Forms of identification: Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott
Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott look out over Wadi Araba near ancient Petra in Jordan.
Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Name: Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott
Title/bio: A husband-and-wife storytelling and photography team. Travelling the world for six years and more than 75 countries. Still going... and still married.
Twitter/website: @umarket | uncorneredmarket.com
Born in: Scranton (Dan) and Norristown (Audrey), Pennsylvania
Currently living in: Semi-nomadic with a semi-base in Berlin
1. Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
Steve Jobs on his trip through India just before Apple was born.
2. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your list of places you want to go before you die. But what’s your #3?
Ladakh, India. It strikes us as a mystical place, markedly less dense than the rest of India and one of the great lands of the Tibetan Plateau. Also, a neighbour from our days in San Francisco, who has since converted to Swamiism (and committed to wearing orange for the rest of his days), always recommended it.
3. You’d be mortified if people knew you did what when you travelled?
In the early days of our backpacking journey around the world, we carried a hair dryer! Apart from that, we admit to carrying about a year’s supply of specialised woven dental floss and special Swiss toothbrushes in our packs.
4. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]” travel moment:
That’s easy. Kazakhstan. Or more like, trying to enter Kazakhstan from Uzbekistan by land border. The Kazakhs shut the border, we were trapped in a cage with locked doors or high fences on every side in the beastly August heat, and we thought our “dream journey around the world” would end with us trampled to death. Fortunately, Audrey teamed up with a Russian woman-cum-linebacker and made her way to the front of the queue. Then she convinced the biggest Kazakh guard she could find to grab my hand and I literally crowd surfed into Kazakhstan. A week later we almost died in the Tian Shan Mountains outside of Almaty. You might say Kazakhstan had it in for us.
5. Strangest meal abroad:
“Five fingers” during Ramadan in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan. Or, what one might describe as goat fragments and noodles mixed by the unwashed hands of old shepherds. The dish was called “Five Fingers” because that was how you blended all the ingredients of the dish together.
6. Material thing you miss the most when away from home:
7. Most unique souvenir:
A decorative camel shawl (turned wall-hanging) from Turkmenistan. Audrey also has a crown (the dental variety) from Thailand.
8. Best celebrity encounter while travelling:
Gemma Ward: an Australian supermodel and Vogue cover girl. We hiked much of Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit with her before being told – by a bunch of Israeli military graduates who clearly watched way too much TV in the bunkers – that she was quite famous. Then, everything began to make sense.
9. Most unusual item you have travelled with:
A hardback version of Don Quixote. The thing was a brick and weighed a ton. We lugged it to Southeast Asia at the beginning of our trip and read it fairly quickly, if only so we could ditch it. A quote from the book also serves as the inspiration and source of our tagline: “Measuring the Earth with our feet…”
10. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:
Zodiac in Antarctica. Granted, it’s basically just a big rubber raft, but the scenery made it feel like a space buggy.
11. Travel-related invention you wish existed:
Bed bug detector iPhone app. We experienced several truly awful cases of bed bugs in Latin America that scarred us, quite literally. (See The Travel Apps of Our Dreams)
12. The place you don’t want anyone to know about but are willing to divulge here:
Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan and the Wakhan Valley along the border with Afghanistan. The scenery is spectacular and the people are so kind and generous, they’ll make you cry.
13. Travel-related film or book that inspires you to pack your bags:
Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram. While not a travel book, it’s about life adventure and features spectacular storytelling.
14. The travel story you’ll never stop bragging about:
15. Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice or wisdom:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.