We are Ashray and Zara. Best friends, travel companions, musicians, partners in crime and much more! Until 2011 we were living in a far away land called Dubai. It was where we met and fell in love. However, for a number of reasons, life in Dubai no longer appealed to us, so we decided to sell all our stuff, pack our bags and travel the world!
We are travelers with a mission. Our mission is to circle the globe and TAKE YOU WITH US! That’s what Backpack Me is all about.
Through technology and our knowledge of how to use it, we want you to come with us on a magical trip, around the world – for free.
I like to call myself an entrepreneur and world traveler. I started a gaming website when I was 13, and today it’s one of the largest gaming websites on the planet. I also have a number of other projects online and this makes me someone who travels and works at the same time.
I grew up in India and my parents loved to travel. We traveled all over this beautiful and enormous country. Then I moved to Dubai. I traveled a bit around the Middle East and Asia during my time there. After living in Dubai for 5 years I got sick of the superficial lifestyle, the horrible summers and the obvious disparities. I decided to take my sweetheart and leave on a jet plane – that makes me better than John Lennon at least ;)
I decided to take my sweetheart and leave on a jet plane.
So here we are. Traveling around the world has been a dream of mine and now I am living it. But I want to make something awesome, something inspiring, and that something is going to be Backpack Me.
I am half Portuguese and half Spanish but, obviously, belonging to two countries wasn’t enough for me. I have always wanted to travel around the world but, as many, always thought money would be an issue.
Before we sailed out to explore the world around us, I was working as a freelance production manager in Dubai, producing mainly TV ads and some documentaries (unfortunately, way less than ads). To keep myself sane I started a band and we had some pretty cool times in the UAE music scene.
After working my butt off contributing to an industry I really didn’t believe in, I managed to save some cash. Only later I understood that time is way more valuable than money and the freedom of movement is what you really need to get going. For all of the people that tell me: “you are so lucky, I wish I could travel!” my only advice would be to put yourselves out there and make a move. If you don’t, there will be a day when you regret dreaming more than doing.
Put yourselves out there and make a move.
I consider myself a very lucky person for finding Ashray, the perfect travel companion. He keeps me entertained, inspired and grounded. Traveling with your partner could be considered “the true test of true love”. If you can travel long term with each other and still be together by the end of it, there is definitely potential! I would recommend all lovers to travel out of their comfort zones to test how strong your connection can be!
Right now, I am enjoying life to the fullest and hope our posts, photos and videos inspire you guys to do the same… whether it’s traveling long or short term, go see the world and open up your mind. It will make you a better person!
Why we are different
It’s well known that the world is full of travel bloggers, traveling couples, travel guides, and more. So what makes our experience unique?
To put it simply, everything we are makes us different! We’re east meets west, yin and yang. Don’t get it?
We’re from India and Portugal. We grew up in our respective countries and we bring to the table a unique mix of eastern and western perspectives. Most travel guides, whether they are Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Wikitravel, or Tripadvisor are by westerners, for westerners. This creates a huge gap in perspective as well as challenges faced.
A very simple example of our unique trials and tribulations is the famous (or should we say infamous ;) Indian Passport. Unlike most people with US/European/other-awesome-passports, the Indian passport is unique. It does not get you visa on arrival (or visa free entry) in most places. This becomes a great challenge for long term travelers. We deal with this and write about it and our experiences will help people who don’t possess such passports (most of Asia/Africa/etc.) travel with greater ease.
Another thing that makes us different from most travelers is that we do not have a home to come back to. We come from different sides of the world and, although we used to live in Dubai, we do not have a house over there any longer. So where are we going to settle next? We really don’t know. We’re seeing as much of the world as we can, before we decide on a new home.
That’s just the beginning of how our experience is very different from other travel writers. You could imagine that our perspectives on food, culture, etc. are specially unique as well!
We spent 2012 doing a one year trip around Latin America. We visited Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Bolivia, and still managed to spend a few weeks in the USA to put our English back into practice - see everything we did!
We started 2013 in India (where we got married) and then did a longer-than-usual honeymoon around the USA and Central Europe, followed by a few months around South East Asia!
Now in 2014, we’re back in South America!
As we make our way around the world, we want to take you with us through articles, videos, photos, music, and much more! We will be talking not only about beautiful places but also reflecting on things we observe and learn as we mingle with people wherever we go.
We want you to come piggy-back ride with us!