This week we caught up with Laurel Robbins, the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel.
Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel is an adventure travel blog, which started in 2011 with a goal to inspire travelers to spend more of their precious vacation time exploring the outdoors – while still experiencing creature comforts and makes sure each adventure is worthy of your valuable time and money.
Let’s listen from her about some of her amazing experiences:
1. What was the major driving factor behind starting “ Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel”?
I wanted to encourage people to consider adventure travel even if they didn’t consider themselves to be adventurous. When we’re traveling, we’re more open to trying new things that we might not do at home.
2. What has been your favorite memory on the road so far?
Definitely hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc. It was my first long-distance hike at a low point in my life. Doing it step-by-step gave me so much confidence that transferred to all areas of my life. Now, when I’m facing a challenge, I think to myself “Step-by-step, that’s how you did the Tour du Mont Blanc, and that’s how you’re going to do this.
3. Where was your most recent trip to?
Milan to visit/co-work with a good friend. It’s good to be connected to loved ones digitally but it’s even better to spend time with the important people in your life in person.
4. What are the top 3 destinations that stands high on your bucket list and why?
The first two are Borneo and Sumatra to observe organtans. There are two different species and I’d love to see both of them.
Then it would be the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada. Despite being Canadian, I still haven’t made it there. It’s a little trickier since I’ve been living in Germany for the past 7 ½ years but it will definitely happen at some point.
5. How do you determine where to go next? what kind of places appeals to both of you?
I love primates so that dictates a lot of my travel. Seeing lemurs was one of my main motivations for wanting to go to Madagascar, which is an incredible place. My second love is hiking, so I try to seek out the most beautiful places for hiking which if I think they’re really special, I’ll offer as tours through my tour company.
6. Tell us about the most delicious dish you have tasted and from where?
Coconut Sambol in Sri Lanka. It’s freshly grated coconut mixed with chilies and onions. I happily ate it twice a day everyday I was there. I couldn’t get enough of it, and it’s healthy.
7. Let’s talk fashion, what has been your most stylish buy ever and from where?
A black pair of cool Palazzo pants that I bought in Sri Lanka. They’re so comfortable and are easy to dress up or down. They’re perfect for travelling, although I also wear them when I’m at home.
8. What are some packing hacks that you swear by?
I use packing cubes and roll everything up. I also prefer to have at least some dark clothing since it doesn’t show spills as easily as lighter coloured clothing. It’s important if you’re clumsy like I am and don’t want to travel with stains down the front of your shirt.
9. What are your 5 must have travel essential items that you can’t travel without?
Ballet flats – comfortable and don’t take up much room, black Palazzo pants – comfortable and incredibly versatile, simple silver earrings that go with everything, a small cross-bag purse – much less chance of being robbed than if you carry a large purse over your shoulder, and my Kindle. I panic if I don’t have anything to read.
10. How do you manage to keep your skin healthy and fresh while traveling? What is your everyday beauty routine while travelling?
I do regular masks and exfoliation at home, so that allows me to keep it pretty simple while travelling. I splash my face with cold water to reduce puffiness, then apply a light SPF anti-aging moisturizer. For makeup, I wear BB cream for light coverage, eyeliner, fill in my eyebrows, a bit of blush and a bit of lip colour. My entire routine takes me 5 minutes when travelling. I’d rather spend my time exploring than in front of the mirror.
11. How do you manage travelling to new places, not knowing their local languages? Share any experience you faced because of communication gap.
While I use Google Translate, a genuine smile and openness is the best way to break down communication gaps.
12. Do you follow travel blogs? If so, name some bloggers that you personally like?
I like Hike Bike and Travel by Leigh McAdam for adventures in Canada, Wild About Travel by Simon Falvo for her insider tips about Italy, and Wonderful Wanderings by sofie Couwenbergh for her trip itineraries.
13. How do you afford to travel? What is your daily budget whilst travelling?
I’m fortunate that a lot of my travel is work-related so that saves a lot of money. When I’m travelling on my own, I often choose hiking trips and stay in mountain huts. This is an incredible way to experience a side of local culture that most people never do and it’s also very budget friendly. I don’t set a daily budget, but I’ll often choose budget friendly activities and destinations.
14. Is there any travel tip you would like to share with us?
Consider adventure travel even if you’re not adventurous. It doesn’t have to be diving off a cliff. It could be something like doing day hikes along the Italian Riviera with plenty of gelato stops.
15. Let’s conclude off with a few favorites.
Destination – Italy
Cuisine – Indian
Brand – Smart Wool – great for hiking but also looks nice enough for a casual brunch
Accessory – silver earrings – they really brighten up your face
Adventure sport – trekking