AN INTERVIEW WITH BOBO & CHICHI.
We've all seen those people on Instagram - you know, the ones who seem like they're always on vacation and never actually work? At first glance, one may think that about Bobo & Chichi - but they couldn't be more wrong. As travel bloggers, Megan Indoe and her husband Scott Herder have grown used to fielding questions like "when are you going to get a real job?", and today we're digging in to the very realness behind their often misunderstood, frequently sought-after lifestyle. From being their own boss to traveling the world to learning new trades, I think you'll find there's no shortage of stories throughout their journey.
Like myself, Megan grew up in small-town Ohio and followed a dream that landed her in Los Angeles. In order to pay that first month's rent, she took the first retail job she could get, not knowing her life would quickly change. Not only did corporate soon offer her one of those "real" jobs, desk and all, but she would also meet her soon-to-be-husband. In a matter of months, their relationship would take them, and their work, many worlds away. "I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't taken that leap of faith. I constantly remind myself when we are feeling anxious about running our own online business that sometimes you really have to just go for it," Indoe said.
For the next 2.5 years, Scott and Megan lived in Asia, where they both worked as English teachers in Seoul, South Korea for the bulk of the time - leaving corporate America behind. It's no surprise that this new venture brought a much better work/life balance than we often find in the U.S., but I was more surprised to learn how economical it was for them. "I encourage anyone with student debt to go to Korea and teach for even a year because of the amount of money you can save," Indoe said. Since teaching contracts include your flights to and from, rent, and very minimal taxes, Megan and Scott saved a whopping $70k during those 2.5 years as teachers - ultimately allowing them to start their own business. That's where Bobo & Chichi was born.
After their blog became a trusted resource for expats living in Korea, it soon developed into a source of inspiration for other travel destinations as well. "Now we do a ton of destination marketing campaigns through digital media for our own channels and audience, and as a production team creating digital content for other companies to use in their marketing," Indoe said.
Contrary to popular opinion, they didn't have a clear business plan when choosing this venture - instead, they learned by investing their time into various courses and failing a little along the way. "We still deal with the self-doubt, mostly when we are in the U.S. surrounded by everyone else who earn more of a traditional living. It's funny, we don't feel this way when we are traveling. We usually are surrounded by others who are successful at making a less traditional living and they are very motivating to be around," Indoe said.
People might not realize everything that goes into their travel blogging business. As a small team of two managing marketing, photography, videography, graphic design, social media, content writing, pitching, and more, they work very long days. In order to make a great hyperlapse video, one of their specialities, it can often take 5 hours just to get 5 seconds of footage. After a full day shooting in the field, they then have to spend the entire evening on the computer. But, they wouldn't have it any other way! "Even though we might be working more hours, there's a freedom to it all and being able to be out and about experiencing different places and cultures is why we fell in love with what we do and why we continue," Indoe said.
So, what are the coolest places they've been so far? "If we were to pick 3 favorite countries today it would be Japan, Mexico, and the Czech Republic," Indoe said. In the U.S., they love cities with rich culture like New Orleans, and their recent discovery of the Finger Lakes region in New York due to its natural beauty. And of course, we can't forget South Korea, where it all began! "It was so fun to be completely immersed in another culture. Korea will always hold a special place in our hearts as we were welcomed by the locals as foreigners living and working in their country. One thing we really loved was how enthusiastic Koreans were to share their culture and country with us," Indoe said.
But what about the food?! We all know the best way to visit a new place is by eating our way right through it. "Our favorites include street food and tacos in Mexico City, the blend of middle eastern and Mediterranean food in Israel, the street food and night markets in Taipei, the hawker stalls in Singapore, and the freshness and quality of food in Japan," Indoe added. Meanwhile, I'm drooling.
When I wanted to know their single most important piece of advice for travelers, it was a no-brainer: "Don't over plan!". As someone who lives for structured lists, this was not music to my ears - but they're so right. As we all know, plans are bound to go wrong or get delayed when traveling, and if your itinerary is too tight it will only cause stress. Instead, we should leave more time for spontaneity and allow some room for recommendations from the locals themselves. After all, some of their funniest memories came from the unexpectedly long bus rides when they were on a $45/day budget, like waking up to a loose chicken on Megan's head in Laos or finding a stranger's funny selfies on Scott's iPod touch (remember those?!).
While traveling teaches us so much, it can also make us miss our loved ones and the lifestyles we leave back home. The one thing Megan will always come back for? "Trader Joes!" Same, girl - same.
If you want to learn more about Megan and Scott, follow along their travel journeys, and maybe even take a hyperlapse course, check out @boboandchichi on Instagram and visit their website here. Cheers to big leaps!
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