It’s been awhile, but we’re back with our monthly couples interview series! November’s chill brings us a pretty chill couple:
Meet Hattie & Seb of Cats and Backpacks!
Hi! Please introduce yourselves.
Hello! We’re Hattie and Seb, a married couple from the UK who run the travel blog Cats and Backpacks. As you might have guessed by the name, we love budget travel and animals. We left the UK in August 2016 to pursue a location-independent lifestyle, and we’re currently teaching English in Ningbo, China which is great fun!
When did you first start traveling together?
Our very first trip together was to Devon, UK in April 2010, and we first headed for sunnier climates in July 2010. We’ve been making our way around the world together ever since.
How would you describe your travel style?
We like to describe our travel style as being like a cat- we love warmth, food and comfort. We’re also partial to a nap or two! But as fellow wanderers may also experience, we often can’t get comfortable and head off in search of the next great place to sleep. We often get a bit excitable when we’re given a new toy in a new place, and we’re prone to upping and leaving in the middle of the night, in search of our next adventure.
Putting the cat metaphor to the side, we’re pretty big on budget travelbut we do like to splurge every now and again. We also love going to places that are a bit off-the-beaten-track; a few days ago we spent our anniversary climbing Huangshan (the Yellow Mountain) in Hefei Province.
What has been the most rewarding part of traveling as a couple?
We love telling stories, and travelling allows us to make amazing memories together that we can tell for years to come. I like to tell my stories through writing- Seb likes to ink his onto his body! He’s a big tattoo fan, and plans to get a tattoo from every country we visit to remind him of the amazing things we’ve done.
What has been the most challenging part of traveling as a couple?
Probably overcoming differences of opinion in how our money should be spent. You spend so long saving for an adventure, it can sometimes be hard to let that hard earned cash leave your bank account! The longer we travel together, the easier this gets through.
Have you ever had a fight on the road/while traveling, and how did you handle it?
Of course! That’s a totally normal part of a relationship, and when you’re on the road together you’re constantly in close proximity so arguments are bound to happen. We deal with it by allowing each other to have some space for a while, and then talking over the problem and how to manage it more productively next time.
Can you share your funniest, most humorous experience traveling together?
Wow, I’m not sure I can pick just one. To be honest, since we arrived in China there have been non-stop laughs due to the huge culture and lifestyle differences. We’re often in fits of giggles at bad translations, miscommunications and people staring at us in the street! Who knew trying to order a pizza could be so ridiculous?
Where have you been that you would recommend as the top destination for couples travel?
Two places really stick in my mind. Firstly, Sri Lanka is wonderful. It’s small enough that you can easily do a tour of the highlights in a few days, and then enjoy some quality time together on a beautiful beach somewhere. Plus, if you’re an adventurous couple you could have a go at climbing Sigiriya- it’s hard work but the view is spectacular.
The other place is Kenya, which holds a special place in my heart as it’s where Seb proposed to me. I had no idea that the beaches in Kenya are like paradise, and it was so romantic having a private safari in Tsavo East and West. Kenya is the perfect place to combine adventure and relaxation, and I can’t wait to return one day- perhaps for a special Anniversary…
How long have you two been together?
We’re childhood sweethearts- we first got together when we were 16 and 17. We’ve now been together for just over 7 years, and we’ve been married for nearly a year and a half.
Do you think your relationship would be different if you didn’t travel?
Definitely- I think we’d be miserable. We’re both free spirits, and for now being tied down to one place doesn’t really suit us. We love the flexibility that travel brings, and it brings us much closer together as a couple.
How do you define love?
For us, part of love is knowing that your partner is your best friend, and that you’re there for each other no matter what. It’s having your own language or way of communicating that no-one else can quite understand, and it’s the feeling of being safe and secure and at home even if you’re thousands of miles away from your physical home. Sometimes love is quiet- watching TV and not saying a word- and sometimes it’s excitable and adventurous- laughing and doing crazy things together.
What do you think is the glue that keeps relationships together?
Finding things that you can do together to strengthen your relationship, but also understanding that each person has their own hobbies and interests that they should be able to pursue on their own. You must always respect your partner, and talk through disagreements when they happen. Finally, always apologise when you have done wrong.
What advice do you have for couples considering traveling together?
Do it! It’ll probably be the best decision you ever make.
If you want to keep up with Hattie & Seb’s continuing adventures, make sure to check out their website Cats and Backpacks. It is currently undergoing a full redesign and will be re-launching on November 18th. Exciting! You can also find them on social media: