatest things about travelling by RV. Jennie and Lynn have been RVing around for roughly six months and have had the incredible opportunity of waking up anywhere from pristine lakes to long lost family member’s driveways!
  • Digital Nomad is a buzz-phrase you hear over and over again with people who claim to work on the run. Lynn is a former mental health specialist for children, and he now sees patients by video conferencing appointments while on the move. We found this to be an incredibly unique digital nomad job, which got us thinking about what other possibilities are out there as society continues to become more connected online. 
  • Have you heard of the Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea in California? Jennie described it as a post apocalyptic town filled with some really bizarre artwork. Findings like this are what intrigued us the most about the adventures of . Our country is FILLED with the unique and the unknown, and one of the best ways to discover it is to just get on the road and explore!
  • RVing and boon-docking are the peanut butter and jelly of the RV world. Boon-docking is when you find public lands and park your RV for free! You can find parking on public lands through the Bureau of Public Lands website. So ditch the parking lots for natural landscapes and see the country in its beautiful natural state. 
  • Lynn’s advice on whether or not you should go on an RV trip around the US: “When it comes down to it, it’s all just stuff.” Try not to value the material, and maybe turn your attention to the immaterial, like living in the now with those around you.
  • In case you’re wondering, some of the biggest expenses while traveling in an RV is your propane, parking, and diesel. So, taking that into consideration you might want to travel to the southern portions of the US during the winter months to give your propane heater a break in the frigid north. Then, when the temperature starts to rise, make that turn north and see the rest of the USA! 
  • You don’t need to buy a brand new RV. You can buy a used RV and spend the time and money remodeling over an extended period. Not only is this a great money saver, but it also gives you the opportunity to personalize your vehicle to give it that Oh-So-Warm “Homey Feel”.


TTB 053: design your detour

Show Notes

Kelly Abanda spent her early adult life according to the structured template that society has laid out in corporate America. However, something was missing. Kelly’s soul longed for more meaning and adventure.  At first, she was too afraid (of failure, of people’s judgement, of making the wrong choice, etc.) to make any changes.  Then one day it hit her---if she wanted a different life, she had to make different choices and it was 100% up to her to create the life she wanted.  That gave her the courage to finally take the leap. She quit her secure job to embark on an adventure around the world! 

Inside the Episode:   

  • What if I fail. What if I just can’t do it. But what if you never TRY?! In our conversation with Kelly of Design Your Detour we get incredible information on the how. How you can take that leap of faith into the things you are currently only dreaming about. Our conversation with Kelly was very profound for us, who were able to relate with the leap we took to start this podcast. 
  • In 2000 the average American took 21 days of vacation. Now, Americans enjoy only about 16 days away from their jobs. There are a multitude of reasons behind the decline in some R&R, but what Kelly (and we) wanted to get across in this episode is the importance we put on self improvement. 
  • Design Your Detour is about setting your intentions. If you’re reading, this you likely have the capability to ensure your own intentional changes and shifts in your mentality and ultimately your lifestyle. 
  • What do you want your life to look like? Why doesn’t it look like that now? What do you need to shift in order to get it to where you want your life to be? Kelly found her shift and now she is helping others achieve the same. 
  • Kelly conducts group workshops and individual coaching opportunities in cities around the United States through . “From Dreaming to Doing: Start Creating the Life You Love!”
  • Fear is a very powerful motivator. It’s not all fun and games in your transition to a new you. It’s actually a lot of work and one of the biggest feats anyone has to overcome is their underlying fear of failure. In our conversation with Kelly we try to tackle the reasons behind our underlying fear of failure and how we can overcome it. 
  • Being clear with what you want out of life seems like an obvious thing to be in control of. The reality, however, is that it’s easy to let that slip away. Kelly helps people get back on track towards their goals. 
  • Whether you want to travel the world full time, travel for longer periods of time, or never leave your house again, you should be the one in control of those decisions. In order to take control of your life again you may need to make some changes to your job, relationships, or mental attitude. Search no further than Kelly - who has made it her mission to help people take back control of their lives!

Contact Info:



IG: @designyourdetour


Reach out to Kelly for 1-on-1 sessions, too!

Use Promo Code  TRAVELERS to receive 50% off your workshop or 1-on-1 session!


TTB 052: Unleash Your Potential

Show Notes

On this episode we talk with Zurab of Unleash Your Potential on why you should consider your physical and mental health while travelling. Zurab was able to experience over 70 countries in only a few years while being a personal trainer on a commercial cruise ship. In that time he gained valuable experience on the importance of staying physically fit and mentally free while doing what he loves! 

Inside the Episode:   

  • Ahhh Food. Food is one of the biggest reasons we travel! You can set yourself up for a more mindful travel experience when you consider balancing proper nutrition with indulgence. But as we state in the episode, you might want to save your climb up Mt. Vesuvius for a day you plan on avoiding the heavy pasta and gelato that might make you a bit sluggish.
  • Did you know peanut butter is hard to come by in Europe? Zurab loves this packed source of protein and fats, but can only get it travelling to the US. So what did he do? Stock up while spending time in Hawaii, of course. 
  • Zurab has visited 70+ countries in just two years by working as a personal trainer on a cruise ship. He was able to combine his passion for fitness and travel all while seeing the world, gaining invaluable experiences, and making lifelong memories.
  • If you make it a point to stay active on your normal routine, you have probably spent time brainstorming ways to stay moving while on vacation. From creating hotel room workout programs, to finding local gyms at your destination, they're all viable ways to keep that healthy attitude while on the road.
  • As Zurab explains, a really cool way to immerse yourself into the local culture is to hit the local gym. It could also be a good spot to meet some like-minded people on your travels and get some local tips for healthy eating locations! 
  • Your end goal is your ambition, but the process is where you should find your happiness. Rather than overthinking long term try focusing on the daily process that you’ve laid out for yourself. If your plan is to lose a certain amount of weight, try taking a break from using the scale and just enjoy the daily grind of working out and eating healthy. Ensure you have the process down and your goal will come within reach.  As Zurab states, “What matters is the process.”
  • “Why should you force yourself to eat healthy if you can get hit by a bus tomorrow?” Yea, we get it, sometimes it sucks. But would we feel better driving around in a Ferrari, or an Oldsmobile? I choose to be a Ferrari. PSA: Eat your vegetables.
  • It’s not “can I do it”. It’s “how can i do it!?” The first step to reaching any goal is developing the right mindset. Zurab says “Mindset is the key to everything you do.” Get your plan in place and know that you can DO IT. The mindset you need to achieve your goals can be lurking in the back of your mind. 


TTB 051: July travel Bites w/ BOB & ELLIOT

Show Notes

On this episode we discuss some of the recent travel related news we found interesting or relevant over the month of July. From the electric car trail through the Alps with Switzerland's Grand Tour to wondering how often airplanes actually get a decent scrub down!  

Inside the Episode:   

Up This Month

  1.  Zurab of Unleash Your Potential on traveling with a focused mindset on food and fitness.
  2. Kelly of Design Your Detour, a program that helps people develop their ambition to live their best life
  3. Samuele aka "Ordinary Jones" - an archaeological investigator in Italy