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Sharing the Secrets of an Eternal Honeymoon

Mike & Anne Howard left for their honeymoon in January 2012 and have been exploring the globe ever since on what has become the World’s Longest Honeymoon.

Mike and Anne Howard, of HoneyTrek.com and the authors of Ultimate Journeys for Two, a National Geographic book.

Using Anne’s background as a national magazine editor and Mike’s as a digital marketing executive and photographer, they created HoneyTrek.com to chronicle their journey across 50+ countries and share tips with fellow couples looking to make their own travel dreams a reality. Ultimate Journeys for Two: Extraordinary Destinations on Every Continent is their new book published by National Geographic.

Having reviewed over 150 luxury hotels and excursions across all seven continents, they know the five-star side of travel, but also know how to get to the heart of local culture. The Howards’ remarkable journey has been acclaimed by Condé Nast Traveler, Los Angeles Times, Lonely Planet, CBS, and more.

They’ve lectured at the Smithsonian and major travel industry trade shows; their travel advice has been the subject of feature articles in BBC Travel, InStyle, US. World News & Report, Brides, Globe & Mail, and The Washington Post.

Their compelling story, travel savvy, and charismatic ways, even landed them a starring role in a Microsoft and Dell television commercial that aired worldwide.

Ultimate Journeys for Two, Full Synopsis

Mike & Anne Howard heli-hiking Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.

Written by the founders of HoneyTrek.com, this inspiring book reveals hidden-gem destinations and insider tips for travel as a couple.

In these pages, Mike and Anne Howard—officially the World’s Longest Honeymooners and founders of the acclaimed travel blog HoneyTrek—whisk you away to journeys of a lifetime.

Drawing on their experience traveling together across seven continents, they curate the globe and offer tested-and-approved recommendations for intrepid couples, bringing culture, adventure, and romance to any couple–no matter their age or budget.

Chapters are organized by type of destination (for example, beaches, mountains, and deserts) to help travelers discover new places and experiences based on their interests. Each entry focuses on a specific region, getting to the essence of each locale and its one-of-a-kind offerings.

The authors reveal the ideal time to visit, the best places to stay, and most exciting activities—each with their own adventure rating to illustrate the level of intensity. Special features include funny and insightful stories from the Howards’ own adventures, expert advice from other renowned traveling couples, and tips to increase the romance and excitement at each destination.

A large map shows every location covered in the book, and each entry has a locator map depicting the city and country.

Ultimate Journeys for Two Excerpt

According to the Howards, housesitting is one of the most rewarding and affordable ways to travel and get local. Here they are kicking back in their Mazatlán, Mexico neighborhood.

On our way to one of the deepest canyons in the world, hugging the curves of the Andes and yielding to cows, a fiesta of elderly Peruvians appeared in the middle of the road. We crept forward, assuming they’d move to the side, but instead a woman wearing a traditional embroidered dress knocked on our window.

“Come dance!” she said in Spanish with a smile. “You may not pass until you dance!” Mike and I looked at each other, and then simultaneously swung open our doors.

The partygoers cheered and the band of wooden instruments got louder. She took our hands and pulled us into a circle of twirling ladies. Around and around we went, with leg kicks and hip shakes, until the shot master appeared with an earthen jug.

He poured us an overflowing chicha corn brew, and we toasted with an exuberant, “Salud!” Arm in arm with our new amigos, we danced until dark and happily never made it to the famed canyon.

How it All Began

When we started planning our honeymoon, we took out a piece of paper and wrote down our dream trips: ice climb in Patagonia, hike Machu Picchu, dive the Great Barrier Reef, go on safari during the great wildebeest migration, and more experiences than we could fit on the page. It felt impossible to choose. Then Mike asked me, “What if we did them all?”

It seemed unfathomable, and I chuckled at the thought. “No seriously,” he said. “We’ve got our health, some savings, and each other. Will there ever be a better time to explore the world?” That night we set the “HoneyTrek ,” our honeymoon and journey around the world, in motion.

Prepping for 16 Months

We saved, researched, and prepped like mad for 16 months. Then on January 22, 2012, we boarded a one-way flight from New York City to the Amazon jungle. Saying goodbye to our home, jobs, family, and friends, we stepped into the great unknown. All the fears ran through our heads as we waited at the gate.

What about our careers? Our nest egg? What if we get sick, robbed, or worse—go crazy spending 24 hours a day together? Plenty was telling us to just stay home. Though after seven continents and over five years of continuous travel, we have a million reasons why this was the best decision we’ve ever made.

We have sipped tea with a Laotian medicine man, ridden a grape harvester in Marlborough wine country, drummed in a Xhosa initiation ceremony, befriended a geisha in Kanazawa, taught impromptu English classes in a Hmong village, and experienced a kindness from strangers that has truly touched our souls.

The eternal honeymooners believe adventures–from hiking Nepal to horseback riding the beaches of Kenya–bring couples closer.

None of these things were on the original bucket list, but they top the charts as some of our most unforgettable experiences. The first step is to get out there, be it for two weeks or two months, and even if you don’t make it to the deepest canyon in the world, you’ll have one heck of a ride.

Adventure Travel for Couples

When you share a travel experience that transcends words, it connects you. Things you could never quite explain to other people are instantly understood with a sound, smell, or quick glance. And even the snafus bring back fond memories. Like that time our bus broke down in Mozambique and we hitched a ride on top of a banana truck; or when we took a wrong turn on Mount Kenya and got escorted out by armed rangers; or when we accepted a dinner invitation in Norway only to be served sheep’s head with eyeballs (and thank goodness, aquavit).

When we recount these stories, they all end in laughter. The bumps in the road make the sunset richer, red wine finer, and bedtime spoons that much closer.

Exploring your curiosities, actualizing dreams, and celebrating life—this is the ultimate journey for two.

Open the Heart and Mind

We’re serial adventurers, and always want to see and do more. Though after countless excursions across the globe, we can tell you, the times we have aimlessly wandered the backstreets, struck up a conversation with a fruit vendor, joined a pickup volleyball game, or spent the evening in a local’s home—these moments of immersion rival the wonders of the world.

Plan Less, Get More

The chapters of Ultimate Journeys for Two are organized by type of place, like “Beaches & Islands” and “Snow & Ice,” to help couples discover new destinations based on their interests.

Leave room in your itinerary to seize unexpected opportunities. If there’s a local festival in the field, a religious ritual by the river, or a pig roast in the town square—you want to be there. With limited days, it’s tempting to schedule every moment of a vacation. Although some planning is necessary, give yourself time to follow the rhythms of a place. Let the destination unfold, and the serendipitous moments may just become the main event.

Taking the public bus with Maasai warriors, eating enchiladas at the market stalls, and sleeping in Buddhist monasteries—these are invaluable experiences that barely cost a thing. Forgo a few of your creature comforts and do as the locals do. Better than affordable, it’s as authentic as it gets.

This free-wielding approach might sound risky to some, but on this eternal honeymoon, we’ve never had any significant illness, robbery, or injury. And with all the street food, chicken buses, and roadside guesthouses we’ve sampled, this must be proof that the world’s not so scary after all. Sure, it may be safer to stay home, though missing these life-enhancing experiences is a far greater risk.

Let the Journey Begin

This book is made for dreaming big. Most of these places aren’t in your backyard, and some of the activities might put butterflies in your stomach. This book is not for the average tourist, but you are not the average couple. You’re intrepid, inquisitive, and up for a challenge. And because we like that about you, we’ve also found some of the most decadent and luxurious experiences to reward your adventurous spirit.

We strive for that blissful balance, to not just bring you home relaxed, but invigorated. In passing on these stories, we’re letting you in on our secrets, in hopes that they inspire your own exploration, and that someday we might get to hear yours in return.

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This post was last modified on January 19, 2018, 2:48 pm

Categories: Travel Books
Tags: Honeytrek
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