Jessica and Laurence Norah are a married British-American couple who love photography, tea, cats, and world travel. They are currently based just outside Edinburgh Scotland and run two popular travel blogs. Jessica is an American blogger who write the savvy independent travel blog Independent Travel Cats which focuses on culture, history, couples activities, luxury travel, and how-to posts. Laurence is a British blogger who writes the outdoor and travel photography focused blog Finding the Universe, where he inspires his readers to visit destinations through unique photography and stories from the road. He was named a top 10 travel photographer by USA Today in 2014, and recently launched an online photography course.
Alex: Why do you travel? What is your inspiration?
We travel for a variety of reasons and it really depends on the trip. But we travel to have new experiences, learn about other cultures, meet new people, try new foods, and view things that we would not be able to see otherwise. Sometimes we travel mainly for work and other times just for pleasure, but generally we try to mix the two.
How do you organize your travel? Any travel hacks?
We both generally do parts of the planning and together it seems to work. Jess tends to be organized and Laurence more concerned about booking the reservations in advance. Laurence uses TripIt which is a helpful travel organizing app and Jess tends to write down or print out information.
Aside from the basics, name a few items that you always bring when you travel.
It really depends on the type of trip, but we tend to always pack a roll of duct tape (so many uses!), a Leatherman, a couple of empty trash bags, and a power strip/surge protector to ensure we always have enough outlets to plug in all our devices.
Which city do you consider yourself an expert on? Can you share any hidden gems in that city?
Jess: I am not sure I’d say I’m an expert exactly on any city but I lived near San Francisco, California for over 5 years and know the area well and have also spent a lot of time exploring Paris. In San Francisco, there are so many places but I really loved Land’s End for a short hike and great views and always felt Golden Gate Park is an underrated spot in this busy city.
Laurence: Again like Jess it would be hard to call me an expert on any one place, but I know a lot about London and Oxford from living there for many years. One place I love in London is Gordon’s Wine Bar.
What is your favorite travel song/album to listen on a trip?
We don’t really have any favorite songs, but this summer we did a 4 week road trip in the USA that included Route 66 and listened to music either from or about each state which was a lot of fun. We try to listen to local music when possible.
Tell us about some of your recent travels.
In the past 6 months or so, we have done 2 month-long road trips in the USA, spent a month in Italy, did a river cruise in Russia, and traveled in the UK, France, Spain, Morocco, and Egypt. We also got married in August aboard the Cunard RMS Queen Mary 2 and then did a wedding ceremony in Venice, Italy. We have also had the adventure of moving from San Francisco to Scotland.
Where are you planning to go this year?
We have a lot of travels planned for this year. We are currently on our way back from a trip in France having just visited Mont Saint-Michel and some of the Normandy D-Day beaches. Next week we are headed to London for a few days. We also have trips planned throughout the UK for the rest of the year. Further abroad, we will be heading to Colorado later this month and then onto Sri Lanka. After this, we are not sure but are hoping to spend more time in Europe, North America, and Africa this year.
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