Uncornered Market Interview

Dan & Audrey: Uncornered Market

1.) For those who don’t know what Uncornered Market is, can you tell us a little more about Uncornered Market and the idea behind it? 

Windblown at the Laguna – Salar Tour, Bolivia

Uncornered Market is the travel blog of two crazy married Americans – Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll – on their 5+ year journey around the world. We try to connect our readers with the world through the stories and photos we share of people, food and adventure from off beat destinations from around the world. Our goal is to inspire people create their own life and travel adventure and provide them with tools to help them get started.

2.) What made you both want to quit the comfort of a job and travel around the world?

The curiosity about the rest of the world and knowing that we would never fully be able to satiate that curiosity by reading books or watching documentaries. We wanted to see and experience it for ourselves. We had been dreaming about a long trip for a while and after five years of living and working in Prague, the time was right to stop talking about it and actually do it. When we started, we thought we would travel for 12-18 months…obviously, we underestimated how long it takes to travel the world :)

3.) There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage because there’s no such thing as a perfect person. The result of two imperfect people is anything but perfect. When arguments or negative tension arise, how do you both deal with conflicts when you’re on the road together.

Take a deep breath and try not to make the conflict or issue personal. The goal is to describe and address the conflict objectively without pointing fingers or putting blame at the other person. This can be difficult when you are with each other all the time. A sense of humor and being able to put issues into perspective (i.e., this is not the end of the world) are also key. We wrote more about this in an appropriately named piece: How to Travel the World Together Without Killing Each Other

4.) How has your relationship been affected when your environment is constantly changing and the only consistent thing you have in your lives is each other?

We know each other so well now and can almost predict what the other person is thinking or will do. This can be wonderful when traveling together to be able to communicate so much to one another just by eye movements or body language. Because we do have each other, this serves as a grounding force when everything else around us is changing all the time.

However, there is a down side in that you can get used to having your partner with you all the time that you take him/her for granted and don’t appreciate who you have on a daily basis.

5.) Maintaining individuality is important in any relationship. How do you each maintain your independence when you’re traveling so much? 

We both take on different roles in our travel and business lives. This gives us individual responsibility and independence. Also, we each have our own laptops :)

6.) You both have been married for 11 years. How do you both keep the spark alive in your marriage?

This is one of the most difficult things when you travel and work together with your partner and it’s hard to get out of that mode. Splurging and going out for a nice dinner, buying a bottle of wine and having a picnic, taking walks, and planning beach or other retreats are just a few of the things that we try to do to rejuvenate. For example, we returned to Tuscany to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in the place we got married.

7.) This may be off topic, but I can’t hold my curiosity any longer. What has been the scariest experience on both your travels?

It’s rather ironic that our two scariest experiences both occurred in Kazakhstan just a few weeks apart. The first was crossing the land border into Kazakhstan from Uzbekistan in the heat of August where the Kazakh authorities locked the border and people were squished into a caged area waiting to get in. Dan and I became separated through the crush of people, but eventually I managed to get to the front and convince the Kazakh border guard to let me in and then to get Dan out. There was no aggression against us, but with the crush of people in the heat I wondered if we might faint and get trampled as no one would see us. The full story is here: Battle at the Border

Just a few weeks after that we went hiking in the Tian Shan mountains outside of Almaty. On the second day, we took the wrong river bed towards Almaty and ended up on a 10 hour trek that almost left us stranded, but eventually left us rappelling down a waterfall and finding a road from which we could hitch hike back to Almaty. Full story here: How Kazakhstan Nearly Killed Us

8.) Have you made some interesting observations on how different cultures view love and relationships?

The view of love and relationships is very different around the world than what we know in the United States with all the romance movies and Cinderella stories. In many countries, relationships are functional, decided upon by families in order to keep social and community bonds in place. The idea is that love – or some sort of mutual fondness – will eventually come from this relationship.

When we traveled through South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Nepal), people would always differentiate between “love marriages” and “regular marriages.” We kept hearing more and more stories of couples who fell in love in University and then went to their parents and demanded they agree to their marriage. People were proud to tell us they were part of a “love marriage”

9.) What would you tell someone who’s in a very dark place in their marriage right now? 

Try to get away from the regular routine and craziness of a busy life and do something new and different together. Maybe it’s an adventure type trip, maybe it’s a cooking class, maybe it’s yoga retreat – something that gets you out of your regular life roles with a shared purpose. Try to reconnect with what brought you together in the first place.

10.) With all the perspective you have from traveling, what would you say is the root behind a successful marriage?

Communication, of which listening is the biggest part. Hard work and perseverance are also key; successful marriages don’t just appear out of luck. And a sense of humor, including the ability to laugh at yourself goes a long way.

Our Closing Thoughts:

I hope you all enjoyed reading this interview from Dan and Audrey because Clay and I secretly want to be them (shhh… top secret). Dan and Audrey have a plethora of stories of adventures from all over the world. One of my favorites of their collection is their food porn gallery: Beautiful Food of the World.

Also, if you’re stump as what to do on your anniversary, check out what these crazy cats did for their 11 year anniversary (yikes!).