Kach Mu and Jonathan Howe from Two Monkeys Travel Group are working-on-the-road couple from the Philippines and UK. Having each decided to quit their jobs and set off around South East Asia to start their new lives, neither imagined they would end up traveling the world with someone they met in a backpackers’ bar in Laos. But that’s what happened! They are both certified Tantra Yoga Teachers, Ayurveda Massage Therapists and TEFL Certified Teachers. Working wherever and whenever they want! Travelling since April 2013 and currently exploring South America. their next major travel goal- Antartica via Argentina.
What do you think you would be doing if you were not on the road now?
Kach: I might still be in the Middle East pursuing my career in Oil and Gas and most probably still going on Luxury weekend holidays!
Jonathan: I would probably be self-employed in some kind of hands-on trade in the UK, had I not decided to go travelling. I used to work in architecture and a friend of mine was always trying to get me to go into business with him landscaping gardens and renovating properties.
How do you share your work while travelling? Who does what?
Kach: I’m the social media person out of the two of us. So I handle the facebook and we’ve just started with twitter. I also handle all of the emails and other networking! I’m not a writer but I always have crazy ideas so I write it, draft it and prepare the framework then pass it to Jon so he will edit and finalize the article. For anything related to wordpress, I do it but now Jon is learning the technicalities but for all the pictures, he’s going to do it! We both don’t know how to edit pictures yet so most of our pictures are raw from our cameras but Jon is starting to study it!
Jonathan: I just don’t have the patience or mentality to spend much time on Facebook. I do love photography though, so I’ve just taken over our Instagram account I’m getting quite a lot of satisfaction out of that. When it comes to writing, we look at what the article is about or who the interview is for and decide who it would suit best. We have to be flexible to make this kind of thing work, because you never know when your plans are going to change or you won’t have any internet or electricity for a while!
How do you take decisions together for next destinations?
Kach: We don’t usually tours and we rarely read guidebooks as we decided that we will create our own crazy guide. We usually meet cool people with stories and ask them to write it for us then Jon and I will talk about it- he decides the route and I think more about the budget! For living and working then I usually check the opportunities online and then present it to Jon so he can choose and we will make our final decision.
Jonathan: With countries or continents then it’s not that hard, we both have one common destination in mind, which is everywhere! When we’re on a trip, then it’s more about who we meet on the way and what we hear about from locals and other travellers. Here in Chilean Patagonia for example, there are very few buses going anywhere, so we just looked at a map, chose the southern-most town (Villa O’Higgins) and so that’s where we’re going to hitchhike to over the next few days!
Are there any personality changes that you can observe on yourself and on your partner since you have hit the road?
Jonathan: We both have to be tolerant and patient when we’re travelling. We’re very similar in a lot of ways, but that does mean we can clash sometimes if we’re both tired and hungry. We’re also both very stubborn, so I would say that, in general, we’ve improved as human beings!
Kach: Jon is more patient than me, I’m moody sometimes! The only thing I’ve noticed is that we are both ‘Leo’ and have the same personality and we sometimes clash as Jon doesn’t like to be told on what to do and I’m quite bossy! Ha!
Living and travelling together 24/7 may bring stressful moments related to disagreements, changes of mood or misunderstandings. How do you cope with these situations?
Jonathan: Be prepared to question yourself in times of stress or arguments. If you’re tired, sleep deprived or generally in need of a break, then there’s a very good chance that you’re wrong and you’re being a stubborn asshole. I’m a major culprit when I’m sleepy and hungry! People say that travelling can make or break a relationship. In our experience, as long as you can take a step back, drop your ego, admit your part of the blame and apologize, then you’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be even stronger for it.
Kach: I agree with Jon. We sometimes have our alone time when travelling, we will separate ways for few hours to do our own thing then at night or during dinner we talk about it! Also, we don’t forget to cuddle and say our I love you’s every night! Never forget that!
Which is the most beautiful moment you are glad you have experienced together?
Jonathan: When Kach first came to visit me in Hanoi, we travelled to North Vietnam on a $300 motorbike. It was challenging, exciting, crazy and amazing. We broke down once a day, almost hit a buffalo, rode every day for a week and met loads of awesome people everywhere we went. That week pretty much set the course for the rest of our relationship!
Kach: I love that Motorbike trip in Vietnam. Also, maybe our 1-month of Tantra yoga teacher’s training in India. We finally had the same level when it comes to spirituality and yoga knowledge!
Can you tell us about one crazy or risky thing you’ve done while traveling that you would and one that you wouldn’t want to repeat again?
Kach: I joined a reality TV show when we lived in Hanoi, where I had to travel around the city and surrounding countryside, eating the ten worst foods in Vietnam! There was everything from animal intestines filled with jellied blood, fertilised duck eggs, albino rat soup and of course, various types of dog-based dishes. Yummy! Jon wouldn’t have done it in the first place and I’m certain that I would never do it again!
Jonathan: Something that we would definitely repeat, is our motorbike trip around North Vietnam. We stopped to watch the sunset, so we descended the mountain in darkness, bending the front wheel in a big hole because the headlight had stopped working, were chased by dogs and ultimately met the beautiful family that took us in, fed us and then led us to the nearest village at midnight, with a convey of teenagers on mopeds! I would do that again tomorrow!