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Lost With Purpose: A Couple On Quest

How many of us live a life of dreaming of leaving it all behind and packing and traveling around? Sebastian and Alex are the manifestations of how the pursuit of your dreams is not a big deal if you, yourself are willing to take the first step and face the adversities that might spring up on the way.

We had a chance of interviewing them and ask them about their travels to a number of countries and to Pakistan. Find out all that you need to learn before you pack your bags and start travelling.

Kindly introduce yourselves.

Hi there! We’re Alex and Sebastiaan, two 20-something-year-olds who quit our jobs and sold all our stuff to travel the world. Alex is in American girl and Sebastiaan is a Dutch guy.

‘Lost With Purpose’ is a very unique and paradoxical handle to start with because most people don’t relate loss with a purpose, how did you guys come up with such an idea and what is your philosophy behind this?

When we travel, we always get lost. If it’s inevitable, why fight it? We love getting lost and being surprised by unexpected encounters that result, whether they be chats with friendly locals or some beautiful building in a small, forgotten alleyway.

Our purpose is to enjoy being lost, and to tell our stories about doing so—these are the most interesting stories! Anyone can write about a trip to a tourist attraction, so we stick to telling tales about getting lost around it, the people we met there, and whatever else went down when things did not go according to plan!

How many countries have you visited so far on your journey? How was your experience in all those countries, any country that you enjoyed the most?

On this trip we’ve hit eight countries so far: we started in Georgia, and from there we traveled overland through Armenia, Iran, Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

We had some amazing experiences in all of these countries. From hiking in a snowy valley in Georgia to camping at an alpine lake in China and marveling at the architectural wonders of Iran and Uzbekistan, we’ve done some really amazing things. Pakistan was our best experience so far—the people there were out of this world, the historical sights in the south are gorgeous (and empty!) and those landscapes in the north… whoa.

Image Credits: Lost With Purpose
Image Credits: Lost With Purpose

Are you travelling at present and what country are you in? How do you like the country you are in presently (in case you are travelling)

But of course! We’re in Uzbekistan at the moment, and it’s dazzling, to say the least. There are absolutely stunning mosques and monuments and madrasas everywhere, all from the Timurid era. They’re massive, quite ornamental, and oh, that blue tiling everywhere! Everywhere you go there’s more breathtaking architecture to be found.

The only downside is that there are loads of tour groups of older Europeans here, and Uzbek people go a little overboard with the souvenir stalls. You can’t have everything!

You had set a whole new trend of not believing in borders and changing interpretations that mostly people of one country have towards the other country, how far do you believe in borders and their place as mere boundaries on maps?

The short answer: we hate borders, and we hate visas.

The long answer: A lot of borders are just arbitrary lines drawn by colonial powers with no regard for tribal, cultural and linguistic divides. In many countries, especially in the regions we’re traveling in, borders are just there to indicate the boundary of a specific country, but very often the culture, language, and traditions of one country flow over the borders.

Unfortunately, we live in an age where borders are seemingly necessary, and people get really upset about concepts of “protecting our border” and “us vs. them”. We hope that with our stories we can show people around the world how similar we actually are, regardless of some invisible, arbitrary line that’s supposed to separate us.

Image Credits: Lost With Purpose
Image Credits: Lost With Purpose

You travel and you blog about it, do you treat blogging as a business? If yes, do you feel any difference between travelling merely for leisure and travelling for a business?

We’re trying to treat it like a business these days. We haven’t made much money yet, but we’re getting the hang of it and are starting to run it more professionally.

There’s a big difference between traveling for leisure and trying to make a business out of it. For instance, when we go see a historical building, we have to plan out what time we want to be there so we can take the best photos. Once there we have to spend time looking for the right spot to shoot at and shoot different kinds of pictures for different kinds of media: portrait for Pinterest and Instagram, a landscape for our blog and Facebook, mobile for Snapchat… the list goes on!

When you’re travelling for leisure you don’t have to think about these things, and it’s a lot more relaxing. Sebastiaan actually wrote an article about how travel blogging is ruining his travel experience.

I have been pondering a lot over this subject and I am keen to know about the photographer of these amazing photographs?

Alex is the creative brain behind the whole operation and the mastermind behind all the photographic beauty you can find on our blog, Facebook, and Instagram. She’s been a hobbyist photographer for years, so she has a keen eye for what works well on photos, and has the patience to wait for the perfect photo opportunity… unlike Sebastiaan.

Technically, Sebastiaan takes many of the photos that we post on our Instagram (the ones with Alex in them). But what people don’t know is that Alex sets everything up beforehand, and shows Sebastiaan exactly where to stand and how to compose the shot. He just has to click the shutter when she’s at the right spot!

Your whole idea of travelling is a try at defying borders as one can see, but generally travelling to different places and meeting different people, do you feel any kind of cultural shocks in their dressing, food, communication etc.? If yes how do you manage it?

“Culture shock” isn’t the right phrase. We love learning about new cultures and having new experiences, so we’re never really shocked when we encounter something that seems strange to us.

When traveling in conservative countries, it is sometimes difficult to figure out what is and isn’t acceptable. For example, figuring out if we’re allowed to enter religious buildings, what to wear, how to interact with certain people. We usually just ask locals, or hang around and observe how others behave then try to behave the same way.

In most cases, people realize we’re foreign and don’t mean any harm if we accidentally do something we’re not supposed to.

You travelled to Pakistan as well, please accept gratitude at your effort at not believing in media’s exaggeration and come visit us. How were your experience with Pakistan, its people, and places? What part of the country do you like and would you recommend it to travellers from across the world?

We really enjoyed Pakistan. Before we traveled there, we had no idea what to expect. As you know, the media is very negative, and when you Google ‘Pakistan’, all the results you get are something along the lines of DEFINITELY DO NOT GO THERE.

Luckily, we ignored the warnings! From the moment we arrived people treated us like friends and family. Everyone was super kind and hospitable, and always willing to help if we looked lost and confused. Pakistan also has a super rich history with all kinds of culture all throughout the country. There’s so much to see, from the ancient Indus River Civilization to the mighty Mughal Empire, or the Sindhi way of life to the chill people of Hunza. Pakistan’s nature is also out of this world. We’re totally in love with the country!

We would absolutely recommend travelling to Pakistan. Forget what you read in the media, the people are super kind and we really don’t think it’s as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. We actually think Pakistanis are among the most friendly and hospitable people in the world, and hopefully, we can visit again this winter.

Image Credits: Lost With Purpose

In this age of anxiety and boredom many are at the quest for starting ventures like yours, what piece of advice would you share with those newcomers, also if you kindly share few tips with travel bloggers?

We’re not going to say that everyone can, because unfortunately that’s not true. For many people, it’s actually very difficult to travel because of visa or financial restrictions. You never hear that from travel bloggers, probably because most of them cater to Western audiences that have never really struggled to get a visa.

But if you can travel, and you want to, go for it! Remember, travel doesn’t mean flying halfway around the world. You can travel just as much in your own country—don’t take it for granted!

Our best piece of advice for travel bloggers? Write interesting stuff that no one else has written before. It sounds stupidly simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get it.

No one wants to read another post about watching the sunset at Santorini, or how your husband really liked the fish at last night’s dinner. But if you met a local Greek fisherman that took you fishing for the fish at last night’s dinner… that’s a story people can sink their teeth into.

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