Duke Stewart is a recovering American expat who writes about life through travel—and wants you there with he and his wife Christina—through captivating stories and photos at DukeStewartWrites.com. In the meantime, you can follow their adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I spent some time with Duke Stewart and his wife Christina this summer during my trip to the Dominican Republic. I enjoyed hearing about their time in Korea and REALLY enjoyed hearing Christina call out to (yell) 빨리와 (Polly-wa) which means “Hurry up!!!” to her beloved during our hike through the Twenty Seven Waterfalls of Rio Damajagua. Pretty sure I should have her record it so that I can practice for use with my children.
What inspired your interest in the travel industry? I’ve always been on the move, having never lived in the same place for longer than five years. My website started as a way to keep track of things we were doing and seeing in Korea, and I stumbled onto the world of travel blogging. From there, I’ve seen that people could actually turn that into a career and that’s been my goal ever since!
As a travel professional, what has been your greatest success? So far, my greatest success has been through the trip we took with you and others on the Fathom Cruise. That was such a wonderful time and way to network with people who’ve already gotten there. I’ve also had some things published on Matador and am hoping to build up my writing portfolio in the near future.
You and your wife spent time in Korea teaching English. What impact did this chapter of your life have on you and your marriage? So yeah, that was an interesting journey. I think it changed us in too many ways to describe in one answer but I’ll try my best. Other than biting us in that “Travel Bug” way, the Korea experience showed us that this world is small and large at the same time. We became a lot closer when living there and that’s not just because we shared a series of one-room apartments for 4 years. She and I learned to lean on each other and provide support to one another while living so far away from home.
What is your favorite destination? If you were to ask me about my favorite country, I’d say Japan. I studied Japanese and went there for a Study Abroad experience and getting to share that with Christina was very special. I always feel very comfortable when there and after a few language missteps, the rust comes off and I’m able to converse without much trouble. When it comes to my/our favorite specific spot, it’s going to be between Chiang Mai (Thailand) or Cameron Highlands (Malaysia). Between the food, people, and things to do/see, those two are wonderful for a vacation or as a place to live.
Your least favorite? Maybe it’s the hype that ruined me but I wasn’t completely sold on Bali. I found it very similar to other places where the tourists have won, replacing all the cultural and unique stuff that makes a place special with western-friendly restaurants and super-convenient tours. I liked the temples and rice terraces but there are other parts of the world (and even Indonesia) that are cooler if you ask me.
What is your #1 Bucket List Travel Destination? So many choices but I’m leaning towards South America. The trip to Puerto Plata (Fathom) taught me that I need to bone up on Spanish, and I also recently read Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries. Let’s hope we can make it south one of these days!
Who is your greatest travel inspiration? I’m certainly inspired by the hordes of bloggers that are making their livings as freelancers and I hope to reach that level someday. As far as travel goes, I think it’s cliche but Jack Kerouac is the one who first really inspired me to get out and get moving. On the Road is good but Dharma Bums is a book where he takes more risks, jumping across boulders and what not. I love the way he describes places and people and hope that I can reach his level of inspiration someday.
I love sharing inspirational quotes with my readers. What quote would you share with someone inspiring and motivating them to not only ‘Be the Change’ but to also see the world?
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”