Moon & Honey Travel bloggers Kati and Sabrina: “we’ve navigated some really difficult travel experiences together”

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Moon & Honey Travel is an awesome travel blog that we’ve been following. It’s run by Kati and Sabrina and we had the chance to ask Sabrina some questions about their experiences as travellers. We hope you enjoy this interview and check out the links for some amazing hiking destinations and ideas. The World won’t be in lockdown permamently. We plan to get out there and hike as soon as it’s possible. All the brilliant photographs in this post are made by Kati and Sabrina.

You’ve published so many amazing blog posts about your trips – how do you find the time to do so much travelling?

Thank you!! We have freelance work that we can do from anywhere. Because we’re not bound to a single location, we can move around easily. One way that we can prolong our travel is by petsitting. That helps us travel for longer periods of time because we don’t have to pay for accommodation. 

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What was the initial motivation when you started the blog ? Have you reached the goals you’ve set for yourself?

Kati is Austrian and I’m (US) American. We met in San Francisco in 2015 and after a year of doing long distance, we decided to move to Cologne, Germany, together. Kati started her masters at the German Sport University Cologne and I was taking German language classes. On the weekends, we’d explore nearby towns and regions like the Moselle Valley, Eifel, and Upper Middle Rhine. 

I started to chronicle our travels on my art portfolio website but soon realized that our travel content deserved its own digital space. I approached our travel blog not so much as a business project, but rather a design one. I wanted to create the best possible user experience for my site visitors. For example, I created destination landing pages (e.g. Austria Travel Guide) to help users navigate our site easily. Later on, we decided to focus almost exclusively on hiking travel.

In terms of goals, yes and no. We were on track to meet our monetary goals this summer. But, unfortunately, we’re not optimistic because of Coronavirus (COVID-19). For obvious reasons, people aren’t researching travel and hiking destinations, and consequently, we’re losing money every day. Everyone is being impacted by this pandemic. While it’s easy to be disheartened by the global and personal implications of this virus, we’re just grateful to be healthy and safe right now. 

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If someone is reading this and thinking – OK, I want to give hiking a try, which one of your hikes would you suggest as a first trip and what would be good for someone with a bit more experience?

Our favorite way to hike is hut to hut. These multi-day treks can last anywhere from 3 to 30+ days. It’s possible to hike hut to hut in many places in the world, but our favorite destinations are Austria, Slovenia, and the Italian Dolomites. 

For someone just getting started with hut to hut hiking, we recommend hikes like this Tre Cime Di Lavaredo trek in the Dolomites, or this Rätikon Circuit in Austria and Switzerland. 

For experienced alpine hikers, we recommend the Berlin High Trail or the Schladminger Tauern High Trail in Austria.

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We’re glad to see more and more female hikers out there and also blogging and Instagramming their experience? Do you think there is a difference in how women and men approach hiking? Could their motivation be different?

I think people are motivated by different things, regardless of gender. Some people hike for exercise. Others hike for photography. And, others simply love the solitude of the outdoors. 

We hike for all the reasons above, but we also love to hike for food

How do you as a couple find hiking – how does it affect your relationship and what have you learned about each other through traveling?  

When you travel with someone for months at a time, you’re bound to experience some hiccups on the road. As a result, you have to improvise, stop controlling outcomes, support your partner, and resolve problems.

We’ve navigated some really difficult travel experiences together, which has ultimately taught us to trust one another even more. It’s also taught us to be direct and honest in our communication.

I know Kati will always be there for me, whether I’m recovering from Salmonella along the Annapurna Circuit, or freaking out on a tricky descent in the Kamnik Alps. 

Most importantly, we’ve learned to be vulnerable with one another. We don’t try to hide to ugly parts of ourselves. And, while we endeavor to always be better people, we can accept that we make mistakes and are flawed.

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Any tips on safety? Places and/or situations to avoid especially if you are a female traveller either solo or as a female couple? Have you ever encountered scary situations out there?

Get insurance. No matter where you are hiking, or traveling in the world, you need to be covered. While hiking in the Himalayas in Nepal, I got terribly sick with Salmonella, an E. coli infection, Shigella, and Parvovirus B19. 

Never gain elevation when it’s snowing. Last fall, Kati and I hiked the Alta Via 1 in the Italian Dolomites. It rained the first 3 days of our trek, and on the third day, it started to snow. We continued hiking uphill in the direction of our mountain hut while it snowed gently. That gentle snowstorm turned into a no-bullshit blizzard and we got lost, increasingly cold and scared as all the trail markers and tracks got covered in snow. Luckily, we did find the hut, but we’d never risk doing that again. 

Be selective.  As a lesbian couple, we’re definitely selective about where we go. At this point in time, we’re not interested in visiting places that put us at risk (e.g. Qatar, Tanzania, Iran, Barbados, Malaysia, Malawi, etc…)

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While we’ve personally never felt “in danger” while traveling as women, we definitely have felt uncomfortable in certain destinations. For example, in Albania, it’s stigmatized for women to socialize with men publically.

If you’re traveling to Albania outside of the tourist season, you’ll notice very few women in public spaces. So, when we were out at night getting dinner, we attracted a lot of stares. We were very uncomfortable, and as a result, we modified our behavior. We didn’t go out at night. Though that really infuriates me, we have to realize that we’re guests in someone else’s country. 

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What about gear and clothes? What are your favourite brands for clothing and gear?

The most important things to have for hiking are proper hiking shoes and a comfortable backpack. For hiking shoes, we’re huge fans of Hanwag and Meindl shoes. For high alpine terrain, go with grade B/C hiking boots.

In terms of backpacks, we think Osprey designs the most hiker-friendly packs on the market. The biggest mistake I made during our first hut to hut treks was hiking with a travel pack instead of a hiking pack. Here’s our personal hut to hut packing list

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