We’d be lying if we said that browsing through the Instagram profile for repeat jet-setters (and friends of Man of Many) Citizens of The World, and seeing the stunning photography and beautiful locations the duo share, isn’t just a little envy-inducing. Photographer Dominic and writer Meghan Loneragan have spent the best part of this decade meandering from place to place, collecting memories and happy snaps along the way, and we’re not sure whether or not to be glad they’ve told us all about it, or just flat jealous (we’re definitely glad).
Their website features an eclectic mix of stories and interesting people the two discover on their travels. With a baby on the way, the adventurous couple aren’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon – we took some time to chat with Meghan about life on the road, what makes a great holiday, and how she has the best job in the world.
Tell us about why you started Citizens of the World?
Dominic is a photographer and I’m a writer by trade and about 5 years ago we started COTW as a means to have a creative outlet from some of the day to day humdrum aspects of our regular work. Back then street style was all the rage and so that’s where we began (and we won a couple of awards for our efforts) but critiquing fashion isn’t really what was in our hearts. Sometimes it takes time to source out what really tickles your giblets. These days even though we have travel as our main focus, for us it’s really about creating beautiful and inspiring stories and imagery. And working together. We love working as a team.
Do you have any absolute favourite places from your travels?
We’ve been to some incredible bucket list destinations. Places like Botswana, Cape Town and Paris. Beautiful and inspiring destinations. However, our most meaningful journey was last year when we spent 4 months (and all our savings) on driving across the US from California to Canada. All we had was an RV, a ton of spaghetti bolognese and a million memory cards to capture the sights along the way. That experience of living small and shedding luxury definitely made us more appreciative for the things we have. It also got us out of our bubble and we had many chats with colourful characters we’d never meet on a normal resort-style holiday.
And what about places you’ve not been yet – what’s at the top of your list?
Cambodia is a country that fascinates us so much. It’s absolutely next on our list. It’s got such a chequered and rough history but also a unique wild beauty. There’s also such a burgeoning culture of creativity in Phnom Penh, with hip boutiques, bars and hotels injecting a fresh energy into the old colonial buildings. It’s a city of contrasts.
What’s the best balance between relaxing and adventure for a perfect holiday?
When we want to just have a pure holiday but with a side of adventure we head to Hawaii. It’s a place that just does vacations so well. You can enjoy the city rush of Waikiki but we prefer the long sprawl of the slightly more remote Big Island. The dried black lava that lines the road on the Kona side makes it feel like you’re driving on the moon. Then you have huge lavish resorts but unspeakably beautiful natural landscapes to explore when you want a shot of reality. You really get spoiled because it has a little bit of everything.
Any top-quality travel horror stories or has everything so far been smooth sailing?
Oh so, so many. Like the time Dominic befriending a local guy in Ho Chi Minh City who ended up inviting him over for dinner with his family later that evening. Dom was pretty excited for this authentic meal with a Vietnamese family, so imagine him grinning ear to ear when a stranger comes and picks him up. The guy said he was Dom’s friend’s cousin (still following?) but when Dom questioned him about his connection he kept changing his story. Red flag but he was already in the car so he just went with it.
Finally, they get to the guy’s home. He’s on the couch and says he’s already eaten dinner but that his wife will cook Dom something. Not what he expected but okay. Finally when Dom awkwardly finishes his meal alone at the table while the family watches TV the guy indicates that he wants to show Dom something in this room. Being the polite guy he is Dom followed him into a this dark windowless room with only a table and 2 chairs. They sit down and the guy starts showing Dom all his amazing card tricks, how he can shuffle a deck with one hand and explains that his other job is a dealer at a casino. He says “here’s the deal, you go to the table and we pretend we don’t know each other and I’ll give you the good hands. Later we’ll split the money.” Cue freak out. Dom stood up and tried to leave the room and the guy blocks the door and says “man, I’ve given you dinner and a taxi ride. You’re going to have to pay me something.” So Dom hands him everything in his wallet and leaves.
What’s the first thing you do when you land in a new city?
Buy a SIM card plan with lots of data.
You’ve featured some pretty interesting people on the site – what makes a great host in a new town?
Someone who takes us somewhere off the tourist tracks.
Where is the friendliest place you’ve visited?
Everything people say about Canadians is true. They are the best.
What advice do you have for people wanting to start their own travel and lifestyle site?
Start with a strong game plan and vision. It’s something we never had and it’ll save you time and money really strategizing out what kind of travel you want to focus on. Try not to tackle everything. The more you niche yourself, the more you’ll stand out.
And where do you guys see yourself in ten years?
Two kids, a dog, a bunny and a parrot. We actually have a little plan but we don’t want to share it publicly in case it doesn’t come true.