Travel Blogger Q&A Series – Formative Adventures

Travel Blogger Q&A Series – These are the amazing people that travel the world and share their stories on their blogs. Through this series, I aim to share a better understanding of travel bloggers apart from their blogs – a little more on the personal side of travel! Join me in this interview with Austin from Formative Adventures!

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Formative Adventures

My name is Austin and I run a site called Formative Adventures. Our mission is to empower parents to give enriching, global adventure to the children of our future. We believe in collecting memories through travel is far more important than collecting “things” for our family. We are based in San Francisco, CA, and most recently our favorite travel destination of last year was Spain.


Plaza España in Seville, Spain

What is your earliest travel memory?

I was homeschooled growing up, and my parents had the travel bug, so that should tell you a little about my upbringing as it relates to travel. Growing up in California, my earliest memories of travel was driving across the border into Baja, Mexico. I was probably 6 years old. We did this nearly every year and it was an absolute blast. We would park our camper and truck along the beach. Then drive down a little further to San Felipe where there were large sand dunes where my dad and I would drive ATVs all around the dunes for hours on end. I remember my brother and I having bikes, and we would ride into town, by ourselves, and go buy fireworks and a couple street tacos for lunch, since we knew a half-a-dozen words in Spanish to get by. Those were the days. I got to see the Mexican culture up and close at a pretty young age. I saw what life was like there, which was far different from mine. I remember when I was 8, I grew out of my bike and so during our annual trip to Baja, my parents suggested I give my bike to another child that might like it during our trip. So I remember thinking about how much I loved my bike and wanting to pass it along to the right kid. Once I did, I handed over my prized bike, the one that I’ve gone countless miles on over the years. He took it and lit up his face, and rode around and around with a huge smile on his face. These are some of the experiences you can only get while traveling.



Have you ever cried at the airport? 

Haha…not that I can think of. I generally have more of a low-key personality, but definitely have been stressed at the airport before. I’ve only missed 2-3 flights in my lifetime, but have come really close many many times…where I was running down the air bridge to board a fully onboarded plane.


What’s your travel style?

I try to be pretty minimalistic and pack light. This helps keep me nimble as much as possible…especially when traveling with my toddler. I definitely like to do plenty of destination research prior to the trip so that I can plan the trip out. However, I do keep a healthy amount of flexibility and spontaneity, because I think it’s important to set time for the interesting things you may find walking through the city.


What is your favourite city?

Wow…I can only pick one?

I have a strong bias towards San Francisco, having lived there and grown up in the Bay Area my whole life. I know it inside and out. It has an amazing combination of beauty with the ocean/bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as massive parks and open spaces. It has so much diversity in it’s neighborhoods, since you’ll be on one street in a cheaper, more authentic neighborhood, then you’ll walk down a block and be in a upscale, trendy neighborhood. It really has it all.


What is the weirdest thing you carry while travelling?

No cash. If I can get away with it, I like to only travel with my credit card and not have to carry cash. It does prove to be difficult when travelling to 3rd world countries where VISA is usually not widely accepted, and in those cases I will withdraw some local currency. But if I can help it, I try to only use my credit card. This helps so I can’t get robbed of cash, but I also don’t have a bunch of bills and coins loose in my pocket during my trip and need to exchange it upon going home. That said, it is smart to have some cash available for tipping and spontaneous purchases walking through the city.


In the Dolomites, Italian Alps


What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done on holiday?

I went to South Africa in 2010 during the World Cup, and it was an absolute blast. I went with a couple of my good friends. I am a rock climber and adventurer-seeker, so this question is right up my alley. There’s a world famous rock climbing spot outside of Cape Town. I convinced my friends, not being climbers themselves, to drop them off to check out the city for the day so that I could take the rental car and head to Rocklands, about 3 hours north. So I drove out in the evening with only the destination in mind, my climbing shoes, and a loose idea how to get there. I spent the night in the car nearby off a road in the middle of South Africa. In the morning I happened to come across some friendly local climbers who agreed to have me tag along and show me around the area. I spent the good part of the afternoon with them, climbing and hanging out. They also told me about the wild baboons, where apparently they can get pretty fierce and take any food you have or injure you. So with that piece of mind, I kept my ear out for any baboon howls for the remainder of the day. Everything worked out (somehow) and I wrapped up the day with a long drive back to Cape Town to pick up my friends.


Climbing in South Africa


What do you collect when travelling?

When I was younger I had a travel journal, full of pictures I drew and memories that I had written about the destination. I cherish those journals. As an adult, mostly I collect memories and photos so that I can remember where I’ve been. I’ll probably have my kids journal when traveling too.


Angel Oak Tree, Charleston, South Carolina


If you could time travel, which era and area would you choose?

I would love to have been around at the time of Jesus, during the massive Roman Empire. It would have been incredible to live in that era, to know what it was like under Roman rule and to experience the earth-shattering impact that He had during his time on earth.


Which is your favourite international meal?

Going back to the earlier story about Baja, I would have to say the street tacos. Not just any old taco, but you know, the little taco stands where 3 of the 4 legs of the stand are rusty and the other one is being held up by a rock. The ones where the cutting board is made from a tree stump and has a natural bow to it from decades of chopping up carne asada in the same spot. You could get 3 tacos and a Coke for a dollar.


What do you miss most about home when you travel?

Definitely our friends and community. I’ve considered traveling/living overseas for an extended period of time, but I always go back to this. The people that we hang out with and live life with are so instrumental to our lives and our kids lives.


How does travel make you feel?

It makes me feel free. Free to roam to anywhere, down any alley, try different sorts of cuisines, and meet people with drastically different walks of life. I love it.


Bull Ring in Seville, Spain


Where is the best party scene? 

Anywhere on the beach in a warm climate. I’ve spent time in Miami, Belize, Costa Rica, Barcelona, Portugal, Italy, South Africa, and it always seems like the best parties have this element.


Favorite travel related book?

Being a dad, I love reading Oh the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. It just has an incredible story about the adventures to be sought, things you’ll discover, and things you’ll do.


Worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?

When people say, “Don’t go to [X] country.” A lot of people have preconceived notions that a particular country is dangerous or unsafe. Colombia, the middle East, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil you name it. While a lot of these countries do pose some risk due to government instability or corruption, many times people’s advices is much overstated. Often times these types of places are incredible in their own right, and with a healthy dose of travel awareness and street smarts, you’ll find that there amazing people that live there everyday and can uncover those hidden gems.


Mountain top view in Costa Rica


What’s your ritual when you get to a new destination?

I like to go on a run in the morning when I first get to a destination. This helps me 1. Get exercise 2. Cover some ground while getting a broad layout of the city and 3. Try to acclimatize with the jet lag or difference in climate.


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