While some prefer the comforts of home and what is familiar to them, others’ enthusiasm for world exploration runs deep and cannot be ignored. This is not to say that one type of person is right and the other wrong. Having unique beliefs, priorities and a desire to march to the beat of our own drum are what make the world so interesting.
There is an ever-growing tribe of globetrotting adventurers that has been bitten hard by the travel bug. Leaving a trail of international boarding passes in their wake, this group of professional nomads is a passionate bunch. They live to expose the roads less traveled and inspire the rest of us ‘comfortable’ ones to stretch beyond our own backyards and to discover (literally) a whole new world.
Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Hannah and Adam from Getting Stamped. I was eager to meet with this Wisconsin couple during their stay in Playa del Carmen to get the lowdown behind their motivation to travel to the four corners of the earth.
They candidly speak about why they decided to leave their predictable lives behind and choose to instead, live out of a suitcase and venture off into a land of uncertainty. With cameras, drones and smartphones in hand, this delightful husband and wife spend their days roaming down roads leading to many a promised land, as far as intrepid travelers are concerned. All the way, sharing with their devoted fans, striking photos of exotic locations from around this beautiful world we live in.
Juanita: You are travel writers and photographers. How long have you been together? Do you do this full time?
Hannah: We’ve been together for 11 and a half years. 4 years ago, we made the decision to quit our jobs and do this full time.
Juanita: What are some of the best things about traveling in general? Is there something you do not like about your current lifestyle?
Adam: The best thing is taking the opportunity to explore new cultures and exposing beautiful places to the world that are still unknown.
Hannah: On the negative side, we rented the home we own in Wisconsin long term. We don’t have a fixed place to come home to at this point.
Juanita: How many countries have you traveled to now? How would you say Mexico compares as far as the laws of acquiring visas?
Adam: We have visited 71 countries and counting. Mexico is a good option to travel to as it is expat friendly. You receive a 6-month temporary visa upon entering the country and the Cancun International Airport is nearby, which is convenient if you fly internationally as often as we do.
Juanita: How many times have you come to Playa del Carmen and area? You tend to linger when you do come this way. What about Playa appeals to you?
Adam: Playa del Carmen is the perfect size - livelier than Tulum and not too large like Cancun. For a smaller city, it still has everything you need. The international airport is only 40 minutes away and is ideal for getting anywhere in the world, which is important in our line of work.
Juanita: What was your longest stint in Playa del Carmen? Do you feel you got a relatively clear sense of the Playa lifestyle?
Hannah: We rented an apartment here for 5 months last year. When we were here, we found that a very comfortable lifestyle is achievable at around $2000USD or less. The city is easy to navigate; you don’t really need a car. We walked everywhere or rented a vehicle if we did day trips. We always seem to have good luck renting cars and often rent them for $5US a day. In our opinion, to live in, Cancun is too big and busy. Tulum is beautiful but too spread out. For example, if you need groceries, you have to travel across town or across the highway for any general shopping.
Juanita: How would you classify Playa del Carmen - retirement haven, party town, family-oriented?
Hannah: Playa is lively, not too big, not too small and has something for everyone.
Juanita: Do you speak any other languages? When you come to Playa del Carmen, are you able to get around easily as far as language barriers go?
Hannah: We speak a little Thai and a little Spanish, enough to get by. But Playa is very easy to travel to or to live in with a limited Spanish vocabulary. You can always find someone who speaks English if you need a translator or need to get a point across.
Juanita: Adam, I understand you just went diving for the first time in a cenote. Are you both certified divers? How does it compare to deep sea diving?
Adam: The Pit in Dos Ojos cenote was incredible. We dove to 40 feet and the layers of the cenote water were fascinating to me. The upper or surface layer is fresh water, the bottom layer is salt water and the layer separating the two, where the both layers mix is called halocline. It’s a rare experience to see this effect.
The water is much clearer and the visibility much better in a cenote. On this dive, I had the chance to witness how the rays penetrated the water when the sunlight came through the cave opening and it was pretty spectacular.
I am certified. Hannah does not enjoy it as much as I do and prefers to do other things while I dive.
Juanita: You have traveled around the world. Have you visited other Mexican cities? How does Playa del Carmen compare to the many cities you’ve been to, as far as the feeling of safety and violence?
Hannah: We have just traveled through the Yucatan Peninsula and a few beach towns on the Pacific side. However there are so many Mexican cities on our list. Merida, Mexico City and Oaxaca are at the top of our list, but we’d really love to see them with a local to guide us and experience the true essence of the cities.
We’ve never encountered anything up to this point that gave us a feeling of danger or insecurity in Playa del Carmen. We walk all the time when we’re here at all times of the day.
Juanita: In your opinion, with the resources and services such as Internet, is it easy to work online from Playa del Carmen?
Adam: The Internet can come and go, but we find it does the trick. We love to go to little coffee shops like Ah Cacao to work.
Hannah: Verizon T Mobile has good coverage all across North America.
Juanita: What are your Top 3 restaurants in Playa? Where can you find best margaritas in town?
Adam & Hannah: El Fogon for tacos is a must when we’re here. We like Chesters for pastas and huge portions at a reasonable price. Nativo is our go-to for breakfast and smoothies. Ah Cacao for coffee, Club de la Cerveza for micro brew beer and McCarthy’s for happy hour. We’re not big margarita drinkers, but Bip Bip on 5th has great daiquiris.
Juanita: What’s your favorite Riviera Maya excursion or one of your most memorable moments?
Hannah: (without hesitation) Swimming with turtles in Akumal Bay.
Juanita: Do you have something on your Riviera Maya/Yucatan Peninsula bucket list that you have yet to check off?
Adam: We want to see Mahahual. We made it to Bacalar this trip and it was beautiful, but we had limited time. On our next trip here, we’re definitely going to go to Mahahual.
Juanita: What are you passionate about?
Adam: We want to change the perspective on how people travel, to show them parts of the world that the majority of travelers do not go to. Hannah is great at putting together informative guides and showing others interested in traveling that it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to visit some of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
Juanita: We set this meeting for a later time in the day because you wanted to catch the sunset. Where is your favorite place to watch the sun go down in Playa del Carmen?
Hannah: The sunset is incredible as it sets over Playa del Carmen. The sunrise on the Caribbean is definitely amazing as well. Since the sun sets behind Playa del Carmen, you can get a fantastic view from any rooftop in Playa.
Juanita: One word to describe Playa del Carmen? Will you be back?
Adam: In one phrase I would say Playa del Carmen is the best of all worlds.
Hannah: Central/Location/Easy to get to.
Both: We love Playa del Carmen and often toy with the idea of living here again. We always feel at home here and find it’s an easy city to live in.
Hannah: We are actually planning an upcoming trip in the winter with our parents. Mine have stayed with us in past trips, but Adam’s have never been to Playa del Carmen. We’d love to introduce them to one of our favorite places to come back to.
it leaves you speechless,
then turns you into a storyteller
Be So Kind and Share This Article
If you like this article you will also love these
- Cenotes - A Whole Other World Beneath The Yucatan Peninsula
- 5 Unique Ways To Explore The Surreal Beauty Of Playa Del Carmen
- Xel Ha - Where Water and Magical Memories Are Born
About the Author
Juanita grew up in a small town in the middle of Canada. Having experienced twenty years of ruggedly cold climate, she had seen enough snow to last her a lifetime. After moving to and working in Vancouver for thirteen years (where she was ecstatic to see the odd palm tree) she jumped at the opportunity to move with her husband and three children to Playa del Carmen. She calls it a ‘dreamy existence’ and cherishes year-round, backyard barbecues with friends, road trips and watching the sunrise over the Caribbean. She writes for Bric Vacation Rentals.